Managing the Meddlers

Now that you're pregnant, everyone's got a helpful hint -- or two or three. Here's how to figure out when to listen and when to trust your own instincts.

"You need to eat spinach." It was a bleary winter day, the start of my third month of pregnancy and the third straight week of morning-to-midnight nausea. Anything could send me into a gagging fit -- including, I discovered, the word spinach.

Lifting my head from the top of my desk, I faced my unwitting torturer, a coworker I'd never spoken with before. "Spinach," he reiterated. "My wife ate it all nine months." I nodded and watched him walk away -- then beat a blue streak to the ladies' room.

Whoever told you that pregnancy brings a new person into your life lied. It brings dozens of them -- all armed with unsolicited advice. I got tips coming ("Don't carry a shoulder bag!") and going ("Loosen your skirt so the fetus can breathe!"). I couldn't eat ("Pizza causes heartburn!"), drink ("Isn't soda dangerous?"), or, heaven forbid, make merry ("Loud music will scare the baby!") without someone suggesting a better way.

If you feel overburdened by friends, family, and even strangers butting into your business, here's still more advice -- this time from experts who will help you gracefully handle the deluge.

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