Baby Talk

Nine months can be a long time to wait to speak with a loved one. But with a new product called the Tummy Tutor, expectant parents just might be able to get a head start on talking to Junior. Parents can conduct a one-way conversation with the little tyke through a lightweight, portable box equipped with a microphone and speakers. The idea is to stimulate in-utero learning by letting the fetus listen to the parents. One thing parents might want to suggest to their captive audience is to marry someone stinking rich. The suggested retail price of the unit is $149.95. For more information, call (800) 768-2008.

Heartbeat and More

If you're skeptical about talking to your fetus, you just might be able to eavesdrop with the help of another new product, the LifeScope Fetal Monitor. The device, meant for use in the third trimester of pregnancy, lets you listen to the fetal heartbeat, kicks and hiccups. The sounds are electronically detected, filtered and amplified for private listening through headphones or group listening through a stereo system. Considering the average baby's heart beat ranges between 120 to 160 times per minute, it may be hard to keep up with if you hook it up to the stereo. The suggested retail price of theunit is $169.95. For more information, call (615) 824-5233 or visit the Web site

Watch Your Back

Many women experience lower back pain during pregnancy, but aren't sure what they can do about it. Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, an obstetrician and gynecologist, offers these tips. Women should not be afraid to apply heat; try sitting in a warm tub or Jacuzzi around 100 degrees--no hotter. Try wearing abdominal support straps for extra support and don't forget to exercise. Swimming is ideal, and pelvic-tilt exercises can help strengthen the back as well, Minkin says. And most of all, remember the back pain is only temporary.

Pedal Power

The folks who brought us indoor cycling are now putting their spin on their favorite exercise for pregnant women. Their message is clear--just do it, but in moderation and only after checking with your doctor. Women who participate in self-paced indoor cycling classes during their pregnancies can expect to gain less weight, have more energy, sleep better and maybe even tolerate labor pain better, according to Mad Dogg Athletics of Santa Monica. If exercise studies confirm these benefits, can "Pregnant Pedal Power" workout T-shirts be far behind?

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