How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy

Are you doing research for how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby? Well, here are some sensible and safe tips to help you.

Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life. However, with that excitement often comes a lot of questions and concerns.

Pregnant women find themselves wondering things like:

· Can I exercise?

· Do I have to take prenatal vitamins?

· What if I’m an older woman – what things do I need to be concerned about now?

· and many more concerns as you will see below...

That’s where this guide comes in handy.

We will address these concerns to help you take care during pregnancy.

Is it Necessary to Take Prenatal Vitamins?

Believe it or not, the answer to this question varies from person to person.

Many people believe that prenatal vitamins are necessary for a healthy pregnancy and baby while others dismiss them completely.

Still, there are others who think that only certain types of women should be taking prenatal vitamins (vegetarians, smokers, etc.).

Below are a few things to consider as you make your decision regarding the necessity of prenatal vitamins.

What is the Controversy About?

Some experts have mixed feelings about prenatal vitamins because there have been studies done that have shown women who took prenatal vitamins had babies who weren’t any healthier than women who didn’t take prenatal vitamins.

However, other experts believe that prenatal vitamins reduce the risks of various birth defects such as neural tube defects and other serious conditions.

Then, there are the doctors who believe prenatal vitamins are a good thing to supplement your diet with, but they don’t press the issue upon their patients.

And, there are other experts who take the stance that it’s the supplement industry who is pushing the “need” for prenatal vitamins and there really isn’t a need for them.

Obviously, there are a lot of opinions regarding prenatal vitamins to choose from.

Folic Acid – One thing that every expert agrees on is that there is a need for folic acid during pregnancy.

There can be serious consequences for babies born with folic acid deficiencies and since folic acid isn’t prominent in the average diet, taking a folic acid supplement is something you need to do if you aren’t taking a prenatal vitamin.

Getting Sick – There are some pregnant women who get sick when taking prenatal vitamins and others who don’t suffer any effect from them.

There are others who get nauseated when taking them.

The pills are very large, much larger than other pills.

Therefore, many women stop taking them altogether due to how they make them feel.

Absorption – Another common dispute regarding prenatal vitamins is whether or not they are absorbed by the body.

Many people believe they are while others do not feel the body absorbs them well enough to get any real benefit from them.

Alternatives to Prenatal Vitamins – There are some alternatives for prenatal vitamins suggested by some experts and doctors.

One includes eating fortified cereals for breakfast in place of the pill.

Just make sure you’re eating cereals that have 100% of the USDA of all major vitamins and minerals in them.

This suggestion is often presented to women who can’t stomach prenatal vitamins.

Also, you don’t necessarily need a prescription for prenatal vitamins as they can be purchased over the counter.

Some even come in food-based forms/capsules, making them more likely to be absorbed.

If you purchase a prenatal vitamin at a drugstore and not through a prescription, make sure you read the directions thoroughly as some require 3-6 pills to be taken each day!

Many women who take prenatal vitamins like these find it easy to spread the pills out over the course of the day.

However, there are prenatal vitamins available that only need to be taken once a day.

First Trimester Pregnancy Health Tips: What To Do About All Those Symptoms

First Trimester Pregnancy Health Tips

First trimester pregnancy health tips are always so varied thanks to the fact that everyone experiences pregnancy differently, both physically and emotionally.

One thing's for sure, though: just because your bump may not be visible to anyone else, it's certainly making a noticeable impact on your life even in the earliest stages!

Dealing With Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly reported symptoms during a first trimester pregnancy, probably due to the fact that your body is going through so many hormonal changes.

It can actually last all day, and can be very bad for some women.

To help improve things you should drink plenty of water, and avoid fatty foods.

It goes without saying that you'll want to avoid anything that makes you feel sick by simply thinking about it or smelling it!

You can also try candied ginger or ginger tablets to help you feel better.

If you can't keep anything down, including liquids, then it's vital that you consult a doctor.

Tender Breasts

One of the earliest first trimester pregnancy symptoms, even before missing a period, can be a feeling of tenderness in the breasts.

They're simply preparing to produce milk for your baby, but this can be quite uncomfortable for you. Try wearing a supportive bra to ease discomfort.

Increased Urination

As the uterus starts to press on your bladder you may find that you need to urinate more often.

This could be inconvenient, or even make it difficult to sleep as you wake up to urinate during the night.

To help prevent this, drink less in the evenings and try to reduce your caffeine intake.

Always go when you feel the need, however, as this will help prevent a urinary tract infection.

Mood Swings

Most women will find their emotions fluctuating when they’re pregnant. This is a combination of factors, from changing hormones to the increased responsibility and financial pressures to come.

If you're anxious about something in particular, such as labor, then get informed and ask questions.

If you're generally feeling low, then try sleeping longer, eating healthier foods, taking a walk or simply talking it through with your partner.

Other Symptoms During The First Trimester And Beyond

Pregnancy symptoms aren't limited to those listed above - far from it! Other common symptoms include heartburn, a sore back, difficulty sleeping and headaches.

Every woman is different and you may experience very few symptoms, or less well-known symptoms such as bleeding gums, carpal tunnel, leg cramps, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It isn't easy being pregnant!

Visiting Your Health Care Provider

When you first discover that you're pregnant, it's important to visit your health care provider.

They will go through a number of areas with you to help assess your health and to work out whether any current medication could harm the baby.

They will also give you some tips on watching your health, and schedule regular appointments with you throughout the pregnancy.

You should let them know if you're concerned about any of your first trimester pregnancy symptoms.

How To Get Relief From Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy is a common occurrence, particular in the last three or four months of the term.

Luckily, there are several safe and natural ways to get relief from heartburn while you are pregnant.

You should try at all costs to avoid prescription medications and even some over the counter antacid remedies.

Whilst these are not known to harm a growing baby, some products contain ingredients like aspirin which are not recommended during pregnancy.

Ask your physician if you are unsure of what is safe for you and your baby.

The best remedy for heartburn during pregnancy is to avoid getting it altogether.

Yes, I know that sounds difficult however it is certainly possible to take a number of precautions so you minimize your chance of developing heartburn while you are pregnant.

There is no doubt that heartburn can make pregnancy even more tiring and uncomfortable that it may already be for you.

Fortunately there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of heartburn, and to remedy it if it does happen to occur.

Before you go for the antacid route, try some herbal remedies for heartburn.

Things like peppermint water, herbal antacids, yoghurt mixed with cinnamon and papaya and slippery elm powder mixed with cinnamon have all been known to relieve heartburn in pregnant women.

Remedy For Heartburn During Pregnancy

1 Don’t eat or drink anything that makes you feel 'queasy' or uncomfortable.

For example, carbonated soft drinks, alcohol (not good whilst pregnant anyway), chocolate, caffeine products, greasy foods and spicy foods.

These trigger foods and beverages will vary between people, but these are the ones which are most likely to cause heartburn.
Avoiding these products is one of the best remedies for heartburn whilst pregnant.

2 Avoid large sized meals.

Stick to smaller portions on a regular basis. Otherwise known as 'grazing'.

Basically this means eat 5 or 6 smaller meals per day rather than 3 large ones.

This is a great remedy for heartburn whether you are already suffering from it or not.

Smaller meals are more easily digested, so this tip is actually an excellent habit to get into whether you are pregnant or not.

3 Sleep on an elevated pillow.

When your body is elevated as you sleep, stomach acids stay contained in their proper spot.

You should feel better when you wake up once you get used to this position.

There is no need to entirely sit up, just consider using an extra pillow or two.

4 Ensure your clothes are not tight.

You should be avoiding tight clothing whilst pregnant anyway, but take special note of anything that may be tight around the waist and chest area - for example your bra or elastic pants.

This can actually trigger and worsen heartburn, so loose clothes are a must.

5 Herbal teas are another option for you.

Try a meadowsweet herbal tea; some women have noted that it completely cures their heartburn.

The same has been said for aniseed and peppermint tea.

Results will obviously vary from woman to woman, so if one method doesn't work, don’t worry too much. Just try something else!

Again I must stress that if you are unsure of taking, eating or drinking anything in particular whilst pregnant, consult your doctor first.

6 chewing gum can assist in heartburn relief

Try chewing some gum next time you have heartburn, it might just work. Just be careful not to overdo the gum - some gum can have a laxative effect if taken in large quantities.

Another pregnancy heartburn relief tip is to avoid drinking a large amount when you are eating.

It is obviously important to drink plenty of water while pregnant, but make that outside of meal times. This should assist in heartburn relief.

How to Overcome Pregnancy Tiredness

pregnancy tiredness

One of the major complaints from busy women who are pregnant is how tired they suddenly are.

While it may be an inconvenience to be tired all the time, remember all the changes your body is going through right now as it prepares for your baby.

Being extremely tired during the first trimester is common, but you should talk to your doctor about it if it lasts into your second and third trimesters to make sure everything is okay.

Sometimes, tiredness can be caused by gestational diabetes or low thyroid function, which are serious conditions during pregnancy.

Below are a few tips for overcoming normal pregnancy tiredness.

1. Give In and Get More Sleep – Yes you are busy and have a lot to do, but your body needs a lot more rest during pregnancy.

So, give in and get more sleep. After all, it isn’t going to do any good to argue with your body.

You can get more sleep by going to be earlier and taking a nap during the day.

If you work away from home, you may be able to steal a 30-45 minute nap at lunchtime in your car or an empty office, if you bring your lunch and eat at the office.

If you have young kids at home, consider hiring a babysitter for a couple of hours so you can catch a small nap.

2. Try Exercising – Keep in mind that during the first trimester, it is agreed that getting additional sleep is more important that exercise.

However, exercising will give you a natural energy boost, just make sure you are limiting yourself to light exercises during your second and third trimesters.

There are many exercise routines available for pregnant women.

For instance, you can walk, sign up for water aerobics or purchase an exercise DVD specifically for pregnant women.

3. Eat Often – When you are pregnant, your body not only demands more sleep but it also demands more food to keep your blood sugar and energy levels up.

Would you believe that many health experts think that morning sickness and low blood sugar levels go hand-in-hand?

Therefore, try to eat more often. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but you should be eating several small meals and snacks throughout the day.

Try to get a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates with the foods you eat to encourage balanced blood sugar levels.

4. Focus on Healthy Foods – Try to focus on eating healthy meals and snacks during the day as keeping a healthy diet will not only give you more energy, but also give your baby more nutrients.

If you are interested in learning more about the types/amounts of foods you should be eating during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

What is Pregnancy Insomnia?

Pregnancy insomnia

Pregnancy insomnia is experienced by most pregnant women at some point in their pregnancy.

Being pregnant can be a very exciting stage for both mother and father.

However, there are some stages during the whole course of pregnancy that you would be unable to sleep like you used to.

Possibly you have the sleeping disorder called pregnancy insomnia.

This is probably partly because your belly is getting bigger and bigger every month. But there is much more to it than that.

According to the studies, as much as 80 percent of pregnant women experience insomnia sleep disorders such as pregnancy insomnia.

Some of the main reasons for such sleeping disorder include leg cramps, constantly waking up and going to the bathroom, anxiousness, exhaustion, and more.

This may happen anytime during the three trimesters particularly during the last three months of your pregnancy.

Unfortunately, as much as you want to take those sleeping pills in the cabinet, you simply just can not.

You must only use natural insomnia cures that would aid pregnancy sleep during these times, and not put your baby or your own health at risk from using medication.

The first thing that you must do before hitting the sheets is to stop worrying about how much sleep you will get for the night.

If you go to bed already worried, you cannot easily calm down your mind enough to sleep without stress.

Ask a favor from your partner and get them to give you a massage before both of you go to bed so that you can feel relaxed.

Since you are carrying so much extra body weight during the later stages of your pregnancy you may also be suffering from a sore back and swollen legs or feet.

You would find that a warm bath steeped in aromatic herbs would be a huge relief to your senses as well as enjoying the floating sensation in the water to take the weight off your spine and legs.

Some expectant mothers who are suffering from pregnancy insomnia read a magazine and listen to their favorite soothing music until they feel sleepy.

Not only will it help you in treating your insomnia sleep disorder but the sound of soft music will also have a calming effect to the unborn baby as well.

Using soft lighting in the bedroom, and keeping it free from clutter is also calming to the mind.

Light some scented candles, or use some aromatherapy to soothe your senses and calm your emotions.

Most of the natural sleep aid tips that can be used for insomnia cures can also be used safely by expectant mothers.

However, pregnant women as well as those who are breast feeding or nursing must not use Melatonin as a remedy.

Heartburn is one of the culprits specific to pregnancy insomnia.

Do not take midnight snacks before going to bed. However, if you enjoy eating before bedtime, eat just light meals.

Avoid foods that are high in protein as well as those containing plenty of sugar or fats. Instead, eat low-fat yogurt or a bowl of cereal.

You can go online and find the best foods to eat in your daily diet to encourage more restful sleep, and also learn about the foods to avoid before you go to bed.

Check out this natural sleep aid for pregnancy insomnia:

Snooze-EZ 2 oz. Insomnia, Anxiety, Sleep Support, Pregnancy & child safe too.
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Pregnancy Tips For Vegetarians

pregnant vegetarian

Once you become pregnant, your body undergoes many changes including nutritional needs.

It doesn’t matter if you are a vegetarian or maintain a “meatier” diet.

However, it’s important for vegetarians to understand that once they are pregnant, their need for protein increases.

There are also some other nutritional needs that pregnant vegetarians need to be aware of too. You’ll find them below.

More about Protein – The reason it’s so important for vegetarians to increase their protein during pregnancy is because this helps prevent pre-elampsia and eclampsia, which is a very dangerous condition that can occur during pregnancy.

Additionally, the unborn baby needs additional protein to help it grow and develop properly.

The good news is that there are plenty of foods vegetarians can eat to get their protein aside from meats.

For example, eggs and dairy products are good sources of protein.

If you are a vegetarian that eats fish, there are some great protein sources there too. Not to mention the protein found in nuts, bean and legumes.

Calorie Intake – It is agreed upon that one should increase their calorie intake during pregnancy.

This is true for everyone, regardless of your diet. Most sources agree that increasing your calorie intake by 100 calories during the first trimester is good, but once you get to the second and third trimesters you should increase it to about 300 calories.

Now, this doesn’t mean that eating junk food for the extra calories is okay. You need to get these calories from healthy, nutritious foods.

Increase Iron – Many women (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) find themselves craving things like hamburgers, steaks and other meats during pregnancy.

This may be your body’s way of telling you that you need more iron.

Vegetarians increase their iron during pregnancy by eating more leafy (dark green) veggies such as kale and spinach and combine them with foods rich in vitamin C to improve absorption.

Another great source of iron is blackstrap molasses.

And, many believe that by cooking with cast-iron will help your diet get more iron too.

Now, if you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages, you may be inhibiting your body’s absorption of the iron you’re giving it.

This is why experts advise against caffeine during pregnancy.

You can also take prenatal vitamins or an iron supplement during pregnancy if you feel it’s necessary.

Calcium: Get It! It’s very important for you to get the calcium your body needs during pregnancy to help the baby develop correctly.

Many people feel the only way to get this is by eating dairy products.

However, this isn’t true. In fact, dark, leafy greens, soybeans, apricots, figs, tofu and even blackstrap molasses are excellent sources of calcium.

Safe Exercises for Pregnant Women

pilates for pregnant women

There are many benefits of exercising during pregnancy, but it’s important that you choose safe exercise programs if you choose to exercise while pregnant.

The first thing you need to do is consult with your doctor regarding your overall health to ensure that exercising during pregnancy isn’t going to be a problem.

Below are a few tips associated with safe exercise during pregnancy.

1. Keep It Light – It’s important that you don’t push yourself too hard while exercising during pregnancy.

There are many changes going on inside your body such as an increased blood volume, which can be dangerous if you overdo it when working out.

Therefore, when you do exercise, don’t overdo it and keep it light.

2. Leave Out the Weights – Your body already has extra weight due to pregnancy (larger uterus, umbilical cord, placenta, baby and additional blood volume), so there is no need to add weights to your morning exercise routine.

In fact experts warn against it as lifting too much has been known to increase the chances of a miscarriage.

3. Choose Low-Impact Exercises – During pregnancy, your joints will soften and loosen as your body prepares for the necessary bone-spreading of labor/delivery.

Therefore, it’s best to choose low-impact exercises such as Pilates, Yoga, swimming, etc. while you’re pregnant.

Avoid exercises that require a lot of jumping, bouncing and hopping.

4. Stay Balanced – When exercising while pregnant, you should choose exercises that allow you to stay balanced.

Since you have a baby growing inside of you, your balance is naturally going to be affected.

Therefore, you need to make sure you are not participating in exercises that will cause you to get unbalanced and fall easily.

5. Safe Exercises – While there are many forms of exercises that you can do while pregnant, a few of the most popular (and enjoyable) include water aerobics, cycling and swimming.

Water aerobics is popular due to the weightlessness that it provides during the second and third trimesters, which helps keeps pressure off the joints.

Cycling is a great low-impact exercise as well.

However, due to the fact that you’re pregnant, it’s best to do this on a stationary bike to avoid getting off balance.

Plus, you can do it inside no matter what the weather is outside!

Finally, swimming is another great option as it is also low-impact and very relaxing.

If you were a regular swimmer before pregnancy, you may want to limit your swimming during pregnancy so you don’t overdo it.

If you choose to exercise throughout your pregnancy, follow the tips above to ensure you and your unborn baby stay safe.

Also, it is agreed upon by many that pregnant women don’t require much more than 2-3 hours of exercise each week to remain healthy.

Although back pain is an indispensable part of your pregnancy, there are a few steps that you can take to prevent or subdue back pain during pregnancy.

Learn more about how to deal with back pain during your pregnancy in this article:

What Is The Connection Between Pregnancy And Low Back Pain?

Concerns About Midlife Pregnancy

healthy pregnancy

More and more people are putting off having children until their careers have been well established, which is why we are seeing more midlife pregnancies.

There are different concerns surrounding midlife pregnancies than there are for younger women, however, the good news is that healthcare professionals are better prepared to deal with these concerns than they’ve ever been before.

Below are some of the concerns surrounding midlife pregnancies.

1. Genetic Problems

Many believe that women who have children when they are over the age of 40 are more likely to have babies that contract a genetic disorder.

As a result, most doctors provide their patients the ability to have genetic testing done early in the pregnancy to rule out a number of genetic problems that the baby may have.

While some of the genetic testing is done by drawing blood, another method called amniocentesis actually pulls samples of the amniotic fluid to test.

This is generally done anywhere between 15 to 18 weeks.

Some believe that the procedure can cause an early labor or miscarriage, but others believe it is a safe procedure.

The decision on whether or not you wish to have either of these tests done is completely up to you.

2. Risks

There are risks for every pregnancy, but there are some unique risks for midlife pregnancies. They include:

· Cancer – While pregnancy has not been proven to cause cancer, it can be caused by fertility treatments which are often used by women to get pregnant during their later years.

· Cardiomyopathy – This is a heart disorder that has occurred to postpartum women.

While it can happen to any woman who has recently had a baby, the risk is greater for older mothers.

It happens with the heart muscle changes from pregnancy (weakens, stiffens and/or thickens).

· Gestational Diabetes – Again, gestational diabetes is a disorder that knows no age, but older women are more prone to acquiring it than younger women.

· Placenta Previa – Placenta Previa is a disorder that occurs when the placenta doesn’t move away from cervical area.

Instead, the placenta forms close to the uterus mouth which can lead to cramping, bleeding and premature labor.

This is another condition that older women have a great risk of contracting.

· Pre-eclampsia – Pre-eclampsia is a condition that is very serious for pregnant women.

While women over the age of 40 have a greater risk for contracting the condition, first-time moms also have a high risk.

Thus, if you’re a first-time mother older than 40, you need to be on the lookout for the signs of this disorder.

· C-Section – Anyone can have a c-section, but they are much more common (for medical reasons) among mothers above the age of 40.

3. Reducing Risks

Believe it or not, there is something you can do to help reduce the chances of going through any of the conditions above during your pregnancy.

The key is to maintain a nutritious and healthy lifestyle. If you smoke, you need to quit immediately.

And, you need to start eating foods that are healthy.

Additionally, you need to take a prenatal vitamin on a daily basis, and maybe even a couple other nutrients.

Ask your doctor if there is any additional supplement he feels you should be taking.

Also, do not drink alcoholic beverages while pregnant.

Preparing for Multiple Babies

babies

Whether you’re having twins, triplets or another form of multiple babies you are probably feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

It may help ease your mind if you take the time to come up with a plan. Below are a few suggestions to help you prepare for multiple babies.

1. Increase your food intake.

Many women don’t realize how important it is to increase their daily food intake when they are pregnant.

This is especially important for those pregnant with multiples. If you are having twins you should increase your daily intake of calories to about 600.

And, expect to gain at least 35-45 pounds during a pregnancy with multiples, you may even gain more and be within normal limits.

2. Get the equipment you need.

You’ll have to get baby equipment no matter if you’re having one, two or more babies.

However, you’ll need a few more things when you’re expecting multiples than you would if you were only having one baby.

· Car Seats

Obviously, you will need to have and individual car seat for each baby as they cannot share a car seat to be transported.

To help save on the cost, you may be able to borrow used car seats from friends who are no longer using theirs or pick some up at a garage sale.

· Strollers

If you are having more than one baby, you will need a stroller made for multiples.

They have strollers for twins and even some for triplets.

You’ll find the cost of these strollers well worth it when you’re trying to take everyone out at the same time.

· Clothing

Two or more babies means that you’ll have to have more clothing.

Not only will the babies have to be dressed at the same time, but you never know when one will have to be changed during the day (or how many times).

Therefore, finding clothes at yard sales and thrift stores for cheaper prices is a good idea.

· Furniture

You will also have to think about furniture.

While you won’t need more than one changing table, rocking chair or dresser it is advisable to purchase a crib for each child.

Experts recommend against having infants share a crib, but if you need to have them share a crib until you can get another one, that’s okay.

Just make sure they are a safe distance apart when sleeping.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Having multiple babies can bring on a lot of stress for parents, especially if one stays home while the other goes to work.

It can be difficult for the stay-at-home-parent to get an adequate amount of rest as the babies’ sleeping schedules may not be the same.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask for help in advance.

If you have a friend or family member that you trust, don’t hesitate to ask them if they would be willing to come over a little during the day so you can catch a quick nap.

4. Baby-proof the house now.

Don’t wait to start baby-proofing your house until the babies are born because you’re going to be tired once they get home.

Instead get the house prepared before they arrive!

5. Talk to other parents of multiples.

The best thing new parents of multiples can do is find other parents of multiples to talk to.

Having a support group of people who understand your situation will prove valuable once your babies arrive.

Why You Need a Birth Plan

Whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, you should know that no two births are identical and it’s impossible to plan every tiny detail of your birth in advance.

However, you can help prepare yourself for the unpredictable moments during your labor and delivery with a birth plan.

Below you’ll learn how a birth plan will help you.

1. It’s Personal – Birth plans are not generic, but instead are customized to fit your unique needs and wants.

You can address as little or as much as you want in your birth plan.

For instance, you may only want to address the major things like epidural, surgery, etc. or you may want to also address smaller issues such as visitors, who holds the baby first (after you of course), etc.

The point is that it is your birth plan and will address everything you want it to address regarding your labor, delivery and after-care.

2. Helps You Prepare – Birth plans are designed to help both you and your partner prepare for the labor and delivery of the baby. In order to outline a detailed birth plan, you will have to research various types of labor techniques, hospitals and their procedures and a number of other things.

This research will help you and your partner get an idea of to expect once you do go into labor.

3. It Speaks for You – The good thing about birth plans is that they are prepared by you, when you are thinking clearly – not when you are in the middle of labor.

Once a woman is in labor, she can become vulnerable and make decisions she wouldn’t normally make as a result.

When you have a birth plan and a decision has to be made while you are in labor, it can be referred to and “speak” for you…you can even look at it to refocus your thoughts during the difficulties of labor too.

When you provide the hospital, nurses and doctors with your birth plan, you won’t have to worry about re-explaining your wants and desires in regards to your labor.

The birth plan will speak for you and help prevent any misunderstandings from occurring.

4. Helps Ease Fears – Creating a birth plan is a great way to help ease your fears regarding your labor and delivery.

Preparing for birth can be a scary process as there are many questions and fears that often go unaddressed.

However, you will have addressed many of these questions and fears when you created your birth plan, which will help ease your mind and reduce your anxiety as your due date approaches.

5. Protection – Not every birth goes perfectly as planned and if complications do arise, having a clearly defined birth plan can help protect you from unwanted interventions from family, doctors and nurses.

Checklist of Things to Pack to Bring to the Hospital or Birthing Center

For You:

1.      ___            Loose, comfortable clothing to go home in

2.      ___            A couple of nightgowns and a housecoat

3.      ___            Comfortable, cool clothes to lounge in after                               the birth of your baby

4.      ___            Slippers

5.      ___            Socks

6.      ___            Breastfeeding pillow

7.      ___            Breast pads

8.      ___            Two breastfeeding bras

9.      ___            Nipple cream for possible cracks/sore                                      nipples

10.  ___            Toothpaste

11.  ___            Toothbrush

12.  ___            Floss

13.  ___            Hairbrush

14.  ___            Antiperspirant/deodorant

15.  ___            Cosmetics and hair products

16.  ___            Shampoo and conditioner

17.  ___            Body wash or soap

18.  ___            A few healthy snacks to keep in your room

19.  ___            Eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution

20.  ___            Birth plan, hospital paperwork, your insurance                            or health card

21.  ___            Camera and/or video camera

22.  ___            Your own underwear (oversized)

           

 

For Baby: 

1.      ___            Clothing for your baby to go home in

2.      ___            Car seat (make sure you know how to use                            and install it before giving birth)

3.      ___            Blanket or car seat cover to keep the wind                                 off of your baby

 

 

For Your Partner:

1.      ___            A couple changes of comfortable clothing

2.      ___            Snacks

3.      ___            Money

4.      ___            Phone numbers of friends and family to call                               after your baby's birth

The Pros and Cons of Pain Management during Delivery

pregnancy birth pain

When it comes to delivering a baby, every woman says that she can do it “naturally.”

But, when the pain of those contractions begins, some change their mind.

Just in case you change your mind, know the options and the risk of pain management.

It used to be that you had to endure the pain of the contractions during the delivery.

Screaming was your only option or chewing on a piece of leather.

Now, you can opt for less pain and more enjoyment of the experience if you wish.

And, it doesn’t diminish you as a woman in any way.

What is an Epidural?

The most common form of medication given during pregnancy is an epidural.

It consists of a mixture of narcotics and anesthetics of manage the pain and discomfort of contractions.

Anxiety levels can rise so high that it can affect the progress of labor and your focus.

The medication is infused through a catheter placed in the epidural space between the second and fifth lumbar vertebrae.

The nurse or physician will ask you at a certain point during labor if you want to consider using any medication.

It takes about 20 minutes for the medication to take effect and with the catheter more can be infused if needed.

Other forms of Pain Management

Spinal block – Medication much like that used in an epidural makes up a spinal block.

The medication is injected directly into the spinal column. It can last for up to two hours and numbs your body from the chest down.

Pudendal block – Medication is injected into the area between the vagina and the anus.

It helps reduce pain during the actual delivery whether with forceps or a vacuum.

If you have an episiotomy, this type of block can help with pain management for at least the first hour.

Pros of Pain Medication

Pain medication can be helpful in certain situations. Here are a few:

Medication reduces pain and contractions can be stronger in some women than in others.

Mom gets to rest during a long labor when things are progressing slowly

Medication lasts a long time so that

Amount given can be controlled through the catheter

Mom stays awake during a c-section

Cons

There are risks to all medication. Ask the doctor to explain it all to you clearly before making a choice. Here are a few things you need to know.

Rare side effects include severe headaches from spinal fluid leaks

Baby needs to be monitored since you usually can’t feel contractions

Epidural doesn’t work immediately and you can move involuntarily when a contraction hits

May need to be told when to push when the time comes

Medication of this type can lower your blood pressure and your baby’s

Pain management is important during pregnancy. If you want to use medication, know the pros and cons.

How to Use Yoga to Prepare for Birth

yoga for pregnant women

While many people have heard of the benefits of yoga, many don’t realize how helpful it can be during pregnancy.

Below are a few of the reasons why it is such a wonderful form of exercise during pregnancy and how you can get started.

1. Whole-Body Approach

Yoga believes in a “whole-body/person approach” which means that it doesn’t just deal with the physical body…it also focuses on a personal emotional state/well-being too.

This is one of the reasons many women enjoy it during pregnancy.

It helps them stay calm and relaxed when their hormones are out-of-whack, which can cause emotional chaos.

2. How to Get Started

Yoga is a pretty well-known form of exercise now and almost every community has a yoga class available.

However, for pregnancy, it’s best to find a prenatal yoga class. You’ll feel better being around other pregnant women during the class and have others who understand what you’re going through.

If you can’t find a class in your area, you can always purchase a DVD and do it from home.

3. Benefits of Yoga

Okay, so you’re probably ready to see how yoga really helps pregnant women, right?

· Breathing

During pregnancy (especially labor) breathing is extremely important.

The breathing exercises you will learn during yoga will help you tremendously when it’s time to deliver.

· Control of Body

Yoga is believed to help one remain in control of their body and mind as it helps you accept the things you aren’t able to control and focus on the things you can control.

Prenatal yoga classes focus on this and no labor ever goes exactly as planned.

By accepting this early in your pregnancy, you will be able to reduce your stress and be at peace.

· Improve Muscle Strength

Some of the key muscles that yoga helps improve are muscles used more during pregnancy. For instance, the lower back muscles are improved, which is helpful as your unborn baby continues to grow and develop.

· Flexibility

Another advantage of yoga during pregnancy is the improved muscle flexibility which will help during labor.

A few of the muscles affected by yoga include: back muscles, leg muscles, shoulder muscles and others.

· Your Partner

Believe it or not, many women bring their birth partners to their prenatal yoga classes because it helps their partners prepare for what to expect during the labor and delivery.

· Improved Confidence

Building confidence in your body and mind is one thing everyone, especially pregnant women, need to be able to master.

Yoga is a perfect way to do that!

· Overall Calmness

As yoga focuses on the mind as well as the body, many women learn how to remain calm in very stressful situations…such as labor.

Therefore, prenatal yoga classes can be very helpful. I have created a section here about the benefits of using Body Mind Spirit Yoga practices for how to have a healthy pregnancy.

Eat Breakfast

Breakfast is always the most important meal of the day, but more so when you are pregnant.

Pregnant women often feel tiredness but this can be minimized but a good wholesome breakfast.

Make sure breakfast is a top priority for you.

Be Happy!

Many women find they feel depressed during pregnancy. Remember that it only lasts for 9 months then after that you will have the most beautiful gift of all!

It would be nice if you could look back on your pregnancy as a happy time, so try to think that way if you are feeling down.

Your partner should assist as much as possible in making your pregnancy a smooth process.

Follow these small bits of advice and you're well on your way to a happy healthy baby and mother.

Talk to Professionals

Your doctor and local support groups are there to help.

You should attend classes and ask your doctor whenever you have a question, regardless of how silly you think it is!

All good doctors will be happy to answer any and all questions that a pregnant couple might have.

How to Tell the Kids That You're Pregnant

How to Tell the Kids That You're Pregnant

After you found out you were pregnant, you and your spouse probably began thinking about how you were going to break the news to the rest of the family…especially your children.

Obviously, you should think everything through very carefully before making any announcement to your kids.

Below are a few suggestions to help you out.

Ages 5 and Below

Telling very young children (under the age of five) that you are going to have a baby may not have much of an impact on them.

They’re so young that they may not understand what that means right away.

Therefore, you will most likely have to keep talking about it as time goes on. Below are a few ideas:

1. Talk about their birth.

Young children love to hear stories that they can relate to.

So, why not talk to them about the day they were born and what all happened (keep it age-appropriate).

Once you tell them about their birth, you can begin talking about the new baby’s upcoming birth.

2. Books and videos about babies.

Young children also enjoy reading books and watching videos.

Therefore, pick up some from the store that involve babies to help them get ready for having a baby in the house.

It’s also a good idea to read books to them that talk about what it means to be a big brother or sister.

3. Be excited about the baby.

Whenever you do talk about the new baby to your kids, be excited about it.

Young children play off of their parents’ emotions.

Therefore, make sure you’re always referring to the new baby in a positive way.

4. Get out the scrapbooks.

Show your kids pictures of them when they were a baby and talk about how little they once were and everything that had to be done to take care of them.

This will help your little ones connect with the unborn baby and learn about how babies need to be cared for.

Kids in Gradeschool

Children over the age of 5 can be a little bit trickier to prepare for the birth of a new baby.

Therefore, you may need to be a little bit more creative in your approach. Here are a few ideas:

1. Celebrate the news.

Consider throwing a small family party to announce the news.

Perhaps you could have a cake made or a sign with the announcement.

However, you choose to do it, make sure you celebrate!

2. Make it a game.

Gradeschool age children love playing games, so you and your spouse could have a treasure hunt planned out and the “treasure” is the announcement (followed by ice cream of course).

As part of the hunt, you could have them stumble upon clues like baby bottles, baby clothes, etc.

Junior High and High School Kids

Believe it or not, this age group can actually be easier to tell than younger kids.

First of all, they are old enough to understand without asking you a lot of questions and they may even enjoy helping you prepare for the birth…as well as care for the baby once he/she is born.

However, keep in mind that this is an “emotional” age and so they may not respond exactly as you planned.

1. Tell them privately.

Don’t make a big announcement in front of a lot of people without telling your kids first.

For older kids, it’s best to sit down with them privately and break the news to them so they don’t feel pressured to act a particular way once they hear the news.

2. Consider writing it down.

You know your child better than anyone.

If your child is one who responds better to letters than in-person conversations, consider writing a letter announcing the news, but tell your child that you would like to discuss it in person when he/she is ready.

A New Baby and Your Finances

costs of babies

Many expecting parents look forward to the birth of a new baby with excitement, but often forget about their finances.

As exciting as a new baby is, it will have an impact on your financial situation.

Below are some of the financial realities that you need to think about before the new bundle of job arrives.

1. Staying Home – If you or your spouse plans to stay home with the new baby, you should definitely figure out the numbers first.

Staying home with your children is one of the most rewarding jobs, but you need to make sure you can afford to do so.

Also, look at your financial situation objectively. If mom makes more money than dad does at work, is it a better decision for dad to stay home instead of mom?

Another option to look at is whether your boss will let you do your job from home?

If not, is there something else that you enjoying doing that can be done from home on a part-time basis to help supplement your income?

Finally, decide how long you or your spouse plans on staying home with the kids. Is this something you plan on doing just until they go to school or do you plan on doing it until they graduate high-school?

2. Childcare – If no one is going to be staying home with the baby, then you will most definitely need to have a plan for childcare.

Many people are fortunate enough to live close to friends or family members who are willing to watch their children for free, or very little money.

Do you have such a person in your life that you trust? If you don’t then you may need to start looking into daycares or nannies.

This is an expense that you are going to have to budget for, so make sure you have it decided upon a couple months before the baby arrives.

3. Single Parents and Financial Aid – If you are a single parent, or even a couple with very little income, there are financial aid programs available that you may qualify for.

For example, you may qualify for free healthcare, food stamps or WIC.

There is no reason you should not apply for these state/federal programs if they are available and you have a need, especially when a baby’s well-being is at risk.

4. Priorities – Remember that you are adding a new member to the family and this little one will add expenses.

Therefore, you need to adjust your budget accordingly.

If you don’t have a working budget, it’s probably a good idea to get one started.

Your priorities are about to change and having a budget for things like baby clothes, diapers, childcare, healthcare, etc. will definitely help you keep your priorities straight.

Conclusion & Resources for How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy

Now that you have finished reading this section about how to have a healthy pregnancy you should be better equipped to understand your pregnancy and different aspects of it.

You should now know whether it's necessary for you to take prenatal vitamins, how to overcome tiredness associated with pregnancy, different exercises that are safe for a pregnant woman and more.

This information also taught you about the importance of having a birthing plan and how Yoga can help prepare you for birth.

And lastly but certainly not least, it also showed you how to prepare for multiples if you’re carrying more than one baby and how to tell other kids in the family.

So, now it’s time to relax a little and start enjoying your pregnancy!

If you are still trying to get pregnant, grab my free report here with some sensible tips for getting pregnant faster:

This link above will take you to the download page on Box.com where you can grab your free report, no need to register or subscribe to anything!

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