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6 Pregnancy Hacks That Are Pure Genius

Whether it’s your first pregnancy or third, being pregnant isn’t a walk in the park. It’s hard work. Chances are you’ll experience many of the symptoms that come with being pregnant at some point. From ravenous hunger to exhaustion to physical aches, the list seems to go on and on.

So, today we’re sharing some tips to make a few of the unbearable pregnancy side effects a bit more bearable.  Here are 6 fresh and unique pregnancy hacks that are pure genius:

  1. Wear a sports bra
    Maternity bras are expensive, and not really necessary. So instead of breaking the bank on bras specifically for pregnancy, choose a comfy sports bra instead. A sports bra will give you the sturdiness and support you need for a fraction of the cost!
  2. Have a snack on your nightstand
    “Morning sickness” got its name because that’s when it happens for most pregnant ladies. If you find that you’re nauseous in the morning, it’s probably because nausea is most common on an empty stomach. So make sure to put a (healthy) snack near your bed before you go to sleep. That way, you can eat it when you first wake up and stop morning sickness before it starts.
    If you’re one of the lucky ladies to experience “all-day-long sickness,” try eating smaller, more frequent meals or snacks throughout the day to combat an empty stomach.
  3. Get yourself an inner tube!
    Do you feel like your baby is crushing your lungs? Or have back pain? Try floating facedown in a pool and place your belly in the center of an inner tube to find relief. If you can’t get to a pool (or don’t feel like leaving your home!) try setting up an inner tube inside on a comfy piece of furniture. Just make sure to have space between your belly and the surface below it, so you’re not putting any pressure on your belly.
  4. The freezer is a great spot for your bra
    Because there’s not much that’s more annoying and uncomfortable than boob sweat, particularly if your breasts are sore, growing, or you live in a hot climate. So throw a bra in the freezer to put on when you’re feeling super hot and sweaty. Bonus: it will act as an ice pack, helping with any soreness and aching you’re facing!
  5. To relieve pressure, try kinesiology tape
    Yes, the same tape athletes use when they’re recovering from an injury. Watch this video and learn how you can use it to provide your baby bump with some needed support!
  6. Build yo’self a “puke kit”
    Right now, you’re probably thinking “a what?!” This kit is for those times when morning sickness hits you at a random time during the day. Swap out the tampons and pads in your purse for some gum, a toothbrush, small plastic bag, travel-size toothpaste, and a little pack of Kleenex. Oh, the joys of pregnancy.

We hope that you’re able to get some relief from these alternative pregnancy hacks! Please let us know in the comments if they worked.

6 Tips for a Safe Winter Pregnancy

get our tips on staying safe when you're pregnant in the winter!You might know all there is to know about staying safe while pregnant, but wintertime changes the rules up a bit.

Between your blasting furnace and the slick, icy streets, there’s no shortage of danger in the wintertime. So, it’s important to be ready for the cooler weather so that you can stay safe. Today, we’re sharing 6 tips to help you have a safe winter pregnancy. And remember, it’s always wise to talk with your doctor for recommendations too.

1. Get the flu vaccine

During pregnancy, your immune system gets weaker. Since you’re more likely to contract the flu right now, and the flu during pregnancy can cause major issues, it’s important to get vaccinated. If you’re not sure about the flu vaccine, it’s best to ask your doctor. We’re not medical experts here at Pregnancy Help Online, and this information is not intended as medical advice.

2. Keep hydrated

If you’re setting the heat in a home too high, it might make you dehydrated. So make sure to get the recommended serving of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water when you’re pregnant.

3. Put the heels away

Everyone we know has a favorite pair of high-heeled boots during the winter. But when you’re pregnant, safety comes first. Stick with flat, supportive shoes when necessary. When you’re pregnant, your balance is off, making you more likely to slip or fall. So picking the right shoes is important, so that you don’t slip on an icy patch!

4. Take supplements

Since we spend way less time in the sun during the winter, you’ll need to compensate by getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Pregnant women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, so taking both a calcium supplement and a vitamin D supplement is advised.

Plus there are bonus benefits to taking vitamin D and calcium! Mood boosters in vitamin D can help lift those winter blues, and calcium helps with relaxation and rest.

5. Get a humidifier

If you’re blasting the heat in your apartment, the air will get dry pretty quickly. If your place is too hot or dry, you might get nosebleeds. Avoid this by getting a humidifier, or simply opening a window to balance the temperature.

6. Stay active

Winter weight gain in pregnant women can pose health risks. The more weight a pregnant woman gains, the bigger her baby grows which leads to more complications. So you can see that staying active and avoiding overeating is important! When it’s too cold to go for a walk outside, you can try swimming, a stationary bike, an elliptical, or pre-natal exercise videos on YouTube.

During the wintertime, we hear from many pregnant women who are struggling to keep their heating bill paid or to find warm housing in the midst of a tough situation. If you’re in a tough situation like this, help is available. Visit BirthmotherBlessings.com to get assistance with maternity clothing, household items, and other necessities.

How an Unplanned Pregnancy Can Change Your Life

Have you ever wondered how becoming a mom will change your life? It’s crazy how much things change when you have a baby. And it can be even crazier if your pregnancy was unplanned and you’re not ready for this huge change.

Going to School Will Be Tough
Becoming a mom when you aren’t ready makes continuing your education really difficult. Since babies obviously can’t just be left on their own, you’d need to decide who can watch your baby while you’re in class.

If your parents are willing to help out, then that’s great. But, this might put stress on your relationship. Daycare is expensive, so money will be tight if you’re going to school while trying to pay for daycare and babysitters.

Career Plans on Hold
An unplanned pregnancy can get in the way of your career. If you’re climbing the ladder of success, it might feel disappointing to have to miss work and stay at home caring for your baby.

You’ll probably be very tired at work and then stressed out once you get home. After all, there are only so many hours in the day! If you don’t have support at home from the baby’s father or family members, then you’ll be responsible for a lot.

Way Less “Me Time”
Right now, you might feel like babies are just cute, tiny versions of adults. But ask any mom and they’ll tell you that babies are tiny dictators who take every ounce of your energy.

“It always seems like he gets hungry as soon as I sit down to eat. And long, relaxing showers were a thing of the past for the first few months. There just wasn’t any ‘me time’ between all the feeding, burping, rocking, and changing his diapers!” shares one mom, Jessica. Right now, you only have to think about yourself. If you become a mom from an unplanned pregnancy, you might get bitter that your ‘me time’ disappears.

Losing Sleep
You’d lose sleep in the early months, no matter if your pregnancy was planned or not. Moms of newborns don’t get to sleep much because most babies just don’t sleep for long stretches. It can be difficult for new moms to get used to waking up at all hours of the night.

All this can be super-overwhelming, especially if you didn’t plan on becoming a mom. You might feel a little resentful of being so tired if you didn’t plan for this change.

Money Will Be Tight
Babies get expensive. There are lots of little expenses that add up, like diaper cream and baby wipes. Oh, and lots and lots of diapers!

Be prepared for money to be tight, especially if you need to take time off work or if you have to pay for childcare when you start working again.

Relationships Will Change
An unplanned pregnancy puts a strain on a new relationship with a boyfriend or husband, especially if he wasn’t ready to become a dad.

Your friends might be supportive now, during your pregnancy but later distance themselves after you have your baby. This is especially true if they don’t have kids yet and are still out partying. They might not understand that you don’t have time to spend with them like you used to.

It’s smart to think about these things when you find out you’re pregnant. If you’re worried about how an unplanned pregnancy might change your life and want to talk to someone, you can connect with Lifetime Adoption at
1-800-923-6784 and have a private convo. The pregnancy coordinator you talk to can help you answer questions about your choices and give you resources for finding out more about adoption if you’d like.

Women Tell Us Their Absolutely Weirdest Pregnancy Symptom

women share their strangest pregnancy symptomsHere at Pregnancy Help Online, we’re asked some downright strange pregnancy questions and get literally funky comments. But that’s the beauty of the Internet: you can share info and ask questions anonymously. Plus, it fosters a great sense of community, even if you live in a totally remote area. So today, we’re sharing some of the absolutely weirdest pregnancy symptoms we’ve heard. Of course, we’ve removed names and any identifying details.
 
“Everyone knows me to be a Type A person, but pregnancy made me so calm. I was the most laid back when I was pregnant that I’ve ever been in my life.”
 
“My taste buds completely changed. I discovered I liked something I totally hated before. So I started trying all the foods!”
 
“I got these strong urges to smell chemicals. My sister is a nurse, so she made me ask my OB-GYN about it. Thank God she did, because it turned out I had low levels of iron!”
 
“Most women I know go up a shoe size or two during pregnancy. Well, just one of my feet grew! So I ended up buying shoes that fit my bigger foot and wear an insole for the other foot.”
 
“My leg hair got really dark and thick, like little razor blades popping out of my legs. I felt like I had to shave every day!”
 
“I became violently nauseated at just the smell of chicken for the first 12 or 13 weeks. I’d go into the break room at work and could instantly tell if someone had re-heated chicken in the microwave! So for a while, it was pork, red meat, or vegetarian food only. I didn’t even know that chicken had a smell before I got pregnant.”
 
“I had lots of snot and boogers when I was pregnant. My doctor said it was normal, and caused by an increase in blood flow. But I was so annoyed and embarrassed!”

I’m Going to Grow Hair Where During Pregnancy!?

strange hair growth during pregnancy?Whether this is your first pregnancy or your third, you might be surprised by all the changes your body goes through. Some of the developments are expected and well-known, like morning sickness. Other developments aren’t talked about as much and can throw you for a loop when they pop up. Plus, you wouldn’t have thought to ask about them during your prenatal visits. For example, “do you get hair in new places during pregnancy?” Just because this doesn’t seem like a question that you’d ask in polite conversation doesn’t make it any less real!

Many pregnant women believe that they have hair in areas that they didn’t before. While this is a possibility, it might just be you’re noticing darker hair where peach fuzz was, because hair grows differently during pregnancy. Hormones during pregnancy make your hair grow more quickly.  That’s why so many pregnant women grow enviable luscious locks!

You might feel awkward asking your OB-GYN about a new patch of hair growth in an unexpected area! Luckily, Pregnancy Help Online is sharing info about this topic with you today, so you can read about it from the comfort of your own home.

Your body’s creating more progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, which causes increased hair growth. To make sure your baby has everything it needs to develop healthily, your body has gone into overdrive. This includes your hormones! Fortunately, your hormones will soon go back to normal and the side effects are temporary.

If you see hair in new places, it might be a sort of optical illusion. Body hair simply gets darker during pregnancy. You probably didn’t notice the peach fuzz before because it was lighter. Darker and thicker hair will go back to its normal state after you give birth. Try not to scrutinize every part of the changes your body is going through during pregnancy because they’re happening to support your baby.

In conclusion, it’s totally normal to grow hair in spots you didn’t have it pre-pregnancy. Three common areas are the back, stomach, and nipples, but pretty much anywhere hair can grow is fair game. It might not be glamorous, but it’s reassuring to know it’s nothing to worry about!

3 Surprising Things About Early Pregnancy

3 surprising things about early pregnancyWhen you first see that positive pregnancy test, you might think about happily holding your adorable baby. Or, you might be wondering “how in the heck am I going to do this?!” Either way, here are 3 things about finding out you’re pregnant that might surprise you:

1. It’s SO hard to keep it a secret

Many women in the first days of their pregnancy have a lot of anxiety about sharing that news. “I am so thrilled about having a baby. But, at the same time, I was worried about miscarriage. What if I told a bunch of people my news, and then had to suffer through telling them I’m not pregnant anymore?!” says one mom-to-be, now 35 weeks along. It’s for this reason that many women choose to keep their pregnancy under wraps for a bit. This doesn’t mean that keeping it a secret is easy!

2. Everything will make you cry

Your hormones will be all over the place in early pregnancy! Shares one woman, “I swear my husband thought I was crazy those first few weeks! One night, I cried because I didn’t want to make dinner. And one day at work, I cried in the bathroom because I forgot my lunch at home.”

3. There’s a little human in there!

This might be the hardest thing for you to grasp. Yes, the pregnancy test confirmed you’re pregnant. But besides feeling weird and gross all the time, it might be hard to believe that your body is growing another tiny human.

The reality might not set in until you hear a heartbeat or find out your baby’s gender!

10 Things To Do During Your Last Month of Pregnancy

smiling at teddy bearCongrats mama! It’s almost time for your baby to arrive and forever change your world. People are probably telling you to pack up your hospital bag and to sleep as much as you can.
 
But today, we’re sharing the little stuff that’ll make life a bit easier those first few months. Because even though your hormones have brought on the nesting phase, your pregnancy brain might leave you feeling like you’re forgetting something.
 

Here’s our list of 10 fun and productive things to do for month 9 of pregnancy:

 
1. Treat yourself to a pedicure and manicure
 
You totally deserve a bit of pampering, plus hands will be featured in a million photos with your little bundle of joy. Not to mention, you’ll probably be wearing flip-flops a lot post-labor.
 
2. Go on dates
 
It’s hard to know when you’ll be able to go on a date with your significant other after your baby arrives. So, take advantage of these last few weeks as a family of two by doing things as a couple.
 
3. Upgrade your phone’s storage
 
You’ll be taking so many photos and videos of your new baby that you’ll hit your storage max pretty quickly. You don’t want to have that video of your baby’s first coo get cut off, or have to erase the 75 pictures you took of his first bath at home!
 
4. Get Amazon Prime
 
Ordering baby items from your phone and getting them within two days is one of the greatest conveniences for new moms!
 
5. Look for a newborn photographer
 
Get recommendations from friends or on mom groups on social media. Find out their sitting fees and what they charge to print. Photographers like to take newborn photos taken within your baby’s first two weeks. Save yourself from trying to remember to get a photo session lined up in a sleep-deprived, new mom state.
 
6. Download e-books and line up your Netflix queue
 
Newborns need to nurse or be bottle fed 10 to 12 times a day, for about a half an hour at a time. That’s a lot of time spent sitting, staring at your walls. Survive boredom by binge-watching a show on Netflix and reading up in your favorite genre.
 
7. Get the thank-you’s ready
 
There will be such a flood of gifts after your baby is born! Get ready by buying thank you note cards now, organizing your address list, and printing labels for your birth announcements.
 
8. Discover baby gear
 
Unbox all that mysterious gear you received at your baby shower. Take some time to assemble it and figure out all the buttons, straps, and handles. Trust us, holding a wailing newborn while trying to figure out how your stroller unfolds isn’t a picnic!
 
9. Two words: noise machine!
 
You can find tons of smart phone apps that provide the sound of the ocean, a fan, the ocean, or a babbling brook. Your baby will love it, and so will you when it allows you to get some sleep! Also, think about buying a white noise machine that you can keep in your baby’s nursery or by your bedside (depending on whether you’re co-sleeping.)
 
10. Use some vacation days
 
Take a day (or two) off just for you. Carrying a baby for nine months is hard work; you deserve some time off! Enjoy being alone, and the ability to do things at your own pace.

“How Long Before My Baby Belly Goes Down?”

Question: “I had my baby a couple of weeks ago, and I’m so ready to get my pre-baby body back! How long before my baby belly goes down?”
 
Answer: The timeline to lose the baby weight is different for every woman and depends on a few factors. These include whether or not you’re breastfeeding, how much weight you gained during your pregnancy, your diet, and how much exercise you get.
 
Two weeks after delivery, try and avoid weighing yourself. If you’re breastfeeding, you’re probably still getting the hang of it. Plus, your hormone levels are just starting to come down, so you’re still in the “baby blues” phase when anything can make you cry. Don’t feel discouraged, because the number you see on the scale usually doesn’t indicate lots of body fat.
 
mom walking downtown with her newborn babyAbout six weeks after you deliver, your uterus will return to its normal spot in your pelvis, making your belly look flatter and smaller. We recommend keeping the healthy eating habits you began when you were pregnant. Try and fit some exercise in when you can, too. Something as simple as taking your baby on a walk around the neighborhood will help you get fitter, faster.
 
At the end of the day, every woman is going to lose postpartum weight at her own pace!

What is Gestational Diabetes?

pregnant woman getting her blood pressure checkedGestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that shows up during pregnancy. It happens if your body’s not making enough insulin to offset the glucose from the food you eat.

But Why?

Typically, your pancreas does a good job of balancing glucose by making insulin. When you’re pregnant, your placenta creates more hormones that might make your body resist insulin. The pancreas produces more insulin, but gestational diabetes happens when it can’t keep up.

Glucose Testing 

All pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes because it shows up in about 9% of pregnancies. If you have the risk factors, you might be tested at the start of your pregnancy to get a baseline reading. (See below for the risk factors).

For everyone else, the first test happens around 24-28 weeks and is called the “glucose challenge test.” You’re given a syrupy sweet glucose drink that you need to drink within a specific amount of time. It’s a strange-tasting drink: like flat Sunkist soda, infused with candy corn. After waiting an hour, your blood will be drawn to see how your body dealt with that high level of glucose.

Within a couple of days, you’ll find out if you passed or failed. If you failed, it just means you have a higher risk of gestational diabetes. The one-hour test you took doesn’t diagnose gestational diabetes.

What happens if you fail the one-hour test?
It means you need to take Glucose Tolerance Test, so you’ll fast beforehand and drink twice as much of that fun, flat orange soda. You’ll have your blood drawn before you pre-drink, and then again every hour for three hours. It’s important that you avoid eating or drinking anything during that time. If you fail this three-hour test, then you’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

What are the risk factors?

  • Over 25 years old
  • BMI over 30
  • A close family member who has type 2 diabetes
  • Having had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • Delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Had an unexplained stillbirth
  • Women who are black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian

What are the symptoms?

Most women don’t notice any symptoms, which is a major reason why everyone is tested. Here are some signs of gestational diabetes:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Constant need to pee
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Regular bladder, vaginal, and skin infections
  • Blurry vision

What are the risks to me and my baby?

  • Preterm birth
  • Macrosomia (very large baby)
  • Increased need for a c-section.
  • Low blood sugar, which comes with a risk of seizures
  • Later risk of type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia
  • Risk of developing diabetes in the future

How’s gestational diabetes treated?

If you’re diagnosed as having gestational diabetes, they will frequently monitor blood sugar. Your doctor will give you recommendations for diet and exercise and may prescribe supplemental insulin. You’ll probably have your blood sugar tested after you deliver, and then again at your six-week postpartum visit.

Hoping to Labor at Home as Long as Possible? Get Our Tips!

learn the truth behind 7 of the most common pregnancy worriesWe hope that you found last week’s article about the benefits to laboring at home as long as possible to be helpful! Today, we’re sharing how exactly you can labor at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital.

Your goal is going to be to get to the hospital while in transition, or right before transition.  Here are 5 tips on how to do that:

1. Take a Quality Childbirth Class

This is the foundation to laboring at home as long as possible!  If you don’t know about pain coping methods, what your body’s doing, and the labor process, how in the world are you going to handle labor at home? After taking a good childbirth class series, you will have a solid understanding of how labor progresses and how to cope.

2. Hire a Doula

A doula has been present for many labors and is such a valuable asset for deciding when it’s time to head to the hospital. Typically, a doula can tell you in just minutes if it’s time to go or not.

3. Be Ready to Go!

Get 100% ready to go at a moment’s notice.  This means having your hospital bag all packed with anything you need, including your phone’s charger, pillows, a towel, toiletries, etc. Put this bag into your car, so it’s ready to go. That way once you decide to go to the hospital, everyone can just get in the car and go in a couple of minutes.

4. Time Your Contractions

Yes, there’s an app for that! It’s called Contraction Master, and you can download it for your Apple device. They also have a website, ContractionMaster.com. Timing contractions is a really useful thing to do when you’re deciding whether or not to go to the hospital! You’ll want to look at how far apart your contractions are.   If you’re hoping to labor at home as long as possible, you should leave home when your contractions are about three to four minutes apart. Look at how long each contraction is lasting.  During active labor, they’ll last around a minute, and during transition, they might last 90 seconds. Once your contractions are about three to four minutes apart and last 60 seconds or longer, it might be time to head to the hospital!

5. How’s Your Mood?

Are you feeling annoyed at people around you, even when you get a break between contractions? If your mood between contractions changes, it may be time to head to the hospital.

Also, are you texting people and posting on Instagram or Facebook? Then it’s probably not time just yet to head to the hospital. Once things get intense, you honestly won’t have the ability or brain power to use your phone. You’ll be focused on one task – to have a baby!

 

If you’re still not sure when to go to the hospital, try to slow or stop your labor. Take a bath, shower, nap or walk. If things stay the same or become stronger, it might be time to head to the hospital.

With all this said, sometimes you just know when it’s time to go to the hospital. If you get a gut feeling that it’s time, then listen to that voice!

Please note: the writers at Pregnancy Help Online aren’t medical professionals, and the info here isn’t intended as medical advice. Make sure to consult with your OB-GYN on these matters, too.