Image

8 Tips to Live By for Healthy Pregnancy Nutrition

Get our tips for healthy pregnancy nutrition!You are what you eat, and so is your baby when you’re pregnant! Recently, experts have told us that what you eat during pregnancy may affect your baby’s health for years to come. Today, Pregnancy Help Online is sharing 8 easy nutrition tips for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby:

  1. Up your folic acid. Intake of folic acid in your first trimester greatly reduces the chance of your baby having defects like spina bifida. You should aim to get 600 micrograms of folic acid daily. Recent research suggests that supplementing with folic acid for a year before pregnancy and in the second trimester may also reduce the risk of preterm delivery.
  2. Avoid “eating for two.” Lots of women end up gaining too much weight during pregnancy. This can cause you to have more of a risk for gestational diabetes, preclampsia, pre-term delivery, or a very large baby. You can learn about weight gain during pregnancy on our site, or ask your doctor for tips.
  3. Don’t drink alcohol. When pregnant women drink, it can cause learning disabilities, behavior problems, ADD, and aggressive behavior in their child. Since no amount of alcohol has been shown to be safe, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
  4. Get more iron. When you’re pregnant, the amount of iron you get needs nearly double. Aim to get around 30 milligrams a day. This helps improve your baby’s iron storage and supports your 50% increase in blood volume. Iron moves oxygen, and your baby will definitely benefit from a healthy supply of oxygen. Join iron-rich foods like meat with vitamin C. As an example, you might try eating lots of salsa on your chicken taco.
  5. Steer clear of bacteria. Avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, and raw/undercooked meat, seafood, or eggs to protect your baby from harmful bacteria. Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli can cause preterm delivery or miscarriage in severe cases. Set your fridge’s temp below 40° F, and throw away food that’s been sitting out for more than 2 hours.
  6. Curb caffeine use. The less caffeine during pregnancy, the better. Most experts recommend cutting down to around 200-300 milligrams of caffeine a day, but make sure to ask your doctor. Also, keep in mind that caffeine isn’t just found in coffee; it’s in soda, tea, chocolate, and even ice cream!
  7. Avoid junk food. If you’re always eating chips and fries, your baby might beg for junk foods when he gets older. Plus, if you’re eating junk food, chances are you aren’t getting all the vitamins and nutrients a pregnant woman needs (like iron, folic acid, and calcium…)
  8. Get more calcium. Your baby’s developing bones and teeth need calcium, so try to get least 1,000 milligrams of it per day. And here’s a weird fact: if you don’t get enough calcium, your baby will drain it from your bones. This may cause you to have osteoporosis later in life.

Please comment below if you have any questions, if this helped, you, or if we left something out. As always, make sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations for your pregnancy diet. We’re not medical professionals.

1st Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms No One Wants to Hear About

The media always shows us photos of gorgeous pregnant celebrities with glowing skin and tiny baby bumps. But rarely do we hear about the uncomfortable and obnoxious 1st-trimester pregnancy symptoms women experience each day. Often, we keep these symptoms hidden from family and friends because, really, who wants to hear about them?

Other pregnant women do, and those hoping to get pregnant! So, here’s our list of 1st-trimester pregnancy symptoms no one wants to hear about, and how to deal:
 
 
1. Morning Sickness.
It’s like having the stomach flu and not being able to keep any food down. Just thinking about a certain food or drink makes you want to barf. And, it lasts for around a month, not just the morning, but 24/7! If you’re suffering from morning sickness (AKA “all day sickness”) right now, check out these helpful tips: What to Eat When You’ve Got Morning Sickness, Morning Sickness? Here’s How to Deal, and 10 Tips to Manage Morning Sickness.
 
2. Exhaustion.
Most books will tell you about pregnancy fatigue, which makes you think it’s just an extra yawn and stretch. But ask any woman who’s been pregnant: fatigue in the first trimester is no joke. “If I could’ve taken a two-hour nap each day, I would have. Sometimes I got nervous I’d fall asleep while driving, I was that tired!” one woman tells us. If you’re getting easily fatigued during your pregnancy, check out these ideas: 7 Safe Ways to Fight Pregnancy Exhaustion and How to Cope With Your Pregnancy Exhaustion.
 
3. Constipation.
OK, so this one is definitely one no one wants to hear about! But it’s so uncomfortable, we’re not going to ignore it. Here are some possible fixes: get foods with plenty of fiber and drink lots of water. But if you can’t keep any food down, this doesn’t help! You could ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to take something like Miralax or stool softeners. We’re not doctors, so please don’t rely on us for medical advice. Make sure to ask your doctor!

How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

one woman asks, "How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?"Question: “I’m 21 weeks pregnant, and I feel like I’m starting to look huge! Am I gaining too much weight!? How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?”

Answer: You’re not alone if you’re freaking out about your pregnancy weight gain! Many women have mixed feelings about their changing body when they’re pregnant. Getting on the scale and seeing the number rise might be very hard for you. But, the truth is, you must be ready for some weight gain during pregnancy. It’s necessary for your health and the health of your baby.

If were at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy, you can expect to gain about 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester. Then, the recommended healthy weight gain for the remainder of your pregnancy is about 1 pound per week.

Even though you’re eating for two, it doesn’t mean you should be eating twice as much as usual.  Experts recommend that you take in about 340 extra calories per day in your second trimester. Then, in your final trimester, 450 extra calories daily is advised.

If you feel like you need help managing your weight gain, talk to your doctor. They can recommend a healthy diet and exercise program that’s right for you!

How an Unplanned Pregnancy Could Change Your Life

Learn how an unplanned pregnancy changes your lifeHave you ever thought about how having a baby might change your life? It’s a little crazy how much things change when you have a baby. And, if you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, it can be extra crazy. Not everybody in your life will be ready for this huge change.

An Education Is Difficult

Having a baby before you’re ready makes going to school very hard. Caring for a baby takes up a lot of time, and they obviously can’t just be left on their own. So, you’d need to figure out who will care for your baby while you’re at class.

If your parents are around to help out, that’s great. But, relying on a parent puts a strain on your relationship. Daycare is expensive, so if you’re going to school and paying for daycare, expect money to be very tight.

Your Career Plans May Be Paused

An unplanned pregnancy can be a real obstacle to your career goals. If you’re climbing the corporate ladder, you may feel disappointed when you have to stay home with the baby when you’d rather be working.

Expect that you will be more tired at work, and more stressed out at home. There are only so many hours in the day, and if you don’t have enough support at home from either family members or the baby’s father, then you’ll be taking care of a lot of responsibilities on your own.

There Will Be Less “Me Time”
Before becoming a mom, you might have felt like babies were just cute, tiny people. But any parent will tell you that babies will devour every bit of energy you have and rule your life.

It seems like babies always get hungry the second you sit down to eat. And slow, relaxed showers are ruled out for the first few months. There isn’t any time for yourself with all the rocking, feeding, burping, and changing diapers. Right now you’re the only person you have to be concerned about. If you end up parenting after an unplanned pregnancy, you may be bitter about having your “me time” taken away.

You’ll Lose Sleep

You will get less sleep, no matter if your pregnancy was planned or not. Most newborns don’t sleep for long stretches of time, and it’s hard to get used to being woken up all night.

So, be prepared for less sleep. It may make you feel overwhelmed (and maybe a little annoyed) of being so tired, especially if you didn’t plan on this pregnancy.

Money Will Be Tight
Buying everything that a baby needs is expensive. Think about all the baby gear, strollers, slings, baby wipes, diaper cream, bottles, and diapers you’ll need.

Money might not be as tight if your family is supportive. But you need to be ready for money to be tighter, particularly if you’re taking time off work or paying for childcare.

Relationships Will Change
Your relationships with friends and family might change in ways you don’t like, or it may change for the better. Unplanned pregnancies typically don’t bring families closer together.

If you’re in a new relationship with a boyfriend or husband, this unplanned pregnancy can put stress on it. Maybe he wasn’t ready to be a dad just yet. That can bring up a lot of difficult emotions that aren’t easy to talk about.

It might seem like your pregnancy is none of your family member’s business, but they might think it. Your parents might have strong opinions on your pregnancy and pressure you to make a decision you wouldn’t normally make.

Friends that are supportive during your pregnancy might distance themselves after you deliver. This is especially true when they don’t have children of their own. Since becoming a parent changes your life in so drastically, they won’t understand why you don’t have time to spend with them anymore.

It’s helpful to think about all of these things when you find out you’re pregnant by accident. If you’re stressing over how this unplanned will might affect your life, talking with someone about your situation helps. You can connect with Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784 and have a private one-on-one talk with a pregnancy coordinator. She’ll answer any questions you might have about your options and give you resources for finding more info.

7 Pregnancy Superfoods to Quench Your Hunger

learn about 7 pregnancy superfoods to help your health and your baby's, too!When you’re pregnant, you’re probably finding yourself hungry more than usual! Fill up on these 7 nutrient-packed superfoods to boost your baby’s development and to quench your hunger:
 
1. Lean Beef

A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contains almost half of your daily requirements for zinc, 8% of iron, and 30% of your protein. Try to buy a cut of beef that has less than 10 grams of fat per serving.  Try cooking sirloin or flank steak in a slow cooker for an easy “set it and forget it” dinner.
 
2. Quinoa

Quinoa is a great source of protein for vegetarians, or anyone trying to cut out meat. But unlike beef or chicken, it’s high in fiber, and it can be made quicker than whole grains. Pregnant women need 71 grams of protein a day, so adding quinoa to your diet really helps! Try making a bowl of quinoa and adding in chopped veggies and some black beans.
 
3. Oatmeal

One cup of oatmeal gives you more than 30 percent of your daily dose of magnesium, which is needed to build your baby’s teeth and bones. It’s suggested that during pregnancy, women get 350 to 360 milligrams of magnesium, which keeps your blood-sugar level and blood pressure in check, and reduces your risk of preterm labor.
 
4. Red Bell Peppers

One of these has almost three times more vitamin C than an orange! Vitamin C keeps your immune system healthy, which is especially handy in pregnancy. The antioxidants in Vitamin C can also help your baby’s brain development and assist your body in absorbing iron.
 
5. Salmon

Salmon has a great omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. Getting the 300 milligrams of DHA per day can help prevent postpartum depression, preterm labor, and preeclampsia. It also helps in the development of your baby’s brain, eyes, and central nervous system!
 
6. Sweet Potatoes

Whether you roast, bake, or mash sweet potatoes, they contain more than 400 percent of your day’s vitamin A! Vitamin A is really important during the first trimester when your baby’s body is forming. And, sweet potatoes with the skin left on are packed with fiber and energizing complex carbs so you can get filled up with few calories.
 
7. Yogurt

One cup of yogurt has 30% of your daily calcium requirement. This is so important because if your baby doesn’t get enough calcium from the foods you eat, she’ll take it from your bones instead. Plus, yogurt often has added probiotics, that can reduce your baby’s risk for getting allergies later in life.

All Day Morning Sickness?! All About Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Before a missed period you may feel nauseousFor many women, the first trimester of their pregnancy finds them hovering over a toilet in the middle of the night. But for an unlucky few, their heaving will turn into something worse, something called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (from here on out we’ll just call it “HG”).
 
With HG, pregnant women have extreme nausea and vomiting, so much so that they face dehydration and weight loss. Only around 3% of pregnant women face HG.  No one knows yet what exactly causes it, but many think it’s because of genes and pregnancy hormones.
 
If you think you may have HG, tell your OBGYN right away. It’s a serious medical condition, and we’re not able to give you medical advice.  We just want to help you get some relief!
 
Here are 5 tips for coping with HG:

  1. Find an OBGYN who has experience with HG:
    Many in the medical community do understand HG, but if your current doc doesn’t, it’s time to find a different one. You’ll need a medical team who’ll watch both your physical and mental health (depression and anxiety are common.) You need people on your side, finding solutions and celebrating small victories with you.
  2.  

  3. Don’t call it morning sickness:
    Calling it morning sickness is like comparing sadness to depression. They’re two very separate things. If you tell people you have Hyperemesis Gravidarum and explain what it is, you’re helping teach others that it’s a real illness that can be debilitating. Look up the HER Foundation: it’s a great place to share with others about the condition.
  4.  

  5. Accept whatever help you’re offered:
    When you’re growing a baby while dealing with HG, you’ll need help. Some women have found it helpful to tell close friends and family early on that they’re expecting. That way, you’re up front with those closest to you about what you’re dealing with. It’ll make requests easier later on, like when you ask a co-worker to cover a shift for you.
  6.  

  7. Rest:
    Don’t overdo it when you feel well. You’ll pay the price for overexerting yourself, and feel horrible for the next few days. It’s difficult that you’re not able to do the normal things, like cooking, cleaning, going to work, taking the dog for a walk, and hanging out with friends. But remember, you’re battling an illness. So, rest as much as you can!
  8.  

  9. Try different remedies:
    There are various remedies out there, from medical ones to nontraditional natural ones. Your doctor may prescribe you a medication called Zofran.  Some women find acupuncture to be helpful with HG. Every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different. If something doesn’t work for you, just try something else.

Maternity Swimsuits That Are Perfect for Your Baby Bump

get our trimester by trimester maternity swimsuits strategies!Dressing your pregnant body when it’s time to hit the beach is challenging! Depending on which trimester of pregnancy you’re in, you might be loving your boobs yet hating your expanding butt and cellulite. We’ve got maternity swimsuits and tips for you, trimester by trimester!

First Trimester
Especially if this is your first baby, you might not actually look pregnant right now. You may have gone up a cup size, but your middle section looks a little thicker. Fun times!

Here’s our swimwear strategy for the first trimester: try a cute tankini to cover your expanding middle section. Choose one that fits more loosely so you can wear it for a few more months, too. We also suggest buying a size up in bikini bottoms or getting ones with adjustable ties. That way, you won’t end up with the ever-dreaded muffin top situation.

Second Trimester
This trimester will vary a lot for a swimsuit fit for first-time moms. Some pregnant women aren’t showing yet, while others have a cute little baby bump. In either situation, you can follow our tips for the first trimester. If you have popped, the good news is that you’ll look better in all swimwear than you did just a few months ago!

There is a downside, though. Stretch marks often show up during the second trimester. The best predictor is if your mom had them when she was pregnant, so ask her. Many pregnant women have camouflaged stretch marks with a bit of self-tanner. Make sure to check with your doc first, though.

Third Trimester
Many women begin their third trimester looking adorably pregnant and end it growing to a substantial size. So our advice is, go easy on yourself. You’re achieving the small feat of growing another human being, and no one expects you to appear on the cover of Maxim anytime soon. You do have a gorgeous pregnancy glow going on, and the condition of your hair has never been better!

Our strategies for third-trimester swimwear? Surprisingly, one of them is to steer clear of one piece suits. Every pregnant woman’s belly is different and carry differently. One-size-fits-all one piece styles aren’t going to fit your unique belly properly. They’ll gap in some areas and fit too tightly in others, creating an unflattering look.

Instead, try out a maternity tankini or what’s called a “flutter-top” tankini. The flutter top has two sheer panels which hang down and give you more coverage than a normal bikini top. If your belly is getting pretty big, look for a tankini top that’s fitted at the bottom. This will create a more slenderizing look!

Nose Issues During Pregnancy

Learn about nose issues during pregnancyWe all anticipate morning sickness and funky cravings during pregnancy, but there are lots of other unusual pregnancy symptoms you might not know about. This article shares about a few nose issues during pregnancy.
 
Plenty of pregnant women complain of congestion and bloody noses, (and their partners complain about snoring!) These nose issues are caused by the swelling of the inside lining of your nose, due to hormones. Because of the swelling, there’s less area for air flow.
 
Your nose might also be bothered by dryness. To ease some of these discomforts, try placing a humidifier in your room. Or, you can take a steamy shower and enjoy inhaling the steam. A warm shower can also be very relaxing and help with muscle aches! Make sure to ask your doctor before spraying any form of saline drops in your nose, because they might not be safe for your growing baby.
 
Luckily, all of your nose issues will go away once you deliver!

Pregnancy Superfoods You’ll Want to Eat Right Now

Almonds are a tasty pregnancy superfood!OK, so all pregnant women want to eat healthily, but we know it’s hard not to give into your cravings! It’s not easy to chomp on veggies when you’d rather scarf down a pizza. The pregnancy superfoods we list below do (at least) one of these things: help with healthy fetal development, reduce the risk of birth defects, or prevent pregnancy complications!

Bananas

They have around 10% of your daily need for potassium, a mineral that may help prevent pregnancy-related hypertension. Studies have shown that keeping your blood pressure in check during pregnancy helps reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes 5 to 10 years in the future, too!

Almonds

Serve yourself 1/4 of a cup of almonds or two tablespoons of almond butter. This serving size gets you more than a third of your daily dose of vitamin E. These heart-healthy nuts will help your baby’s brain development. Another plus to almonds: they’re full of protein, so a handful can prevent your hunger pangs.

 

Egg Yolks

Yolks contain vitamin D, which may lower your risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and low birth weight. Although egg whites have more protein, the yolk has almost all of an egg’s choline, which is a mineral that helps your baby’s brain health. Along with folic acid, choline reduces the risk of neural-tube defects. Try and eat an egg each day: it’ll help you get closer to fulfilling your needs for important nutrients.

Cereal 

Fortified cereal can contain more iron than a serving of spinach! Iron is believed to help with a healthy birthweight, and it also helps keep your energy up. Look at the nutrition facts on fortified cereal: aim for one that has 50% of the daily iron requirement, at least 6 grams of fiber, and no more than 10 grams of sugar.

Lean Beef

Just a three-ounce serving of lean beef has half of your daily requirement for zinc! Zinc can help reduce the risk of an early delivery and other pregnancy complications. Also, it helps you get closer to your daily iron and protein needs. Look for a cut of beef that has less than 10 grams of fat per serving. Pull out your crock pot or slow cooker to prep a flank steak or sirloin. If you’re ordering a burger, just get one patty, so you’re not eating too much saturated fat.

Kale

Some people really dislike the taste of kale, but it’s packed with nutritional benefits! If you hate kale, try sautéing it along with olive oil, garlic, and raisins. Kale provides your day’s share of vitamins A and C. This leafy green also contains folic acid (which helps prevent birth defects), and calcium (to building your baby’s bones.) It also has potassium, which helps diminish water retention. You’ll really get to appreciate this benefit as you get closer to full term!

6 Fresh Ways to Dress Your Bump This Spring

maternity fashion: learn fresh ways to dress your bump this Spring

  1. Ruching
    Side ruching can be very a flattering way to dress your bump! Ruching means that the fabric is gathered and sewn with lines of elastic which creates a stretchy, gathered look.
  2. A Cold Shoulder Top
    This style is very popular right now. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t rock a cold shoulder top! Dress your bump with a light and airy off-the-shoulder top; it’s a great way to keep cool as temps heat up. Plus, this style is perfect for a casual, lazy Saturday. Try pairing a cold shoulder top with light-wash denim and some sneakers. This comfy top is a must-have for your closet this spring!
  3. Empire-Waist Tops
    An ever-popular shape for maternity wear is the empire waistline. It accentuates and flatters your bump! For comfort, look for shirts and tops that are cotton-blend.  A tie-front that sits right above your belly will flatter your growing bump.
  4. Skinny Maternity Jeans
    Look for easy-fitting skinny jeans that include elastic insets. That way, they can accommodate your growing baby bump throughout your pregnancy. They’ll quickly become your go-to choice of denim for each trimester. As with anything denim, skinny jeans are versatile and can be dressed up or down easily. And, skinnies are a great way to show off your shoes!
  5. Stretch Demin Shorts
    We think every mama-to-be has to have a good pair of shorts to keep her cool and comfortable in the spring and summer months. Look for medium-wash shorts in soft, stretch denim. Try styling them differently by rolling up the hems. For casual occasions, try the boyfriend silhouette and top it off with a colorful shirt, sandals, and sunglasses.
  6. Button Up Shirt
    Comfortable clothes become your BFF when you’re pregnant. The same is true after your baby arrives! Move easily from pregnancy to motherhood in a casual button-up. Look for a relaxed, “boyfriend” fit that’s looser; it’ll become a staple in your wardrobe. Pair it with leggings or jeans and sandals. When temps warm up, you can just roll up the shirt’s sleeves and style it with shorts.