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Can You Be in Labor and Not Even Know It?

Is it true that you could be in labor and not even know it?Is it true that you could be in labor and not even know it? The short answer is yes. Many checklists to determine if you’re in “real labor” say that if it’s real, you shouldn’t be able to talk during your contractions. But this isn’t an exact science: it’s uncommon but possible to have painless labor. Here’s what to watch for if you’re wondering whether you’re really in labor:

Painless Contractions With a Rhythm

Just like with a normal labor, contractions are rhythmic, so you can time them. If you’re able to time your contractions and see a pattern, you may be in real labor.

Painless Contractions Increasing in Force

One woman who went through a relatively painless labor for the first stages says, “My contractions started right after dinner and grew in intensity and frequency as the night passed. I wasn’t in pain, but the squeezing sensation they gave me was super-intense. I quickly went from being able to walk through the contraction, to literally having to stop walking every few steps.”

Know that if you need to stop doing what you’re doing during a contraction, you might be in real labor.

Contractions are Painless, but Grow More Uncomfortable

As your contractions get stronger and happen more frequently, you’ll get even more uncomfortable. Some women who have experienced a “painless labor” feel as if they’re going to pee each time a wave of contractions arrived. If this happens to you, then you might actually be in labor.

The truth is this: “real labor” can be different for every woman.

If you’re feeling any of the symptoms listed above and aren’t sure whether or not you’re in labor, call your doctor! The last thing you want to happen is to start crowning in the middle traffic!

And don’t worry about being a nuisance to the hospital staff and being sent home. If you have even the smallest hint that something could be going on, call your doctor or healthcare provider! The info in this article isn’t meant to replace medical advice, and we’re not medical professionals.

Abortion vs. Adoption, Which is Right for You?

Woman weighs her choices of abortion vs. adoptionIf you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and aren’t sure whether you’re ready to become a parent, you’re probably struggling with the next step. We believe that it’s important for you to be well-informed about your choices so that you can make the best decision for you. So in this article, we’re going over abortion vs. adoption as your pregnancy choices.

It can be challenging to decide what to do after you find out you’re pregnant. Both adoption and abortion are options for women who aren’t ready to become a mom, and they both come with different challenges.

What About Adoption?
In today’s adoptions, most women choose to have contact with their child and the adoptive family, and they get updates regularly. There’s no cost for you to choose adoption, and you may have access to free counseling and help with your living expenses.

It’s never too late in your pregnancy to decide on adoption, no matter if you’re just a few weeks along or are in the delivery room. You can begin creating an adoption plan that works for you, whatever your time frame is.

You can choose the adoptive family based on the kind of life you want for your baby. By working with a professional like Lifetime Adoption, you’re able to view adoptive family profiles online until you find a good fit. Once you choose to “match” with an adoptive family, you can begin getting to know them and decide on the details of your adoption plan.

Your adoption decision isn’t final until you legally consent to the adoption, which usually happens 24-72 hours after the birth of your baby. Read about the options you have with modern adoption.

What About Abortion?
Most of the time, abortions are done during the first trimester. The costs of abortion can range from $500-$2000, depending on several factors.

You might have to inform your parents or get counseling before having the procedure done, and might also have a waiting period. It’s recommended to make this decision early in your pregnancy since the procedure can become more complicated if you’re further along than 14 weeks.

The procedure can be done through surgery or medication, depending on your health and how far you are. With either surgery or medication, your risk of having medical complications is pretty low. However, it increases for later abortions. A few of the medical complications of abortion include inflammation, bleeding, infection, and damage to your cervix or surrounding organs. Take some time to learn the facts of abortion.

By learning more about your pregnancy choices, you’ll be able to make an educated decision.

Should I get an epidural?

the decision whether or not to get an epidural is a personal oneChances are, you’ve already been asked if you’re going to get an epidural. Around 60% of women in the US choose to get an epidural, but there are risks to be aware of.

If you’re wondering if you should get an epidural or not, keep reading!

What’s an epidural?

It’s a carefully created mix of pain medications that are injected into a precise location in your lower back. The result is less to no pain during labor.

An anesthesiologist will decide which drugs to include, but an epidural typically has a combination of a numbing agent and an opioid or narcotic. This combination of drugs provides pain control right away and gives you long-lasting relief. It can be given as needed or continuously through a pump.

How do epidurals work?

It provides medication that numbs and provides pain relief to the region of your spinal cord that manages the lower half of your body. The medication can be increased or decreased depending on your needs.

Standard epidural:

An anesthesiologist will insert a needle into the epidural space and threads a catheter through the needle before they remove it. Medication is given through the catheter, as needed or continuously through a pump. With a standard epidural, you can’t leave your bed and will have little to no feeling in your lower half.

“Walking” epidural:

An anesthesiologist will insert the needle into the intrathecal area and give you a dose of medication which has a limited timeline. How much time a walking epidural lasts depends on what drugs are used. The drugs aren’t given continuously, unlike with a standard epidural.

Not all moms-to-be who receive a “walking” epidural can actually walk around, but it will allow for more feeling and movement.

What are the benefits of getting an epidural?

The most obvious benefit is pain-free labor and delivery. With an epidural, you can still effectively push but won’t feel every contraction. You can even participate and be present for your labor and delivery.

Labor can last a long time, and be super-draining. So, an epidural can give you some time to rest before you have to push. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, getting an epidural can help you cope. Removing the pain may help you focus.

What are the risks to getting an epidural?

The medications used will make their way into your baby’s bloodstream, which might make it harder for them to get into proper birthing position. An epidural might slow labor down, resulting in more interventions.

The medications in an epidural might make you feel dizzy or nauseous because they’re causing your blood pressure to drop. Around 25% of women who get an epidural will develop a fever. Also, some women feel like they had trouble pushing after getting an epidural.

At the end of the day, the decision whether or not to get an epidural is extremely personal. It’s just fine if you’re not sure you’ll get one until you have started to experience the pains of labor.

How to Find Cute Plus-Size Maternity Clothing

shopping for plus-size maternity clothing can be fun!Right now, you have enough to deal with without being stressed about finding clothes to fit your expanding belly. Trying to find stores with cute plus size clothing is an issue that curvy ladies are used to.

Lots of clothing stores are letting down plus-size moms-to-be by not offering inclusive maternity clothing. Stores that have maternity clothing in extended sizes usually don’t have a super stylish collection. It seems like fashionable maternity clothing stores don’t carry very many styles in plus sizes.

So we went hunting for plus-size maternity clothing stores carrying clothes you’d actually want to wear. (Because who likes to wear those unflattering tunic tops, anyway?)

Some of the stores we list below actually have plus-size maternity sections, and others have created clothes from their plus-size collections that are meant to grow with you. Either way, you’re sure to find curvy-friendly styles to dress your bump.

Today, we’re sharing 7 stores where you can buy plus-size maternity clothes that are actually stylish:

1. Macy’s

You can find some very chic maternity clothing to get you through post-baby at this popular nationwide retailer.

2. Stitch Fix

Maternity-friendly tops for sizes 16 and up can be found on Stitch Fix.

3. Motherhood Maternity

Shop for flattering styles for the full-figured mom-to-be. This nationwide chain carries sizes 1X to 3X and up to size 24.

4. Destination Maternity

Whether you’re searching for plus size maternity tops or the perfect pair of jeans, Destination Maternity has it!

5. Target

Target doesn’t have a particular line of plus-size maternity wear, but they have lots of belly-friendly styles which will grow with your bump.

6. JCPenney

Here, you’ll find basics like maxi skirts at very affordable prices.

7. Pink Blush Maternity

Check out this website for some super-cute (and affordable) maternity outfits!

15 Weird Yet Totally Normal Facts About Your Pregnancy

Surprised pregnant womanPregnancy is one of the most amazing things you’ll experience. There’s nothing quite like growing a human inside your own body!

There are lots of pregnancy symptoms and side effects that are weird, but totally normal. Here are 15 strange facts about pregnancy that you might not know…

1. At around four months pregnant, your baby starts to urinate in the womb. And can you guess that pee goes? They drink it. Pretty disgusting, right?!

2. At the beginning of your pregnancy, your uterus is the size of a small peach. It stretches to the size of a watermelon by the end of pregnancy. That’s about 500 times its original size!

3. If you’re overweight or tall, you have a higher possibility of carrying multiples.

4. At around 9 to 12 weeks, your baby has all of his or her unique fingerprints!

5. At the very end of your pregnancy, your placenta is producing the same amount of estrogen that a non-pregnant woman does in three years!

6. Babies have been recorded doing a number of activities while inside the womb. From sucking their thumbs to waving “hi,” you might even be able to see in an ultrasound!

7. Nine out of 10 women undergo a shift in their skin tone during pregnancy.

8. Did you know that your heart grows during pregnancy? It’s because your heart is working hard to pumps more blood for your growing baby!

9. A few pregnant women lactate in their third trimester when they hear someone else’s baby crying.

10. Pregnant women have a sharper sense of smell. Wonder why? It’s to help them avoid foods they shouldn’t eat because of their growing baby.

11. Three out of 4 women form a “linea nigra” during pregnancy. The linea nigra is a dark, vertical line that runs down the stomach. For some women, this fades after giving birth. But, for some, it doesn’t.

12. Is your baby’s father gaining weight? Sharing pregnancy symptoms with your man is scientifically documented!

13. “Pregnancy brain” or forgetfulness is caused by the fact that pregnant women have less oxygen in their blood.

14. It’s actually true that pregnant women who suffer from heartburn are more likely to have a baby born with a full head of hair.

15. One in 2,000 babies is born with teeth! Typically, doctors will pull them out shortly after birth.

10 Genius Pregnancy Items You’ll Want to Buy

Pregnant woman shopping onlineYou might have heard the second trimester referred to as the “honeymoon” stage of pregnancy. By now, you’ve probably survived the worst of nausea, and will soon feel your baby kick!

The second trimester is also when your pregnancy starts to show. As your baby grows and your belly expands, you’ll need a few essential products to help relieve your discomfort. The 10 products we’re sharing today are beloved for assisting mamas-to-be all the way to delivery!

1. Maternity Leggings

When you’re in that awkward stage of pregnancy where your belly looks like you just ate a huge meal, leggings are your friend! Invest in a comfortable pair of leggings, like this pair. Leggings are perfect for pregnancy because they grow with you as your baby bump grows!

2. Pregnancy Pillow

As you transition to snoozing on your side, a pregnancy pillow is a lifesaver! It makes you so much more comfortable and helps you fall asleep quickly. This one from Leachco is the perfect sleeping buddy and has tons of positive reviews. It supports a growing belly and aligns your hips, so you’ll wake up a lot less achy.

3. Maternity Belly Support Band

Are you putting off buying maternity jeans? Stay in your favorite pair of jeans longer by getting a seamless belly band. It’ll let you get more mileage from your current wardrobe before you go into full maternity-mode. Here’s a nice support band from Labor of Love.

4. Heat Wrap for Your Back

When you’re preggo, even simple tasks like walking from your desk to fill your water bottle takes a toll on your back. This heat wrap for your back will give you relief!

5. Tummy Rub Oil

Prep your skin now, before it starts to stretch by using this oil. It’ll prevent stretch marks and the nagging itch that comes along with them! Apply it to your chest, thighs, and anywhere else that needs attention.

6. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is recommended for women in their second and third trimesters because it promotes uterine health. It’s iron-rich too! Earth Mama Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea Bags

7. Muscle Salve

It’s so unfair that when you feel so achy, you’re banned from taking most painkillers. This organic muscle salve will help all that ails you with ingredients like beeswax and arnica.

8. Audio Books

Are you having trouble falling asleep? Try listening to an audiobook at bedtime. Audible has a sleep timer option, so your book won’t keep reading once you’re sleeping.

9. Nursing Bra

Many women outgrow their standard cup size in the second trimester. These seamless nursing bras are so comfortable you can sleep in them!

10. Maternity T-Shirt Dress

This dress is perfect for those times you need a work outfit that’s both comfortable and chic. Are your old dresses no longer cutting it? Try a T-Shirt Dress; you wear it throughout your pregnancy and even after giving birth.

How to Handle Visitors After Your Baby is Born

Visitors after your baby is bornIt’s so smart to start preparing now for visitors, while you’re still pregnant. Here are a few handy tips, so you’re able to show your beautiful little miracle off to the world and not lose your mind:

1. Be Choosy With Who Stays With You

There might be a few people who offer to stay with you to help out once your baby comes home. This help can be a blessing or a curse. So, avoid letting anyone stay with you that you don’t feel comfortable crying in front of or telling them to shut up. Choose carefully about who you can be around 24/7 when you’re exhausted and healing from childbirth.

2. Spread Out Visits

So many people like to see a baby as soon as possible. But try to space out the visitors as much as you can. It’ll allow you to get your new routine settled, and able to enjoy everyone’s company.

3. Visit People Who Will Overstay

If you think someone will overstay their welcome, don’t have them visit you. See them instead. Newborns are pretty easy to travel with because all they do is eat, sleep and poop. Take full advantage of this window of time when you can bring them anywhere, and they don’t care!

If you go see the “overstayers,” the length of the visit is all on your terms. There’s no need to try and drop hints that it’s time to end the visit.

4. Give Them Work

Some people really want to help when you have a baby. Let them! Have them tidy up, do dishes, clean the bathroom, take out the garbage, whatever. Show them your to-do list if they ask if they can help. Not everyone is comfortable being around babies but still really want to help. So, give them the pleasure of doing something for you and enjoy it. Don’t forget to thank them profusely!

5. Ask for Food

It’s common practice nowadays to send out a “meal train” website link that includes the parent’s food allergies. Your friends and family just pick a date when they bring you a meal. If you feel rude asking people for dinner, have a friend send out the meal train request for you.

Meal trains are great because not only do you get dinner, but you get to decide which dates are available and control the flow of people. We’ve even seen some clever new parents include a line in their meal train site such as “If we’re not around for visitors, we’ve provided a cooler to leave the food.”

6. Set Up an “Out-of-Office Reply”

Some well-meaning people think it’s cool to drop by if they don’t get an immediate response to their text. So that you can avoid an awkward moment, try treating it like a vacation notification. Edit your voicemail, auto text reply for text messages, and your email to let people know you’re unavailable. Some people feel like they need to check in regularly. Here’s a sample auto-reply: “Thanks for your email (or text or call). We’re getting the hang of parenthood so please forgive us if it takes a little longer than usual to get back to you. So don’t worry, we’re just fine and loving every moment!”

7. Get Responses Ready Now

Do feel like your Auntie Jane is going to be a problem? Try to get responses thought out now. For example, you might think she’s going to show up the day after you give birth and start telling a story of a co-worker’s mother-in-law. Compose an email now, that says something like, “Auntie Jane, we’re excited for you to see our baby! I’m just getting the hang of everything still, so can I give you a call when we come up for air so you can come over and meet him?” Then, you can simply send this when she contacts you.

If she shows up anyway, try to roll with it. Have Auntie Jane hold your baby while you take a shower. The advice we have for visitors is to just roll with it!

Exercising During Pregnancy Makes Your Labor Quicker

Can exercising during pregnancy make your labor shorter?Most people know that it’s safe to keep up your workout routine while pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that women don’t think about the effect that exercise has on their body and their baby. But we have good news: according to a new study, exercising during pregnancy can make your labor shorter. This new benefit comes in addition to all the other great things that working out does for your pregnant body.
 
Researchers at the Technical University of Madrid ran a study with just over 500 women and put them into two groups. There were 253 women in the “control group” who didn’t have much activity. 255 women placed in the “exercise group,” as stated in the study, published in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
 
Those in the exercise group did a mild aerobic program once a week for three weeks. The researchers looked at how long each stage of labor took and the use of epidurals in the two groups of women. They discovered that the women who exercised while pregnant were more likely to have a shortened labor time. Besides spending less time in labor, the women who exercised were less likely to get an epidural.
 
This new study reminds us that if you exercise during pregnancy, you’re not doing any harm to your body or your baby’s health. If you already had a fitness routine before you got pregnant, make sure to ask your doctor if what you’re doing is safe for your health. Most of the time, it’s fine to keep doing your regular workouts. Whether you’re into CrossFit, yoga, or jogging, you’re good to go, so long as you talk to your doctor and they give you the all-clear.
 
But don’t stress if you can’t (or don’t feel like) going “all in” with pilates. There are tons of pregnant women who didn’t work out pre-pregnancy and have no intention of starting. And some women are put on bedrest by their doctors for most of their pregnancies due to complications.
 
It’s important to know that this study doesn’t mean working out will hands-down make your labor easier or epidural-free. If you don’t work out, just tell your doctor. Pregnancy is different for everyone, so own it!

You NEED These First Trimester Essentials

woman in her first trimester of pregnancyOh, the first trimester. That magical time where can barely contain your excitement. The first trimester brings such happiness, and also, such miserable conditions.

We’re not here to sugar coat it. Sometimes the first trimester sucks. Sure, it’s an amazing time and an amazing experience. But besides sharing your news and dreaming of life with your baby, it brings a whole slew of symptoms and sickness.

Some moms-to-be are super-lucky and don’t get morning sickness too bad. Others find the term “morning sickness” to be wildly inaccurate because it lasts all day long for them. When you’re nauseous and vomiting all day long, it’s hard to be cheerful. Plus, you might be feeling exhausted and gross too!

Today, we’re sharing our go-to items and first trimester essentials. These 7 items will make your life a little easier and more comfortable as your body (and you) adjust to being pregnant:

1. Maternity Leggings
You need these, end of story! There will be a time when you ask yourself, “Are my pants getting tight?” Maternity leggings like this soft pair from Motherhood Maternity are the answer!

2. Maternity Pillow
Your sleep might be affected from the very beginning of your pregnancy. As your belly grows, it becomes weirdly uncomfortable too! Maternity pillows are made for propping up bellies, legs, and providing back support. Try this version by LeachCo and you’ll be sleeping much better.

3. Prenatal Vitamins
Growing a human is a lot of work! Your baby requires more nutrients than you might expect. Prenatal vitamins are an important part of giving your baby what they need (and you need) during your pregnancy. Since there are so many different types to choose from, ask your doctor for advice so that you can find the right ones for you.

4. Large Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is extra important when you’re expecting. So, we suggest carrying around a water bottle like this huge one from Camelbak with you.

5. Chewy Ginger Candies 
The ginger candies called Gin Gins are natural and delicious. Ginger is great at fighting off nausea, so pop one of these when you’re experiencing morning sickness!

6. Saltines 
Do yourself a favor and buy a box of Saltines (or another food that’s easy to digest). Then, try this smart morning sickness fix: put Saltines on your bedside table. Then, you can eat a few before you even get out of bed in the morning.

7. Antacids
For pregnancy-related heartburn or the feeling of discomfort after you eat.

How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep In Your Third Trimester

Sleep in your third trimesterGetting a good night’s sleep in your third trimester might feel impossible, thanks to all of the factors that make it a serious challenge. Between the squished bladder, heartburn, restless legs, and uncomfortable size, it’s amazing that women at the end of their pregnancy sleep at all!

Here are 5 of the very best tips for getting a great night’s rest:

1. Get Comfy

So, this one’s easier said than done. But there are a few things that will make you so much cozier. Buy at least one body pillow or one of those C-shaped wrap-around pregnancy pillows. Since you need to sleep on your side in the final stage of pregnancy, it helps to support your tummy. That way, you won’t have too much weight pulling on your back. Putting a pillow in between your knees will help keep your hips aligned. Then, put another pillow behind your back so you don’t roll onto your back in your sleep.

2. Lights Off for Bathroom Trips

There’s no avoiding multiple bathroom trips in the middle of the night. It’s so important to keep hydrated during pregnancy, but your bladder is being squished by your growing baby. So, try to remain as sleepy as possible during your late-night bathroom breaks. Just pee in the dark, even if it means keeping your eyes closed.

When you turn on the lights, you’ll feel more awake and it might be difficult to fall back asleep. Once you’re alert, you might have a difficult time getting your thoughts to quiet down or struggle to get comfortable.

3. Help Your Heartburn

Heartburn is very common in the late stages of pregnancy, and it can make any night rough. Try avoiding spicy and greasy foods, which make heartburn worse. Taking Tums may help, but make sure to ask your doctor before chomping them down. Some women have told us that taking a shot of apple cider vinegar stops heartburn. Another tip is to elevate yourself: try sleeping in a recliner or propping yourself up with lots of pillows.

4. Drink Tea

Many moms-to-be find chamomile tea to be helpful. Use two bags, cover your mug, and let it steep for at least 10 minutes to get the maximum soothing effect that chamomile provides. Just make sure to check with your doc, even before drinking herbal tea. That’s because some herbs aren’t safe for pregnant women.

5. Go to Bed Tired

When you’re hugely pregnant, it’s easy to skip exercise. But even if you’re tired mentally, your body might not agree.

Fitting in some moderate exercise can really help you get quality sleep. It’ll help you feel more energetic and awake during the day. Prenatal yoga, water aerobics, or a simple walk are great ways get tired for bedtime. Exercising in your third trimester has lots benefits: it’ll help you get in shape for labor, and also get you the sleep that you need. So roll out that yoga mat or lace up those walking shoes, and get ready for a great night’s sleep!