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10 Genius Pregnancy Hacks You’ll Be Happy to Have

Pregnant woman in her third trimesterEven if you might not feel like it, your pregnancy will go by in a flash. You can save money and spare yourself the cost of temporary fixes with our favorite pregnancy life hacks. Once your baby arrives, you’ll be happy you don’t have a box full of pregnancy gear gathering dust!
 
These the life hacks will help you survive pregnancy: the nausea, the aches and pains, and the difficulty bending: all made easier with just a few simple little tricks.
 

1. Try Kinesio Tape for Back Pain

Did you know that basic Kinesiology tape can do the same job as a supportive belly band? Plus, it’s much cheaper. We recommend having a physical therapist, chiropractor, or athletic trainer tape you the first time. You can wear Kinesio tape for up to 5 days, then remove and re-tape as necessary.
 

2. Turn Your Sneakers Into Slip-Ons

Wearing your workout shoes during pregnancy comes with a lot of benefits (we love the cushioned support!). Avoid having to bend over to tie your shoelaces by using Xpand laces instead. These laces allow you to adjust them to your desired tension, so you can slip-on your sneakers with no hassles every day!
 

3. Apply a Cooking Oil for Itchy Skin

If you run out of your favorite baby belly oil (or decide to skip it altogether), coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil will do the same thing. To achieve that pregnancy glow, raid your kitchen pantry and smear on whichever oil you have on hand after you shower.
 

4. Create an Everyday Bag

So, you’re probably focused on packing your hospital bag. But there are plenty of essentials you’ll need during your pregnancy too. This is especially true if you’re experiencing morning sickness, heartburn, or indigestion.
 
Load up your everyday bag with snacks, chewable antacids, ginger candies, and anything else you need to get you through a rough day. To stay prepared, keep this bag in your purse.
 

5. Prolong the Life of Your Bra

You don’t need to buy all new bras right away or invest in expensive maternity bras. Try these affordable bra extenders instead to account for your expanding bust line.
 

6. Schedule All Your Prenatal Appointments Now

“Pregnancy brain” is definitely a thing, and it happens. It’s easy to forget to book your glucose screening or second-trimester ultrasound. Avoid this by scheduling them all at once so you know exactly when the next few are scheduled. Plus, booking all your appointments now allows you to make a plan with your employer for time off.
 

7. Stock Up on Snacks You’ll Crave

Fill your kitchen with pregnancy craving staples like ginger ale, pickles, french fries, and ice cream. That way, when the urge for a certain food pops up, you (or your partner) won’t have to race to the gas station at 3 a.m. You’ll thank yourself later!
 

8. Make Showers Hassle-Free With Kitchen Tongs

When you’re pregnant, your center of balance will shift as your belly grows. This means you’re more prone to dropping your soap or shampoo bottle in the shower than ever before. Bringing a pair of kitchen tongs with you into the shower will make the grab much easier!
 

9. Treat Yourself to a Silk Pillowcase

Getting up and out of bed becomes quite a feat by your third trimester. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will help you move more easily (and get up in the middle of the night multiple times to pee!)
 

10. Keep Snacks by Your Bedside

There may be nights when you need to eat in bed and mornings when a few saltine crackers make all the difference for your morning sickness. Keep granola bars, nuts, crackers, or other non-perishable snacks on your nightstand.

Do you have any favorite pregnancy life hacks that didn’t make it to our list? Please share them by leaving us a comment!

8 of the Most Ridiculously Rude Comments People Make to Pregnant Women

Young women talking together at the parkPeople sure love talking to pregnant women, don’t they? Or, more accurately, they love saying obnoxious things to pregnant women. Why? It’s a mystery. I’m sure plenty of people who say rude things didn’t mean them to come out that way. But their comments can come out offensive, and they really should have known better.
 
Today, we’re sharing some of the most ridiculously rude comments we’ve heard of (or experienced firsthand!) Keep reading to see whether you’ve heard any of these obnoxious comments. If so, plenty of women can sympathize!
 

1. “You look like you’re ready to pop at any time!”

Alternate versions of this rude comment include, “Wow, you’re huge!” or “Are you carrying twins? You’re so big.” Nearly every woman has heard this one in some form or another when she’s expecting. It’s always a bad idea to say stuff like this. Just don’t go there.
 

2. “You look tired.”

Um, thank you? This comment can really take the pep out of your step. Yes, obviously you’re tired, you’re carrying around and growing another little person for 9+ months. Pretty much every mom we know heard this one. Why people would ever think this is OK to say to anyone, pregnant or not, is beyond us. It’s insulting and doesn’t serve any purpose. But it’s especially offensive to a woman who’s pregnant since she’s probably already feeling rundown and self-conscious, to begin with.
 

3. “You look like you’re carrying a (boy/girl)!”

Practically since the beginning of time, people have come up with ways to try to figure out whether that bun in the oven is a boy or a girl. There are so many old wives’ tales related to pregnancy. Those gossipy ladies of yesteryear seemed primarily focused on predicting the gender of that baby bump. Either way, it’s hard to tell whether it’s a compliment or not.
 

4. “Your body will never be the same again.”

Sure, a woman may lose the pregnancy pounds and miraculously avoid getting stretch marks, but her body will always have some reminder of the baby she once carried. But, it’s insulting to say things like this; they seem to dishonor the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth.
 

5. “You’re brave to be wearing tight-fitting clothes when you’re pregnant!”

We’re not ones to be left speechless very often, but this one did the trick. “I just smiled and then walked away before I embarrassed myself and started sobbing in front of the lady who paid me this sweet, sweet compliment,” says one of our staff writers who experienced this herself. Sensitivity is so crucial around pregnant moms!
 

6. “Your life will never be the same!”

Yes, we know. Thanks for the tip. We’re sure that some people who say this are just trying to make conversation and mean well. But it has an ominous ring to it, so we suspect others get a thrill out of terrifying expectant women. Plus, it’s pretty much stating the obvious. A little advice: Don’t scare a pregnant woman any more than she already is.
 

7. “How do you even have the energy to _____?” (fill in the blank)

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to remain motionless for 40 weeks. Some expecting moms actually have energy on occasion to DO things! Real-people things like exercise, go to work, take a walk, go out to dinner, and even travel. Extraordinary!
 

8. “Rest up now, because you won’t get any sleep once your baby arrives!”

This comment is said so often to pregnant women, that it almost doesn’t need any explanation. Ask most mothers-to-be, and she’ll tell you she’s already accepted that her sleep will be interrupted.
 
Lines like this seem to be said almost as a scare-tactic. Plus, it’s stating the obvious!
 
 
Have you ever had someone say one of these rude comments to you? Or have you experienced a different remark? Please share it with us in the comments!

Pregnant and Want to Keep Exercising? Don’t Sweat It

Pregnant woman stretches before her morning jogWhen you’re preggo, it can seem like everyone has something to say about what you can or can’t, should or shouldn’t do when it comes to exercise during pregnancy. The truth is, exercising while pregnant is not very complicated. Doing physical activities are SO healthy during pregnancy.
 
Exercising while you’re pregnant is both safe and very beneficial. Most of what we hear about limiting physical activity during pregnancy comes from the Victorian era when women were seen as dainty and fragile. Even in the 1950s, the most widely-approved form of “exercise” for expecting moms was housework!
 

What Do the Experts Say?

In 1985, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued guidelines for exercising during pregnancy for the first time ever. Part of their recommendations included that women should keep their heart rate under 140 beats per minute, and only work out for 15 minutes max. But only a decade later, ACOG already canceled those guidelines altogether. At the start of the new millennium, ACOG declared that “Pregnant women are now encouraged to follow general adult recommendations for PA [physical activity].”
 
The most recent ACOG Committee Opinion on exercise during pregnancy reemphasizes that exercise carries important health benefits for all women throughout their entire lives. Just a few of these benefits include physical fitness, weight management, mental well-being, and a decreased risk of diabetes. Plus, there are benefits specific to pregnancy, such as fewer issues with varicose veins, incontinence, and heartburn, and a reduced risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension.
 
ACOG recommends that pregnant women with no complications strive for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week (that’s just over 20 minutes every day). Here are some examples of perfect ways to exercise during pregnancy:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Yoga, Pilates, barre, aerobics
  • Strength training

Anything I Should Avoid?

Friends pose for a photo after their prenatal yoga classThere are still some types of activities you need to avoid during your pregnancy, but they’re pretty common-sense. Physical activities and workouts to avoid include:

  • Water polo
  • Contact sports
  • Anything with a big “fall risk” or risk of impact (like surfing, downhill skiing, horseback riding, or ice skating)
  • Skydiving
  • Scuba diving
  • Hot yoga, or any exercise in a super-hot room

There have been no documented risks for exercising during a normal pregnancy, nor are there any documented links between exercise and preterm labor or miscarriage.
 
That’s well and good, but what if you’re completely exhausted, suffering from morning sickness, or just plain having a crappy day? Don’t be too hard on yourself, and keep in mind that any form of movement (even taking a walk) might actually improve your symptoms.
 
However, a word of caution if you have any complications such as anemia, placenta previa, ruptured membranes, preeclampsia, suffer from a pre-existing health condition, or have a high-risk pregnancy. Make sure to talk to your doctor about what and how to exercise throughout your pregnancy.
 

Your Changing Body

Don’t expect your body to work like its non-pregnant self when you work out. That growing belly is real, and you’re waking up in a new body every single day. So, we encourage you to be patient with your body and get to know it.
 
Your strength, balance, and endurance will be different, and your exercise preferences will change. The biggest tip we have for you is to listen to your body. If something makes you uncomfortable, you don’t have to do it.
 
If there’s a certain kind of exercise you loved pre-pregnancy and are still loving, stick with it! Also, if you have a gym membership, get your fill of classes now. After you have your baby, you and your body will be on lockdown for a little while as you care for a newborn 24/7.
 

Adjusting Exercise Moves for Your Pregnant Body

Practically any exercise technique can be adjusted to accommodate the pregnant body. For example, instead of push-ups do wall push-ups; instead of jump squats, just do some stationary squats—transition to lifting less heavy hand weights. Many women have practiced yoga, ran, did CrossFit, and Pilates right up until their delivery day. This isn’t to say you HAVE to, just that you CAN.
 
Unfortunately, there isn’t a comprehensive resource for modifying fitness types and moves across exercise formats. Some modifications are totally obvious (for example, you’re not going to be lying on your stomach after a certain point in time). If you attend a fitness studio, ask your instructor for help. If at-home exercise is your thing, try searching the Internet for “pregnancy modifications for (fill in the blank with CrossFit, yoga, or whatever type of workout you like). Trust your intuition about your limits.
 

Should I Switch to a Prenatal Fitness Program?

We’re going to let you in on a big secret: you don’t NEED to start a special prenatal program for exercise. With that said, it can really help to exercise using a specific prenatal fitness program. It will probably be more convenient, and it can also be supportive and empowering.
 
Today, many gyms and fitness websites are starting to offer prenatal class variations. So if you already know what type of workout you like, keep an eye out for those. Even if your gym or studio doesn’t have designated prenatal classes, you can just ask your instructor what modifications you should make to the regular moves.

Morning Sickness? 5 Ways Your Partner Can Help

Couple enjoying the great outdoors. He is wondering how he can help her pregnancyYou’d think that it should be fairly simple to conceal your first pregnancy during its first few weeks. After all, you won’t have a recognizable baby bump in sight! How could anyone ever guess that there’s a blueberry-sized baby inside, multiplying by 100 cells per minute?
 
If you’re experiencing morning sickness, keeping your pregnancy a secret can seem virtually impossible. Nausea and vomiting are tricky things to conquer when you’re just trying to go about your day!
 
The good news is that morning sickness starts to fade towards the end of the first trimester for most women. Being disgusted by certain smells and tastes is common, even by foods that you loved before you got pregnant. Follow your intuition, because ignoring your newfound hatred of a certain food might just make you feel worse.
 
Although morning sickness is uncomfortable, it’s a sign that your baby is developing just as it should. Many times, a pregnant woman’s husband, boyfriend, or partner wants to help but feels powerless to do so. How can he help you out during this time?
 

Here are five ways your partner can help ease your morning sickness symptoms:

1. Search for Remedies

A quick search on Google will give you tons of tips about how to relieve morning sickness. Look through all of the potential remedies and see what you come up with.
 
Many sites suggest that a pregnant woman eat something to settle her stomach before she gets up and out of bed in the morning. He can gather in-bed snacks for you, including bread, celery with peanut butter, saltines, and bagels. Give your partner a heads-up that sometimes, food which worked before is suddenly gag-worthy. Don’t get discouraged; just keep trying different selections.
 
Besides the delivery room, this is one of the most important times when your partner can provide support during pregnancy. This support might be minor, like giving you crushed ice (but crushed ice really can help alleviate nausea!)
 

2. Listen Actively and Recognize What You’re Going Through

Your body is growing and nurturing a tiny person and is focusing its energy and nutrition on this being. Allow us to state the obvious: Pregnant women are amazing.
 
Your partner can help by letting you know that although he may not be able to relate, he appreciates what you’re going through. Guys, make sure to tell her she’s incredible, listen to her vent, and be there for her emotionally.
 

3. Pack Snacks

If you’re suffering from morning sickness, it’s crucial to eat frequently throughout the day. He can buy and pack an assortment of snacks, which can make your day much more bearable.
 
Right now, you have a lot on your to-do list, on top of trying not to puke in public. So anything your partner can do to be helpful, he should probably do.
 

4. Try to be Empathetic

He wants more than anything to ease your discomfort, but there’s very little he can do besides getting more foods to help your morning sickness. It’s tough to feel helpless when someone you love so much is struggling.
 
He can start by understanding that this is really hard for you and continue to think of ways to help. Paying attention to your needs also goes a long way.
 

5. Seek Help From Your OB-GYN

Modern medicine offers various implementations that can help curb morning sickness. For example, your doctor might prescribe Diclegis—a combination of vitamin B6 and doxylamine.
 
Seeking medical help doesn’t mean you’re weak, or that you’re failing in some way. He can offer to come with you to your appointment. When you’re super-nauseous, it’s nice not to need to drive yourself there. An added value is having the extra emotional support.
 
 
Please feel free to share these suggestions with your partner. A lot of men find pregnancy a little confusing. Not knowing what to do, they might nervously back away instead of stepping up the support when it’s needed the most. By helping and supporting you during your pregnancy, he’s helping to strengthen your bond before your baby arrives!

Am I Pregnant? 12 Early Signs of Pregnancy

Young woman looks at a positive pregnancy testEven though a missed period is one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms, there are many other signs that a positive pregnancy test may be in your future.
 
If your period is inconsistent or you have had unprotected sex recently, it helps to know what types of symptoms are most commonly associated with the early stages of pregnancy. Check out these 12 early signs of pregnancy:
 

1. Skipped Period

If you have regular periods and then suddenly your period is several days late, that’s a sure sign that something is up. While a pregnancy test is the only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant, a missed period is definitely a sign of pregnancy. However, if you have irregular cycles, this sign may be easy to miss.
 

2. Sore Breasts Or Nipples

If one or both of your breasts start feeling itchy, sensitive, tender, tingly, heavy, or swollen, you might be experiencing a common symptom of early pregnancy. You may also notice that your nipples look bigger, darker, or bumpier than usual. This is normal too.
 
Women typically begin feeling these changes anytime from one to two weeks after conception. These symptoms might go away after a few weeks, or they might continue until you deliver.
 

3. Light Bleeding and Cramping

About one-quarter of women have shared that they experienced light bleeding about a week after conception. This irritation and bleeding is caused by the egg implanting into your uterine lining. Also, the increased blood flow to your uterus during early pregnancy can cause cramping, which feels similar to the cramps you get with your period.
 

4. Food Cravings and Aversions

One of the most common symptoms pregnant women report is food cravings. Some women crave broccoli with cheese, chocolate, and salt, while others crave watermelon and Chinese food. Others even crave items that are not necessarily foods. Hormonal changes typically cause food cravings, and they may be strongest in the first trimester.
 
Food aversions are also common in pregnant women. For many people, food aversions are linked to the heightened sense of smell that comes with pregnancy. A food aversion may cause some women to feel nauseated by certain foods, even those they used to love, such as garlic.
 
Nausea is a common sign of pregnancy

5. Nausea and Vomiting

Many women are first alerted to a potential pregnancy by nausea and vomiting. This is called morning sickness, but the feelings may emerge during the day or night. The first signs of morning sickness may start about two weeks after the egg is fertilized.
 
Morning sickness is typically caused by the increasing levels of estrogen, another hormone, in your body.

6. Hunger

Pregnancy hormones can do some unusual things to your body, like making you ravenously hungry. These hormones make your metabolism increase, allowing your body to use up caloric energy more efficiently.
 
However, this doesn’t actually mean you need a lot more calories, even though it might be difficult not to consume them! Ask your doctor how many extra calories you should be absorbing because the amount varies for every woman.
 

7. Fatigue

Are you tired all the time, like you can’t get enough sleep? If you are pregnant, this is likely the result of progesterone, a hormone, increasing. Fatigue is also caused by lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels, which are also commonly associated with pregnancy.
 

8. Insomnia

Many pregnant women have a difficult time falling asleep at night. The hormonal shifts can make it tough to fall asleep or stay asleep. Add in a never-ending urge to pee, and a good night’s sleep becomes pretty hard to come by.
 

9. Headaches

Unfortunately, headaches commonly occur in women throughout pregnancy. Doctors believe this is the result of increased blood circulation in the body as well as an increase in different hormones. On the bright side, the headaches tend to be mild even if they are frequent. Find out which methods of headache relief you’ll need to avoid during pregnancy here.
 

10. Changes in Skin

A lot of women report oilier-than-usual complexions and pregnancy acne in the first two trimesters. These skin changes are due to an increase in androgens which may cause your skin glands to grow and produce more sebum. This oily and waxy material can clog pores and lead to some pretty terrible breakouts.
 

11. Breathlessness

Have you found yourself huffing and puffing during physical activity that never seemed to bother you before? Many women have reported shortness of breath during pregnancy. Once again, pregnancy hormones are the culprit. As your body produces more progesterone, you’ll probably notice that you have to take more breaths than usual.
 

12. Heartburn

Hormone levels can influence many parts of your body, including the valve between your esophagus and your stomach. If this valve relaxes, it can allow stomach acid to enter your esophagus and lead to discomfort and pain. Pregnant women may be able to control some of these symptoms by eating smaller meals throughout the day and sitting up rather than lying down after eating. Try chewable supplements of black licorice.
 

Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Unplanned Pregnancy? Help Is Available

If you are experiencing early pregnancy symptoms and unplanned pregnancy, resources are available to help you. You can always contact Lifetime Adoption, even if you do not know what you want to do. You can still have access to helpful resources and emotional support during this difficult time. They also have an online pregnancy due date calculator you can use, at www.LifetimeAdoption.com.

7 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress in Pregnancy

Pregnant woman sits on steps outside, stressed about pregnancyGetting ready to have a baby can be a very exciting time. However, coping with pregnancy symptoms and making plans for this massive change to your life can also be overwhelming!
 
It’s normal to be stressed about the changes that are happening to your body and your life. But if you find yourself anxious and stressed every day, ask your doctor for help. Continued stress can increase the risk of low birth weight and premature birth.
 
Since it’s important to take care of your mental health during pregnancy, we’re sharing seven ways you can cut back on pregnancy stress!
 
1. Try Light Exercise
Many pregnant women feel like their mood is all over the place. This is because pregnancy causes hormone levels to get all out of whack. What can help is some light exercise. As you work out, chemicals (called endorphins) which will can make you feel happier. That’s why exercising lifts your spirits!
 
Exercising during your pregnancy should be safe, but make sure to check with your doctor. Aerobic exercises, swimming, prenatal yoga, and brisk walking are right for you. Your OB-GYN may advise against strenuous exercise unless you followed a demanding exercise routine before you got pregnant.
 
2. Focus on Your Baby
It’s good for both you and your baby if you try to relax, so don’t feel guilty about taking some time to yourself. Whenever you get a minute, pause to think about your growing baby. Your baby can hear your voice from about 23 weeks, so you might sing, chat, or read to him or her. It’s a great way to bond with your baby, and may help you to feel more positive about your pregnancy.
 
3. Always Speak Up
Your worries may be concerning the well-being of your baby. If this is your first pregnancy, you probably have noticed some unusual changes. Sitting and letting your worries get the best of you isn’t going to help.
 
Don’t be nervous to admit how you’re really feeling. By being honest, you’ll be more likely to get the support you need.
 
Also, make sure to talk it out with your partner and have him come with you to doctor’s visits. Many pregnant women have felt reassured after bringing their concerns to their doctor.
 
Discussing your worries with other moms-to be at pregnancy classes can also prove helpful. By speaking up and being honest, you might find that many other pregnant women are facing the same issues as you!
 
Sleep in your third trimester4. Get Enough Sleep
There is no substitute for quality sleep during pregnancy. So, listen to your own needs. When you feel tired, rest or nap. You may find it helpful to go to bed earlier than you usually do. We all know that adequate sleep is crucial for good health. Well, it’s even more essential in pregnancy.
 
If obligations are getting in the way of a good night’s sleep, remember to ask for help. Most women experience sleep issues during pregnancy, caused by nausea, breast tenderness, heartburn, and vivid dreams. Many have found relief in the form of what’s commonly called a “pregnancy pillow.” This body pillow is C-shaped (or U-shaped) and was designed to provide you with support where it’s needed.
 
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating well is very important in pregnancy because you want to avoid a drop in your blood sugar level. If your blood sugar level drops, you might feel exhausted and irritable. To prevent this, make sure to eat regular meals.
 
Pregnancy can definitely affect your food preferences and eating habits: just think about the stereotypical pregnant woman who craves ice cream and pickles! At the same time, you need to try to eat healthily and drink six to eight glasses of water per day. Get tips on eating healthy during pregnancy here: “Eating for TWO!? Tips for Staying Healthy!
 
6. Use Complementary Therapies
There are additional therapies that can help relieve your pregnancy stress. Laughter and massage therapies top the list. A massage will take your stress and help you relax. Visit your local spa to get a full-body prenatal massage from professionals. Just ensure your massage therapist has experience with pregnant women so that you can relax safely.
 
Laughter is a great way to truly relax and feel at peace. Try meeting up with some friends to catch a funny movie or stand-up comedy show. In addition, aromatherapy is also wonderful for helping you feel calm and very relaxed.
 
7. Try Mindfulness
Mindfulness allows you to focus on one moment at a time. It prevents you from overthinking about the past or future. This is because mindfulness gets you so engrossed in the present and leaves no room for anxiety or negative thoughts. It lets you feel each moment; the beauty of your surroundings, your current situation, and your entire life. It would help you find happiness in things as simple as the wind rushing on your face or your baby’s kicks.
 
Getting started with mindfulness would help you a lot. To practice mindfulness, the key is to pay attention. Take time to meditate on your thoughts per time and the things in your present surroundings.
 
We hope that these tips on relieving pregnancy stress give you some relief! Did we miss anything? Please share your favorite way of reducing pregnancy stress in the comments!

The 10 Best Pregnancy Books Out There

Pregnant woman reading a pregnancy book at homeThere are so many pregnancy books that are patronizing, fear-inducing, or both. So we decided to put together a list of books that will make you feel more prepared for the arrival of your baby.
 
Books like the ones on this list are great to educate yourself on all the little details. You’ll feel so much more ready once you know all the facts.
 
Take a look, and let us know what we should add!
 

Here are the 10 best books to read when you’re expecting:

 
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
 
The nation’s leading midwife, Ina May Gaskin, has thirty-plus years of experience. She shares the benefits of natural childbirth, the essential mind-body connection, and how to give birth without technological intervention. It’s one of the most quintessential pregnancy books out there, and it will make you feel positive about your body’s ability to give birth.
 
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
 
The Mayo Clinic has always been a dependable source for health information, and this book is a pretty easy read. Many women actually prefer this book to the “What to Expect” series. It’s written by trustworthy medical professionals in clear language. Inside is a 40-week pregnancy calendar, week-by-week updates on your baby’s growth, monthly changes for mom, a guide to common symptoms, and reviews important pregnancy choices.
 
Birthing from Within
 
This book is recommended for any expectant mother to read, no matter what type of birth she plans on having. Birthing from Within helps you get in touch with your hopes, fears, and expectations so that you can make the birth of your baby a personal and profound experience.
 
Books like this will give you the big picture. This book reminds us that women have been giving birth for a long time, and our bodies are made to deliver a baby. Regardless of your birth plan, it’s a good read and can give you a feeling of real control and empowerment.
 
Birth Without Fear
 
January Harshe, the author, is mom to six so she knows how different each woman’s birth and postpartum experiences can be. Birth Without Fear is all about empowering women to have a voice in their childbirth and postpartum stories. It emphasizes that it’s all about deciding for yourself what you want, and how to ensure that you get the support, options, and respect you deserve.
 
Expecting Better
Pregnant women are told to avoid sushi, cold cuts, alcohol, and coffee without being told why these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are unexplained as well. If you desperately want a resource that empowers you to make your own right choices, Expecting Better is for you.
 
This pregnancy book provides a fresh shift in perspective. It’s backed up by facts instead of “just-to-be-on-the-safe-side” myths. A must-read for any pregnant woman who wants an advice book that’s without preachy rules, but full of information that will allow you to make your own decisions.
 
Debunking the Bump
 
This book is packed with practical recommendations and clear explanations of risks and trade-offs. The author is a numbers freak, and she has reevaluated the guidelines of what should and shouldn’t be allowable during pregnancy. We love how she breaks down the real dangers and gives a realistic assessment of risk.
 
Young couple at a park. She's thinking about adoptionSo I Was Thinking About Adoption…
 
Sometimes, life doesn’t like you planned and you get pregnant unexpectedly. This book provides caring, honest info about the pregnancy choice of adoption, whether you just found out about an unplanned pregnancy, or have been thinking about adoption for a while.
 
So I Was Thinking About Adoption… is a quick read that gives you information about the modern adoption process and lists various adoption resources. This book also includes blank journal pages to write on as you consider adoption. It identifies what women and their partners should consider before making the decision to parent a child, including emotional responsibility, financial responsibility, education, and health insurance.
 
The Birth Partner
 
This manual goes over everything your birth partner needs to know to support you during labor and delivery. It covers how to tell when labor has started, methods to help ease labor pain, and how to be helpful during labor. There’s also info about c-sections, breastfeeding, labor care, and more.
 
The Birth Partner has actual hands-on information about possible complications, normal vaginal birth, medications, and interventions. You’ll appreciate the suggestions of how a birth partner can handle each stage of labor and possible emergency actions.
 
The Essential C-Section Guide
 
The idea of having a C-section can seem scary if you don’t know what’s involved. Even though about one in four babies in the U.S. is delivered by c-section, so little information about the experience is inside most pregnancy books. Childbirth educators and physicians often gloss over the details. This book covers what you need to know about the surgery, recovery, and plans for future pregnancies and deliveries.
 
With open discussions on the physical and emotional aspects of a c-section, the authors share encouraging wisdom about pain control, early bonding, breastfeeding, infant care, healing, postpartum exercise, partner involvement, and much more, in detail not covered anywhere else.
 
Expecting You
 
This is a little pregnancy journal, loaded with beautiful graphics and quotes. There are writing tips and pages to record your feelings, thoughts, and experiences during pregnancy. It has the most important facts, questions, and adorable quotes to inspire you throughout your pregnancy. It’s the perfect size to fit into your purse. Plus, the cover is removable in case you’re keeping your pregnancy news a secret for a while, but still want to write in it in public.
 
 

There are tons of great pregnancy books available today, but just as many crappy ones. So, if you find a book isn’t sitting well with you, ditch it and move on. Reading up on your pregnancy can make you feel more prepared, but don’t feel as if you need to hit the books like you’re studying for the SAT’s either. After all, your baby is coming whether you read up on it or not.

Could I have the early pregnancy symptoms of an unplanned pregnancy?

Young woman wonders, could I have the early pregnancy symptoms of an unplanned pregnancy?One of the most confusing experiences in the world can be having a late period. As a teenager, my periods were completely inconsistent. Instead of showing up every 28 days like I was always told was the norm, my period would waltz in on day 39. This meant that I was always nervous about what may be happening with my body. Could I be facing early pregnancy symptoms of an unplanned pregnancy?
 
Many symptoms are associated with the first trimester of pregnancy. If your period is inconsistent or you have had unprotected sex recently, it helps to know what types of symptoms are most commonly associated with the early stages of pregnancy.
 

Swollen Breasts

Do you notice that your breasts hurt lately? About two weeks after conception, many women begin to feel that their breasts tingle or become sore. They may also appear bigger or feel heavier. You may even notice that your areola, the space around the nipples, have darkened or become larger.
 

Fatigue

Are you tired all the time, like you can’t get enough sleep? If you are pregnant, this is likely the result of your levels of progesterone, a hormone, increasing. Fatigue is also caused by lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels, which are also commonly associated with pregnancy.
 

Bleeding and Cramping

You might believe you are about to have your period because you have been feeling cramps, but you might also notice that you are bleeding in only small amounts. This could be implantation bleeding, which happens about two weeks after an egg is fertilized. The egg attaches to the uterine lining, and some blood may emerge. This blood has a lighter color than your period, and it does not last as long. You may also have cramps you would normally associate with your period.
 

Nausea and Vomiting

Many women are first alerted to a potential pregnancy by nausea and vomiting. This is called morning sickness, but the feelings may emerge during the day or night. The first signs of morning sickness may start about two weeks after the egg is fertilized.
 
Morning sickness is typically caused by the increasing levels of estrogen, another hormone, in your body. Many women report nausea disappears during the second trimester of pregnancy, which is good.
 

Food Cravings and Aversions

One of the most common symptoms pregnant women report is food cravings. Some women crave broccoli with cheese, chocolate, and salt. I craved watermelon and Chinese food for breakfast. Others even crave items that are not necessarily foods. Food cravings are typically caused by hormonal changes, and they may be strongest in the first trimester.
 
Food aversions are also common in pregnant women. For many people, food aversions are linked to the heightened sense of smell that comes with pregnancy. A food aversion may cause some women to feel nauseated by certain foods, even those they used to love, such as garlic.
 

Headaches

Unfortunately, headaches commonly occur in women throughout pregnancy. Doctors believe this is the result of increased blood circulation in the body as well as an increase in different hormones. On the bright side, the headaches tend to be mild even if they are frequent.
 

Constipation

Changes to the way you use the bathroom are common, with an increase in progesterone. The pregnancy hormone can cause food to pass through your intestines more slowly, which can make you constipated. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, you may find yourself urinating more often. You may be running to the bathroom much more often, even if your intake of water has not increased. You will see your urination increase in the coming months as the baby grows larger against the uterus as well.
 

Mood Swings

Are you feeling unusually emotional lately? Are you weepier now than you have been in the past? Changing moods are very common in the first trimester of pregnancy with the changing hormones. Not everybody begins to feel sad. Some women may become angrier or happier.
 

Fainting and Dizziness

When you are pregnant, your blood vessels may dilate, your blood sugar may decline, and your blood pressure may drop. As a result, you may frequently feel dizzy. Sometimes, this leads to fainting. Be mindful of getting up from the bed.
 

Changing Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning. Your basal body temp typically increases slightly in the days after you ovulate, but it can also increase slightly when you are in the initial months of pregnancy.
 

A “Feeling”

Some women simply feel pregnant. They feel something happening inside their bodies and can sense a change. This hunch may come from anxiety or fear, but in many cases, it is also representative of how in tune a woman feels with her body. For many women, early pregnancy symptoms and unplanned pregnancy begin with a feeling.
 

Heartburn

Hormone levels can influence many parts of your body, including the valve between your esophagus and your stomach. If this valve relaxes, it can allow stomach acid to enter your esophagus and lead to discomfort and pain. Pregnant women may be able to control some of these symptoms by eating smaller meals throughout the day and sitting up rather than lying down after eating. Try chewable supplements of black licorice.
 

Back Aches

If your lower back has been aching a lot lately, pregnancy may be the reason why. While backaches are more common later on in pregnancy, you may have some pain in the first trimester when other symptoms are beginning to emerge.
 

A Missed Period

Finally, you may notice that you have not had a period in a long time. In fact, this is one of the first signs women notice that alerts them to the other symptoms. Keep in mind that you may still have a period when you are pregnant, but it may be somewhat lighter than you are used to.
 

Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Unplanned Pregnancy? Help Is Available

If you are experiencing early pregnancy symptoms and unplanned pregnancy, resources are available to help you. You can always contact Lifetime Adoption, even if you do not know what you want to do. You can still have access to helpful resources and emotional support during this difficult time. They also have an online pregnancy due date calculator you can use, at www.LifetimeAdoption.com.

Fitness Recommendations and Guidelines for Pregnant Moms

Can exercising during pregnancy make your labor shorter?Pregnancy puts your body through a lot. That’s why taking care of your body during this experience is critical. Both your health and your little one’s health will benefit if you take certain key steps.
 
Exercising is one of them. That said, you may understandably wonder just what types of exercise you can do when pregnant.
 
This guide will help. If you’re trying to stay in shape, and you’re expecting a baby to arrive soon, grab a pair of supportive sneakers and keep these points in mind.
 

Why You Should Exercise When Pregnant

You’re more likely to commit to a fitness regimen during pregnancy if you thoroughly understand the benefits of doing so. Luckily, there are many.

First of all, exercising can actually reduce much of the discomfort typically associated with pregnancy. It strengthens and tones your muscles, which helps reduce backaches. Working out during pregnancy can also reduce constipation. Additionally, exercising keeps your joints lubricated, guarding against wear-and-tear.

It’s worth noting that exercising will improve your appearance as well. This is because working out increases blood flow. Thus, it ensures your skin looks healthy and glowing.

The benefits of exercising while pregnant don’t go away after you’ve given birth, either. Working out now will help you restore your body to its pre-pregnant state much more quickly than you otherwise could.

How to Safely Exercise While Pregnant

A group of pregnant women meditating during a yoga classIt’s important to understand that a safe fitness regimen for one pregnant woman may not be safe for another. If you’re not confident you know your limits, you should always coordinate with your physician and any fitness professionals you may work with to confirm your plans are right for your condition.
 
Someone who regularly exercised before they became pregnant can typically continue exercising with greater intensity than someone who is just starting to work out now.

That said, even if you’re starting now, you can still embrace fitness. You just need to start slow. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, unless you’re struggling with other physical ailments, you should devote at least 150 minutes a week to some form of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.

As you get more comfortable, you can explore specific types of workouts to find one that appeals to you. Options to consider include swimming, yoga, walking, or biking. You ideally want to find an exercise that combines cardio, strength-building, and improving flexibility. All these options meet those criteria to varying degrees.

Of course, it’s important to get in touch with your doctor if you notice such symptoms as high blood pressure, vaginal bleeding, early contractions, or your water breaking early. Taking care of your health during pregnancy is crucial. Fortunately, in most cases, exercising will only help.

I’m Pregnant and Worried About the Coronavirus

Worried about the coronavirus and pregnancy? If you’re pregnant, there are so many things to worry about: Am I overeating? Am I eating enough? Is this cheese pasteurized? Did I remember my prenatal vitamin this morning?  You might find that questions like these are constantly bouncing around your head as your belly grows.  

And recently, a new source of worry has sneaked up: the coronavirus outbreak. The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus understandably has many expecting parents on edge.

We understand that there is a ton of information to take in right now. You’ve got a lot on your plate right now, and it isn’t fair that this is getting thrown at you, too. But please don’t let news of the pandemic steal your joy. If you’re feeling like COVID-19 is causing anxiety, please speak to your health care provider and those in your support system.

If you feel like it would be valuable to know more about how the virus can impact pregnancy, read on. Here’s what experts are saying about the risks that COVID-19 presents to pregnant women, along with tips for how to prepare and respond.

Are pregnant people at higher risk for Coronavirus?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the risk to the public is low at this time. And the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says, “At this time, very little is known about COVID-19, particularly related to its effect on pregnant women and infants, and there currently are no recommendations specific to pregnant women regarding the evaluation or management of COVID-19.”

The CDC has no evidence to suggest there will be harmful pregnancy outcomes for pregnant women with COVID-19. However, developing a fever is always risks during pregnancy, so the CDC advises pregnant women to be cautious and practice good hygiene. The agency notes on its website, “Pregnant women should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection like washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick.” The good news is that you’re probably already doing those two things, and there’s more good news.
Pregnant woman outside, thinking about the Coronavirus

If I get COVID-19 does my baby get it, too?

According to the CDC, in recent cases outside the U.S. where newborns were born to moms diagnosed with COVID-19, only “one of the infants has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, [the] virus was not detected in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.”

In limited recent case studies of babies born to mothers infected with COVID-19 published in ACOG’s literature, none of the infants have tested positive for COVID-19.

A medical journal called The Lancet recently published a study that looked at the health of nine babies born to moms during a COVID-19 infection. All nine babies had good Apgar scores, scoring in the 8-9 range one minute after being born and then getting a 9-10 after five minutes. 

Researchers involved in The Lancet study noted that since “pregnant women are susceptible to respiratory pathogens and to development of severe pneumonia,” they may be more susceptible to COVID-19 “especially if they have chronic diseases or maternal complications. Therefore, pregnant women and newborn babies should be considered key at-risk populations in strategies focusing on the prevention and management of COVID-19 infection.”

To sum it up, researchers want pregnant women and health professionals to be proactive in preventing COVID-19. Still, the cases they’ve studied so far suggest that the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are more at risk. So far, there haven’t been any verified reports of babies experiencing severe complications.

If I get Coronavirus, how can I protect my baby?

The CDC has developed a guide for mothers who have COVID-19, called the Interim Guidance on Breastfeeding for a Mother Confirmed or Under Investigation for COVID-19. It advises mothers to take all possible precautions so that they can avoid giving the virus to her baby. This includes washing her hands before touching her baby and wearing a face mask while breastfeeding. And if she pumps milk, making sure to wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and to wash each piece thoroughly after each use. In addition, they advise that “If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.”

The Bottom Line About COVID-19 and Pregnancy

Yes, COVID-19 is definitely worth taking precautions about, but it’s not worth making yourself sick with worry. If you feel like the worry is turning into anxiety and impacting your pregnancy, please call your health care provider. The same goes if you are worried about symptoms you think may be COVID-19. Experts don’t recommend going to the emergency room without calling first, so make sure to call your OB-GYN or midwife before going to an ER or clinic where sick people are. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC advises calling your “healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.”

Since these recommendations may change, make sure to remain in contact with health professionals if you have questions about the coronavirus.