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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!

Why Epsom Salt Baths During Pregnancy Are So Great

Pregnant woman blissed out in the bathEpsom salt baths feel divine when you’re pregnant! This natural remedy for aches and pains is completely safe for pregnant women. You use Epsom salt by putting it into your bathwater and then taking a long, luxurious bath. Many athletes swear by Epsom salt baths for soothing tired muscles after a hard workout. Keep reading to find out why Epsom salt baths during pregnancy are so great!

To reap the benefits, put around 2 cups of Epsom salt into a warm bath. Soak in the bath for 12 to 15 minutes. You need to make sure that the water temp is comfortable but not hot. That’s because it’s dangerous to raise your body temperature too much when you’re pregnant. This is why you should also avoid hot tubs during pregnancy.

There are lots of benefits of taking Epsom salt baths during pregnancy. These are the top five reasons why it’s so great!

1. Diminish stress
Magnesium is a natural stress reducer. Many pregnant women feel that Epsom salt helps them relax and get calm.

2. Relaxes muscles
An Epsom salt bath does wonders at easing sore muscles and back pain! And it’s also recommended for treat leg cramps, a common issue during pregnancy.

3. Soothes skin
Epsom salt also soothes your skin as it stretches to accommodate your growing baby. It’s also great to speed up the healing process for cuts and minor sunburns.

4. Is anti-inflammatory
Taking an Epsom salt bath while you’re pregnant is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation. When you take an Epsom salt bath, magnesium is absorbed into your skin. This magnesium will get in the way of your pain receptors in the brain, decreasing any pain you’re feeling. Epsom salts are a natural, anti-inflammatory pain reliever.

5. Helps with hemorrhoids
OK, so no one wants to talk about it, but pregnant women are more likely to get hemorrhoids. Take a soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts, and its anti-inflammatory nature can help decrease your hemorrhoids.

5 Tips for Surviving a Summer Pregnancy

Swimming is a great way to survive a summer pregnancyAs the weather starts to warm up, we’re all starting to make plans for the summer. If you are pregnant this summer, you’ll want to start prepping for that too.

Being pregnant when it’s super-hot out is its own special variety of hell. Carrying an extra human around with you is a big job. And on those days when everyone is sweating and fanning themselves, it’s pretty torturous.

But you’ve got this! With these tips for surviving the hotter months, you could even enjoy yourself outside.

Here are 5 helpful tips for surviving a summer pregnancy:

1. Remove your rings

Everyone’s fingers swell during the summer heat, and being pregnant will make them swell even more. Make sure to put your rings in a safe place that you won’t forget about! Or, try putting them on a chain and wearing them as a necklace during the summer months.

2. Pamper your feet

If you take care of your feet, keeping them rested and cool, the rest of your body will feel better too. Try putting your feet up, or getting them resting in nice, cool water. Also, get some comfortable shoes that have arch support.

3. Drink tons of water

Even though it means more trips to the bathroom, drinking plenty of water will help you avoid dehydration and reduce swelling. Get one of those huge Nalgene-type water bottles and carry it with you everywhere. In the morning, fill it with water, ice, and a lemon slice. Then, continue to refill it throughout the day. Just make sure to find out where the closest bathroom is wherever you go because you’ll need it.

4. Swim

Being in the water when you’re pregnant feels amazing! Swimming will cool you down and take all the weight off your aching feet and back. So, take advantage of any chance you get to go for a swim.

5. Wear sunscreen and a hat

Many pregnant women’s skin tends to get more sensitive, so make sure to protect it well from the sun. Wear plenty of sunscreen everywhere, and make sure to wear a hat when you’re outside.

8 Great Shoes Every Pregnant Woman Needs

get tips on the best shoes to wear during pregnancy!Some pregnant women can rock heels far into their third trimester. But if being comfortable is more important to you right now, then this post is for you!

Learn about the 8 most comfortable shoes for pregnancy. Some of these shoes are cute, and some aren’t so cute. But let’s be honest: it might be more important to you to feel comfortable right now!

Here are 8 great shoes every pregnant woman needs:

1. Sanuk Sandals
These Sanuk sandals are very easy to slip on, which is perfect for that stage of pregnancy when it’s hard to reach your feet! Plus, they’re wonderfully light and let you have a laid-back look without looking too grubby: Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 Prints Flip Flop

2. Sketchers
Lots of Sketchers’ sneakers have stretchy laces, which come in handy if your feet are swelling! Sketchers sneakers are super-comfy, and they give your feet some support. Skechers Sport Good Life Sneaker

3. Crocs
OK, so Crocs aren’t the prettiest or most fashion-forward shoes, but they’re comfortable and easy to slip on. These ballet flats are a Crocs style with some femininity, plus they’ll fit even the puffiest of pregnant feet.

4. Converse
We love Converse for their classic, fun, and light style. They’ll always look cool with jeans. Since they don’t give you much support though, we suggest putting in some shoe insoles. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Ox Low Tops

5. Bobs
You’ve probably heard of Toms: the company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair they sell. Sketchers has created a knockoff called “Bobs” that are way cheaper! When you buy a pair of Bobs, Sketchers makes a donation to a non-profit called Soles4Souls, which provides shoes to needy children. These are just as comfy as the name brand: BOBS from Skechers Plush Peace and Love Flat

6. Imitation Uggs
Ugg boots are super-popular, due to their warm, cushiony goodness. But with the average pair costing around $130, they aren’t cheap! Here’s a link to a decent knock-off: Journee Collection Boots

7. Birkenstock
Birkenstock began making shoes in 1774, so you can be sure they know what they’re doing! The shoe company is known for their comfort. Birkenstock Mayari Sandal

8. Reef
Not only are Reef flip flops and sandals are incredibly comfy, but they also give you a bit of support. Here’s an affordable pair that are perfect to pack in your hospital bag: Reef Ginger Flip Flop

Take a Peek Inside Khloe Kardashian’s Hospital Bag

What's in Khloe Kardashian’s hospital bagKhloe Kardashian is well-known for many things, among them her mad organizational skills. So it’s no surprise that she was super-organized when packing her hospital bag to give birth to her baby girl. Khloe is now the proud new parent of a baby girl, True, with her boyfriend, Tristan Thompson. Before giving birth, her app “Khloe With a K” shared with fans what was packed in Khloe Kardashian’s hospital bag.
 
Khloe packed her hospital bag way ahead of time. “I knew exactly what I wanted to put in my hospital bag—lots of comfy things for me and for her!” the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star posted in her app.
 

Today, we’re giving you a small peek inside Khloe Kardashian’s hospital bag!

 
Here are a few of the things she packed:

  • Pajamas that button up in the front
  • Nursing bras
  • Computer
  • Chargers
  • Bag of toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
  • A cute outfit to go home in
  • Her own pillow
  • Blanket
  • Undies
  • Comfy socks
  • Multiple cameras

 
For her baby, the famous mama packed:

  • Two adorable baby outfits
  • Hats to match the two outfits
  • Swaddles
  • Receiving blankets
  • Socks

Are you aiming to pack the perfect labor bag like Khloe? Here are 3 tips to help you get started:
 
1. Determine what you’ll need
Every hospital bag should have these essentials: comfortable clothes to wear while you’re at the hospital, an outfit to go home in, toiletries, insurance info, and a camera. If you’re making an adoption plan, you can get a labor bag that’s already packed with the essentials for FREE! Call Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784 to request yours. If you’re going to parent, also pack your baby’s coming home outfit, and a well-fitting nursing bra if you’re planning to breastfeed. You can bring ready-to-serve formula if you’re not going to breastfeed.
 
Other items to pack include flip flops, a nice robe, and an extra-long phone charger. You can make a checklist in your phone of items you may want or need for your bag. Then, just keep adding to it when you think of other stuff to pack.
 
2. Pack as soon as you can
Once you have a list, start packing! If you wait until the last minute, you may forget to put in important items. Start gathering everything you’ll need and place it all in your bag or tote.
 
You might want to stash your hospital bag away with other items you’re bringing with you when you go into labor, such as a yoga ball.
 
3. Double-check your bag
A few days before you’re due, look at what’s in your bag and check your lists to make sure you didn’t forget anything. When you review the stuff in your hospital bag, you’ll have less chance of having to grab stuff at the last minute.
 
If you’re not sure of what to pack or have been putting this off, you’re not alone. While Khloe is known for her organization skills, lots of us aren’t. Packing your perfect hospital bag might be a challenge, but it will totally take some stress out of your last days of pregnancy.
 
Are you pregnant and thinking about adoption? Lifetime Adoption provides help nationwide to women who are choosing adoption for their babies. Learn more by calling them at 1-800-923-6784. They will also help you a fully-packed labor bag for free!
 
Call Lifetime for a free labor bag!

I Love Chinese Food! But Can I Eat it During Pregnancy?

eating chinese food during pregnancyWondering about eating Chinese food during pregnancy? Is it safe? The answer is YES, but within reason. Chinese food that’s well-prepared features fish, meats, poultry, and vegetables. They are prepared through a quick stir fry and at the peak of nutrition. However, Chinese food tends to be high in sodium (due to all that soy sauce), high in fat (due to a generous use of oils), and may have MSG.

Most Chinese restaurants will follow a request to prepare your food with no MSG, little to no oil, and with “light” soy sauce. It’s also a good idea to request brown rice, instead of white. Soups and steamed dumplings are good appetizer choices. Dishes that are safe to order have plenty of fish, shellfish, poultry, meat, or tofu, and aren’t just garnished with these high-protein foods.

Try steamed dishes, and don’t add soy sauce. Avoid fried (“crispy”) foods, including egg rolls, sweet and sour dishes, and spareribs. Try to limit how much white rice and white noodles you eat. If you’ve noticed that spicy food gives you heartburn, order your dish “not spicy.”

If you’re a vegetarian, choose tofu or a “mock” meat as both are available and nutritiously prepared. Nutritious vegetables such as broccoli are smart choices.

5 Things To Avoid When You Need Relief from a Pregnancy Headache

what's safe to take for a pregnancy headache?If you get a headache and you’re pregnant, you might need to avoid a few of your tried-and-true means for finding relief. Below, we help you learn what to avoid when you’re trying to cure a pregnancy headache. As always, make sure to speak directly to your doctor to find possible solutions.

Here are 5 methods of relief you’ll need to avoid for your pregnancy headache:

1. Ibuprofen or Aspirin

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), you need to avoid popping aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen for pain relief. Try acetaminophen instead (brand name: Tylenol.) But ask your healthcare provider before you take Tylenol, to make sure it’s really the best choice.

2. Migraine Medication

If you experienced migraines before getting pregnant, then your changing hormones might make them better (or worse). Just make sure to avoid taking your migraine meds during pregnancy. Anti-migraine medications have been linked to miscarriage, birth defects, bleeding, and poor growth of the developing baby. So you can see why you need to avoid anti-migraine meds!

3. Ignore Strange Symptoms

If your headache gets worse or comes with symptoms like a fever, blurred vision, or slurred speech, call your doctor right away. Sharp headaches that come on all of a sudden are a red flag. So is head pain that happens for the first time in your second or third trimester. Both might be a sign of preeclampsia or another issue.

4. Give Up

Just because you have to avoid lots of medications when you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to live with painful headaches. Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to try acupuncture. It can be a really useful natural tool for treating not only pregnancy headaches but also back pain and morning sickness. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead to get acupuncture, make sure you’re going to an acupuncturist who is licensed by the state and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). This will make sure they have enough knowledge to treat a pregnant client safely.

5. Get a Massage

This one isn’t totally off limits, but it comes with some warnings. Prenatal massage is a wonderful tool to help back pain and cut down on stress. But avoid getting a massage in your first trimester, because of the increased risk for miscarriage during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

What Does It Mean to Have a Bad Taste in Your Mouth During Pregnancy?

do you have a bad taste in your mouth during pregnancy?Do you have a taste in your mouth like there’s a handful of coins in there, no matter what you do? Or does your mouth taste like it does when you let a pill sit in your mouth for too long? You might be worried if this is normal, or a sign that something’s wrong.

Actually, having a bad taste in your mouth a pretty common pregnancy side effect. It’s known as “dysgeusia” and is caused by your changing hormone levels. Experts don’t know for sure why dysgeusia happens, but they suspect that the food aversions it creates are to prevent expectant mothers from eating things that could be harmful to their baby.

Fortunately, this should last only through your first trimester, and disappear once you begin your second trimester. It does remain for some women throughout their whole pregnancy. Having dysgeusia later on in your pregnancy doesn’t mean anything’s wrong; it’s just bum luck. Your estrogen levels should calm a bit in the second trimester, causing the taste of pennies in your mouth to decrease as the weeks pass.

You’re more likely to endure dysgeusia if you’re also dealing with serious morning sickness. Like you didn’t have it bad enough already trying not to puke your guts out. Both morning sickness and dysgeusia are caused by hormonal fluctuations, so it makes sense that if you have one, you’ll probably have the other.

But what if your first trimester is moving way too slowly and you can’t handle the taste anymore? Lots of women have found vitamin C drops and sour foods to help a lot. You might also try rinsing out your mouth with orange juice or sucking on some lemons.

Even though this icky taste is really unpleasant, it isn’t dangerous. The fact is, dysgeusia is common in most pregnancies — particularly in the first trimester. We hope that dysgeusia ends quickly for you, so you aren’t stuck dealing with this metallic taste for all nine months of your pregnancy.