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“Why Should I Make a Birth Plan?”

Young woman about to give birth, grateful to make a birth planA birth plan can help guide how your labor goes. This plan communicates your wishes and goals for before, during, and after labor and delivery. In it, you’re able to tell your best-case birthing scenario: how you’d like your labor and delivery to happen if all goes to “plan.”
 
Besides listing your preferences, most birth plans take into account what’s feasible and what’s available at the hospital or birthing center. But as we’ve all heard, births rarely go how you planned.
 
So, knowing that births rarely go as planned, you may hesitate to create a birth plan. If your labor and delivery experience isn’t in your control, then what’s the point in planning for it?
 
Here are five reasons to make a birth plan, even if your baby’s birth doesn’t go as you’d hoped:
 

1. Creating one starts the conversation with your partner.

No matter who your birth partner is, it’s smart to discuss your plans and priorities before you go into labor. Sharing your birth plan is a great opportunity to be honest about your hopes and dreams for your baby’s birth.
 
Being honest is important not only for your mental health but the mental health of your partner, too. This isn’t the time to be shy: if they’re going to spend hours helping you in the delivery room, it’s probably fine if they get some harsh honesty.
 

2. It gives you the chance to research.

There is a ton of information out there about birthing! Books, blogs, stories from your friends, message boards, stories from your mom, and of course, your doctor. All of this information can be helpful if you’re ready for it. So pick your sources and dive in!
 

3. Making one helps you process your feelings.

A birth plan is more than just a detailed list of your wishes. The process of creatine one will help you get in touch with your feelings and allow you to determine why you want the things you want them. Are you afraid to even think about a medication-free experience? Or are you determined to have a natural water birth? The simple act of recognizing those facts can help you being exploring your more deep-rooted feelings about the birth experience.
 
And if you’re choosing to place your baby for adoption once he or she is born, you can include your preferences for how things will be handled in the hospital in what’s known as an “adoption hospital plan.” This type of plan includes whether you’re OK with the adoptive parents being a part of delivery, if you want to recover away from the maternity ward, whether you’d like to leave the hospital before the adoptive family, and more.
 

4. Having a birth plan helps your doctor, nurse, partner, or doula make an informed decision when you are unable to.

The birth process can be chaotic, and many women find that they can’t answer a question during intense contractions. If you created your plan with your partner, they’ll know how to stick to your wishes. Or, simply prop the sheet of paper that contains your birth plan on the nursing station.
 

5. It can help you find something to be proud of.

If your birth doesn’t go to plan or was traumatic, you may be more predisposed to mental health issues like PTSD or postpartum depression. In that case, we recommend that you seek something in your birth plan that you did do. Be proud of yourself for achieving that goal in the middle of total chaos.
 
Did you have a C-section but managed to delay cord clamping and have your partner cut the cord? Awesome! Did you achieve the vaginal delivery you wanted, even after 4 hours of pushing? Good for you! Did every single thing on your birth plan go wrong, but somehow you managed to have a baby in the end? Congratulations, you just survived something so wildly chaotic up that you couldn’t even plan for it!
 
As you can see, creating a birth plan can still be a good use of your time, even if nothing goes to plan!

What Should I Do If I’m Pregnant and Alone?

How to Cope When Your Baby’s Father Has Ghosted You

Young woman looks out her window, pregnant and alone“I’m 22 weeks pregnant and just found out I’m having a girl! But my baby’s father wants nothing to do with me and our daughter. He wants me to get an abortion. After telling me that, he ghosted me and has blocked me on everything. So I can’t contact him. What should I do? Is there I way I can get financial support from him? I feel so alone and I’m not sure what to do right now.”
-Madison
 
No matter if your pregnancy was planned or not, it takes two people to make a baby. The two of you were supposed to be in this together, so it’s normal to feel betrayed and rejected when you don’t have support from the one person you need it from the most. Even though it’s totally unfair that the weight of this situation falls on your shoulders only, you’re not alone. You still have control of your future.
 

Give Him Some Time

People’s first reactions to stressful news aren’t always their finest moments, so try to give your baby’s father some time to come around. He might have just had a knee-jerk reaction to the life-changing news of your pregnancy. He could be thinking about any variety of things, like:
 
I never planned to have kids.
I’m not ready to be a father.
What will people think of me?
 
After taking the time to process and imagine a different life path, he may come around and give you support. Pressuring him won’t do any good right now. For now, try to keep your mind on what’s best for you and your baby.
 

Don’t Let Anyone Pressure You

This is your life, your body, and your choice.
 
Don’t let your baby’s father pressure you into having an abortion. The decision to get an abortion is a permanent one, and you might regret it for the rest of your life if it’s not what you truly want. Only you can decide what will be best for you and your baby. This is your future, and you do have choices!
 

Becoming a Single Parent

While thinking about becoming a parent, try to envision what being a single parent would be like Maybe your baby’s father will come around, but right now, you can’t make plans based on him. Is the life of a single mom something you can take on both emotionally and financially?
 
Support through services like WIC and Medicaid can help relieve the financial stress of being a single parent.
 
A court cannot force your baby’s father to have a relationship with his child, but they can require he provide financial assistance. Your baby’s father will be required to pay child support.
 
You’ll need your baby’s father to agree to a paternity test to collect child support from him. If he refuses to cooperate, you can file a civil lawsuit to determine paternity. The paternity test can even be done before the baby is born in some cases. As paternity laws differ depending on your state, you should consult with a family law attorney.
 

Exploring Adoption

If you can’t raise your child on your own, adoption may be the right choice for you. You have complete control over the whole process in today’s open adoptions.
 
Lifetime Adoption is a nationwide adoption agency that provides expectant mothers with caring support and guidance during every step of the process. You’re in charge of your adoption plans. With Lifetime’s proven expertise in open adoption, they can help you find the perfect family for your child.
 
The compassionate adoption professionals at Lifetime Adoption will help you every step of the way. You will be able to:

  • Browse online profiles of adoptive families
  • Get counseling and support
  • Get to know the adoptive family before decide if they’re the right parents for your baby
  • Decide how much contact you’d like to keep with your child throughout his life.
  • Get updates about your child as he or she grows up

Can I Do Adoption if My Baby’s Father Isn’t Involved?

Ordinarily, adoption requires both parents’ consent. There are some situations where adoption can be done without the father’s consent. Adoption laws vary in every state. So depending on where you live, you may not need his permission if:

  • He is a convicted felon.
  • He is abusive.
  • He is currently in jail.
  • He is coping with drug addiction.
  • He can’t be located.

The best scenario for an adoption process is to get the father’s written consent. An adoption professional or an adoption attorney can assist you with this.
 
Your baby’s father could object to the adoption, but that usually happens when he wants custody of his child. If your baby’s father can’t show that he’ll be able to support the child properly or doesn’t provide support during your pregnancy, he can be denied the right to object to the adoption.
 

Making a Decision That’s Right for You

In the event that your baby’s father changes his mind about being a part of his child’s life, you can begin making these plans together. But for the time being, concentrate on what’s best for you and your baby.
 
Your baby has created a connection between the both of you that could last for the next 18 years. However, you’re still in control of what that relationship will look like. You must make the best choices for your health and happiness and your baby’s future too. Let the adoption professionals at Lifetime Adoption provide you with support and non-judgmental guidance.
 

Call or text Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784, anytime. You can also contact Lifetime for free adoption information.

7 Awesome Online Pregnancy Tools

Pregnant woman in her kitchen looking at online pregnancy toolsFrom due date calculators to customized pregnancy calendars, today’s pregnant woman has many online tools to choose from. These tools allow you to get a better understanding of everything from gender to baby names to delivery.
 
We’ve crawled the web and picked the top 7 online pregnancy tools for all you mamas-to-be. Whether you want to get ideas for your baby’s name or find out the color of their eyes, we’ve got you covered with these awesome online pregnancy tools.
 

1. Baby Eye Color Predictor

Isn’t it surreal to think that you’re creating a human who will have 50% of your DNA? It’s fun to guess what your baby might look like as they grow up.
 
If you’re wondering whether your baby will have blue eyes or brown, this eye color predictor is the tool for you. Just plug in the eye colors of you, your partner, and each of your parents to find out the likelihood of your kiddo having blue, green, or brown eyes. Check it out.
 

2. The Chinese Gender Calendar

There are so many ways to try and find out the gender of your baby before the official scan. Some of these methods include peeing into cups filled with baking soda or checking if a fast fetal heart rate means you’ll have a girl or a boy. All you need to provide to let this Chinese Gender Predictor do its job is your birthday and the approximate date of conception. Try it here!
 

3. Due Date Calculator

Are you looking for a simple and inexpensive way to find out when you’re due? You can find it quickly and easily by using this handy online calculator.
 
Enter the first date of your last period and how long your cycle usually is, and this tool will provide an estimated conception date, due date, and current fetal age. Click here to find out your due date!
 

4. Babysizer

The Babysizer tool measures your baby’s growth week-by-week using comparisons that men are familiar with. Instead of telling him that the baby is the size of a kumquat, for example, Babysizer relates that the baby is the size of a poker chip!
 
The Babysizer tool also provides fun and useful information about what’s going on during each stage of pregnancy. Check it out.
 

5. Open Adoption App

For some women, becoming a mom isn’t something they’re ready for when they find out they’re pregnant. This free phone app for Android and Apple devices allows anyone to learn about making an adoption plan for their baby. It has adoption profiles of hopeful adoptive parents, answers to the most frequently asked questions about adoption, and the short eBook, “So I Was Thinking About Adoption…”
 
This adoption app is free to download and contains all you need to know about open adoption and how to find confidential services. Find out more here.
 

6. Baby’s First Test

Did you know that your baby’s screening test he or she will receive after birth screens for about 29 different disorders? This test helps to recognize any conditions that may require follow-up testing.
 
If you want to know the testing available in your state, this tool has tons of information to answer your questions. You can also join discussions about newborn screening, learn what to expect from the screening process, and get links to resources from organizations across the U.S. Check it out.
 

7. Baby Name Genie

This website brings some humor and fun to the process of coming up with baby names. To use is, you type in your last name and choose whether you would like a boy or girl name. The Baby Name Genie then goes to work and randomly creates a name for your little one. You might get something straight out of a baby name book, but you might just get some ideas too. Baby Name Genie can be a great source of inspiration. Try it out here.

Is It Safe To Dye My Hair While Pregnant?

Woman applying hair color in her bathroomDuring pregnancy, you’re already dealing with so many changes in your life. It starts with morning sickness and develops into swollen feet and a body that feels foreign to you.
 
It’s pretty safe to say that you don’t want to take any unnecessary chances right now, so sushi, alcohol, and unpasteurized cheeses are off the menu. But do you have to surrender your beauty routine? Will you really have to spend 40 weeks with your roots showing? No, you don’t.
 

Can you dye your hair when you’re pregnant?

Research has found that chemicals in hair dyes are not very toxic, so they’re safe to use during pregnancy. Only a small amount of hair dye is absorbed into your skin. So, it wouldn’t reach your baby and is not considered harmful. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “…the chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent dyes are not highly toxic and are safe to use during pregnancy. In addition, only small amounts of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin, leaving little that would be able to reach the fetus.”
 

How to safely dye your hair while pregnant

Yes, you can dye your hair while you’re pregnant. It’s smart to take these precautions and let your stylist know you’re pregnant.
 
Location
Make sure the room where you’re getting your hair dyed is well-ventilated. Ventilation is necessary if you want to dye your hair safely.
 
Wait until the second trimester
Thanks to those pregnancy hormones, your hair and nails will grow crazy fast when you are pregnant. So you might feel like you have to dye your hair in the first trimester.
 
But it’s best to hold off until your second trimester. During those first twelve weeks, your baby is going through a lot of growth and development. His or her muscles are forming, organs are growing, vocal cords are forming, and hair follicles are beginning to develop. Why take a chance?
 
Carefully follow the directions on the package
Don’t leave the dye on your hair any longer than the directions indicate.
 
Rinse hair thoroughly after dyeing hair
 
Use a gentler dye
Consider a semi-permanent color that doesn’t contain as many harsh chemicals as dyes that contain bleach.
 

Other Options Besides Traditional Hair Dye

If you don’t feel comfortable using hair dye while pregnant, there are other, safer options. You might ask your stylist to give you highlights instead of dying all of your head. Since highlights are carefully placed on only certain parts of your hair, there’s little possibility or risk of the dye ever reaching your scalp. This eliminates any chance of dye chemicals being absorbed into your bloodstream or affecting your baby in any way.
 
Other alternatives to consider while you’re pregnant are vegetable dyes like henna, or organic hair dyes.
 
If these options don’t work for you, ask your doctor for recommendations. Pregnancy can cause natural changes in your hair’s texture and how your hair reacts to dyeing. It may be less challenging to wait until after your baby is born.
 
Being pregnant is wonderful and scary and exciting at the same time: you deserve to feel and look your best! So indulge, but be safe with safe by following our tips on dyeing your hair without the risk of harming your baby.

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!