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Our 3 Most Popular Blogs (and Why!)

Pregnant woman looks at her phone while sitting on a park benchThere’s no doubt that pregnancy is a life-changing event! Being pregnant affects every area of your life, and changes your body. Right now, your mind might be spinning with tons of questions, like,

“My period is late… am I pregnant?”

“What should I pack for the hospital?”

“What’s it like to have a c-section?”
 
Our blog walks you through all three trimesters of your pregnancy, answering all of these questions and more. Pregnancy Help Online has SO much information available, but all that info in one place might leave you feeling overwhelmed.
 
So today, we’re going to share Pregnancy Help Online’s 3 most popular (and useful!) blog posts. They’ve been popular with many women who are figuring out this whole pregnancy business, just like you. Because let’s face it, when you’re going through a life change as significant as having a baby, it helps to know what’s been beneficial for other pregnant women.
 

1. Can You Be In labor and Not Even Know It?

The truth is, lots of the checklists out there to find out if you’re in “real labor” say that if it’s real, you shouldn’t be able to talk during your contractions. But this isn’t an exact science: it’s uncommon but possible to have painless labor. In this blog, we cover what to watch for if you’re wondering whether you’re really in labor!
 

2. Why Epsom Salt Baths During Pregnancy Are So Great

When you’re preggers, Epsom salt baths feel amazing! It’s a natural remedy for aches and pains and is completely safe for pregnant women. Just make sure that the water temp is comfortable but not hot; it’s dangerous to raise your body temperature too much when you’re pregnant. In this blog, we share why Epsom salt baths during pregnancy are so great!
 

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

Tons of people love Chinese food, so it’s no surprise to us that this blog is popular! If you’re obsessed with Chinese food, then it’s time for you to explore whether is it safe to eat during pregnancy. The main concerns behind the advice to avoid Chinese food are the freshness of the ingredients and the possibility of the presence of MSG.
 

What would you like to read about on our blog? Please let us know in the comments!

How to Get Through Summer Being Super Pregnant

Woman in third trimester looks up at sunThere’s a lot to love about the summer: lazy days at the pool, barbeques with friends, and giant slices of watermelon, to name a few. Truly, the brightest of the whole year.
 
Except if you happen to be in your third trimester during summer months. Then, summer becomes a whole new experience, focused on battling swollen ankles while eating ice chips and counting the days until fall.
 
 

Hot weather and a baby bump. What’s a girl to do? Here are a few tips for staying cool, hydrated, and sane in the heat:

1. Welcome the A/C

If your home or apartment has air conditioning, crank it up! If you don’t, you can find A/C at the library, the mall, or a friend’s house. Being pregnant during the hot summer months is no time to try and save a few bucks on your utility bill.
 

2. Stay Hydrated

Getting dehydrated is your worst enemy, especially when you’re pregnant and especially in the heat. You can avoid dehydration by being proactive and drinking copious amounts of water. If you get tired of drinking water, try infusing your water with fruit or drinking through a straw.
 

3. Embrace the Maxi Dress

Flowy, cotton, maxi dresses are where it’s at, so stock up!
 

4. Stock Up on Ice

You’ll soon learn that ice is your best friend. And it’s not just for your drinks. For swollen ankles, try an ice-filled foot soak in the evening. And when it gets too hot to sleep, you can snuggle up with an ice pack!
 

5. Water is Your Best Friend

Try cooling off in the pool, the shower, with a sprinkler in the yard, using a spray bottle. Any of these will help you avoid overheating.
 

6. Start Early, or Get Out Late

When you’re pregnant during the summer, your best bet is to get up while it’s still cool. Do any household work, errands, or exercising you need to do earlier in the day. In the middle of the day, just relax in A/C. If you still have things to do, finish them up once it cools down again at night.
 

7. Eat Light

Try eating smaller, more frequent meals. This paces your metabolism and keeps your body from straining itself. Luckily, there are lots of fruits and veggies with high water content in season during the summer!
 
 
Do you have any tips for surviving a summer pregnancy that we missed? Please share them in the comments!

What Should I Pack in My Hospital Bag?

Pregnant woman wonders 'what should I pack in my hospital bag?'Once you’re around 32 weeks pregnant, you might find that the questions you’ll get from people switch from, “How are you feeling?” to “Is your hospital bag packed yet?”
 
It’s a good idea to start thinking about what you’ll bring with you to the hospital. Most experts recommend that you begin packing your hospital bag at 34 weeks. By doing so, you can just grab the bag and head for the hospital once you go into labor.
 
Here are some things to think about packing, to make your hospital stay a little more pleasant:
 

For Your Hospital Bag

Pillow
Hospital pillows are about as flat and uncomfortable as pillows come, so it’s always nice to bring one from home. Plus, your pillow from home will kind of smell like your bed, and that can be comforting. Just make sure to put a pillowcase that’s not solid white, so no one confuses it with a hospital pillow!
 
Flip flops
Remember flip flops in your hospital bag because you can wear them in the shower. Your feet might also swell, so you’ll be glad to have flip flops to wear!
 
Pajamas and Robe
It’s nice to have a little piece of home to make you feel more human. You’ll be so much more comfortable in them than in the provided hospital gown!
 
Underwear
Bring some old pairs to wear with the huge maxi pads the hospital will provide you after giving birth. Believe us, now isn’t the time to pack new, cute underwear or thongs! Maternity underwear is going to be your best bet to assure a comfy fit.
 
Maxi Pads
The hospitals should supply you with maxi pads to deal with post-birth bleeding, but they’re usually thick and kind of like wearing a diaper. It’s nice to have something more comfortable available. With that said, the hospital pads are free, so stock up on the enormous pads if they don’t bother you.
 
Towel
Towels are a great multi-functional tool to pack. If your water breaks, you spare the seats of your car by sitting on a towel on your way to the hospital. Use it over anything gross that you might need to lie on. And of course, you’ll want it for your post-birth shower.
 
Toiletries
Remember to pack your deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, brush, contact lens solution and case, glasses, chapstick, hair tie, hand sanitizer, and anything else you would take to stay overnight somewhere. Many women also pack makeup essentials, like mascara and concealer.
 
Snacks
Once you’re in labor, you might be restricted from eating anything in case you need to have surgery quickly. But if you’re not, it’s nice to have a simple non-perishable snack on hand, so you’re not stuck with the hospital’s apple sauce.
 
Magazines and books
There’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” involved in labor, especially if you’re being induced. We recommend packing something light to read that doesn’t require too much thinking, like a trashy tabloid magazine. Once it’s time to go home, leave the magazines at the hospital for the nurses and other patients to read.
 
The Important Stuff
Bring your insurance card, ID, and a few copies of your birth plan. Many women find it helpful to have a general birth plan of what they’d like to do or not do.
 
Tech
Remember to take your cell phone, chargers, and a tablet or laptop if you have one. You can play games, watch movies, and look at the Internet in the earlier stages of labor.
 
Clothes
Pack something comfy and clean, like yoga pants, a t-shirt, or a maxi dress.
 
Big Brother or Sister Gift
If you have children, think about packing a gift that’s from the baby. When they visit, they can open this gift. This is a sweet way to introduce them to the new baby since they might feel displaced over the next few months.
 
Gift for the Hospital Staff
It’s a nice gesture to give the hospital staff a gift to say “thank you.” Some ideas of gifts that are small enough to fit in your hospital bag include candy, gift cards, or cookies. Or, send your labor partner out to get bagels and coffee, or some healthy snacks like fruit and granola bars.
 

For the Baby

Diapers and Wipes
Most hospitals will provide with you a few diapers, but it’s a good idea to bring your own. We recommend packing newborn-size diapers and size 1 too. If your baby is nine pounds or more, he or she will probably skip right by the “newborn size” and start wearing size 1’s right away.

Soothers
It’s smart to pack pacifiers, a sound machine, a soft baby blanket, and a small stuffed animal. Bring a few different kinds of soothers with you to see what works.

Receiving Blanket
Receiving blankets can be used for a ton of things: as a nursing cover, to wrap your baby up, and as a car seat cover to block the sun when you leave.

Going Home Outfit
Many mamas-to-be enjoy shopping for an intricate, adorable outfit for their baby to arrive home wearing. If you’re not sentimental about this, you might just pack a simple onesie or sleeper. Just skip the sleep sack, because you’ll want to make sure the car seat clip can go in between your baby’s legs.

Nursing Gear
Breastfeeding can be tricky in the beginning, and every little bit helps. Pack a nursing pillow, pads, lanolin cream, nursing tops, and nursing bras. Since most nursing pillows are pretty big, leave it in your car once you arrive at the hospital. You can send someone to get it if you want to use it.

Car Seat
Make sure to get the car seat installed, and get acquainted with how it works. You’re required to have a car seat installed and be familiar with it in order to be discharged from the hospital. Just leave it in the car and get it once you’re packing up to go.
 

We hope this list gives you an idea of all the things you may or may not have thought of! Let us know in the comments what you packed, or are packing.

What’s It Like To Be In College and Pregnant?

Pregnant college studentPicture getting ready for an 8 am class after being up most of the night with a crying baby. When you’re done with classes, you go to work for eight hours. Once you get off work, you rush to pick up your baby from daycare. Then, you go home and start this process all over again.
 
In the scenario described here, you’re not really raising your baby. The childcare provider is doing most of the nurturing and caring for your child.
 
There are few parenting situations more difficult than caring for a baby with no support while trying to finish college. Raising a child on your own is a full-time job, on top of your course load.
 
Statistics show that many women who get pregnant in college and decide to parent their child end up quitting school. Many of these mothers grow dependent on welfare programs to help raise their child. The cycle of poverty stays at her door because it’s hard to make much money without a college education.
 
If you’re pregnant and in college, this scenario may seem incredibly depressing. It can come as a big shock when only a short time ago you were living a life of freedom and had your future all planned out.
 
Of course, you’ll want to do what’s best for you and your baby. How can you provide the best life for your child while remaining in college?
 
You have choices that will empower you to set your world right and do the best thing you can do for your child. Maybe you haven’t thought about the choice of adoption yet, but now may be a good time to consider it.
 
With open adoption, you can select the adoptive parents who will raise your child. You’ll have the opportunity to choose the type of home your child will grow up in. You can even stay in touch with your child as he or she grows up. The adoptive parents will send you updates through letters, emails, photos, and even occasional visits.
 
By making an adoption plan, you’ll be able to finish your education and better your life. Plus, you can provide your child with a mom and dad who will provide a stable and loving home. You can live your life secure in the knowledge that your child is in the best possible home that you could provide.
 

You can learn more about adoption by calling or texting
Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784.

Visit their website at LifetimeAdoption.com to view hopeful adoptive family profiles, read women’s adoption stories, and more!

My Period Is Late! Could I Be Pregnant?!

Girl leaning against a tree, thinkingThere are a variety of signs that might mean you’re pregnant, the most common one being a late or missed period. With that said, some early pregnancy symptoms aren’t actually related to pregnancy at all. For example, if you’re throwing up everything you eat, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant. You could be battling a nasty flu!
 
If you think you’re pregnant, it’s very important to make an appointment with your doctor to confirm that you’re pregnant and to begin prenatal care. The information here isn’t meant to replace medical advice, but to give you info in simple, easy to understand terms.
 
Pregnancy symptoms can show up as soon as one week after conception. But some lucky women don’t have any pregnancy symptoms at all!

To help clear things up, we’re giving you a break-down on 8
of the most common signs of early pregnancy:

1. Fatigue
Feeling tired is a common symptom of early pregnancy. Other explanations for fatigue include stress, depression, a cold, or flu.
 
2. Spotting
You might experience cramping and light bleeding in the very beginning of your pregnancy, typically from six to 12 days after conception.
 
Other explanations for spotting might be that you’ve recently switched up your birth control, or your period is coming.
 
3. Missed Period or “Off” Period
If you missed your period, try taking an over-the-counter early pregnancy test. Know that many women get their period, even though they’re pregnant. And some women will continue to get their period several months into their pregnancy.
 
Light bleeding during your first period after becoming pregnant is common. So, visiting your doctor to confirm you’re truly pregnant is best.
 
But just because you missed a period doesn’t mean you’re pregnant. If you’re going through extreme stress, hormonal changes, or suddenly lose a lot of weight, you might also miss a period.
 
4. Vomiting and/or Nausea
Called “morning sickness” by many, nausea and vomiting usually happen between two and eight weeks after conception. Some women are blessed and never deal with morning sickness. Others face morning sickness early on in their pregnancy.
 

5. Tender Breasts
During early pregnancy, some women notice that their breasts feel sore or heavy. Another change to your breasts that can happen in the early stages of pregnancy is darker areolas (that’s the skin around the nipples).
 
Girl browses phone outside6. Backaches
It’s normal to encounter back pain during pregnancy as your body adjusts to carrying and growing a baby. But, other explanations of back pain include PMS, stress, or physical strain.
 
7. Frequent Urination
Symptom #7 usually happens later on in pregnancy, typically around six to eight weeks along. Pregnant women need to pee more often because their expanding uterus is pushing on their bladder. Other explanations for frequent urination are urinary tract infections, or possibly other medical issues.
 
8. Strange Food Cravings
Many pregnant women crave a specific food, and not necessarily the stereotypical pickles and ice cream. It’s also normal and common to develop a sudden hatred for certain foods or certain smells. Then again, other reasons for craving strange foods include stress, depression, poor diet, or a diet lacking in a particular nutrient.
 
As you can see, typical pregnancy symptoms can be similar to other medical issues. If you think you’re pregnant, the first step to take is to get an over-the-counter test. Today’s modern pregnancy tests are very accurate, and so if it says you’re pregnant, you probably are. If the pregnancy test is negative and you still haven’t had a period after another five days, take another the test. It’s possible you took the test too early the first time. If you still haven’t gotten your period, it’s time to see your doctor because you may be pregnant or have another medical issue.
 
If you think you’re pregnant or have just discovered you’re pregnant, it’s crucial that you make an appointment to see your doctor. Prenatal care is essential for both you and your baby’s health.
 
There are many choices available if you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy. If you’re not ready to become a mom but at the same time don’t want to get an abortion, adoption is a third option.
 
With today’s modern adoptions, you can choose your baby’s adoptive parents and how you want the adoption to go. Open adoption puts you in the driver’s seat of your baby’s adoption: you decide how involved you want to be. Open adoption gives women a way to find a forever family for their baby while keeping in contact through emails, pictures, texts, phone calls, and/or visits. You can visit LifetimeAdoption.com to get information on how adoption works.

How to Cope With a Strong Sense of Smell During Pregnancy

Many women have a strong sense of smell during pregnancySo last week, we talked about the top 8 most horrible smells when you’re pregnant. When you read about these gag-inducing scents, you might have been able to relate, but wondered “Yeah, but how do I deal when the smell of meat cooking makes me gag?”
 
While it’s not practical to want to walk around with your nose plugged, there are some things you can do to avoid scents that ramp up your nausea.

Here are 6 simple tips for coping with a strong sense of smell during pregnancy:

1. Air Out Your Home
Whenever possible, leave your windows open. This will help banish any musty odors or cooking smells.
 
2. Eat Smart
Only cook the foods you can stand to smell. The old you might have loved steamed cauliflower and broccoli. But if the pregnant you hates the smell of these veggies, just avoid them until after you deliver.
 
3. Ditch the Perfume
Go easy on anything that’s scented, including body lotion, deodorant, and perfume. Or, you could switch to a fragrance that doesn’t make you sick. This goes for your man, too. You might have loved his Thierry Mugler cologne before, but now that you’re pregnant the scent makes you queasy.
 
4. Seek Nausea-Soothing Scents
Surround yourself with a scent like lemon, mint, ginger, and cinnamon. These scents can actually make you feel better and soothe your nausea rather than make it worse.
 
5. Do Laundry More Often
The fibers of your clothing tend to hang onto odors. So, we recommend washing your clothes more often than usual to help get rid of these odors.
 
6. Ask Others to be Considerate
Ask your partner, family, friends, and co-workers to be sensitive to your newly strong sense of smell. They could avoid microwaving fish for lunch or go easy on the perfume.
 
We hope that one (or a few!) of these tips give you some relief! Do you have a tip that didn’t make our list? Please share it in the comments!

The Top 8 Most Horrible Smells When You’re Pregnant

Garlic is one of the worst smells when you’re pregnant!Pregnancy brings so many side effects and symptoms, and many of them are unpleasant. The most unusual one might just be a hypersensitive sense of smell.
 
Some refer to this as “pregnancy nose,” and it means that many pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell. And there are certain scents they can’t stand.
 

Here are the top 8 most gag-worthy smells when you’re pregnant:

 

8. Meat cooking

For some pregnant ladies, chicken cooking smells disgusting, and for others, hot dogs stink. But other times, these meats might smell good. The smell of meat cooking is totally random, but when it smells, it smells BAD.
 

7. Pets

Smells like kitty litter, wet dog, and dog breath are pretty awful even when you’re not pregnant. But once you get “pregnancy nose,” pet scents multiply in grossness.
 

6. Seafood

Many women can relate to an aversion to the smell of seafood. Says one mama-to-be: “I actually canceled a dinner with friends once because we were going to meet up at a seafood restaurant. I felt like a flake, but I knew I couldn’t handle the awful smell!”
 

5. Heavy Fragrances

Think colognes, laundry detergents, candles, cleaning products, perfumes, and perfumes.
 

4. Cigarette Breath, Seafood Breath, and Alcohol Breath

Being around someone with bad breath is gross enough, but any of the scents on this list are even worse on someone’s breath!
 

3. Grocery Stores

Chances are you know exactly what the #3 smell is about. “Grocery store smell” is the combo of all the different scents in a grocery store that issue in an odor that’s near impossible to stand when you’re pregnant.
 

2. Cigarettes

If you’re like most people, the smell of cigarette smoke gets to you even on a non-pregnant day. So it makes sense that cigarettes become unbearable during pregnancy. Luckily, not as many people smoke nowadays, so you probably won’t have to encounter this smell regularly.
 

1. Strong Foods

The odor of strong foods, like garlic and onion, are the worst offenders for many pregnant women!
 

Keep an eye on our pregnancy blog, because next time we’ll tell you how to cope when your sharp sense of smell during pregnancy sends you running for the bathroom!

When Is It Too Late To Do Adoption?

Mother holding one-year-old daughter“I’ve really been struggling to make ends meet for the last year. I work long hours so I can make enough to pay for daycare. All my bills are past due and I’m going to get kicked out of my apartment soon.
 
This isn’t how I pictured life to be for my daughter. I want better for her than being shuffled to and from daycare, and barely seeing her.
 
It’s so hard to even think of adopting her out, it’s also hard to think of what could happen if I don’t. Is it too late to do adoption?”

 
It’s never too late to make an adoption plan for your child. Many women have parented before choosing adoption. You can manage the whole adoption planning process, including when you’re ready to start. Adoption is always a choice that you can make, no matter if your child is weeks, months, or years old. Women choosing adoption later on for their child have the same rights and choices as a pregnant woman making an adoption plan, including:

  • Planning an adoption that fits your goals for your child’s future
  • Selecting the perfect adoptive parents for your child
  • Choosing how much contact you’d like to have with the adoptive family before and after the adoption
  • Receiving the resources, support, and services you need.
  • Remaining a part of your child’s life through open adoption visits, emails, photos, and updates
  • Deciding when you’re ready to sign the adoption paperwork.

 
You can move through the adoption process at your own speed. We can refer you to an adoption professional called Lifetime Adoption who works nationwide. They’ve helped hundreds of women who chose adoption for their older child. Know that Lifetime won’t try to pressure you into a decision you’re not OK with.
 

There’s no deadline to do what’s best your child, and no “wrong time”
to start thinking about adoption.
 
Contact Lifetime Adoption to learn more about your adoption choices and how to move forward. Give Lifetime a call or text them at 1-800-923-6784.

How to Cope With Constipation During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman outside bundled upPregnancy comes with a whole host of unpleasant side effects, but constipation might just be one of the worst. The gas, bloating, and constant pressure can make a mama-to-be quite miserable. We’re here to let you know about the causes of constipation during pregnancy, plus what you can do about it!
 

Causes

There are a lot of reasons why you may be finding yourself in this situation, but constipation during pregnancy is usually because of hormones, your expanding uterus, stress, and supplements.
 
Pregnancy hormones such as progesterone are important in keeping a healthy pregnancy. But these hormones can also bring some less-than-pleasant side effects, like slowing your digestive system. Plus, the bigger your baby gets, the more he or she pushes down on your bowels, making it challenging for business to happen as usual.
 
Supplements like calcium and iron are known to cause constipation and are both found in prenatal vitamins. However, calcium and iron are also important components for your growing baby. So, don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins to move things along without first asking your doctor.
 
But fear not! There are a few simple steps you can take to get control of this unpleasant issue.
 

How to Fix It

Pregnant woman suffers from back ache

1. Fiber

Fiber is your best friend when it comes to treating constipation. Good sources of fiber include beans, leafy greens, and of course, prunes. Fiber can show up in unexpected places, like popcorn and even kiwis. But make sure to ease your body into a fiber-rich diet, so you don’t end up trading one miserable condition (constipation) for another (earth-rattling gas).
 

2. Keep Hydrated

So many pregnancy articles suggest uping your water intake, and so does this one. Drink. Water. The longer a stool hangs around in the colon, the more water is absorbed, and the harder it gets. So more water means softer stools.
 

3. Get Some Exercise

Getting moving, especially after you eat, is a great way to kick your digestion into high gear. You can do something simple like going for a walk after lunch.
 

4. Don’t Hold It

No one likes to use public bathrooms, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Holding it in can make constipation worse, so go if you feel the urge.
 

What Not to Do

Don’t take any medications like laxatives or mineral oil while you’re pregnant unless your doctor prescribes them. That’s because they come with unwanted side effects, like dehydration and uterine contractions.

8 Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep At 8 Months Pregnant

Woman snuggles a pregnancy pillowWhoever said, “You better sleep now because you won’t get much sleep when the baby comes!” has clearly never been pregnant. If you’re getting near to the end of your pregnancy, then you know getting a good night sleep is virtually impossible right now. Here are 8 reasons why:
 

1. So many trips to the bathroom

Right now, your bladder capacity is at an all-time low because of your growing baby. Plus, it seems like the urge to pee is bigger at night than during the day.
 

2. Your baby likes to practice karate at 3 am

Maybe she is rehearsing for tryouts to the Rockettes, or maybe she really is trying to torture you. At eight months along, many women have shared that their baby seems to enjoy busting out leg workouts in the middle of the night.
 

3. Pregnancy insomnia

The inability to turn off your brain just might be the most frustrating sleep disruption. As if your daytime hours weren’t already focused on all the anxiety-inducing realities coming, night brings new strength to those looming concerns.
 

4. So many pillows

When you’re pregnant, experts recommend tucking one pillow under your bellow, another between your knees, and a third behind your lower back. Before you know it, you become so trapped by pillows that the idea of changing positions is just too much effort.
 

5. Heartburn

It’s like there’s a fire in your esophagus, which only gets worse when you lay down. Get our tips on coping with pregnancy heartburn here https://pregnancyhelponline.com/how-to-deal-with-heartburn-during-pregnancy/
 

6. Restless legs

Around a third of pregnant women have a condition called restless legs syndrome (RLS). It’s that itchy, pulling, burning, urge to move your legs. It’s like your legs are screaming to run a marathon even though you get winded walking up a flight of stairs.
 

7. Strange dreams

The final trimester brings with it some of the strangest, chilling dreams of your life. From the bizarre to the horrifying, you’ve never been so thankful for the morning.
 

8. Hunger

Yes, you had dinner, plus assorted snacks. But once 1 am rolls around, your stomach starts growling for more.
 

What to Read Next:

How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep in Your Third Trimester
10 Ways to Prep for Labor and Delivery
Why Feeling Your Baby’s Kicks is a Good Sign
10 Things to Do During Your Last Month of Pregnancy
Pregnancy Dreams-What Do They Mean?