Image

The 10 Best Pregnancy Books Out There

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

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

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

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

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

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

Swollen Breasts

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

Fatigue

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

Bleeding and Cramping

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

Nausea and Vomiting

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

Food Cravings and Aversions

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

Headaches

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

Constipation

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

Mood Swings

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

Fainting and Dizziness

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

Changing Body Temperature

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

A “Feeling”

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

Heartburn

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

Back Aches

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

A Missed Period

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

Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Unplanned Pregnancy? Help Is Available

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

Fitness Recommendations and Guidelines for Pregnant Moms

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

Why You Should Exercise When Pregnant

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

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

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

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

How to Safely Exercise While Pregnant

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

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

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

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

I’m Pregnant and Worried About the Coronavirus

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

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

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

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

Are pregnant people at higher risk for Coronavirus?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line About COVID-19 and Pregnancy

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

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

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

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

Is It Safe To Be on the Keto Diet During Pregnancy?

Two friends enjoy a keto diet breakfast togetherIf you haven’t already tried the keto diet, you probably know someone who has, or you’ve read about celebrities who swear by it. But is it safe to follow to when you’re pregnant?

The keto diet is high in fat, which switches your body from burning glucose (from carbs) to burning ketones (which fat produces) in order to produce energy. So instead of storing fat, you burn it off. The diet goes against every weight-loss tip we’ve been told to follow.

Pros and cons 

Although the keto diet is especially popular, it’s also controversial. Fans of the regimen praise its successes as a remedy for metabolic disorders like diabetes and other ailments from PCOS to epilepsy, as well as fat loss. But the keto diet also has plenty of critics. They point out that the diet relies on foods that are high in saturated fat, and lacks of fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Also, they claim that the diet’s appearance of success is deceptive.

Physician and plant-based diet advocate Shivam Joshi remarked on the shortage of long-term studies on this diet. He says, “The keto diet may not be worth pursuing, even for diabetics or the obese, if we are mortgaging those diseases for higher rates of heart disease or colon cancer, a possibility given the low amounts of fiber consumed on these diets.”

Jillian Michaels, the celebrity fitness trainer, has also weighed in, releasing a video criticizing keto. She points out that the diet is high in animal fats and proteins, which she believes to increase inflammation and cause oxidative stress. “We’re stripping our body of a ton of fruits which have a ton of antioxidants and polyphenols,” Michaels says.

Is it safe to be on the keto diet during pregnancy?

Despite the naysayers, controversy, and well-known side effects, the keto diet remains a widespread answer for weight loss. But, it’s a whole different story if you’re thinking about starting the keto diet or continuing the diet while pregnant. That’s of course because you’re not just eating for yourself; you’re eating for two. Even though Halle Berry has shared that she remained on the keto diet throughout pregnancy, she did it under the constant supervision of her doctor.

But for the majority of us, doctors say the keto diet is not safe while you’re pregnant. That’s because it doesn’t provide the proper nutrients to help you and your baby thrive. “The keto diet is simply not safe for pregnant women,” Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, lead of obstetrics at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center, told WhatToExpect.com. He went on to explain that the lack of glucose in the keto diet can be harmful to your developing baby.

In the Mayo Clinic’s guidelines for healthy eating during pregnancy, they state that “eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. After all, the food you eat is your baby’s main source of nutrition.” Doctors at the clinic recommend a variety of foods that are banned on the keto diet, including fruits, whole grains, and beans.

Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN, has said on Cafe.Mom, “Eating a healthy, colorful, and well-balanced diet helps control your waistline and ensures you are getting important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Best foods to eat during pregnancy include foods high in protein such as salmon, calcium-rich foods such as low-fat yogurt and milk, enriched whole-grain breads and cereals, high iron-containing foods, eggs, beans, brown rice, and green leafy vegetables.”

If you’re worried about gaining too much weight gain during your pregnancy, make sure to share your concern with your doctor. He or she can create a nutritional plan that is safe for both you and your baby. One of the most important things that you can do for your health and your baby’s development is eating well. Ask your doctor or a nutritionist to find out what’s safe to eat during pregnancy.

How to Use a Pregnancy Wheel to Find Out Your Due Date

Woman looking at pregnancy wheel in her living roomLooking for an inexpensive, simple way to find out when you’re due? Using a pregnancy wheel is a quick and easy way to discover your due date! It’s perfect for moms-to-be who want to calculate and follow along as their baby grows. A pregnancy wheel is a small, circular calendar that uses the date of your last menstrual period (LMP) to help define your due date.
 
A pregnancy wheel goes by many names, like conception date calculator, gestation calculator, pregnancy date calculator, due date calculator, pregnancy wheel calculator, or pregnancy calculator. These easy-to-read, high-quality vinyl pregnancy wheels will calculate your estimated due date right from the privacy of your home. And they’re small enough to fit in your pocket or your purse!
 
Besides talking about these handy wheels, we’re going to give you some useful tips about how to find quality prenatal care. Doctor’s appointments are vital for both you and your baby’s health.
 

How Is My Baby Doing?

Pregnancy wheelA pregnancy wheel is perfect for informing yourself about each stage of pregnancy. In addition to giving you your due date, a pregnancy wheel will show you a wide range of important events during your pregnancy. By clicking on the image of a wheel here, you can see it closer up.
 
A pregnancy wheel also charts your baby’s weight and length each week to determine healthy development. They have guides for determining suggested medical tests, the date of conception, ovulation, ultrasounds, and more! The pregnancy wheel lists your baby’s estimated weight in grams and their crown-to-rump length in millimeters. Previously available to only medical personnel, they’re now available for anyone to order on Amazon! They’re machined precisely for accuracy and made in the U.S.
 

A Pregnancy Wheel Does Not Replace Medical Care

Pregnancy wheels use a mathematical calculation to estimate your due date. So, a wheel should not be used to replace a urine or blood test for pregnancy.
 
If you suspect you might be pregnant, the best course of action is to contact your doctor. A pregnancy wheel doesn’t replace a doctor’s diagnosis of pregnancy. The information that a wheel provides you isn’t medical advice.
 
Are you going to the doctor regularly during your pregnancy? Many women today find themselves without health insurance or unable to afford it. Other women have a difficult time finding transportation to their doctor’s office. If this sounds like your current situation, there are organizations out there that can help.
 
Young woman sits on a couch, looking at a pregnancy wheel

Finding the Best Prenatal Care

Maintaining regular doctor’s appointments during your pregnancy is important for both your health and your baby’s. Even if you’ve already given birth, you need to get the right care during this pregnancy. That’s because no two pregnancies are the same, even if it feels that way.
 
Getting the best prenatal care you can helps keep you and your baby healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care. (source: WomensHealth.gov)
 
When a pregnant woman sees her OB-GYN regularly, her doctor is able to spot health problems early on. This enables her doctor to treat her earlier on, curing many issues and preventing others. After your initial prenatal appointment, you’ll need to come back monthly for the first seven months (in most cases.) After that, it will be every two weeks, and in the final month, every week.
 
Lifetime Adoption can help you find the prenatal care that’s right for you and your situation. Are you having problems finding a doctor or affordable insurance? Or maybe you don’t have dependable transportation, so it’s challenging to get to your doctor’s office. Whichever circumstance sounds like yours, call or text Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784. Their caring professionals can help you explore options so that you can get insurance coverage, find a doctor, or arrange to get you to and from your doctor.

What I Wish I Knew Before Taking the Plan B Pill

Woman looks out the window, deep in thought

Sarah’s Story

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, this might be the most stressful and confusing time in your life. For whatever reason, you know that you are not in a place to parent a child, so you have a seemingly impossible decision to make. Is abortion or adoption the right choice for you?
 
I was in this position one year ago. I made a mistake, and my birth control plan failed. My boyfriend and I were in a committed relationship, but we had not planned on having kids ’til much further down the road. The idea that my entire future could change after a single night left me feeling desperate and alone.
 
In my panic, I opted for the popular emergency contraception pill, Plan B. While I would not call this choice easy, I can say that it was convenient – over the counter at my local pharmacy. At the time I took the pill, I thought I was making the right choice. I made the decision quickly, without really considering any other options. I wish someone had prepared me for the physical and emotional aftermath of my decision. I wish I had taken the time to research all of my other options. My rash action made under extreme stress has left me with feelings of regret and wondering, “what if” even a year later.
 
You are the only one who can decide the right path after an unplanned pregnancy. But to find your way, you need to know about your options. What are the “abortion pill” and Plan B? How might adoption provide you with a different opportunity? The adoption professionals at Lifetime Adoption are here to guide you through your options so you can make an informed decision that is best for you. I want to share some info I wish I’d had.
 

The Abortion Pill and Plan B

The abortion pill (mifepristone and misoprostol) will terminate a pregnancy if taken within ten weeks of a woman’s last menstrual period. Unlike the abortion pill, Plan B (levonorgestrel) will not terminate a pregnancy. Plan B is a female hormone that causes changes to the cervix, making it harder for the egg to be fertilized and implant in the uterus. It is not 100% effective, and its effectiveness decreases the longer you wait after sex (within 72 hours). Healthcare professionals recommend that women visit their doctor within three weeks of using Plan B to confirm they are not pregnant and that the hormones have not caused any harmful side effects.
 
Plan B pills on pharmacy counter with colorful pills strips in backgroundWhile Plan B is relatively safe for most women to use, there are both physical and emotional side effects. Plan B comes with warnings such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bleeding

All of these side effects are listed in the literature for Plan B, but I did not realize how intensely they would impact me. It felt like having my period, a hangover, and bad stomach flu all rolled into one. My symptoms were severe enough to keep me home from work the next day. In addition to the physical repercussions, I felt a dark cloud of despair for the next 24 hours.
 
I’ve learned that many women report feelings of depression and regret after taking Plan B. Options like Plan B and the abortion pill are time-sensitive. Because of the time constrictions with these options, women make this decision under pressure, and possibly without enough information.
 
While the idea of Plan B might relieve anxiety about an unplanned pregnancy, our emotions are more complicated than that. Our bodies enter the fight or flight mode when we are under stress, so the decisions we make under these conditions may leave us feeling regretful. It is common for women to feel regret after taking Plan B or the abortion pill, even if they were sure about their decision at the time. The regret doesn’t go away, sadly.
 

What I Wish I Knew About Adoption

Abortions are becoming increasingly common. In the United States, there are significantly more abortions than there are infant adoptions.
 
Why are more women choosing abortion over adoption when faced with an unplanned pregnancy? One reason is the lack of information about adoption. Some women feel that carrying through with an unplanned pregnancy will be too expensive. They don’t realize that they can receive financial and emotional support throughout the entire adoption process. There is no cost to you.
 
They also fear that giving up their baby will hurt too much, and they will spend their lives wondering if their child is safe. They worry their child will grow up, resenting them for the choice they made. The reality is that there are more loving families looking to adopt than there are available infants, and the option of an open adoption plan will alleviate many of the birth mother’s fears.
 
If your heart is open to adoption as a path for your unplanned pregnancy, the adoption professionals at Lifetime Adoption can show you how adoption may lead to a fulfilling and loving future for you and your baby.
 

Here are five reasons why you might consider adoption over abortion:

1. Abortion is Permanent

Whether it is Plan B, the abortion pill, or any other abortion option, this choice is final. If you have any reservations about terminating your pregnancy, this is probably not the right choice for you.
 
The abortion pill can be taken up to 70 days (or 10 weeks) after conception. On day 1 of conception, the fertilized egg has every detail of how that baby will develop – eye color, height, sex, etc., by week 4 the heart is beating, brain waves can be detected at week 6, and by week 9 the baby’s organs are working, and the body is almost complete. From day one, your baby is growing in leaps and bounds. Your body is going through many hormonal changes as well, and it is important not to act rashly. This is when you need to take time to explore your options.
 
When you open yourself to adoption, you are rewarded with time to educate yourself so that you can make the best decisions for you and your baby. You have options about the type of adoption plan you pursue, and you even have the right to change your mind if you decide to parent your baby yourself. Adoption affords you the flexibility to explore your emotions and the time to make decisions with confidence. It’s a short time with lifelong benefits to many.
 
Birth mother reading adoption profiles

2. Open Adoptions Eliminate Fear of the Unknown

The thought of giving their baby to strangers and forever wondering is simply too much for some women to bear. Thankfully, this is no longer what adoption needs to look like. Today you can meet and build a relationship with the adoptive parents.
 
When you pursue an open adoption, you select the adoptive parents with support and guidance from your adoption professional. You may have the opportunity to get to know the adoptive parents and build a relationship before the baby even arrives.
 
After your baby’s birth, you decide how much contact you wish to have with your child and her adoptive parents. You may be content with periodic updates, or you may desire a closer relationship through consistent phone calls, texts, and visits if you decide.
 
Some adoptive parents live states away, others within driving distance. Either way, you can rest assured that your baby is safe and loved. Adoptive parents have extensive background checks done. Your baby will grow up knowing who you are, and the sacrifice you made for her.
 

3. Adoption Gives Purpose to an Unplanned Pregnancy

By choosing adoption, you are turning a difficult situation into a dream come true for a hopeful adoptive family. While you may not be at a point in your life where you can parent a child, your baby may be meant to fulfill another family. This blessing is the greatest gift you can offer couples hoping to adopt.
 

4. Adoption Gives You Control Over Your Life

An unplanned pregnancy may have you feeling like you are no longer in the driver’s seat. You had a plan for your life, but that plan has unexpectedly veered off course only temporarily.
 
Choosing adoption can help you regain some of that control. You can choose adoption at any point in your pregnancy, and even after your baby is born. In an open adoption, you select the adoptive family that will love and care for your baby. You make the plan for who will be with you when your baby is born, and how things will go at the hospital. You decide how much contact you will have with your child. You are not rushed to make these decisions, so you can feel confident that you are doing what is best for you and your baby. You can even speak to other birth mothers for support.
 

5. You’re Supported Throughout the Adoption Process

Young smiling pregnant woman typing on laptop while communicating over phoneThere are no easy choices when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Both abortion and adoption are complicated and emotional, but only adoption offers you financial and emotional support throughout the process.
 
Through Lifetime Adoption, birth mothers have access to counseling while pregnant, as well as after the baby is born. Birth mothers may also be able to receive some financial support. They do not need to worry about medical costs, and they may also receive assistance for living expenses such as rent, groceries, and transportation.
 

You Are Not Alone

Choosing a path for your unplanned pregnancy is a big decision. Unplanned pregnancy options like Plan B or the abortion pill may seem like a quick fix with the fewest repercussions, but my experience has taught me otherwise. I will always wonder if I would have made a different decision had I been given the time and resources to understand all of my options. I believe I would have chosen adoption.
 
This is not a decision you should make out of fear or because you feel pressured. You do have options, and you are not alone.
 

The adoption professionals at Lifetime Adoption want to help you explore your options so you can determine the right choice for your future. Call or text Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784.

The Top 7 Items for a Natural, Holistic Pregnancy

Pregnant woman pauses on steps during her holistic pregnancyHave you ever wondering what a holistic pregnancy is? In a holistic pregnancy and childbirth experience, the impact of the mind and spirit plus the physical body are taken into account. With a holistic viewpoint, your health, relationships, emotional well-being, and spirituality are believed to affect your pregnancy.
 
During pregnancy, a holistic approach includes the use of alternative therapies to prevent or treat common pregnancy discomforts and complications.
 
So that you can have a safe, natural pregnancy, we scoured the web and found some beneficial tools. We hope these natural pregnancy items will help you through your journey into motherhood!
 

7 Tools that will help you have a natural, holistic pregnancy:

 
1. Raspberry Leaf Tea
This tasty tea will help tone your uterus and pelvic muscles, which is excellent for getting ready for childbirth. Many midwives recommend drinking raspberry leaf tea in the second and third trimesters. Avoid it during your first trimester, since it can trigger some uterine cramping. So make sure to check in with your doctor before you start downing cups of raspberry leaf tea.
 
2. Magnesium
Try applying this topical magnesium oil, which will instantly calm and soothe your body. Plus, it’s very easy for the body to absorb.
 
Taking magnesium in capsule form has been known to help with pregnancy fatigue, morning sickness, constipation, and gestational diabetes. Try this formula from Peapod, which also contains calcium and vitamin D3.
 
A group of pregnant women meditating during a yoga class3. Exercise ball
If you’re shooting for natural childbirth, you’ll want to snap up an exercise ball now! Try using it as a chair; it will keep your pelvis forward, strengthen your core, and maintain proper alignment of your spine.
 
And prenatal yoga has tons of benefits, like increasing the strength, flexibility and endurance of the muscles you’ll need to use during childbirth. When you go into labor, make sure to bring your yoga ball with you! It’s great to lean on and gets your baby into an optimal position for birth.
 
4. Supernatural Childbirth
This book has been a Godsend for many pregnant women. Even if you’re not 100% convinced that painless childbirth is possible, you’ll enjoy reading the testimonials and Scripture that helps support a more spiritual birth. There are prayers for conception, for the growing child in utero, and for the delivery itself. There’s also this audio piece, Childbirth in the Glory, that’s great to listen to throughout the day.
 
5. HCL/Pepsin
Especially in the first trimester, you might find that your digestion is getting a little wonky. Pregnancy hormones are slowing down the digestive process, which can lead to heartburn, acid reflux, and nausea. HCL is something our stomachs secrete naturally during digestion, and this HCL/Pepsin supplement mimics and supports this process.
 
6. Lemonade
Squeeze two lemons through a strainer into a quart-size Mason jar. Add filtered water and about 10 drops of stevia, sugar, or your favorite sweetener. Add a dash of sea salt. This delicious drink will become your go-to! It’ll help you get in all the fluids you need to for the day, and it also helps with digestion.
 
7. SpinningBabies.com
This website has a wealth of helpful information on baby positioning. Wondering why that’s important? Generally speaking, the better the position your baby is in, the easier childbirth should be.
 

How ’bout you? What are your essentials during pregnancy? Please share them with us!

Smoking and Pregnancy: Understanding the Risks

Today’s article comes to us from ChildMode.com, a website which provides first-time millennial parents the lowdown on pregnancy and babies with stage-by-stage info, expert advice, breaking news, and style inspiration.
 
Learn about the risks of smoking during pregnancySmoking during pregnancy puts both you and your unborn child at an increased risk of health complications. Second-hand smoking can also affect you and your unborn baby.
 
Even though most people are aware that smoking during pregnancy is risky, some women still keep at it even during pregnancy.

Women who smoke during pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth to low-birth-weight babies, and they are also at increased risks of problems like preterm labor and miscarriages. Low birth weight babies are more susceptible to infections, at a higher risk of death, long-term health problems when they are older, and breathing difficulties.

Keeping up the habit of smoking during pregnancy continues to expose your unborn baby to these health issues. To understand why you should quit smoking during pregnancy, you should understand the risks.

Pregnancy Complications from Smoking

Pregnant women who smoke are more at risk of ectopic pregnancies. An ectopic pregnancy occurs outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.

They are also at risk of miscarriage and can have problems with their placenta. Smoking during pregnancy can induce early detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall and end up blocking the cervical opening.

Smoking during pregnancy can also propel premature rupture of membranes as well as early labor and fetal death.

Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy on the Baby

Each time you smoke a cigarette during pregnancy, you cut down your unborn baby’s oxygen and expose the unborn baby to a cocktail of chemicals, including some that could cause cancer. The reduced oxygen supply is as a result of carbon monoxide and nicotine produced from smoking cigarettes.

Smoking during pregnancy puts your unborn baby at risk of retarded growth and development. You also put your baby at risk of developing a cleft palate and a cleft lip.

An hour after smoking a cigarette, you may notice decreased fetal movements in your womb. Smoking can also potentially change your baby’s brain and lungs.

How Second-hand Smoking Affects Your Pregnancy

Breathing second-hand smoke when you’re pregnant can also affect the baby’s health by increasing the risk of:

  • Pregnancy loss
  • Low birth weight
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Asthma attacks
  • A congenital disability
  • Ear infections

Problems for Your Child Later in Life Due to Smoking During Pregnancy

Children born of women who smoked during pregnancy could have health problems like:

  • Higher risk of asthma
  • Weaker lungs
  • Increased risk of being obese and overweight in childhood
  • Increased risk of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Low birth weight can be linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure as they grow older

Quitting smoking while pregnant

Quitting Smoking During Pregnancy

Ideally, once you find out you are pregnant, you should stop smoking. However, only half of pregnant women quit when pregnancy is confirmed or planned. Pregnant women looking to quit smoking can seek help or see their health professional for advice and information.

Luckily, some specialists give free support for pregnant women, and they also help you remain a non-smoker even after giving birth.

If you have been trying to quit smoking, but it seems to be more challenging than you think, do not despair. If you keep trying, you can be able to quit smoking in the fourth month of your pregnancy and still reduce some of the risks associated with smoking during pregnancy, such as premature birth and low birth weight.

Should You Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy During Pregnancy?

We recommend trying to quit smoking during pregnancy without medication. However, if the natural way is not working for you, you could try using nicotine replacement therapy such as lozenges, inhalator, gum, mouth spray, or 16-hour patches to aid with the process.

However, even though these products are considered much safer than smoking, exposing the baby to a smaller amount of nicotine does mean that they will be entirely risk-free for your unborn baby.

Before using nicotine replacement therapy if you are pregnant, make sure to consult your doctor to discuss the benefits and risks of using.

Most nicotine replacement products can be bought over-the-counter. However, if you opt to use a nicotine patch, we recommend that you minimize your unborn baby’s exposure to the small traces of nicotine by removing the patch when you sleep.

What Can You Do To Quit Smoking?

The first step is deciding to quit. Once you have decided, consult your health care provider for further advice and seek additional counseling.

The next step should be to get rid of all smoking materials in your home, office, and car and make all your spaces smoke-free. You should also avoid situations that could make you want to smoke.

Spending time with people who don’t smoke can also help you progress your efforts. It also helps to visit places where smoking is not allowed.

Turn to your family and friends for support. We recommend setting a goal of creating a reward for when you meet an objective. For example, if you have stayed for a certain length of time without smoking, you can use whatever you would have spent on smoking to buy your baby something.

Visit childmode.com to learn more about smoking and pregnancy.

Where to Buy the Best Maternity Coats

Get tips on where to find the best maternity coats for your budget!It’s hard not to be jealous of those women who never have to buy a maternity coat. “When I was pregnant, I just bought a jacket one size up.” Shoot.
 
But if you’re one of us who can’t get away with wearing a “slightly larger coat” during your pregnancy, this post is for you! If you’re due between November and April, you may need to find yourself a proper coat.
 
Our first piece of advice on maternity coats is to buy a used one if you have the time to shop around. Try looking at your local consignment stores, thrift shops, or even Salvation Army. Or try shopping online at eBay or ThredUP. A third option is to rent a jacket from sites like Mine For Nine or Stitch Fix Maternity.
 
If you can’t find a used maternity coat, finding a new one that’s reasonably affordable is your best bet. Today, we’re sharing the best maternity coats!
 
Today’s article the final one in Pregnancy Help Online’s blog series, Where to Buy the Best Maternity Clothes. In case you missed them, here are the other installments about maternity fashion in this series:
 
Where to Buy the Best Maternity Jeans
Where to Buy the Best Maternity Athleisure Clothes
Where to Buy Maternity Clothes for Work
Where to Buy the Best Maternity Pajamas
Where to Buy the Best Everyday Maternity Clothes
 

Here are our picks for the best maternity coats, jackets, and outerwear!

 
Gap Maternity Hooded Frost-Free Long-Line Puffer Jacket
Starting off is this stylish (yet functional!) padded jacket. Its faux fur collar trim adds an element of style, while the micro fleece lining is sure to keep you warm. This coat will go with everything!
 
Motherhood Maternity Removable Waist Tie French Terry Maternity Peacoat
This coat is so comfortable to wear! Made soft materials, it’s non-restraining and easily stretches for comfort. Since there’s a tie waist, you won’t be constricted by the tightness of a zipper that a normal coat has. Lots of room for your belly to grow, and you might even wear it after you have your baby because it doesn’t look like a maternity coat at all. Reviewers have said this coat is very flattering to wear on a pregnant figure!
 
ASOS DESIGN Maternity Classic Trench Coat
If you live in a warmer climates, a classic trench coat like this one from ASOS is all you need for the fall and winter. It’s also a great coat if you feel like you’re always over-heated and so you need minimal layers. This jacket goes with so many outfits and never goes out of style.
 
Old Navy Maternity Funnel-Neck Cheetah-Print Coat
Featuring an all-over cheetah print that’s become so popular lately, this affordable topper from Old Navy is made of a soft, wool-blend fabric, with smooth taffeta lining. You’ll have plenty of room to grow in this coat, plus it has a fun fuzzy texture. If cheetah print’s not your thing, Old Navy also sells this in solid black or tan.
 
Motherhood Maternity Quilted Puffer Maternity Coat
This fashionable jacket from Motherhood Maternity is machine-washable and perfect for the crisp fall weather! Says one reviewer, “I love this jacket. I needed a jacket to fit my bust as that also increased in size much faster than my belly, rather than purchase a regular one I decided to go for a maternity since I will eventually need one anyway. It looks great even with having a smaller bump right now and has plenty of room to grow with the stretchy side panels. I have worn it with a popover and t-shirt and it layers perfectly.”