Healthy Ideas for the Care Your New Baby

Love Sleep Play delivers ideas and articles for the care and health of you and your new baby

A Guide to Your Pregnant Body

When you’re having a baby, your body will go through a multitude of changes. Some you’ll expect (the weight gain, for example) while others might come as a surprise (hello, hemorrhoids!). Here’s the rundown on the trimester-by-trimester changes most expectant moms experience. Keep in mind that while these symptoms are perfectly normal, if any cause you severe discomfort or stop you from going about your daily routines, talk to your doctor.

In Your First Trimester
 
In the initial trimester, your body isn’t quite used to the idea of being pregnant yet, and your increasing hormone levels are wreaking some havoc. Here’s what to expect:

  • Your breasts will most likely become swollen, and your nipples may start to stick out.

  • Morning sickness can cause some soon-to-be new moms to have upset stomachs or to throw up.

  • An increase in hormone levels can bring on acne (talk to your doctor before using any acne medication).

  • Mood swings may occur (again, blame the hormones!). Don’t be surprised if one second you’re laughing with friends and the next you’re sobbing.

  • It’s likely you’ll experience constipation or difficulty with bowel movements.

  • You may need to urinate more frequently.

In Your Second Trimester
By now your body has probably settled into a more steady pregnancy routine. Here’s what expectant moms should be on the lookout for during this time.

  • General body aches in the back, groin, or thighs may start to kick in.

  • Your skin may start to change, including a darkening around your nipples and the appearance of stretch marks, especially on your stomach, breasts, thighs, and buttocks.

  • Your ankles, fingers, and face may start to swell.

  • Other normal symptoms are itching of the abdomen, palms, and feet as well swelling of your ankles, fingers, and face. However, if any of these symptoms are accompanied with nausea, a loss of appetite, vomiting, or extreme fatigue, contact your doctor immediately, as it could be a sign of something more serious.

In Your Third Trimester
Good news: You’re almost at the finish line! Here are a few additional symptoms expectant moms may notice in those final weeks:

  • Shortness of breath, heartburn, and swelling may occur, as well as the development of hemorrhoids.

  • Your breasts may become very tender, and may begin to leak colostrum, a watery pre-milk your body produces as it gets ready to provide nourishment for your new baby.

  • Your new baby will probably “drop” during these weeks, moving lower in your abdomen to prepare for birth.

While some of the symptoms are annoying and even worrisome, keep in mind that most disappear within a few months of giving birth. And by that time, you’ll be so in love with your new baby, you won't even notice a little acne!

Global Pregnancy Eats

For many women around the world, having a baby often comes with an array of new eating habits and cravings, from feasting on a tray of brownies to dipping pickles in curry. But what are pregnancy cravings exactly? Here’s a look at some common cravings and ways to satisfy them without derailing your pregnancy diet or harming your baby.

Understanding pregnancy cravings

You want an entire bag of chips, or an ice cream sundae, and you want it now. Strong urges like these are common among new moms during pregnancy, and no one is completely certain why they occur. Some experts believe that pregnancy cravings happen as a result of your body asking for the nutrients it needs. So desires for ice cream sundaes or a tray of brownies could be a signal that your body needs more calcium or fat

Top cravings from around the world

Most food cravings fall into the sweet, spicy, salty, or sour category, and include foods like ice cream, pickles, soda, lemon, tomatoes, and chocolate.

Craving caveat

Keep in mind that while many pregnancy cravings can be very strong, oftentimes your body doesn’t need the specific food you’re craving, just something in that food. And filling up on unhealthy foods can lead to excessive weight gain during pregnancy and nutritional deficiencies for both mom and baby.

How to satisfy your craving

So how do you satisfy a pregnancy craving without doing any damage to your overall health or the health of your new baby? Learn to understand your cravings and satisfy them by eating small amounts of what you desire without overdoing it, or by choosing something similar but  more healthful. That hankering for a vanilla milkshake could just be your body’s desire for calcium and can be sated by a cup of low-fat yogurt, while some crunchy carrots may satisfy a potato chip craving (or maybe not). 

And if a healthy alternative doesn’t do the job? Take your mind off of your craving by going for a walk, spending time with another new mom to-be, or calling a friend to talk about your day.

Pregnancy Weight Gain Guide

You’re already gaining weight, so it makes sense that many new moms might think of pregnancy as an excuse to fill up on favorite foods. But it’s actually important for you and your health care provider to monitor your weight gain during pregnancy. Experts now know that putting on too many pounds can increase the risk for developing serious pregnancy conditions, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, and also up the chance of a premature delivery. Keep these tips in mind in order to gain at a healthy pace while expecting.

Gain gradually

Experts says that most of the weight gain should occur during the second and third trimesters, and at a gradual pace. Your health care provider is the best resource for how much and when to gain during your pregnancy, and you'll be weighed at each prenatal visit. If you’re gaining too much, too fast, opt for healthier food choices, eat six small meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones, and talk to your doctor about starting an exercise routine. If you gain an excessive amount, your doctor may suggest waiting until after your pregnancy to lose the weight.

Eat well

Turns out that you don't need to eat a lot more to properly nourish yourself and your new baby when you're pregnant. You only need an additional 150 to 200 healthy calories each day when expecting during the first trimester, and about 300 during the second and third. Instead of munching on junk food, look for nutritious snacks that are high in protein and vitamins to support your growing baby. Cheese and whole wheat crackers, nut butter and apple slices, sliced vegetables with hummus, and even frozen fruit bars are all good options.

Don’t rush it

It may be tempting to get back to your pre-baby size as soon as possible, but losing the baby weight too fast can leave you without enough energy to properly take care of your new baby. Stick to a nutritious diet and exercise routine (once your doctor gives you the go-ahead), and put the focus on your health instead of your weight.

Of course, pregnancy is definitely a time to indulge a little. While it’s fine to give in to cravings occasionally, it’s important to keep control of your weight and your diet, not only for your sake, but the health of your new baby, too.

Second Pregnancy Lowdown: Small Age Gaps

I’ve definitely been experiencing some ups and downs my second pregnancy. The upside is that I have been down this road before and I am very familiar with what is to come my way -- doctor visits, testing and a weak bladder to name a few things. The downside, however: I don’t really have too much time to focus on this pregnancy as a whole. Why is that? Well, I have a 21-month-old running my life!

When I was pregnant with my first son, Cameron, it was amazing, exciting and the pregnancy consumed my life (in a positive way of course). My husband and I were so happy to welcome a baby into our lives. I constantly took photos of my growing belly, kept a pregnancy journal and took videos each month to document every stage. I also had the luxury of never having to experience morning sickness. I was glowing and even my delivery went pretty perfectly!

My second pregnancy: I barely have time to take photos, let alone keep a journal, and guess what, no video in sight! A part of me feels guilty, but I have a baby on my hands this time around -- life is so different once a child is in your life.  

For our second baby, we’ve decided to find out the gender, we didn’t with our first. Knowing the gender didn’t matter at all the first time, we were just excited we had a bundle on the way! This time however, I know I have to prepare. If it’s going to be another boy, I wouldn’t need to get all new clothes, he could use Cameron’s hand me downs. If it’s going to be a girl, we’ll need to tweak the room they’ll share to be more gender neutral.  Also, letting Cameron knows he has a little sister on the way seems to be making the idea of a second child in the house more real to him.

I know that there will be some challenges to having two babies so close in age. Some folks believe it’s easier to just have them close in age so they can play together and grow up together (I’m a believer in that). I’ve also heard that it’s not the best thing, because you may focus most of your attention on the second baby and forget about the older child. All I can say is that I’m very happy with the decision my husband and I made to have the second child soon after our first. After all, he is my prince and there is more than enough room in this world to love both my prince and my soon to arrive princess.