Pregnancy, Maternity and Health Tips for Expecting Parents

Love Sleep Play delivers content and articles about pregnancy, maternity, and the post natal care for your new baby

Baby Bump Photo Fun for Expectant Moms

If you thought the photos would start after your baby was born, think again. Many expectant moms are capturing their pregnancy through distinctive and unique baby bump photos that showcase their bellies. Creating these images is a fun and easy way to help you and your family get excited for your new bundle of joy. Ready to put your own belly on display? Read on for some inspiration and get snapping!

The Side-by-Side Comparison

This photo series is a great way to document the change in your belly size during your pregnancy. Simply stand in front of a solid, light-colored background, turn sidewise to the camera for optimal bump-viewing ability, and snap away, taking a new photo at the beginning of every month in the same pose. You may want to wear a form-fitting top so your bump really stands out. After nine months you’ll have great record of your new baby’s development.

The Sibling Photo

If you already have a child, a nice way to help get her excited for her new brother or sister is to involve her in the baby bump photo. It’s best to take this shot when you’re far along in your pregnancy. Pick a spot in the new baby’s nursery -- such as on the floor near the crib or sitting together in a rocking chair -- and have your child rest her head on your stomach. It’s a simple and sweet way for the two of you to welcome the new baby into your lives.

The Fruit Photo     

It’s common for moms to compare their new baby’s fetal growth to the size of certain fruits (for example, at week 8 the baby is the size of a raspberry, a plum at week 12, and an avocado at week 16). Take this a step further by photographing yourself holding the fruit next to your belly at each monthly milestone.

The Pregnant Paint Photo

If you’re artsy -- and willing to get a little messy -- then a photo shoot highlighting your painted belly is for you. Get creative with this one! You could paint hearts on your belly, have your other children paint their handprints all over your bump, or even use your stomach as your birth announcement for your new baby by writing “It’s a boy!”  Another option: Ask an artistic friend to create an elaborate piece of artwork on your belly. The paint won’t last forever, but the photo memories will.

Even if your to-do list is extremely long during your pregnancy months, aim to carve out some time for a baby bump photo shoot. You and your new baby will have fun looking back on the photo memories for years to come.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Facts about Pregnancy Cravings

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.

Photo by Robin Stickel on Unsplash

Insomnia When Expecting

There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning when you want to be fast asleep. Your mind is racing, the room suddenly feels hot, and the longer you lie awake, the more frustrated you feel.  Add to this an ever-expanding belly, back and neck aches, and the inability to get comfortable in any position, and you’ve got pregnancy insomnia. Here are four tips to help you go from restless to restful:

New mom insomnia tip #1: Get up and change your setting. If you find yourself wide-awake in the middle of the night, lying in bed may not be the best choice. Instead, get up and read a book, listen to some calming music, or do a mundane chore to help get your mind off the fact that you can’t sleep. Then, once you feel yourself getting tired, lie back down and try again.

New mom insomnia tip #2: Avoid bright lights. Even if you feel wide-awake, resist the urge to throw on a bright overhead light before bedtime. Instead, go to a room where you have a dimmer switch or a lamp with soft lighting, which will be less arousing and allow you to return to sleep more quickly.

New mom insomnia tip #3: Try guided imagery. Picture yourself in a quiet, relaxing scene. You may be lying on a warm, sandy beach, or strolling through fields full of beautiful, scented wildflowers. Now, visualize every detail of the scene. Imagine the sounds, smells, and textures around you. It may take some practice, but guided imagery can calm your restless or anxious mind.

New mom insomnia tip #4: Take a bath. If you’re wide awake and feeling so tense that you can’t fall back asleep, a warm bath may help get you back to a more relaxed state. A cup of warm milk or chamomile tea can also help soothe you to sleep.

With any luck, one or more of these strategies will do the trick and send you off into dreamland. Enjoy your well-earned night's rest.

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Five Solutions for Top Pregnancy Sleep Issues

If you’re tossing and turning at night, unable to get the rest you need, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Many new moms-to-be have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, especially as their pregnancy progresses. It’s important to try to resolve your bedtime battles sooner rather than later, as good sleep during pregnancy is linked to a healthier baby and an easier delivery. Read on for some common pregnancy sleep problems and how to solve them.

Trouble getting comfortable: Use a pregnancy pillow to wrap around your tummy, elevate your legs, or assist you when lying on your side. If you have pain in your lower back, experiment with extra pillows to relieve any muscle tension. Try one pillow under your abdomen, one between your legs, a firm one behind your back, and an extra one under your head, for example.

Headaches and nausea: If headaches are disturbing your sleep, you may be suffering from low blood sugar. Try eating a light snack with protein and carbohydrates such as scrambled eggs and toast, which will help to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the night. If you find yourself feeling nauseous when you lie down for the night, you may want to start eating small, bland snacks throughout the day, like crackers or toast.

Hot flashes or night sweats: Make sure the bedroom stays cool by cracking open a window, using a fan, or turning down the thermostat. Also, close the curtains or blinds before you turn in for the night. You’ll find it much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if the room is cool and dark.

Frequent trips to the bathroom: Cut off your consumption of liquids a few hours before bedtime to reduce the number of times you have to get up during the night. However, with your growing new baby putting constant pressure on your bladder, some nighttime trips to the bathroom may be unavoidable. A nightlight or a dimmer switch is a better choice than turning on a bright overhead light, which can make it difficult to fall back asleep.

Heartburn: Avoid spicy, acidic, or fried foods, especially a few hours before bedtime, and make sure not to recline for at least an hour or two after eating. If the problem persists, try sleeping with your head elevated on a pillow or speak with your doctor.

You may need to follow more than one or even all of these tips in order to solve your sleep problems. But don’t give up! A proper night’s rest will give your body the energy it needs to have a healthy pregnancy.