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

An Expectant Mom’s Guide to Finding a Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy is a time when you need as much sleep as you can snag, but finding a comfortable sleeping position may be difficult for many soon-to-be new moms. The extra weight you’re carrying around can put stress on your body and joints, resulting in aches and pains when you try to lie down for the night, not to mention keeping you awake.

Luckily, a maternity or pregnancy pillow can come to the rescue. These oversized pillows help to alleviate aches and pains by supporting certain areas of your body while you sleep. Every woman’s body is different, and that's why maternity pillows come in a variety of shapes and styles that are catered toward the comfort each new mom-to-be requires. Here are some tips on how to choose the pregnancy pillow that’s best for you:  

Look online. This is the fastest way to see all the different types of pillows that are available, as well as read reviews from other expectant moms on which types and brands work best.

Ask for advice. Chances are you have a friend, relative, or acquaintance who is  pregnant or has been pregnant in the recent past. Use the information she can give you as a guide.

Pick your support.  Decide which areas of the body you need supported, as different pillows support the body in different ways. Here is a breakdown of the basic types of pregnancy pillows and what they do:

Memory foam. This kind adjusts to the contours of your body, and supports the belly, back, and knees.

Simple wedge. This type slides easily under a growing belly, and is ideal if you prefer to sleep on your side. This pillow is also great for traveling, because it’s small and compact.

Bean-shaped. These wrap around your mid-section. They have adjustable straps at each end specifically designed to support the back on one side and the stomach on the other.

Test them out. Many stores will allow expectant moms to touch and even try the pillows while in the store.Take advantage and lie in different positions to see which one is most comfortable for your body.

If you’re unable to track down a maternity pillow, know that you can use multiple regular bed pillows instead. Place a pillow to support each affected area, or stick one under each side of your back. A better night’s sleep will make you a happier new mom-to-be, and help power you through your pregnancy.

Photo by Dominic Sansotta 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

What To Expect: The Second Pregnancy

My second pregnancy was both the same as and different from the first. The similarities included another uneventful gestation (9 quiet months), a second beautiful girl (Fiona!), and a repeat C-section. As for the different: I was ‘showing’ almost from the start, Fiona decided to breech at the last minute, and, luckily, breastfeeding was a breeze with our second baby (I struggled mightily with Isabel, my first born). Here, a few surprises and details from my second pregnancy experience:

Body basics Yup, my belly definitely protruded earlier with the second baby (probably because I was already stretched out from #1). Fatigue was also a bigger problem. This situation was thanks to Miss Isabel, who was 2 years old at the time. Chasing a toddler while lugging a huge tummy around is a definite recipe for exhaustion.

Turning green The same things that churned my stomach with #1 were back again with a vengeance my second pregnancy. They included raw chicken, the smell of bleach, and, for some strange reason, mushrooms! Perhaps it was the texture or the black feathery underside? Either way, they weren’t going on my salad. 

Big News When to tell people is a little trickier with a second pregnancy because your first child is now a factor. I didn’t want Isabel to know too far in advance because she might get confused and probably wouldn’t remember it by the time her sister arrived. But a new baby is a huge adjustment for a sibling, so I decided the best time to explain it to her was during my 7th month, so she had enough time to get -- and stay -- excited.

Same path After my first C-section, I wanted to try another delivery method the next time. I attended a birthing class for second-time moms and read up on VBACs -- vaginal birth after Cesarean. But alas, Fiona flipped in utero during my last weeks of pregnancy and presented as breech. Though my doctor tried to perform an external version (the manipulation of the baby from the outside to encourage her to switch positions), Fiona wouldn’t budge and another C-section was my fate.

The Big Day Getting ready for the second birth was easier this time: I was ready for my several-day stay in the hospital, and prepared for the pain and recovery. My husband took Isabel to my mother-in-law’s house on the big day and then we toasted (with sparkling cider) our last moment as a family of three.