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!

Four Off-Limit Foods for New Moms-to-Be

Meals should be a pleasure during pregnancy, not a problem. But certain foods can be risky when you’re eating for two. For your baby’s safety, steer clear of the following foods when expecting, and always ask your doctor if you have any questions on what you should -- and shouldn’t -- eat .

Fish high in mercury. Eating fish is an important part of your pregnancy diet because much of it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are super nutrients for your new baby’s brain development. But not every kind of fish is recommended. Some larger ones contain too much mercury, which can affect your baby’s nervous system. Steer clear of shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish. And limit safer varieties of fish to 12 ounces a week.

Some raw and undercooked foods. The risk with anything raw is that you may contract a case of food poisoning. While it’s rare for this illness to affect your new baby, it’s not pleasant to deal with, whether you’re pregnant or not. To be on the safe side, cook eggs, seafood, shellfish, meat, and chicken fully. Skip raw fish and shellfish, smoked fish, refrigerated pate, and raw sprouts like radish, mung bean, and alfalfa.

Unpasteurized cheese, milk, and juice. Unpasteurized products are off the menu when you’re expecting. Read labels carefully to be sure all milk and juice you drink has been pasteurized and the cheese you consume (especially soft varieties like Brie,  Camembert, and goat cheese,) is made with pasteurized, not raw, milk.

Deli meats. Listeriosis, a rather serious foodborne illness, is the concern for this category. It’s a good idea to avoid deli meats and hot dogs anyway as they aren’t a healthy choice (many are high in sodium). If you do indulge in deli items during pregnancy, be sure to heat all meats and franks until they are steaming.

Remember to practice good hygiene in the kitchen -- it’s smart whether you’re having a baby or not. Always wash your hands before preparing food or eating a meal, and wash produce well under running water, using a brush to scrub the outer layer of tough-skinned fruits and veggies. Knowing your diet is safe for your new baby will put any expectant mom at ease. Happy eating!

Nine Pregnancy Tips for Moms of Multiples

If you’re expecting multiples, t there are also some extra steps you’ll need to take while you’re pregnant to ensure that your little ones are healthy. Whether you’re having twins, triplets, or more, keep these nine pregnancy tips in mind.  

Pregnancy tip #1: Find out if you’re having fraternal or identical twins. If it’s the latter, your doctor will want to keep a closer eye on their development.

Pregnancy tip #2: Eat wisely. A healthy diet is a must to ensure a healthy birth weight, especially when you’re having multiples. Load up on fruits and veggies, since your growing babies need micronutrients like folic acid, iron, and vitamins, as well as lean proteins.

Pregnancy tip #3: Watch your weight. You may gain more weight when carrying twins as opposed to if you had a single pregnancy, but you’ll still need to monitor your weight and aim for a healthy mark. Talk to your doctor about what's appropriate for your situation.  

Pregnancy  tip #4: Drink up! For moms carrying multiples, dehydration can lead to preterm labor. Aim to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day.

Pregnancy tip #5: Don’t skip the supplements. If your health care provider recommends or prescribes prenatal vitamins and/or supplements, be sure to take them. Many women may need extra folic acid to help prevent birth defects.

Pregnancy tip #6: Spend time with the doctor. You’ll need a good amount of monitoring throughout your pregnancy if you’re carrying multiples, so be sure to stay on track with your doctor appointments.

Pregnancy tip #7: Know your risks. The chance of conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are higher if you’re carrying multiples. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to minimize your risk.

Pregnancy tip #8: Be ready for an early labor. Women carrying twins tend to go into labor earlier (usually around the 35th to 37th week) than those carrying a single baby. Have your overnight bag packed and ready in case you need to head to the hospital earlier than expected.

Pregnancy tip #9: Talk to your doctor about your delivery plan. The chance of a cesarean is higher with multiples. Discuss your preferred birthing plan with your doctor, but be ready in case you need a cesarean for safety reasons.

While a multiples pregnancy may be a little trickier to navigate, just remember that more new babies means even more love and attention. All that care during pregnancy will help ensure a healthy and happy family.

Second Pregnancy: Are Boys Easier than Girls?

When it came to my first pregnancy, I felt I was a total rock star. When the time came for baby number two, I knew I would be nothing less than perfect. I had done this before. 

I was quickly brought back to reality though, when my vicious battle with morning sickness set in. It was in that moment I began to realize, that maybe the second baby wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

With the first time around, I only experienced about two weeks of morning sickness. I was tired, but having no children at the time, I found it super easy to take naps or go to bed early. This was a luxury I wouldn’t have my second pregnancy.

Before the big gender revealing ultrasound with my first child, we assumed my daughter was actually going to be a girl. Simply based on old wives tales and the Chinese gender prediction chart, all signs pointed to female. They claimed women where typically only sick with girls. I was craving sweets. My daughter had a high heart rate on the Doppler at all my check ups. And though I wasn’t gaining a ton of weight, my body was changing all over, not just in my stomach. When they say that a daughter steals your beauty -- in my case -- they weren’t kidding.

When I became pregnant with my second child, nothing was the same. Nothing was predictable. This pregnancy felt like a complete 180, and that was the major factor in believing that I was carrying a boy.

Though I had been slightly sick the first time, I had never experienced anything like this. I was violently ill, but thanks to a steady diet of baked potatoes and plain bagels, I was gaining weight like a sumo wrestler -- I wasn’t just hungry, I was famished.  The acne I received rivaled that of a middle-schooler and my hair and nails were growing at a rapid teen-wolf like rate. My mood swings could be qualified as lethal. And it lasted well beyond the 14th week of pregnancy. I’m happy to admit I was a mess, a hot crazy hormonal mess.

How did I get through my second pregnancy while managing a three year old? We did a lot of sedentary activities. I played a wonderful patient during doctor. We mastered 10 piece puzzles on a daily basis.  And the weekly kids movie showing at our local theater became a cherished refuge. I also had to let go of the small details and focus on the big picture. While my daughter came home to a perfect nursery, my sons room was still a work in progress at the time of his birth. Asking friends and family for help is also something I typically don’t do, but found many people eager to lighten my ever growing load.

At times, the whole experience was overwhelming. But regardless of boy or girl, first pregnancy or fifth, all you can do sit back and enjoy ride.