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

An Expectant Mom’s Guide to Traveling While Pregnant

Whether you’re getting there by plane, train, or automobile, traveling while pregnant definitely benefits from forethought and careful planning. While there’s certainly no reason to sit at home, you should take certain precautions to make sure that your trip is healthy, safe, and comfortable for both you and your new baby. Here are some tips on how to make pregnancy travel easier and more enjoyable, as well as advice for which activities are best left off the itinerary.

Before You Go

Check in with your doctor. Make sure you have the official go-ahead to travel from your doctor. Many heath care providers suggest that new moms-to-be consider traveling during the second trimester, when the risk of miscarriage and premature labor is at its lowest.

Find a hospital or medical clinic near wherever you are traveling. You’ll want to know where medical assistance can be found if you need it. If traveling internationally, refer to the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers for a worldwide directory of doctors.

Check in with the airline. Certain airlines have restrictions or regulations about traveling while pregnant, so make sure yours knows you have a baby on board.

Traveling by Air

Request an aisle seat. This makes it much easier to take those frequent trips to the bathroom.

Move around. Get up out of your seat and walk up and down the aisle at least once every couple of hours to promote circulation.

Drink plenty of water. Flying can cause dehydration, so keep sipping on water throughout the flight.

Traveling on Land

Pack plenty of healthy snacks. Roadside fare isn’t always nutritious or appealing, so it's wise to pack your own food to help stave off nausea and to keep  you and your new baby fueled along the way.

Dress in layers. While pregnant, your body temperature is constantly changing, and it’s a good idea to be able to remove or add clothing as necessary.

Limit driving time. If traveling by car, aim for driving no more than five or six hours each day, and make frequent stops to get out and stretch your legs.

Activities to Avoid While Away

Bicycling. The shifting center of gravity affects balance, especially after the first trimester.

Scuba Diving. As you surface, air bubbles can form in your bloodstream, which can be very dangerous to both you and your new baby.

Downhill skiing, horseback riding, surfing, and waterskiing. Any activity that poses a high risk for falling should be avoided, as a tumble may increase the risk of trauma to your abdomen.

Remember, women all over the world travel while pregnant. As long as you take the proper precautions, there’s no reason not to schedule a getaway before your new baby is born! And if you're going to be traveling by car, check out this list of Best Car Buys for 2019.

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.

Six Pregnancy Super Foods

You know you have to eat well when expecting -- this helps help ensure a healthy pregnancy and gives your baby’s development a boost. But which foods pack the biggest nutritional punch? And how can you easily include them in your roster of meals, mini-meals, and snacks? Here, a handy guide to super foods and healthy eating!

Eggs Protein is crucial for your new baby’s growth during the second and third trimesters, and eggs are an easy and inexpensive way to get a good dose. Hardboiled eggs make for a fast snack, while an over-easy egg on top of rice or stir-fry veggies can give the meal a protein boost.

Beans Fiber-full, protein-rich, and low in calories -- what’s not to love about beans? Whether you choose black, pinto, navy, or chickpeas, they’ll taste great in a quesadilla or sprinkled on salads and pasta dishes.

Sweet potatoes Regular potatoes are fine, but for some added vitamins A and C (which helps you absorb iron and helps ensure healthy gums for you and your new baby) pick the dark orange variety. Bake a couple until they are soft and top with low-fat Greek yogurt and chives, or slice sweet potatoes into edges and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.

Salmon This fish delivers a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids , which can give your new baby’s developing brain a boost. Expectant new moms can enjoy 12 ounces of fish a week, so consider low- and no-mercury varieties like salmon, trout, and sardines. If cooking fresh fish doesn't appeal to you, opt for the canned varieties (try salmon salad on rye).

Nuts The healthy fats found in nuts can help foster your new baby’s brain development; walnuts, with their omega-3s , are particularly potent. Eat them whole or spread walnut butter on whole-wheat toast or slices of pear.

Low-fat dairy Calcium, protein, and vitamin D can be found in dairy aisle products, so stock up on skim milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Greek yogurt is an especially good pick because of the extra protein it offers.

Don’t be concerned if your pregnancy diet isn’t perfect all the time. Just try to work in a couple of these picks each day to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.

Photo by Vanessa von Wieding 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.