Healthy Ideas for the Care Your New Baby

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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.

Your Nesting Nature

As your due date draws near, the nesting instincts you’ve been feeling throughout your pregnancy may be stronger than ever. These powerful urges can tempt expectant moms to do anything from painting the nursery to cleaning  gutters, washing drapes, and stocking up on diapers and onesies. It's important to focus on only what you are truly capable of doing without exhausting yourself, so you can save your energy to care or your new baby.

What is nesting?

The urge to clean and organize your home (and everything in it) before bringing your baby home is a primal instinct that many animals, from birds to dogs, have during pregnancy. Though it’s unclear why these urges occur in humans, one theory is that they may be remnants from a time when physical preparation was necessary for women to have a safer childbirth. Nesting may begin months before your due date, but it is usually strongest just before delivery.

While using these nesting instincts can be a wonderful way to prepare your home for your new baby, or to tackle projects you haven’t had time to do before becoming a new mom, it’s important to make the most of your urges safely and not overdo it.

Nesting tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you bring your baby home:

  • Make a to-do list: Ready to defrost the fridge, wipe down the windows, and sweep out the garage right now? Instead, make a list of everything you’re looking to accomplish to keep your mind from wandering, and to avoid feeling overwhelmed with too many projects. Plus, you’ll feel satisfied crossing things off your list as you finish them up.

  • Set some priorities: Use that checklist to tackle the “must-do” projects like packing your hospital bag, installing the car seat, readying the diapers, and washing a week’s worth of newborn outfits. This process will help you focus on things you really need to have done before having your new baby.

  • Prep some food: If you’re really feeling ambitious, plan out a few weeks’ worth of meals, cook them up, and freeze them. You'll be all set for those days when taking a shower seems impossible, let alone putting dinner on the table.

  • Don’t push it: Carve out some time for a little self pampering, like a do-it-yourself manicure or deep conditioning treatment, and make sure to take breaks if you find yourself getting run-down as you clean. Be sure to keep yourself safe, too, by steering clear of ladders or any project that involves heights, heavy objects, or toxins -- that’s what your partner, friends, and family are for!

Try not to be discouraged if you don’t tackle everything you’d like to before you bring your baby home. Your new baby won’t mind if the bookshelves haven’t been organized in the nursery, or if her newborn outfits aren’t folded perfectly. All she wants to do is bond with you!

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.

My Premature Baby’s Journey

Pregnancy for me was fairly uneventful, aside from the exciting little fact of carrying my soon-to-be new son, of course. But uneventful in that my appointments were routine, I physically and emotionally felt good, exercised occasionally, and had no major hiccups -- just the tiny ones I felt in my belly.

It wasn’t until about three weeks before delivery that I noticed I couldn’t feel my son, Jacob, kicking as much. As any expectant mom knows, this can be alarming. I visited the hospital a few times to be placed on monitors, but from what myself and the doctors could tell, everything seemed to be fine. He was still moving and shaking, and I was not given any restrictions, nor was I placed on bed rest. This was around the 27 week mark.

It was exactly 30 weeks when my water broke in the middle of the night. At the time I was very nervous, but oddly, I was more excited to have the baby. I didn’t comprehend just how early it still was in my pregnancy, and thought the 30 week mark might not be that bad.

Despite my water having broke, the nurses were not sure I was in labor. It quickly became real when the contractions started. When I asked for pain medication, they checked me and realized I was already nine centimeters dilated -- there was no turning back. I was rushed into the delivery room and with just a few pushes, Jacob was born. He was very purple in color, but he was crying. The nurses immediately took him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, NICU, and I started to feel better. Although I still wasn’t prepared for the long road ahead.

An hour or two after my premature birth delivery, I met with the chief of neonatology. That’s when reality began to really sink in. He told my husband and I that our little (and at 3 lbs 12 oz, I mean little) bundle of joy was very sick. Although very concerned, I was in such a fog I was sure things would be fine in the end.

Jacob spent two months in the NICU, trying to gain weight, breathe and feed on his own. When Jacob was first born he needed a lot of medicine, called Surfactant, to help his lungs develop. It took a while for him to breathe properly, but thankfully, he needed no surgeries. To this day, he has no major respiratory complications.

Once Jacob could eat and breathe on his own, which took nearly two months, it was time to take him home. I was beyond ready to start my new life as a mom, as nervous and unsure as I was. It took a while to stop checking his breathing every five minutes, but I’m pretty sure that’s a common practice among all new, hyper-paranoid moms!

Our major concern was a brain bleed that was fairly mild, but we believe has caused the cognitive delays he has to this day. It’s been a tough road raising a child who was born a premature baby. However, we are very lucky that Jacob had such incredible care while he was in the NICU. He required constant monitoring and following up to make sure he was meeting developmental milestones, and today he is a very healthy, sweet boy.