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

Embarrassing Symptoms of Having a Baby

Morning sickness, weight gain, and exhaustion…expectant moms discuss these symptoms openly. What they don’t always talk about are the more awkward changes to your body: Belching, constipation, smelly discharge, and hair growing in unexpected places are just a few of the joys that come with motherhood . The good news is you are not alone -- even better, there are some simple pregnancy tips that will help lessen even the worst symptoms. Here, top embarrassing pregnancy issues along with their fixes.

Gassy issues

Even the most put-together women typically get gassy during pregnancy. That’s because hormonal surges can slow down your gastrointestinal tract and your changing body means your muscles may not be able to hold it in as they once did, leading to some embarrassing (and smelly) situations.

Your fix: A bit of after-dinner exercise, such as a brisk walk, allows food to digest faster and should prevent excessive flatulence.

Itchy Breasts

Having an uncontrollable urge to scratch at your cleavage? As your breasts and nipples grow in preparation for the new baby, the skin around the area also stretches and becomes more sensitive -- and much more prone to irritation.

Fix: New moms- to-be can sooth their tender skin by moisturizing with cocoa butter after showers.

Luscious (facial) locks

The same hormones growing that full mane of hair can also cause sprout-ups in less desirable locales: Many expectant moms report an increase in hair growth on their faces, breasts, and tummies.  

Fix:  Tweezing and waxing are the safest options for the time being -- leave the more permanent cosmetic procedures until after your new baby has arrived, as laser treatments on the face can cause scarring in pregnant women.

Low libido

With all the embarrassing things happening to your body, it’s little wonder that many pregnant women suffer from a dampened sex drive. And as your tummy swells with the new baby, it’s likely that intimacy will become progressively more uncomfortable.

Fix: Invite your partner to a doctor’s appointment so he can better understand how you’re feeling -- and that this is perfectly normal. You might even get some pregnancy tips for getting in the mood.

Raging Libido

On the flip side, some women report a heightened sex drive. With a 40 to 50 percent increase in blood flow to your nether regions, you may find yourself getting more aroused or experiencing more intense orgasms than you thought possible! 

Fix: Enjoy it! According to experts, if the sex isn’t hurting you, it’s not hurting your new baby.

These body changes are completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but the quick fixes will have you feeling more like your old self in no time. And if they don’t do the job completely, find relief in the fact that your body will start returning to normal post-pregnancy.

Five Questions New Moms-To-Be Should Ask Their OBs

If you're an expectant mom, you know that good prenatal care involves having a practitioner who can answer questions, provide guidance, and offer reassurance. The more you know about your new baby, the better prepared you’ll be to have a healthy pregnancy. Read on for the top five questions any expectant mom should ask her obstetrician.

OB question #1: Is my pregnancy considered to be an at-risk pregnancy?

Many factors -- from being overweight to having high blood pressure to being over age -- can set you up for a riskier pregnancy. Make sure to discuss any current and previous health conditions, as well as your family’s health history, with your OB. If you are an at-risk pregnancy, your doctor will work with you to ensure that your new baby is as safe and as healthy as possible.

OB question #2: What symptoms should I call you about?

It can be unsettling to wake up with cramps or another condition, and not know whether you should call your doctor or go back to bed. Ask your OB to give you a rundown on what symptoms could indicate an emergency. And keep in mind that the reasons to call your OB can vary by trimester, so bring this question up again every few months.

OB question #3: How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

While there are weight gain recommendations, every pregnancy is unique. Your doctor will be able to work with you to figure out what weight gain is safe for you and your new baby. Overweight women may need to gain less than recommended, while underweight women and new moms of multiples may need to gain more. While you’re at it, ask your OB about ways to gain weight wisely, such as what foods and exercises you can work into your lifestyle.

OB  question #4: What prenatal tests should I get and when will they be done?

Certain tests, such as an ultrasound exam and glucose screening, are routine during prenatal visits. But other tests, such as genetic testing and testing for Down syndrome, will be done if the expectant mom makes that choice. Ask your OB what tests she thinks are right for you, and have her weigh the pros and cons of each test, as you may decide they are not wanted or necessary.

OB question #5: When should I schedule my next appointment?

It’s important to keep up with prenatal appointments throughout your pregnancy, so make sure you don’t leave without discussing when you should next return. If your OB asks you to come back earlier than you had expected, know that the extra trips are to ensure the health of your new baby.

Of course, don’t let the questions end here! If anything else is on your mind, ask away. An educated new mom-to-be will be able to make the best decisions for herself and for her new baby.

Pregnancy Weight Gain Guide

You’re already gaining weight, so it makes sense that many new moms might think of pregnancy as an excuse to fill up on favorite foods. But it’s actually important for you and your health care provider to monitor your weight gain during pregnancy. Experts now know that putting on too many pounds can increase the risk for developing serious pregnancy conditions, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, and also up the chance of a premature delivery. Keep these tips in mind in order to gain at a healthy pace while expecting.

Gain gradually

Experts says that most of the weight gain should occur during the second and third trimesters, and at a gradual pace. Your health care provider is the best resource for how much and when to gain during your pregnancy, and you'll be weighed at each prenatal visit. If you’re gaining too much, too fast, opt for healthier food choices, eat six small meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones, and talk to your doctor about starting an exercise routine. If you gain an excessive amount, your doctor may suggest waiting until after your pregnancy to lose the weight.

Eat well

Turns out that you don't need to eat a lot more to properly nourish yourself and your new baby when you're pregnant. You only need an additional 150 to 200 healthy calories each day when expecting during the first trimester, and about 300 during the second and third. Instead of munching on junk food, look for nutritious snacks that are high in protein and vitamins to support your growing baby. Cheese and whole wheat crackers, nut butter and apple slices, sliced vegetables with hummus, and even frozen fruit bars are all good options.

Don’t rush it

It may be tempting to get back to your pre-baby size as soon as possible, but losing the baby weight too fast can leave you without enough energy to properly take care of your new baby. Stick to a nutritious diet and exercise routine (once your doctor gives you the go-ahead), and put the focus on your health instead of your weight.

Of course, pregnancy is definitely a time to indulge a little. While it’s fine to give in to cravings occasionally, it’s important to keep control of your weight and your diet, not only for your sake, but the health of your new baby, too.

Your Preemie: The First Twelve Months

The first year with your preemie often involves juggling many check-ups and appointments. Because our babies’ brains and bodies are so plastic, early intervention is a critical tool for supporting preemies. Premature babies are always evaluated based on their ‘adjusted’ age rather than their actual age. This means that if your baby was born at 32 weeks, when they are two months old (8 weeks) they are evaluated as a newborn.

Dr. Yasmin Lyons is a pediatrician who has worked extensively with preemies. She emphasizes that: “Often the baby is doing what is completely normal for their corrected age, and it’s important for parents not to compare the progress with that made by other babies.” You’ll quickly decide who to talk to about your baby being a preemie. Margie, a mother of a preemie born at twenty weeks, told me: “I just always gave the adjusted age of my preemie because I just didn’t want to have to have the whole conversation with strangers."

As parents of preemies, we start feeling more confident when we see our baby eating and reaching textbook milestones. This can vary dramatically depending on how premature our baby is. In other words, a “30-weeker” will have a very different roadmap in the first year then a “34-weeker.” Hospital preemie clinics can be a good resource for reassurance. Premature baby clinics in addition to a pediatric neurologist often include an occupational therapist and a physical therapist, allowing a more thorough evaluation of the premature infant. Susan, a mother of a 33 week preemie, told me: “I was worried because Isabel wasn’t holding her bottle. The neurologist at the preemie clinic told me, ‘Oh she can totally do it, she is just choosing not to!’ I was so relieved that she was on track and making her own decisions!”

The most important thing to understand is that your preemie will always be evaluated at their ‘adjusted’ age, allowing an equal playing field in the evaluation. Based on adjusted age, your doctor will be looking for the following things:

At three months: Gross motor skills: open hands, some holding/grasping, some neck control, visual tracking (i.e., following an object or person with their eyes), cooing vowel sounds, smiling.

 

At six months: Gross motor: rolling over, head control, pushing with their legs while you are holding them, spinning on their stomach, holding toys and shaking, bringing toys to their mouth, lots of prolonged eye contact, engaged with those around them.

9-12 months: Gross motor skills: “the army crawl” (pulling themselves forward on their tummy), sitting up on their own, holding and shaking toys, pulling upright. Language progresses to consonants and vowel sounds strung together, with a few words identified. Smiling and laughter is a regular part of your life.

As a general rule, pediatricians give premature babies a wide margin to be reaching targets based on how premature they were. Variations within a twelve week range can be normal, yet with good intervention concerning physical, occupational, and speech therapy, almost all premature babies are deemed “done” with being “premature” by 24 months!