Browsing Category


5 More Ways to Prepare for an Unexpected Pregnancy

bellyitchblog.com unlanned pregnancy

HuffPo republished a recent piece from Go Girl Finance on 5 things you should do if you become unexpectedly pregnant.

It includes  a well-thought out list from a woman who learned she and her spouse would be getting a new arrival they did not plan for.

Her advice included things like make sure you have adequate insurance, start saving, cease splurging on frivolous items and be mindful that children don’t need the best, so just be frugal.

From a financial standpoint, this is great advice.  However, from an emotional standpoint, especially for a woman who is not committed yet to the person she winds up pregnant with, the preparation will require additional steps.

Here is what I will add:

1. Seek support immediately from a close family member, friend, clergy, therapist, close neighbor, psychic, or whomever you feel close enough to or comfortable with discussing things like an unplanned pregnancy.

You don’t want to rush into anything like abortion, adoption, solo-parenthood or forced commitment with a person you don’t want to stay committed to without being able to process and talk out your concerns and feelings.

Going through it all in your head is not a good idea because your feelings and thoughts will change and adjust hourly, if not daily. This is a highly emotional time. Also, due to your pregnancy, your hormones will be all over the place.

2. If you decide to end the pregnancy or go through the pregnancy and then put up your child for adoption, spend a little extra time getting counseling for the psychological short and long term effects of those decisions as they will stay with you for the rest of your life. They may haunt you when you least expect it years into the future so be aware and prepared to process feelings associated with an abortion or adoption when they crop again later.

Further, different states have different laws. You need to know what you can and cannot do.  Also, Religious people will have separate feelings to deal with as well, based on their beliefs, moral and religious codes and upbringing.

I have friends who face a little infertility or later give birth to a child with a disability who have blamed it on a past abortion they had. Even Toni Braxton wrote in her autobiography that she felt having a son with autism was punishment from God for having  aborted a child early in her career because it wasn’t convenient.

3. If you decide to go through with the pregnancy, make sure you have emotional and financial support from family and close ties. You cannot go it alone, especially if you decide to not continue with the relationship with the man for whom you are pregnant.  Pregnancy and parenthood are majors life altering undertakings.

4. See the steps from this HuffPo piece and secure healthcare and mind your finances. If you are in school still or have a low to moderate income job, do some research into what supplemental income, food or healthcare support may be available to you. The U.S. Government will cover unwed teens and their children under Medicare and the new Healthcare law (euphemistically called “Obamacare”) expands coverage to other low-income adults. Find out when the enrollment period is and get covered.

If you are in school, you will need to make plans for taking exams if they interfere with your due date and when you return, you’ll have to now work in childcare when you’re in class. You may have to forgo night or evening classes depending on your support options.

5. If you and your partner are committed, sit down and start mapping out plans for future, including division of labor and how your pooled income will be spent. Make sure you still put aside even $25 or more each paycheck for your own personal fund so you have some independence and a modest safety net just in case things go south. It’s best to be prepared than simply move forward on hope and a prayer for a good outcome.

Also, check out your job’s human resources manual to see what your rights are and if you have a female co-worker who has had a baby before, see if you can have lunch with her and ask her what to expect.

Being mindful and prepared is the best way to go into an unplanned pregnancy.

Image: HuffPo

Instagram: Celeb Moms Share moments With their Children

Model mom Lily Aldridge posted a photo with daughter Dixie, 3, via Instagram Saturday.

“When in Rome #RomanHoliday #Gelato,” the Victoria’s Secret model, 29, captioned the mommy-and-me image during their Italian getaway.

She wasn’t the only celeb mom we’ve bump watched in recent years sharing  precious moments of themselves with their children in social media.

Here are a few others we spotted. 

Actress Kate Hudson shared a pic of her and her kids feet.

“#HOME “In this home… We do second chances. We do real. We do mistakes. We do I’m sorry’s. We do LOUD REAL WELL. We do hugs. We do TOGETHER best of all.” #SnuggleTime,” the Good People actress, 36, captioned the image of their bare feet.



Beyoncé Knowles Carter was teaching daughter Blue Ivy how to swim.

Kelly Rowland was strolling with son Titan in tow.

Ali Landry was swimming with her daughter too.


Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh‘s wife Adrienne Bosh was celebrating a revisit to Paris with her daughter outside her tummy this time.

Another Basketball wife Savannah Brinson was showing off her husband LeBron James’  hot body having water time together with their baby girl.


Kendra Wilkinson Baskett was playing b-ball herself with Hank Jr.

One of our earliest bump watch moms,  Jenna Elfmanwas celebrating Motherhood.

 Emily Bustamante was  introducing her newest member of the family, her second son with beau Fabolous.

10 Reasons Why Your Child May Not Be Ready for Kindergarten 



Starting kindergarten is one of the biggest milestones in a young child’s life, both for the child and his parents. For kids who have never attended daycare and were not enrolled in preschool, kindergarten can mark the first time he ventures into the world and takes the first steps along a long road towards independence. While most kids start kindergarten at around five years old, there are those who simply aren’t ready to start school when the time rolls around. These are 10 of the most common reasons for delayed kindergarten readiness.

1. He Has a Late Birthday – Depending on when your child’s birthday is and where it falls in relation to the cut-off date for kindergarten enrollment in your school district, your child could potentially be one of the youngest members of his class and, as such, not quite ready for the rigors of school. Social readiness is also an important factor in determining kindergarten readiness.

2. She Didn’t Go to Preschool – Kindergarten has changed quite dramatically over the years, and is no longer dedicated to singing songs or taking naps. These days letter and color recognition, basic counting and even early mathematics and pre-reading skills are required to be considered ready for kindergarten. If your child didn’t attend preschool, she may not be quite ready for the demanding atmosphere of kindergarten.

3. He’s Developmentally Different – Some developmental differences begin to present themselves around the time a child would begin kindergarten, which is one of the reasons why some parents are surprised to find that their little one isn’t quite ready. If you suspect that your child is developmentally different, discussing your concerns with his doctor can help you determine what your next step should be.

4. She Was Born Prematurely – Premature babies can lag a bit behind their peers developmentally, even as late as kindergarten. According to a study by the University of Nottingham published in the New England Journal of Medicine, up to 52% of prematurely born children experienced developmental delays at age two, with many prematurity-related problems not showing up until the age of five.

5. He Struggles With Behavioral Problems – Kids who have difficulty controlling their behavior may struggle to adhere to the rules of a kindergarten classroom, especially if he has little experience with a classroom setting. Your child’s behavioral differences can affect his kindergarten readiness and may require a bit of special attention.

6. She Has a Physical Disability – Public schools are required by Federal law to make allowances for children with special needs, but a physically disabled child may simply not be ready for the relatively demanding schedule of kindergarten when other children her age are starting school.

7. He Has Speech Problems – One of the areas in which many kindergarten screening tests look for kindergarten readiness is in regards to verbal skills and speech ability. A child who struggles to speak, isn’t verbal at all or has a severe speech impediment may require a bit of extra time before he starts school with his peers.

8. She Isn’t Fully Potty Trained – Legally, public school districts are not allowed to turn away a student based on their lack of potty training. Still, the humiliation that can accompany regular accidents in front of her classmates may keep your child from thriving. If she’s not potty trained and kindergarten enrollment is approaching, you may need to consult with a pediatrician for advice.

9. He Can’t Focus On a Given Task – Some kids simply can’t focus on a task they’ve been given. Whether it’s due to attention deficit disorder or developmental differences, a child who isn’t able to focus at all may require special attention in order to thrive in kindergarten.

10. She Suffers From Severe Separation Anxiety – Most kids who suffer from separation anxiety during the first few days of kindergarten learn to overcome it. An incapability to shake separation anxiety or severe emotional distress can point to more complicated emotional differences, however, which may need to be evaluated by a medical professional before she attends school.

 These reasons are not absolute and each child and family is different. These guides may help you determine whether to send your little one in this year or not. 

Back to School: 20 Swagilicious Outfits for BOYS

back to school boys

It’s back to school shopping time! If your kids don’t got to a school that requires uniforms, back to school shopping also means clothes shopping.Sometimes when parents-to-be find out and share with others that they are expecting a little boy, relatives and others’ first retort is to mention the lack of cute clothing option for boys.

Well, if you are creative and have a little imagination, imagine that you too could have your baby boy looking like Mason Disick  or Kingston Rossdale or Skylar Berman um if you wanted to.

Check out these little rascals with plenty of swag that are the current stars of our Bellyitch Couture Kids Pinterest board right now. You can get some inspiration from their style while putting together outfits for your little tike’s first day of school:

Things to Consider Before Agreeing to be a Bridesmaid While Pregnant

bellyitchblog.com bridesmaid
If you’re planning on both a pregnancy and being a bridesmaid in the near future, here are some of the bumps (pun totally intended) in the road to consider before officially saying yes.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every bride-to-be shall be in want of a good bridesmaid…or three. And chances are that when a friend comes to you basking in that newly engaged glow and asks  you to be one those bridesmaids, you’ll jump at the chance to support her on her big day: The dancing! The shoes! The dresses! The CAKE!.Before you can say “yellow organza chiffon,” you’ve committed to being a bridesmaid and all that the honor entails. But what if you are

expecting to have a big (and getting bigger) event of your own sometime in the next nine months?

 1.The Cost
While the costs associated with being a bridesmaid can vary from wedding to wedding, one thing is certain: a baby on the way means unexpected expenses will be particularly unwelcome. After all, your priorities are changing, and whether it’s saving for diapers or a college fund, you want to make sure being a bridesmaid won’t mean being expected to pony up for expenses you soon won’t be able to afford. Accordingly, it’s important to clarify just what kinds of expenses will be expected of you ahead of time. A few to inquire after:
1. Will you be responsible for your dress, or will the bride pick up the tab? The same goes for those dyed shoes and your fabulous wedding day up-do and manicure.

2. If travel is involved, how costly will that be? Airfare, cab fare, hotel and eating out should all be considered.

3. How much (if any) will you be expected to contribute to a shower or bachelorette activities?
 2. The Dress
Since bridesmaids dresses are known for being so lovely and flattering, finding a dress that will work while you are pregnant should be no problem at all! Um, yeah…Back on planet earth, bridesmaids dresses can be itchy, lumpy, scratchy, and pinchy (yes, you know pinchy is a word). But this is not to say that you cannot totally rock the pregnant bridesmaid look as long as you keep a few things in mind.
1. Comfort and Fit: Ultimately, you want a dress that flatters your figure and that you’ll feel great wearing. Look for a flowing empire-waisted gown, or a dress that can be ‘enhanced’ with an extra panel to accommodate that lovely baby bump of yours!
2. Alterations: Make sure you’ve got a good tailor who will be able to make last minute alterations a little bit in advance of the wedding date. As you know, all of those measurements are going to change. And then change some more.
3. Support: Speaking of those changing measurements, the right maternity bra can do wonders for a girl’s mood at a wedding, not to mention her back! Once you reach your third trimester, you will likely need to trade in those lacy bras and reach for something more substantial. Just don’t forget to make sure that your maternity bra works with your dress as the date nears.

 3. Your Due Date
Let’s put this right out there: Going into labor at your friend’s wedding is not ideal. If your due date falls very close to the wedding date (or even within a month), you should feel free to humbly decline being in the wedding. Consulting with your doctor is also a good idea, as he or she will have likely dealt with this issue in the past and can make an individualized recommendation.

However, if your due date is farther afield from the wedding date, then the most important factor to consider is likely to be travel. While most airlines will allow pregnant women to travel through their eighth month, you need to consider what your own personal comfort level will be.

Tips for safe air travel while pregnant include walking the aisles on your flight to prevent blood clots, drinking lots of water, and wearing your seatbelt under your belly rather than across it. Travelling during pregnancy can be challenging, but if you and your doctor think you are up for it, then you’re a go.

Just one thing though: You know those teeny tiny airplane bathrooms? Need we say more?

4. The Time Commitment She’s the friend who consoled you that time you broke up with that jerk during freshman year…and then consoled you again when you broke up with that other jerk that next year. She’s been with you through thick and thin and late night pizza runs. So of course you want to be the absolute best bridesmaid possible.But take a moment to consider what that might mean: stuffing invitations, licking stamps, shopping for wedding favors, liking her Facebook posts, and talking. Lots and lots of talking. You owe it to yourself and to your friend to think realistically about what you can handle during your pregnancy. No friend wants you to overtax yourself while you should be focusing on your health and the health of your baby. Let her know your concerns and ask in the gentlest way possible what will be expected of you so that you can both make an educated decision.

5. The Friendship Style
Before you say yes, think about the type of friendship/relationship that you have with the bride. Is it filled with drama or is it mostly peaceful? Communication will be key to making this situation work. She needs to understand that there will be times during this pregnancy that you will be tired, anxious, or painting adorable ducks on a nursery wall, and therefore will be unable to check out her Pinterest board right this moment.And you will have to understand that this is one of the most exciting times in her life, and that she will need your support throughout, even if your feet are swollen and throbbing, and the ducks need

painting. If you two have that covered, the rest of the stuff will be a breeze.
Final Thoughts
Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honor, for sure, and it’s no wonder you might be tempted to fill such a position for a friend you care about so dearly. But true friendship means knowing your limitations — something your friend should likewise honor and respect. And don’t worry: if you can’t participate as a bridesmaid, there are plenty of other ways to show your friend you care throughout this process. So, consider your next steps carefully and you’re sure to make the decision that will best balance your friendship and your own needs. And by the way, congratulations!
Alyssa Ennis

post signature

Celebrity and Other Women participated in Inaugural National #BumpDay

bump day

Valerie Bertinelli was among several women and celebrities like Odette Annable who shared their pregnant belly in celebration of #BumpDay, yesterday, July 22.

It is a day created by our partners at WhatToExpect.com in coordination with the United Nations Foundation, International Medical Corps and 1,000 Days to raise awareness about maternity health inequality around the world.

Everyone, whether currently pregnant, recently pregnant, pregnant a long time ago or know someone who is or has been pregnant, was invited to participate in the day in several ways. The most common way was by posting a #BumpDay selfie in social media with the hashtag and explanation on why they are participating in the day.


10 iPhone Apps to Help You Lose Baby Weight Fast



Having a baby is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences that you’ll ever have. Unfortunately, the joys of motherhood are often accompanied by stubborn baby weight gained during pregnancy. Using the powerful and popular iPhone device in your pocket, you can actually manage your weight-loss efforts in a rational, reasonable way that adheres to your hectic schedule. Post-delivery weight loss is never easy, but it can be greatly simplified by the efforts of the developers of these 10 powerful and useful apps.

1. Post Pregnancy Weight Loss – Unlike general weight-loss and fitness apps, this $4.99 app is designed specifically with the needs of post-delivery new moms in mind. Based upon the concept of hypnotherapy for weight loss, this app from i-mobilize, incorporated may help you reach your post-baby weight loss goals.

2. Lose It! – Very highly rated by App Store users, this free app has been featured by such prominent media outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. With an extensive database of foods and exercises, you can keep up with your diet and manage your weight loss goals reasonably.

3.Weightbot  – Tracking your weight with this $1.99 app is fun and easy, thanks to the clever interface and powerful functionality. Weightbot tracks your BMI and progress towards a set goal, showing real results for post-partum mommies in need of reassurance.

4. Prêt-à-Yoga – Juggling a new baby is difficult enough. Managing to fit in time to go to a yoga class is another story entirely. Bring yoga class to the comfort of your own home with this $0.99 app, which will allow you to get in some relaxing exercise while your new bundle of joy slumbers away.

5. Nike Training Club – Designed to be an all-inclusive fitness app, the free Nike Fitness Club is like carrying a personal trainer around in your pocket. In fact, you can even unlock exclusive workouts from celebrity trainer Ary Nuñez and from famous athletes. You can also work out to music in your own library while audio guidance provides you with the motivation you need to get your pre-baby body back.

6. 40•30•30 – Part of losing your baby weight is managing your diet properly. With this free app, you can maintain a 40%-30%-30% ratio of carbs, protein and fat. Balancing macronutrients is a snap with this app, which eliminates the need for complex equations while you’re caring for a new baby.

7. CrunchFu – With this $0.99 app, you can be sure that you’re doing crunches right without coaching from a personal trainer. Hold your iPhone to your chest, and CrunchFu will track your motion and provide relevant feedback. Before starting a workout regimen that includes crunches, however, you should consult with your obstetrician to be sure that you’re fully recovered and ready for abdominal exercise.

8. Digifit iCardio – With the capability to integrate with some of the most popular fitness apps available, the free Digifit iCardio app is a must-have tool for new moms who are ready to take back their pre-pregnancy body. Map runs and bike rides and record your time, distance and speed to get an accurate picture of how much you’re actually accomplishing when you work out.

9. Fast Food Calorie Counter – Parenthood is hectic, and doesn’t always leave time for a perfectly balanced meal. With the $0.99 Fast Food Calorie Counter, you can make sure that your drive-through options are the healthiest possible choices and keep up with the impact that a fast-food meal has on your diet. Count your calories, carbs and fat easily so that you can adjust your intake accordingly throughout the rest of the day.

10. Meal Snap – Calorie Counting Magic – When you’re navigating the unfamiliar territory of new parenthood, you’re not likely to have time for entering complex food items into a more complex nutrition app. With this $2.99 offering from DailyBurn, all you have to do is take a picture of your food and let Meal Snap do all the work. You’ll instantly receive the nutritional breakdown of what you’re about to eat. Meal Snap even helps you log your meals, so that you can keep track of your dietary habits over time.

STUDY: Eldest child in Family has the highest IQ



New birth order research suggests that eldest kids have the highest IQ compared to their younger siblings. 

The massive study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, analyzed the traits of 377,000 high school students. 

In the end, researchers found that first-born children have a single-point advantage when it comes to IQ and that first-borns were more “extroverted, agreeable and conscientious” overall.

As a first born child, I approve this message!


Read a more thorough summary HERE! And access the study HERE!

Couples turn to GoFundMe to raise funds for IVF Treatment 


A Utah couple were able to become parents for the first time thanks to the kindness of strangers who contributed to her crowd source fund campaign. 

Last year Lori Linford launched a plea on the GoFundMe site for help in funding the cost of her IVF.

This past May, she welcomed her daughter after years of fertility struggles. 

Linford described her story this way:

One year ago my husband and I started our IVF journey. At the time my husband, Jason, was 42, and I was 37. Our ages, plus a dream I had had indicated that we could no longer delay having children. We had been saving money for years, but did not have the $25,000 needed to begin IVF, so we turned to GoFundMe. There, we were able to raise $5,000. It was what we needed to pay up front the cost of IVF. July 20, 2014 was the beginning for us. It is when I started medications to prepare my body for IVF. Then came shots, egg retrieval, sperm retrieval, and then on September 10, 2014, 2 embryos were implanted. 10 days later I got the phone call that I was pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I took a pregnancy test (which I had done many times before) but this time it was positive. I immediately knelt down and thanked my Heavenly Father. October 9, 2014 is when we had our first ultra sound where it was confirmed that one embryo had attached. I was devastated that both hadn’t taken, but delighted that we had the one! Fast forward many months and doctor’s appointments later came May 12, 2015, the day our little Lloklan was born. She is absolutely beautiful.

 I am delighted for this opportunity to come back on to the show to raise awareness of infertility, the blessings of websites like GoFundMe where people can selflessly give to others in need, and to thank those who personally helped me get my little Lloklan. I am determined to pay it forward. I give a little money monthly to help others and sometimes a little extra when I see causes I feel prompted to help. I am not at this time able to give much since our savings is depleted, but even a little can go a long way.

They aren’t the only would-be TTC couples using the popular fundraising site to gather funds. 

Folks like Stacy and Mike Musgrave (pictured above) have successfully raised enough money for their IVF treatment. The Musgraves got close to 100 people to donate almost $10,500 in 4 months for their fertility treatment. 

Good stuff! Congrats all!

Tips To Help New Stepfamilies Start Out Right

Guest Post 


Any new marriage has its hurdles. But when the newlyweds also bring children from previous marriages, they face the additional challenge of trying to balance the needs of the relationship with the needs of the kids.

It’s rarely as easy as the Brady Bunch made it seem.

“Too frequently, partners imagine that because they love each other, their children will jump on board and will also love this new partner as a stepparent,” says Dr. Anne Brennan Malec, a clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and author of the book “Marriage in Modern Life: Why It Works, When It Works.” 

In reality, children are often confused and have contradictory emotions about the new family setup.” Frustration can set in when the union fails to create instant family unity.

Try not to let it, Dr. Malec says. Everyone needs time to adjust and it’s up to the new couple to develop strategies for making this blended family work.

For starters, she says, each parent should be responsible for managing his or her children’s schedules, providing discipline and communicating with the ex-partner about any parenting issues.

“You should expect that it’s going to be a rocky ride, and you can be pleasantly surprised if it’s not,” Dr. Malec says. “Remember, the kids did not get a vote in this, and they very well may dislike the stepparent or stepsiblings.”

But, as with many things in life, patience mixed with a trial-and-error approach can get you where you need to be. Dr. Malec offers a few tips for easing the difficulties, if not eliminating all the pain:

Manage expectations. When creating a blended family, managing your expectations will decrease the odds of being disappointed, Dr. Malec says. Discuss your ideas for how the transition will go and set a reasonable bar for how you, your spouse, the children and any former spouses will respond to the new arrangement. Plan for a slow transition into this “new normal.” 

Keep communications with former spouses cordial. Some relationships with ex-spouses run more smoothly than others. Ideally, former spouses would communicate respectfully and keep in mind the best interests of the children. That doesn’t always happen, though. If an ex-spouse gets under your skin too much, you might try self-soothing techniques such as meditating, exercising, taking a walk or journaling. You may also want to consider seeing a therapist. “It will benefit your current relationship if you can minimize the conflict with a former partner,” Dr. Malec says. 

Nurture your romance. With so many challenges balancing parental and relational responsibilities, you will need to give extra effort to setting aside kid-free time. “Making time for just the two of you is critical to the success of your relationship,” Dr. Malec says.

 “Without proper attention, the new relationship can drop down the priority list as you get caught up in smoothing the transition for the children, creating a blended home and growing comfortable with your role as stepparent.” Make it a point to prioritize dates, whether over coffee, lunch, dinner or during a walk together.  

“Forming a blended family is a long-term process, and it is reasonable to expect some pushback from children, who had no voice in your choice to marry,” Dr. Malec says. “Be patient and try to see it through their eyes.

“Knowing in advance that it is likely to be tough and keeping your expectations dialed down goes a long way toward making sure your relationship doesn’t fall apart under the stress.” 

About Dr. Anne Brennan Malec

Dr. Anne Brennan Malec is the founder and managing partner of Symmetry Counseling , a group counseling, coaching and psychotherapy practice in Chicago.