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Pregnancy

Pregnant Women Who Nailed Their Halloween Costume

Every year, Buzzfeed does a great round up of pregnant women who knocked it out the park with their Halloweed costume that included their bellies in their get-up.

This year, even though less people are attending Halloween Parties, they are still planning to dress up even if just to share the photo online and in social media.

Here is a few of the winning looks that made the site this year and year’s past. Head over to Buzzfeed to see the rest.

 

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Happy Halloween!! 🥔🥔 @seamusmullen did I nail it? #halloween #mrpotatohead #pregnancyperks

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Get Pregnant This Year With This New Method {Seed Cycling Explained}

TTC pregnant

When you are trying to get pregnant, no matter if you just started or have been trying for months, timing out your cycle and ovulation dates can be difficult and often frustrating.

This is especially true if you are suffering from a hormone imbalance or infertility, as it can make getting pregnant even harder. Fortunately, there are a variety of practices you can get started on to help balance out your hormone levels and boost your fertility. And the best part is they are all-natural, so no prescription is required!

One of the top, all-natural ways to boost your hormones and increase fertility levels is seed cycling. By adding in specific seeds to your diet during each phase of your menstrual cycle, you are helping your body function at it’s very best, improving your chances of not only knowing exactly when you are ovulating, but also improving your chances of getting pregnant.

Below is a break down of what to do during each phase of your cycle.

Follicular phase:

This is the first phase of your cycle, lasting an average of 14 days, beginning the first day of your period and lasting until ovulation begins.

To help your bodies processes during the follicular phase, here are the seeds to consume and other things you can add into your lifestyle:

  • Eat 1 tbsp of ground pumpkin and flax seeds every day of your follicular phase for increase estrogen release and aiding in your bodies production of progesterone, which it needs for the next phase of your cycle.
  • Focus on foods rich in vitamin-E and omega-3 such as red bell pepper, fatty fish and avocado
  • High-energy workouts can help you detox

Luteal Phase:

During the second half of your cycle (average 12-14 days long), your body begins the luteal phase, directly after ovulation. The lining of your uterine wall begins to thicken, for fertilization or eventual shedding. To help your body perform at it’s best during this phase, it’s important to implement some of the following tips into your daily life:

  • 1 tbsp of ground sesame and sunflower seeds each day will help regulate mood swings ad fluctuating hormone levels, as well as aid in your bodies natural detoxification of leftover estrogen.
  • Root vegetables and calming, low-impact exercises will help to calm the body.
  • Avoiding high-sugar and high-carb foods during this phase is key to reducing hormone and mood swings.

The expert team at Snap Kitchen put together a helpful graphic so that you can easily get started seed cycling for improved hormonal health and reduced PMS. Check it out below and let us know how it goes!

 

How to Do Self Accupressure to Induce Labor

accupuncture for pregnant women

accupuncture for pregnant women

Acupressure and labor

Imagine this: You’re standing in your kitchen, ankles swollen to the size of a grapefruit, sharp pains shooting through your back, and you’re staring at the wall calendar in front of you. Your pregnant belly touches the wall gently as you look at your circled due date. You’re officially over the 40-week mark, but it seems your baby wants to stay put.

Due dates are, of course, just estimates. It’s common for most moms-to-be to go into labor one to two weeks before or after their projected due date. Doctors consider it routine.

But an overdue, or post-term, pregnancy can leave exhausted moms-to-be even more stressed out. An overdue expectant mom might try any and all home remedies possible (think pineapples and romance) to coax the baby into the world naturally.

Many post-term pregnant women will turn to alternative medicine to help induce labor if they want to avoid medical induction. And one popular method among moms is acupressure.

What is acupressure?

Acupressure is the lesser-known companion to acupuncture. Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese medicinal practice of sticking thin needles into areas of your body that are believed to control a specific organ or body part. The idea is to relieve pain and prevent illness.

But instead of needles, acupressure requires physical pressure to be applied to points that run along your body’s meridian system — or life-energy path.

Many people who try acupressure — usually through a vigorous massage — do it along with modern medical practices. But it’s not uncommon for acupressure to be used as a standalone treatment.

While both acupressure and acupuncture are considered controversial, a number of studies have shown the ancient medicine’s effectiveness for reducing labor pain and anxiety.

Pregnant women should check with their doctors before trying any acupressure treatments. Women during the first 10 to 12 weeks and final 4 weeks of pregnancy, are more susceptible to acupuncture treatments. Acupressure might increase blood flow to the uterus, influence hormonal responses, and stimulate uterine contractions, so it should only be used with your doctor’s approval.

There are six major acupressure points on the body that are believed to induce labor

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Epidural 101

Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels

What is an epidural?

An epidural is a procedure that injects a local anaesthetic in to the space around the spinal nerves in your lower back.

This anaesthetic usually blocks the pain from labour contractions and during the birth very effectively. With an epidural you can usually move and can push your baby out when you need to.

An epidural is usually done by an anaesthetist.

The procedure

Before an epidural, you will usually have a drip for fluids put into your arm.

You can sit up and bend forward over a pillow, or lie on your side curled up into a ball. This makes it easier for the needle to be inserted into the right place. You will be asked to stay still.

Your lower back will be washed with cold antiseptic. A small amount of local anaesthetic will be injected into the skin of your lower back. A needle will be inserted between the bones of your spine into the space around your spinal nerves. Your anaesthetist will insert the epidural needle when your contraction stops, so it is important that you tell them when you have a contraction.

A small soft plastic tube will be inserted and the needle will be removed. That tube delivers the anaesthetic that will numb your pain.

It usually takes between 5 and 30 minutes for your pain to be relieved by the epidural.

You usually only have an epidural during the first stage of labour — but it can be given at any stage of labour.

Advantages and disadvantages of an epidural

Epidurals are available at most hospitals but not in birth centres or for home births.

The advantages of an epidural are:

  • it is usually very effective
  • it is generally very safe
  • you can often still move around and push when you need to
  • if you have a long labour, it allows you to sleep and recover your strength
  • if you’re having a caesarean, you can stay awake and your partner can be there

The disadvantages of an epidural are:

  • for medical reasons, not everyone can have an epidural
  • you might need to have fluids given to you through a tube in your arm, and will need to have your blood pressure monitored
  • you might lose feeling in your bladder and need a catheter (tube) in your bladder to help you pass urine
  • you might lose feeling in your legs for a few hours
  • it might slow down the second stage of labour
  • you might not be able to push and need help to give birth
  • your baby will need to be closely monitored during your labour

Whether you have an epidural or not makes no difference to the chance of you having a caesarean section.

Risks and side effects

An epidural is effective and fairly safe. But there are some risks.

Some women feel cold or itchy.

A small number of women get little or no pain relief.

Some women get weakness in the legs; it wears off after a few hours.

There is an increased risk of needing forceps or a vacuum to help with the birth.

Some women develop a bad headache 24 to 48 hours after an epidural.

There is a small chance of developing a skin infection.

Very rarely a few women get permanent nerve damage.

What to discuss with your doctor or midwife

You can check:

  • if you can have an epidural at your chosen hospital or birth centre
  • what their epidural procedures are
  • the type of pain relief that might suit you best

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7 Possible Reasons Your Period Is Late

Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

Some women live with irregular periods, and so do not fret over late periods. For others, however, a missed period could be cause for alarm. If you’re one of those latter women, you may wonder if there are reasons, aside from the obvious, that your period is MIA.

The good news is, there are several possible reasons for a period that pulls a no-show.

1.    Stress

Given the current state of events, it’s understandable that you’re under a lot of stress. Excess stress is one of the most common reasons for a missed period. Cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone, can suppress a number of bodily systems, including the digestive system, the immune system, and yes, the reproductive system. Over time, uncontrolled stress can lead to sudden weight changes, which is another factor that also negatively affects the monthly cycle. If you think stress is the reason behind your late cycle, take up exercise and practice relaxation techniques to see if that helps to get things back on track.

2.     Birth Control

Many birth controls these days are designed to prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs, according to Healthline. Once you quit taking your birth control, it may take up to six months for your cycle to become consistent again. Other types of birth control, such as the IUD or patch, can stop your periods from coming altogether.

3.    Early Peri-Menopause

Though somewhat uncommon, some women begin to develop signs of menopause in their early 40s, as opposed to the standard 45-55 range. If you experience missed periods before you are 45, you could have this condition, which simply means your ovaries are beginning to slowly reduce your egg supply. This may lead to late periods, periods that never come, and, eventually, the end of menstruation entirely.

4.    Weight Gain or Loss

Both excessive weight gain and weight loss can cause hormonal changes. Women who weigh 10% or more below the normal range for their height may experience several missed periods. In fact, a woman’s menstrual cycle may not return to normal until after she obtains a healthy BMI.

On the flip side of the same coin, young women who are overweight can also experience hormonal changes. If your doctor determines your weight is the culprit, he or she may recommend a diet and fitness regime.

5.    Chronic Disease

Chronic conditions such as celiac disease and diabetes can cause a woman to live with irregular menstrual cycles. This is especially the case if the woman doesn’t get her condition under control quickly. Blood sugar levels that either too high or too low can cause hormonal changes that have been known to affect the menstrual cycle. Celiac disease, if left untreated, can damage the small intestine and hinder the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients necessary to menstruation.

6.    Thyroid Issues

A thyroid that is over- or underactive can impair the body’s ability to regulate metabolism. This may lead to changes in hormone production, which would account for a missed period. By taking certain medications, you can correct the condition and return to a normal cycle.

7.    Pregnancy

If you do not live with chronic stress, are of a healthy weight, do not take birth control, do not currently live with any health conditions, and are sexually active, there may be a very good chance that you are pregnant. If you suspect this is the reason behind your late period, take a test now and then again in another two weeks.

If you are missing one or several periods, the best thing you can do is to visit your primary care physician. Your doctor can run health screenings and possibly a few tests to determine the cause behind your missed period.

Quarantine and Holding It Together: Moms Really Deserve This Mother’s Day!



Happy Mother’s Day!

Today more than any other Mother’s Day, you moms out there deserve this day! In the age of COVID-19, moms have been put to the test and stressed to the max!

I shared an empathetic poster from a parenting group the other day to my personal Facebook Feed which a lot of moms could relate to and it got quite a bit of likes.

When I went to the original post’s comment section, I discovered it littered with commentary by dads and others who were lambasting the post for not including dads and for it not being inclusive of parenthood.

One said that the post perpetrated a stererotype that mothers were more responsible for parenting and that the message was wrong. I was upset. While parenting is indeed not a thing moms alone are responsible for and we, as a society, should not insenuate that moms alone should bear the burden of motherhood, I see nothing wrong with acknowleding the present day facts.

It is a true fact that during this pandemic when a lot of governments around the world, in states, provinces, counties and localities, have issued global “Stay Home” orders, mothers have been given the extra responsiblity of keeping their household together!

And it’s not like they haven’t always bore that burden, often times at the expense of their own self-care and sanity, but they’ve done it without complaint, and often times, without enough gratitude from those who they are dedicating their love, affection, and patience to.

So yes…let moms be recognized for their endearing devotion to being the champion, cheerleader, teacher, chef, entertainer, educator, and more.

I love Today Show’s special tribute to mom from their kids and so I am sharing it here for us all to view and appreciate! Happy Mother’s Day Quarantine Moms! You deserve an extra shower of appreciation today!

Whether you’re expecting, a new mom or a veteran mom, old, young, poor or rich you deserve a day to acknowledge your role as a mother!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Whether you’re an expecting, brand new, or veteran mom, rich, poor, old or young, you deserve acknowledgment today!

What to Expect At Your First Pre-Conception Doc Visit

Deciding to start or expand your family is one of the most exciting times in your life!

It can also be one of the most nerve-racking. That’s why it’s so essential to confirm you’re properly caring for your health before you become pregnant to both settle those nerves, and ensure you’re building the right foundation for both you and for your future baby.

This is called Preconception Care, and talking with your doctor is one of the best ways to check for any potential risks or medical issues you may have before getting pregnant. Before you begin, you should start by setting a “Preconception appointment” with your doctor.

What Will My Doctor Review with Me During My Preconception Visit?

During your preconception appointment, your doctor should discuss histories related to medical, surgical, family (of both you and future dad), and reproductive histories.

She/He should also talk about your diet & exercise, alcohol & caffeine consumption (or other drugs/stimulants), along with any medications or supplements you may be taking.

Your preconception visit is really the perfect time to ask your doctor anything that may be on your mind. Whether it’s health concerns, past histories, sex, diet, or prenatal vitamins, this visit is all about you and your health. It’s so much about you, that it’s worth saying again.

Preconception Care is all about you, and your doctor is on your side to help you give birth to a beautiful baby.

Physical Exam.

Because you’re about to embark on this exciting new journey, a physical exam is one of the best ways to ensure you’re ready. You should also ask her/him about a pelvic exam or Pap smear.

Vaccinations.

If you’re not vaccinated for chickenpox or rubella (or you’re not sure), it’s essential to ask your doctor to check your medical records, and if you’re not, request a vaccine. If you develop chickenpox or rubella during pregnancy, you are at higher risk of developing pneumonia, or congenital disabilities (birth defects). While a vaccine may delay your attempts to conceive by a month or so, it will be well worth it in the end if you’re not vaccinated.

Genetic Counseling.

This may require a separate appointment with a genetic counselor, however, it will help you understand your family’s risk of passing on an inherited medical condition, and how easy it may be for you to conceive.

Prenatal Vitamins.

Even before you become pregnant, it’s important to start to think about taking a prenatal vitamin or at least increasing your consumption of Folate & Iron-rich foods such as Leafy Greens or Broccoli every day. Along with several other vitamins and minerals, Folate, in particular, plays a significant role during pregnancy, as it aids in neural tube development, and its importance starts the day you conceive (when you may not know you’re pregnant yet).

Diet.

Similar to Genetic Counseling, getting a firm grasp on your diet may require a separate appointment with a nutritionist, but remember, “we are what we eat”, and you’ll soon be eating for two! Understanding the right foods for you and your potential allergies, will help give you a leg up on a more comfortable, successful journey to motherhood.

To help you in your prenatal discussion

Check out this downloadable guide from this guest post host Rootd Prenatal Vitamin, which will help you in your conversations with your doctor about prenatal in general (not just ours).

Remember, this appointment is ALL ABOUT YOU, so take a deep breath and get ready for one of the most exciting journeys of your life.

Why You Should Still Go Out For a Walk During Pregnancy Even Now

walking

Just because you’re in quarantine and have a bun in the oven doesn’t mean your daily walks or exercise routine have to cease to exist.

In fact, exercise during pregnancy can be beneficial to both you and your baby.

There are necessary precautions you’ll need to take, especially as your body continues to grow, but before you cut back on keeping your body fit, consider the benefits of a healthy exercise routine.

Low-Impact Exercise

Low impact exercise carries little risk of injury for pregnant women, says Dr. Gia Fruscione, doctor of physical therapy and founder of DLVR Maternity. “Low impact exercises benefits your entire body and can be continued until birth,” she says. “Low impact exercise, such as walking, is especially beneficial if you are having joint problems.”

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women should participate in 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week during pregnancy as long as there are no medical complications.

Exercising during pregnancy can help keep you at an optimal weight, says Fruscione. “Gaining too many pounds puts you at risk for a tougher delivery and gestational diabetes,” she says. “But, gaining too little can affect your baby’s growth.”

For women at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight, the target weight gain is usually 25 to 35 pounds, says Fruscione.

Walk to Wellness

Walking is an excellent form of non-impact exercise, especially for women who have not previously exercised prior to pregnancy, says Birgitta Lauren, pre and postnatal fitness and nutrition specialist and founder of Expecting Fitness, a resource for expectant moms.

“Walking or exercise in general makes your body and all organs more efficient at doing everything, including getting pregnant, staying pregnant and making a healthier baby,” says Lauren. “Exercise improves circulation and therefore blood and oxygen and nutrient flow to the baby, making the baby healthier than if mom didn’t exercise.”

Not only does walking help decrease weight gain by burning calories and keeping the heart healthy, but the act of exercise and moving your body produces proteins that create metabolites, which decrease risks for all diseases, including gestational issues or diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia and premature delivery, says Lauren.

Debunking the Myths

Many pregnant women fear that exercise or too much walking can cause preterm labor, but according to Lauren, this is just a myth. “It actually prevents preterm labor,” she says. “A healthier mom has a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.”

Too much walking, though, can lead to uterine contractions if you have a pre-existing medical condition, says Fruscione. She advises checking with your physician before engaging in exercise if you have an existing medical condition before or during pregnancy. “If this is the case, too much exercise can lead to other complications such as bleeding, dizziness, chest pain, muscle weakness, calf pain and decreased fetal movement,” says Fruscione. “Call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms.”

Another myth that exists is that walking during pregnancy makes you dilate more. Consistent exercise during pregnancy can help tone and prepare your muscles for labor and makes for an easier birthing process, says Fruscione.

In general, if you are engaging in walking or low-impact exercise, your entire pregnancy process will be much smoother, says Lauren. “Exercise improves the likeliness of ‘on-time’ dilation and a more efficient dilation,” she says.

When in doubt, always consult your physician, but know that the more you move your body, the healthier it may be for your baby. According to a study by Dr. James F. Clapp III at the Cleveland Health Center, exercise during pregnancy produces children that are healthier physically and mentally. As babies, they learn to do everything faster – from speaking to walking – than children from moms who exercised less or not at all, says Clapp. The study also concluded that these babies are happier and better behaved.

4 Natural Ways to Induce Your Labor

Premature birth may worry you as it worries most expectant parents but becoming overdue can also bring its own concerns and difficulties. As you become larger, sleeping can become more challenging. It becomes increasingly more difficult to get into a comfortable position as does breathing as your lungs become more crowded due to your overgrown uterus. If your baby stays in too long then there are risks associated with this, most commonly that your baby could pass meconium. If you find yourself overdue and are seeking advice to naturally help induce labor then the following is a list of ideas to do exactly that.

1. Sex– is often prescribed by doctors to help induce labor because the prostaglandins in semen help soften and prepare the cervix to dilate.

Herbs – hundreds of years ago midwives used herbs to prepare mothers for pregnancy, labor and birth. This was before the invention of pitocin. You must be very cautious with herbs of any kind as they can cause great damage if the correct dosage is not administered. Black cohosh, available in capsules or teas is commonly used to induce labor and can be with or without alcohol. During birth, black cohosh can help strengthen and regulate uterine contractions. Other herbs which have similar effects are red raspberry leaf and false unicorn root. These particular herbs have natural chemicals which are released into the woman’s body and stimulate the baby to encourage her to move and get positioned for birth. Herbs should not be used until the cervix is ready to open as they will not work until then. Beware of some herbs which can be dangerous to you or your baby such as aloe vera, bungleweed and pokeroot as these are some of the herbs that can cause premature birth or birth defects. Always consult a doctor before self-medicating with herbs. Primrose oil is used to induce labour as it has a comparable effect to semen in the cervix by softening and ripening it.

2. Castor Oil – is taken by some women as a natural method of bringing on labor. The theory being that the diarrhea and cramping it causes also causes contractions that can induce labor. It is unpleasant to taste but two tablespoons can be mixed into another drink such as a juice. It is advised to consume castor oil in the morning as you will be woken in the night with the cramping and diarrhea if you take it in the evening. There are risks with taking castor oil such as the expectant mother becoming dehydrated because she has diarrhea and also it increases the risk of the baby passing meconium while still in the uterus.

3. Nipple Stimulation – for hundreds of years nipple stimulation has been used by women to help induce labor. It has an effect of releasing a natural form of pitocin called oxytocin. Similarly to pitocin, oxytocin triggers contractions that can bring on labor. This method for naturally inducing labor is only effective near to your due date and when you are ready to give birth. Before forty weeks, it is not advisable to induce labor. The nipples can be stimulated manually or a breast pump can be used. Care needs to be taken as your uterus can become hyperstimulated. Only stimulate one nipple at a time and rest immediately once you notice contractions. Wait at least fifteen minutes after the contractions have stopped before resuming. If you do not get any rest between contractions other problems can arise.

4. Be Active – whilst most doctors advise you to slow down and reduce your activities as you approach your due date, it is also helpful to remain active as long as you do not cause yourself any stress. Walking a wee bit more than usual and slowly swinging your hips from side to side can help induce labor by stimulating your baby and getting her moving into the birthing position. If you fancy some fun, sex is always a good idea as I mentioned before because along with semen helping the cervix to soften, the female orgasm produces a hormone which aids childbirth.

Other methods women have used include acupressure and eating spicy foods, but watch out for possible nausea with spicy food and medical research has not yet supported this idea as definitely being beneficial.

5 Mocktail Recipes Preginistas Can Make For The Virtual Happy Hour

mocktails

mocktails

Virtual happy hours are becoming a big thing in this era of coronavirus break out. Offices and groups of friends are getting together on Zoom, Skype and other video meeting platforms to shoot the breeze, have a drink and listen to tunes together.

If you are expecting, certainly, you cannot have an alcoholic beverage if you plan to attend one of these things.

However, lucky for you, there re lots of mocktail recipes out there you can whip up so you can participate. Here are 5 recipes excerpted and curated below from past posts and CraftyBartending.

I love the soothing effect of ginger on digestion which is important for pregnant women dealing with indigestion, nausea and other issues so so check out the ginger mocktail below.

Nojito

 ( a non-alcoholic take on the Mojito)
10-12 fresh small spearmint leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
7 oz sprite zero or club soda
1 tbsp sugar or Splenda
crushed ice
In a cool tall glass, muddle the mint, sugar or splenda or Agave and lime juice. Add crushed ice and soda and stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge and a few sprigs of mint. Serve with a straw.

Pink Grapefruit Preggatini

Diet Pink Grapefruit soda
Pomegranate Syrup or grenadine
Splash of lime
Combine ingredients, add ice, stir and enjoy. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

Lemon, Lime & Bitters

Technically not a mocktail because it calls for bitters and bitters contains alcohol, but the overall alcoholic content is so small, that it barely counts. It’s a very easy drink to make so it’s great to have in your repertoire. This is an extremely popular mocktail in Australia, even for kids, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be popular elsewhere – so spread the word!

Serve in a Highball glass

  • 1/2 shot lime cordial
  • Top with sprite
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 lemon wedge for garnish

Add sprite to an ice-filled highball glass. Float lime cordial on top. Add 3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Add the garnish.

Pineapple Ginger Beer

pineapple punch mocktail

This is a refreshing, non-boozy take on the Dark ’n’ Stormy cocktail. It replaces the rum with pineapple juice & adds some extra ginger syrup. It’s another great mocktail to add to your repertoire because it uses commonly available ingredients.

Serve in a Collins glass

  • 1 1/2 shots pineapple juice
  • 1 shot fresh lime juice
  • 1 shot ginger syrup
  • Top with ginger beer
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish

Shake & strain the first 3 ingredients into an ice-filled collins glass. Top with ginger beer. Add the garnish.

Shirley Temple

shirley temple mocktail

Commonly served to children dining in restaurants in replacement of real cocktails, this is an essential mocktail to know for the restaurant bartender. It’s believed to have originated in the 1930s in Hollywood, the name coming from the former Iconic child star, Shirley Temple. Funnily enough, she dislikes the mocktail describing it as far too sweet. That’s probably why children love it.

Serve in a Highball glass

  • 1/2 shot grenadine
  • 1/2 shot fresh lemon juice
  • Top with ginger ale
  • 1 cherry & 1 lemon wedge for garnish

Build in an ice-filled highball glass. Top with ginger ale & lightly stir. Add the garnish.

Enjoy!