Pregnancy and Your Feet

Shoe lovers everywhere may want to avert their eyes! This will be tough to read…

Pregnancy is a time of wonderful, natural and slightly bizarre new experiences. Not only are expecting mothers undergoing peculiar cravings, out of control hormones, and growing bellies but, even stranger, growing feet! Soon enough those adorable little Louis Vuitton’s will be too tight to wear and cushiony, less attractive flats will take their place.

But my feet stopped growing years ago, you say. How could they possibly start to grow now?

Pregnancy and Your FeetWell, as most pregnant women come to realize, walking around with an extra 25-40 pounds can be hard on a woman’s legs and feet. The extra weight can lead to edema, a very ordinary condition in which the superfluous fluid your body retains will be collected in your tissue. Edema will cause your feet to swell and can make getting around difficult and, sometimes, even painful.

However, there is a second, more predominant reasoning behind the apparent growth of pregnancy feet. Relaxin, a hormone that loosens up your pelvis joints to make room for your baby, causes the bones in your feet to spread by loosening your ligaments. So despite what it may seem, don’t think of your feet as growing. Think of them as relaxing, by way of relaxin.

Most women will notice their shoes feeling tight around their second trimester, with a steady increase towards the end of their pregnancy. Although the swelling of your feet will most likely lessen around a month following delivery, the foot spreading of your loosened ligaments will not. The majority of women will usually go up a foot size and remain that way, so be prepared!

If you’re an adamant shoe lover, relax with the knowledge that at least you’ll have to buy a few pairs during your pregnancy. They may focus a little more on comfort rather than style, but with all that swelling the latter won’t seem to matter nearly as much as it used to. No matter what, do not simply squeeze into your old shoes. This can cause numerous issues, such as bunions and corns.

In the end, just remember that it may be best to hold off splurging on those designer heels until you’re done having children. Because no matter how gorgeous they appear on your feet right now, if you intend on having another baby, experienced moms will tell you: your feet will only continue to grow. So, honestly, maybe it’s best to just start focusing on all the adorable shoes you’re going to buy your little one instead!

Home Birth

Home BirthWhile not many individuals take the time to consider it, childbirth has not always been the safe and clean experience it has become. Throughout history, women have gone through strange, painful, and alarming procedures to safely deliver their children. These processes have greatly changed over the course of time and, in reality, it was not until the 1900s that the majority of women chose to birth their children in clinics.

This tradition continues today, where most expecting mothers choose a safe, sanitized hospital with an experienced staff to assist them. To many, this seems the only appropriate option. Why? Because it can be reassuring to know that a practiced, qualified medial team is there if you need them.

But despite this relatively new and popular custom, it is important to remember that as the years progress, our knowledge progresses with them. Our understanding of childbirth and the anatomy of the pregnant woman have only expanded, giving an increasing number of women another new option: a safe, well-planned home birth.

Exactly how it sounds , a home birth is the decision to go through labor and childbirth at home rather than the hospital. There are many risks and benefits associated with this option and we have gathered the following information to help you see if it might be right for you.

Benefits of a Home Birth

First and foremost, a home birth gives you the option of including those you love in the process. By surrounding yourself with family and friends, you will have numerous helpers, a familiar and comfortable environment, and constant support and encouragement. In addition, you will be able to wear your own comfy clothes, eat and drink, shower, walk around, watch television, read, etc. Basically: your house your rules!

Dissimilar from a hospital birth, a home birth will immediately provide you bonding through breastfeeding. This is an important necessity as it will not only help a new mother stop bleeding, but will transfer necessary disease-fighting antibodies from mother to baby.

Furthermore, although this is not always a first thought, a home birth can cost about 60% less than a hospital birth. This extra money can help you purchase all those diapers, baby clothes, baby books, and everything else you’ll need!

Risks of a Home Birth

No matter how carefully screened, planned, and prepared you are, anything can go wrong during childbirth; and while the risk of infant death has dropped dramatically over the years, it is still double the risk to give birth at home rather than at a hospital.

Potential problems can arise that require medical attention and both mother and child could be rushed from home to the hospital. Some of these problems are: labor is not progressing, placental abruption takes place, the umbilical cord prolapses, there is vaginal bleeding besides a bloody show, the placenta is not delivered, your baby is having trouble breathing, your baby shows abnormal signs of distress.

With such serious risks, the importance of an experienced midwife or doctor to assist you is more than a desire – it’s a necessity.

Home Birth Suggestions    

If you have decided that a home birth is right for you, there are a few steps to consider taking!

  1. Interview and choose experienced, qualified healthcare professionals to assist you through the process of your home birth. The midwives, nurse-midwives, or doctors that you speak with should all be certified and share the same philosophy on birth as your own.
  2. Consider hiring a doula (a trained labor assistant) for the big day!
  3. Create a birth plan in order to solve the following questions: where will you experience labor and delivery, will you use anything to cope with the pain, will you partake in a water birth, do you intend to breastfeed your baby immediately following delivery, what non-healthcare individuals will be assisting, and so on and so on. Discuss your plan with your chosen healthcare providers and make sure to ask what supplies you will need to have on hand. This could include anything from towels to a protective floor covering.
  4. It is essential to choose a pediatrician to examine your baby within 24 hours of their birth.
  5. Write out a backup plan just in case a transfer to the hospital becomes necessary.

With careful screening, preparation and execution, a home birth can be an amazing experience for an expecting mother. It is important to note, however, that home births are only ideal for those who have low-risk pregnancies that include the helpful involvement of a qualified midwife or doctor to assist them. Life-threatening issues can occur and, when that happens, the delay in medical care could put lives at serious risk. Properly understanding the benefits and risks of a home birth can help you decide if it truly is the right choice for you.

 

Stretch Marks

Stretch MarksWhat are stretch marks?

First of all, what exactly are stretch marks?

Stretch marks, or striae, are small, uneven stripes in the skin that occur when your body is growing too fast for your skin to keep up. This phenomenon causes your skin’s elastic fibers to break, resulting in unsightly lines and marks. While anyone can undergo stretch marks due to a sudden and rapid weight surge, pregnant women usually see them appearing on the abdomen towards the end of their pregnancy when their skin is stretching to accommodate a growing baby. Although, while the tummy is the most common, they may also appear on the breasts, upper arms, buttocks, thighs and hips.

Depending on your skin color, stretch marks may appear pink, reddish-brown, dark brown or purple; and while they will later fade, they will never completely disappear.

Will I get stretch marks?

Many women stress over the possibility of stretch marks when nearly 90% of women will see them appearing around their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Expecting mothers may try as many prevention techniques as they like but the fact remains that the majority of women will get them.

Over the years, research has begun to suggest that genetics play a significant role in striae. Ask your mother and keep an eye on your sister: if either one has stretch marks chances are you will have them as well.

Additionally, the more your skin is forced to quickly expand during pregnancy, the more likely you are to develop stretch marks. This is why mothers carrying multiples, or mothers with an excess of amniotic fluid, will usually see them.

Can I prevent stretch marks?

Unfortunately, all the prevention creams, lotions and oils claiming to thwart stretch marks have never been proven realistically effective. Your body will continue to grow and your skin will stretch with it accordingly. However, expectant mothers can attempt to stay within the recommended amount of weight gain, usually between 25-30 pounds, and gain it slowly rather than hurriedly. If your skin is given enough time to catch up with your growing body, there is a slim chance you can reduce the amount of stretch.

If I do get stretch marks, what can I do to get rid of them?

No matter what practices or products you try, your stretch marks will never entirely vanish. But, if they are still bothering you after you’ve given birth, there is no harm in setting up an appointment with your dermatologist to discuss your options.

It’s important to note that stretch marks are considered a cosmetic matter, so your insurance probably won’t cover any costs associated with a cosmetic treatment option, such as laser treatment to fix the skin’s elasticity and color.

Expecting and new mothers should remember that some topical creams and lotions may not be healthy to use while breastfeeding your child.

 

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal YogaAs your pregnancy progresses, aches, pains and a latent fear seem to be progressing with it. Soon that adorable baby bump will be a ninth month old pregnant tummy that’s read to pop; and then you’ll undergo contractions, labor pains, child birth and, of course, motherhood. Anxiety-ridden questions begin swirling around in your head – will child birth hurt, will something go wrong, am I cut out to be a mother, will all this stress somehow hurt my baby?

Instead of letting your concerns overpower your excitement, consider trying one of the most relaxing, deep-rooted practices for soon to be mothers: prenatal yoga. This well-established exercise focuses on toning your mommy muscles, improving your balance, keeping you limber, bettering your circulation, and educating key breathing techniques.

Yoga classes will generally begin by teaching you to rejuvenate your pregnant body through the core inhalation and exhalation method called ujjayi pranayama (ooh-jah-yee prah-nah-yah-mah). Ujjayi shows you how to fill your lungs while tightening your throat and breathing through your nose. It is believed that controlled breathing will bring positive changes to your emotional, mental, and physical health as a mother. Unlike alternative breathing techniques, Ujjayi is performed through all poses, assisting you in releasing any repressed feelings or sensations.

Instead of allowing your fears to take over, this helps to maintain a balanced, consistent breath to relax your mind and focus completely on the present moment. When fearful, your body produces more adrenalin and less oxytocin, the hormone that helps your labor progress. Ujjayi will teach you to relax and dismiss the urge to tighten up due to pain or fear. This, in turn, will help you face the physical and mental demands of labor, childbirth, and motherhood.

Besides offering numerous health benefits such as lower blood pressure and improved breathing rates, prenatal yoga also provides the opportunity to become a part of a pregnant community. With other mothers undergoing the same or similar experiences in an encouraging, compassionate environment, you will be given regular motivation to continue your exercise.

Keep in mind that you will need to take common exercise precautions due to your pregnancy. Speak with a qualified prenatal yoga instructor or your doctor before beginning a class to make sure your experience will be safe and beneficial.

Holiday Crafts

Holiday Crafts

The holidays are upon us and that can only mean a few things: family, friends, food and good cheer! Chances are your house is bright with lights, your decorations are up and your family holiday cards have been sent. With such hectic events and activities, it can be hard to find some downtime to spend with your little ones that doesn’t involve napping.

In between all the present wrapping and cookie baking, easily set aside some imaginative time with your children by creating fun and quick crafts, perfect for those last minute decorations!

We have found two cheap, quick, and heartwarming activities that will have your children more excited for the holidays than ever before!

 

Candy Cane Reindeer

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen! Flying reindeer are one of the most magical parts of the holiday season. Entertain your child’s imagination by encouraging them to create reindeer crafts to hang up on the tree!

You will need:

2 candy canes per reindeer

2 googly eyes per reindeer

Brown pipe cleaners

Small red pompoms

Glue

Directions:

Take the two candy canes and place them against one another so the curved ends are sticking out. Help your little one wrap one brown pipe cleaner around the center of these candy canes to keep them together and form the base of a face. Put two small dots of glue towards the top of the pipe cleaners and have your child stick on the googly eyes! Additionally, put one dot of glue in the center of the pipe cleaners and have your child press on the red pompom for a nose. And voila: one Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to either hang up on the tree, give away as a gift, place around the house, or leave for Santa Clause!

 

Paper Plate Snowman

“Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say, he was made of snow but the children know how he came to life one day!” Create your own Frosty the Snowman out of a couple paper plates and construction paper! It doesn’t hurt to sing along the lyrics while you’re crafting, either!

You will need:

2 paper plates per snowman

Orange, black, and 2 other colors of construction paper

Glue or tape

Scissors

Pencil or Pen

Large googly eyes

Directions:

Begin by placing one plate face up and one plate face down and taping (or gluing) these together to form the head and body. This will probably require a lot of tape! Next, help your child cut out a nose from the orange construction paper, some buttons from the black construction paper, and some boots, gloves and a scarf with the construction paper of your choice! Using tape or glue, attach these pieces to their appropriate spot and add the large googly eyes! Finish off your paper snowman with a big smile and remember to let your child be as creative as they want! If they want their snowman to only have one eyes then let them! If they want their snowman to have feet for hands then let them!

 

This holiday season is perfect for some quality family time. Turn off the phones and television and break out the construction paper and safety scissors for some fun, cheap and easy winter crafting!

Bra Fitting

Bra Fitting

Although most women are not aware of it, experts claim that between 70-80% of us have been wearing the wrong bra size for years. How is that possible, you ask? That can’t be true, you shout!

But it is true.

Many of us only get fitted once in our life when, in reality, we are constantly changing shape. We gain weight and lose it, build muscle, have children, train for half-marathons, travel, take cooking classes etc. With such active lifestyles, our size will never truly remain the same.

So what do we do? We grab our wallets, a few friends, and set out on bra hunting trips with only one factor in mind: our cup size.  Unfortunately for us, one of the most common mistakes in bra shopping is purchasing a cup size too small and a band size too large. Small cups promote side spillage and unsightly lumps and bumps while a loose band causes straps to dig into the shoulders without the appropriate support and lift. Despite the fact these are all common problems, women seem to simply accept them. A proper fitting is necessary and, while it is not an exact science, it will be a starting point to help you find that perfect fit.

Many stores that sell bras have employees with the knowledge to help out. But, if you have a measuring tape at home, you can easily find your sizes yourself!

We have collected a few helpful steps to assist you through the process:

Band Size Steps:

  1. Wear your best fitting structured bra
  2. Stretch your measuring tape around your back to your front
  3. Keep your measuring tape under your arms and bringing it up across to the middle of your chest
  4. Locate band size on measuring tape
  5. If you are an odd number, round up to the following even number
  6. This even number will be your band size.

Cup Size Steps:

  1. Wear your best fitting structured bra
  2. Pull your tape measure around your back and to your front.
  3. Holding it snug but not tight, measure around the fullest part of your bust.
  4. Subtract your band measurement from your bust measurement.
  5. The difference will be your cup size.

Each inch of this difference represents a different cup size. A difference of 1 inch is an A cup size, 2 inches a B cup size, 3 inches a C cup size, and so on.

For example, if you measure at a 38 inch band size and a 36 inch cup size, the difference equals 2, which would make you a B cup size.

 

Our bras support us every day of our lives: we shouldn’t have to settle! Measure yourself today and find the perfect fit for you!

It is important to remember that bras stretch over time so, when new, you should fit firmly and comfortably on the last hook.

When Will I Feel my Baby Move?

One of the most exciting moments of pregnancy is feeling your little one move within you. Not only does this reinforce the bond you have as mother and child, but it shows that your baby is continuing to develop. These little kicks, tumbles and jabs will become distinct as your pregnancy progresses but most movements will begin between 16 and 26 weeks. Although, some women with their second child claim they feel movement after only 13 weeks!

For first time mothers, these activities can be hard to distinguish from traditional bodily functions, especially towards the beginning of your pregnancy. Hunger pains and other internal tasks can feel very similar; but don’t worry. By your second and third semester, your little one will make sure to let you know they’re there! Their movements will become much more intense and frequent.

When Will I Feel my Baby Move?To help you along the way, we have created an easy guide to recognize your little one’s activity:

12th Week: Your growing child is probably beginning to move at this point! But, as they are still very small, you will most likely not begin to feel anything just yet.

16th Week: Around sixteen weeks women have claimed to feel tiny flutters! While there is a decent chance this is a regular bodily function, it just as well may by your little one moving around!

20th Week: This far into your child’s development you will probably start to feel more distinct fetal movements, which is better known as quickening.

24th Week: The movements within you are becoming more and more distinct and frequent. Additionally, you may occasionally feel your growing baby hiccup! This will feel like gentle twitching and is a cause for smiles.

28th Week: As your tummy and child grow bigger, their movements grow in strength and regularity. While this can be sudden and slightly painful, it is a sign of good health and progress!

36th Week: The larger your baby grows, the less room they will have in your uterus. This will slow down their movements until you have given birth and welcome them into the world.

These little kicks, tumbles and jabs will help bring you closer to the life growing within you. Enjoy every moment and, if you like, monitor them! Keep a tally or scrapbook and engage in motherhood in every way you can!

 

It is important to remember that fetal movements will grow more distinctive over time. Just because you cannot recognize them initially does not mean they are not occurring. However, it is always beneficial to set up appointments with your doctor and discuss your pregnancy!

Developmental Milestones

Before we dive in, what exactly are developmental milestones?

Developmental milestones are age-specific tasks that the majority of children can achieve within that particular age group.  However, while each milestone has been assigned a general stage, the actual age children accomplish each task may differ. Just remember that every child is an individual that will develop at their own rate, and you should always remain positive, excited and encouraging!

We have collected a few examples of developmental milestones that can be realistically expected from 2-18 months of age:

Developmental Milestones

In 2-5 months of age, you can expect to see your child smiling, laughing, grasping onto a rattle or a similarly shaped object, and becoming startled by sudden noises.

In 6-9 months of age, your child may begin rolling over, crawling, adorably babbling, turning and shifting to locate sources of sounds, and performing vowel consonant combinations, such as “dada”.

Developmental Milestones

 

In 10-12 months of age, your little one will probably be cruising (shuffled walking) across the room with support from an adult or the furniture, finding mobile ways to reach desired objects across the room, pointing at specific objects and people, using their thumb and fingers to pick up small objects, and physically and visually exploring their toys!

In 13-18 months of age, your child will be walking by themselves, walking up and down stairs with one hand held by an adult, easily throwing lightweight objects such as a ball, using a small vocabulary of about four to ten words, following simple directions, and acknowledging and responding to his or her name.

It is important to remember that your little one may experience these stages at different times. In fact, they may take an entirely different course! But don’t worry, it’s their uniqueness that truly makes them shine!

 

If you are concerned about your child’s development, make sure to set up an appointment with their Doctor.

When Do Babies Crawl?

When Do Babies Crawl?Crawling is perhaps your child’s first great milestone! But, as wonderful a moment as it is, make sure to keep a sharp eye: before you know it they will be across the room and out of your sight!

Traditionally, your child will learn to crawl by beginning to balance on their knees and hands. After a while, they will start pushing off with their knees and realize they have the ability to move forward or backward. Although most parents aren’t aware of it, crawling helps to strengthen the very same muscles they will soon use for walking!

The majority of babies will begin crawling between 7 and 10 months. Granting, all babies are different and your little one may prefer a slightly different method of transportation: using a hand behind and foot in front to push forward, sliding on their stomach, scooting around on their bottom, or rolling all over the room!

As long as they are figuring out a way to get around, you have nothing to worry about. Mobility is what’s important, no matter their method of choice! In certain cases some babies won’t crawl at all. They will directly shift from pulling themselves up, to standing, to using the furniture for balance, to finally walking.

Just remember, they’re quicker than you think!

Baby Names

Picking the name of your future child is pretty overwhelming. Not only do you want to like the way it sounds but you want it to have meaning; and you want it to be unique; and you want it to have something to do with the seasons; and you want it to come with a cute nickname; and you want no one else in Mommy & Me to have it. That’s a long list to fill and chances are you’ll come up with a bunch that you love and your partner does not, and vice versa.

Honestly, with all the options out there, it can be a little stressful. Not to mention the fact that all your relatives, friends, new acquaintances, and basically anyone that knows your pregnant will be offering up their own ideas. It never hurts to be open to their thoughts but remember that the choice comes down to you and your spouse. Begin discussing the topic immediately and it wouldn’t hurt to set some initial rules to stick to. Also, keep a list of names you love that you can continue adding to as your pregnancy progresses!

Here are some thinks to keep in mind when considering your future child’s name:

 

baby namesWell-matched Sound:

It is important to choose a name that flows agreeably with your last name. More often than not, long first names sound better with short last names. Likewise, short first names sound better with long last names. Try to avoid puns and a first name that rhymes with your last name. They may be fun for the first couple days but your child will be forced to stick with it for the rest of their life.

 

Friends and Family:

Many children are named after a close family member or friend and this can give you a relatively decent sized list to consider. However, never allow yourself to be pressured into choosing a name you and your partner don’t like. Listen to everyone’s ideas and decide on your own time; and don’t tell anyone the name until after your baby is born.

 

Meaning:

Not many people will immediately know the meaning of your child’s name but that does not mean it can’t play a part in helping you choose. Search some name indexes and try your best to stick to the positive. Your little one may not be happy to learn their handsome name Braxton actually means: “from a brown farm”.

 

Uniqueness:

A unique name choice can help your child stand out from the traditional crowd of normal names. Yet, it is important to remember that a name that is hard to pronounce may bring unwanted attention. Try and find an appropriate balance: if you have a traditional last name, try an interesting first, and vice versa.

 

Nicknames:

An ugly or cruel nickname has the capability to follow a child all throughout school so consider any potential issues with your name choice. Do your best to rule out anything obvious and remember that just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean one of your child’s classmates won’t.

 

Ancestry:

Ancestors make up who we are and some parents find it fun to explore their past and choose a name to mirror this. Frequently, the names discovered will end up serving as ideal middle names.

 

Remember, these guidelines are not set in stone. The only real thing that matters is that you and your partner agree upon a name you truly love.