Surviving a Difficult Pregnancy

Surviving a Difficult PregnancyAlmost every pregnant woman will experience one negative symptom or another during her 9+ months of pregnancy. The lucky ones will have minor issues but many women have extreme symptoms that can really put a damper on the excitement of having a baby. Surviving a difficult pregnancy may take a lot of positive thinking and mind over matter but moms across the world find the strength to muddle through complications for that incredible reward at the end of the journey.

If you’re among the moms-to-be who are struggling, try these expert and mom-recommended suggestions for surviving a difficult pregnancy:

Seek Relief for Negative Symptoms: So you may not be able to stop the root cause of the negative side-effects of pregnancy but there are often solutions for managing the discomfort. If you experience a symptom that you find annoying or intolerable, try a natural remedy to curb the pain first. If that doesn’t work, ask your doctor for advice. The experts often have a few tricks up their sleeves or may be able to recommend medications that are safe during pregnancy.

Accept that Your Body is Unique: Dwelling on and lamenting the fact that you are having a difficult pregnancy is not going to help you. Your mental state is just as important as your physical state during pregnancy so it’s crucial that you acknowledge that your body is reacting this way, which may be different from your pregnant friends or how you envisioned pregnancy. Don’t beat yourself up over something that is out of your control.

Let Go and Ask for Help: If ever there is a good time to slack or ask for help, surviving a difficult pregnancy is that time. Even supermoms need to let go and get help sometimes. It may actually make you a better mom to realize your limitations. Ensure the big things get done by relying on your partner, family, friends and paid help. Otherwise, let the dishes and the laundry sit for a few days if you have to. It’s just not the end of the world.

Make the Most of Bed Rest: Your doctor may recommend rest and relaxation at some point during a difficult pregnancy. Take advantage of this time by getting as much sleep as possible. With your waking hours, be productive while sedentary by reading, writing in a journal, scrapbooking, catching up with friends, doing a puzzle, or enjoying a hobby or learning a new skill like knitting or drawing.

Eat What you Can: Nausea and vomiting are unfortunate common symptoms of pregnancy that may leave you not wanting to eat, or at least not wanting to eat that perfectly nutritious pregnancy diet all the experts recommend. The truth is, when you can’t keep much down, it’s better to eat something that will stay in than nothing at all. So eat what you can and don’t freak out about it. If you can’t keep down liquids and you’re feeling dehydrated, discuss it with your doctor as you may need IV fluids.

Vent: We all need to vent now and then. When you’re pregnant and feeling terrible, now and then may occur a little more often. Find a few good listening buddies who can lend an ear. Get your stress off you chest for a much needed release.

Research: If your difficult pregnancy stems from a particular condition that you or your baby are experiencing, do your research and follow medical advice. The fear of the unknown is extremely hard to handle during pregnancy but information is power and doing everything you can to ease complications can give you some control over your situation.

Sources: Parents, Urban Mommies, Mamas Latinas and Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine

Do Lemons Help Curb Morning Sickness?

Do Lemons Help Curb Morning Sickness?Let’s cut to the chase….the answer is yes! Tart and tangy, many believe lemons help curb morning sickness! According to research, strong tart flavors help ease the stomach. And when you’re feeling queasy during pregnancy, you’ll try even a sour lemon wedge to reduce the nausea.

While every woman is different, many moms-to-be believe lemons help curb morning sickness.  Here are a few ideas to get some relief from morning sickness with lemons or lemon flavors:

Straight-Up: Keep a few fresh lemons in your kitchen for when nausea is at its peak. Shove a wedge in your mouth, lick it, or simply inhale the lemony scent for immediate relief.

Lemonade: Try a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade to cool you off this spring and summer and keep the nausea to a minimum. This is a thirst quencher that may also quench your morning sickness.

Lemon Water: For a less sugary option than lemonade, go for lemon water. Simply plop some lemon slices into a glass of water and enjoy.

Lemon Popsicles: Make your own lemon ice pop to slurp on when the feeling strikes you. You can add other flavors too to sweeten them up a bit.

Lemon Drops: Sure, candy isn’t usually the healthiest but if it rights your stomach, it’s completely fine to suck on lemon drops during pregnancy.

Lemongrass Tea: Tea is known to help reduce nausea and lemongrass tea has a natural lemon flavor and scent. Increase its effectiveness to curb morning sickness by adding a lemon slice to your cup.

Lemon Squirt or Zest: For a slight lemon flavoring to almost any dish, squirt fresh lemon over your food or cook in a lemon zest. This consistent subtle addition to your meal may help prevent morning sickness in the first place.

Remember, lemons are highly acidic so rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking something with pure lemon.

Lemons offer some other great benefits during pregnancy too. They are packed with vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium that support your baby. It naturally and gently purifies your body to get rid of toxins. Plus it offers additional digestive support than just reducing nausea: it also helps keep you regular and may reduce heartburn.

Do you believe in the power of lemons for morning sickness?

Sources: Fit Pregnancy, Mama and Baby Love, and Cooking Light

Pregnancy Hacks

When you get into the “thick” of your pregnancy, things get pretty real. At first you may feel blissfully bump-a-licious, but then one day you wake up and wonder what happened to that amazing feeling you had when you found out you were expecting. All you feel right now is tired, a backache and nauseous – oh, and don’t forget a hot mess. It’s not that pregnancy is all bad, but it may take creative solutions to avoid discomfort, embarrassment and wardrobe issues. That’s why we’re sharing pregnancy hacks to help you navigate this special time in your life.

Find your Fit

It is fun to dress your bump in adorable maternity clothes but they can be expensive and are useful for only such a short time. Here are some hacks to avoid the money suck of an entire new wardrobe:

  • Pregnancy HacksBuy maternity nursing tops that will stretch with your belly throughout pregnancy but then continue to be useful for breastfeeding once your baby arrives.
  • Use a rubber band or hair tie to wear your regular pants. Simply wrap it around the button and loop it through the buttonhole to add some stretch to the waist. With a long shirt, your pants can remain unbuttoned and unzipped and no one will know the difference.
  • If you’re having hot flashes or are just hot all the time, put your bra in the freezer for a few minutes before wearing it. This will cool you down nicely.
  • Buy a few pairs of sweatpants or other casual clothes towards the beginning of your pregnancy when you’re just starting to show. These will come in handy once you’ve given birth and need something comfy to wear when you’re in-between sizes.

Curb Nausea

Nausea can be debilitating at times. While most pregnancy nausea subsides by the end of the first trimester, some moms-to-be experience it throughout pregnancy. Try these hacks for curbing nausea:

  • Pregnancy HacksDo pregnancy yoga. Some poses actually help put the kibosh on nausea, plus they get your blood flowing and help you stretch.
  • Ginger, watermelon and lemon are all flavors that help curb nausea. Try them fresh or in candy form.
  • Have supplies available if you do vomit while outside your house. These should include some wipes or a towel to clean the mess, a plastic bag for soiled items, a change a clothes, a toothbrush and some perfume.

Get Comfortable

With the added weight of your belly putting pressure EVERYWHERE, on top of other potential issues such as edema, back pain and heartburn, pregnancy can be pretty uncomfortable at times. Try these hacks to find moments of comfort:

  • Lie in a recliner rather than a bed. The chair can prop you up to help avoid heartburn and reflux, and it can better conform to your body so you can get comfortable.
  • If you must be on your belly, use a large inner tube so your bump has a place to go and is supported on all sides.
  • The dietary supplement Cal-Mag is great during pregnancy to help with leg cramps and high blood pressure. It may even help you sleep better.
  • Ease some anxiety by delegating. If someone asks what they can buy you or how they can help, assign them something specific that will help you check that item or task off your to-do list.

Forty weeks may feel like forever when you’re trudging through pregnancy, but with these pregnancy hacks you’ll make it through as graceful as a swan.

 

Sources: BuzzFeed and The Stir

Explaining Pregnancy Symptoms to your Partner

Explaining Pregnancy Symptoms to your PartnerMoms-to-be often feel lonely during pregnancy.  Their once partner in everything can no longer share the same experience – carrying a child is left only to mothers.  That’s not to say men don’t have feelings and changes don’t occur in their lives during pregnancy.  However, their bodies are not biologically changing in the way that expectant moms are.  Explaining pregnancy symptoms to your partner may be a daunting task but its important to bring your partner into the inner circle of your pregnancy experience.  He may know it all too well already as the recipient of some hormonal behavior, but nonetheless, discussing pregnancy symptoms should be a healthy part of sharing this new adventure in your lives.

But how do you go about explaining pregnancy symptoms to your partner?  Break it down symptom-by-symptom and come up with relatable analogies.  Here are a few to get you started:

Pregnancy Nausea:  Although it is called “morning sickness,” pregnancy nausea can strike at any time of day and may not result in vomiting.  Nausea includes a range of feelings from an upset stomach to heartburn.  Many women compare pregnancy nausea to feeling hung-over or having a stomach bug.  Nausea can cause lethargy, change in appetite and a foul mood.  Not allowing the body to get hungry often helps new moms curb their nausea so partners can help by offering food and drink periodically.

Fatigue:  Especially during the first trimester, expectant moms tend to be extremely exhausted.  Her body is changing in many ways to prepare for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.  Simple tasks like making meals and grocery shopping can wear her out as if she just did strenuous exercise.  New moms and their partners should try to keep things simple to let her rest as much as possible.  Partners can offer to take on some of mom’s responsibilities until she has more energy.

Growing Breasts:  Sensitive breasts are often the first symptom of pregnancy a woman experiences.  With the onset of many extra hormones, breasts enlarge to prepare for pregnancy and eventually breastfeeding.  Breasts are tender and often sensitive to the touch as if they were bruised or sore.  Usually breast size increases in the first trimester, slows in the second trimester and may grow a little more towards the end of the third trimester.  Pregnancy is a great time to buy nursing bras.  Partners can surprise the new mom in their lives with a selection of comfortable and stylish nursing bras in her new size.

Gaining Weight:  Gaining the normal 25-35 lbs. during pregnancy can be scary for women.  In a weight conscious world, packing on this many pounds in just 9 months may not make her feel good about herself and she may fear she is unattractive to her partner.  Typically the baby is 6.5 to 7.5 lbs, water weight is around 3.5 lbs, extra blood is 3 lbs, the placenta is 1.5 lbs and breasts are around 1 lb each.  The rest of the pregnancy weight gain is a woman’s body storing fat and energy for pregnancy and beyond.  Partners should help moms-to-be eat healthy meals but also remind her that she’s always beautiful.

Baby’s Movements:  Around the 15th week of pregnancy, expectant moms begin to feel their baby’s movement.  It begins as a flutter and will progress to more distinctive punching, kicking and flipping movements.  Some moms may feel their baby’s hiccups as well.  All of this may feel like a circus inside her belly.  When the movements are larger, moms can share the experience with their partners by letting them feel the movement on her belly.  As the baby gets bigger you can often see ripples across the abdomen as well.

Contractions:  This one is the doozie that may be most difficult to explain to your partner.  Luckily, contractions are short-lived and the light at the end of the tunnel is your precious baby.  Contractions are more closely related to cramping, like stomach cramps, gas pains or a severe muscle spasm.  Unfortunately, it may take hours for relief to come as the baby may not be ready to make an appearance.  Partners can help during contractions by being supportive, keeping moms calm, performing breathing exercises with her and distracting her.  Once early labor signs begin, partners should jump in and be ready to take on all responsibilities, including childcare for other children, calling the OB and getting mom to the hospital.

Partners may not be able to empathize with pregnancy symptoms but they can certain sympathize and support you along the way if you keep an open dialogue about how you are feeling.  They may not know the exact right things to say or do, but with love and support, you can work through the journey together.

Excess Saliva during Pregnancy

Of all the amazing and bizarre changes that occur when you’re expecting, you may be surprised to know that it is common to have excess saliva during pregnancy.  This condition of having more saliva than usual is known as ptyalism or sialorrhea.  While having excess saliva during pregnancy may feel uncomfortable, it does not pose a medical threat to expectant moms or their babies.

Saliva is necessary for several important purposes, which may be even more helpful during pregnancy.  We typically produce 1.5 quarts of saliva daily, which has essential enzymes that help us digest our food and neutralize acidity in the body.  Moreover, saliva has antibacterial and antiviral properties that help fight of infections, especially those of the teeth and gums that are more prevalent during pregnancy.  And saliva helps lubricate the mouth, of course.

Ptylaism is usually worse in the first trimester and often subsides as moms-to-be enter their second trimester.  But for some, excess saliva persists throughout pregnancy.  There may be several causes for this condition, including hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, and is commonly associated with an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and heartburn.

Excess Saliva during PregnancyNausea can contribute to excess saliva during pregnancy because it tends to decrease the urge to swallow.  This results in extra saliva production.  Vomiting often leads to extra saliva too as the body attempts to compensate for dehydration.  Also, heartburn caused by the rise of gastric acid from the stomach through the esophagus may trigger excess saliva during pregnancy as a mechanism to try to counterbalance the acidity.

If you suffer from excess saliva during pregnancy, there are a few tricks to dealing with the problem:

  • First, try to swallow the saliva if possible.
  • If you feel it is too much to swallow, spit it out.  Drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration.
  • Eating water-based fruits, vegetables and foods can help as well, and try sucking on ice cubes if drinking is difficult.
  • Suck on mints or other hard candies or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Brush teeth often and rinse with mouthwash.
  • Avoid eating foods that will cause you to salivate, such as spicy or sour foods.

Excess saliva during pregnancy can be uncomfortable but it is manageable.  Hang in there and know that this, and all of your other pregnancy symptoms, will eventually subside.

Tips to Ease Morning Sickness and Pregnancy Nausea

Pregnancy hormones are a blessing and a curse.  On the upside, they are creating a warm and welcoming environment for your baby to grow and thrive in the womb.  Unfortunately, they may not feel as cozy to you.  They are probably leaving you with some heightened emotions and the very common side-effect of nausea.

It is estimated that 70% of expectant moms experience nausea at some point during their pregnancy and about half of moms-to-be vomit.  For most women, vomiting and nausea subside after the first trimester, but some continue to feel it throughout their pregnancies.

For those who are struggling with this nasty symptom of pregnancy hormones, we’ve got some easy-to-use tips on how to curb your nausea:

Know your Triggers:  Morning sickness doesn’t always come about in the morning.  In fact, it may be triggered by many things other than the time of day.  For example, if you get overly hungry or tired, you may feel nauseous.  Or maybe it’s a smell, behavior or thought that is the result of someone else’s actions.  If that’s the case, discuss what is bringing on these bad spells.  Chances are, those around you will help out to make you more comfortable.

Follow your Nose:  When estrogen levels are high, so is our sense of smell.  That’s why pregnant women have hound dog-like olfactory senses.  Often nausea is triggered by certain smells, whether they are actually disgusting like garbage, or just an everyday scent.  Try carrying around a fresh scent to overpower the pungent fragrance that is causing your nausea.  For example, a bag of fresh herbs or lemon slices may override whatever is turning your stomach.

Tips to Ease Morning Sickness and Pregnancy NauseaWatch What You Eat:  If you are having a queasy pregnancy, you may not be into eating very much.  But make sure what you do it is something you can keep down.  Foods bursting with flavor and fattening foods aren’t the best choices.  Try sticking to bland food until you find your pregnancy legs.  If you’re worried about your nutrition, talk to your OB.  She may recommend you see a nutritionist to ensure you’re getting a balanced diet that won’t reappear in a few hours.

Eat Smaller Meals:  Snacking throughout the day is easier on the digestive system.  Try eating small amounts more often during the day to keep a steady blood sugar level and satiate your stomach.  When morning sickness does happen first thing in the morning, it may be due to an empty tummy.  Try keeping a morning snack next to your bed to have a few bites of nutrients before you get up.

Ginger Anyone:  Ginger is renowned for settling the stomach and relieving nausea.  Many pregnant women swear by ginger candies and lollipops.  You can also drink ginger tea, suck on ginger ice cubes, eat gingerbread or ginger cookies or add ginger to a variety of other foods you eat often.  It actually has a lot of other nutrients that are good for you as well.

Drink Up:  Well, drink water that is.  It’s important for you and your baby to stay hydrated.  Dehydration can make you nauseous so do your best to get at least 64 oz. of water a day.  You may have better luck with very hot or very cold beverages as room temp drinks can be unsettling.  Also, eat hydrating foods like fruits and veggies that can add to your water intake.

Tips to Ease Morning Sickness and Pregnancy NauseaSleep More:  Relaxation and more sleep can ease nausea.  Usually you don’t feel nauseous when you are sleeping, and you should take advantage of sleep before your baby arrives.  Also, the act of lying down, breathing deeply and resting your eyes are helpful in calming an upset stomach.

Watch Your Eyes:  Straining your eyes at a computer screen or television may make nausea worse.  Try making font sizes larger and lowering the brightness of your screens to protect your eyes and therefore your tummy too.

Try Acupuncture:  Acupuncture works for many pregnant women.  If you don’t want to spend the time or money, try acupuncture bands, like those you would wear on a boat.  They put pressure on the wrists to try to rebalance the body.

Vomit Happens:  If you happen to throw up, you’re going to want to be prepared with some supplies.  You may want to carry around a toothbrush and toothpaste, gum and a clean shirt, just in case.  Trust us, you’ll likely find a sympathetic friend in the ladies room who has been through it all before.

Ok mamas, we hope these tips help make things easy on your queasy.  Hang in there, it’s all worth it in the end!