Pregnancy Myths: Part 2

It’s hard to get through your 40 or so weeks of pregnancy without hearing pregnancy myths. While they are fun to consider, there is little truth to most of these tall tales and their widespread retelling can lead to some confusion for moms-to-be.

We’re debunking pregnancy myths to keep you on a path to health and truth during your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myths: Part 2Pregnancy Myth #8: You Should Limit Your Physical Activity

Unless your physician indicates otherwise, exercise during pregnancy is highly recommended. Your body is going through a ton of changes and you can help your heart and blood circulation keep up with the challenge by working out. Plus, exercise is good for stress relief, helps stretch and loosen muscles and joints that are being used differently during pregnancy, and can prepare you for labor and delivery.

You may, however, need to adjust your workout routines to be more appropriate, especially as you progress through pregnancy. Any activity where you may be more likely to lose our balance or fall, such as biking, horseback riding or mountain hiking, is not a great choice at this time. Stick to walking, swimming, prenatal yoga and the likes to elevate your heart rate and stay safe during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #9: You Can Predict Your Baby’s Gender With a Game

Have you heard the one where you dangle your wedding ring from a strand of your husband’s hair over your belly to determine your baby’s gender? You know, if it spins it’s a girl and if it swings it’s a boy. NOT TRUE! Like we said yesterday, your baby’s sex is determined at conception and there’s not a game in the world that can change that.

Pregnancy Myth #10: Don’t Eat Any Seafood

Actually, you SHOULD eat two or three weekly servings of fish rich in essential fatty acids during pregnancy as long as they are low in mercury. Great options include salmon, tilapia, canned tuna, shrimp and cod. Seafood that is high in mercury can be toxic to your baby’s developing nervous system so avoid seafood such as tilefish, swordfish, shark and mackerel. Also, never eat raw or undercooked seafood. That means it’s best to skip the sushi or sashimi for awhile.

Pregnancy Myth #11: You Should Not Fly

The radiation you experience from an airplane, x-ray machines and other aviation equipment is minimal. It would take many times the level acquired from flying to do any harm to your baby.

Many parents use the time before their baby arrives to take a vacation. Some airlines have restrictions on flying in the last month of pregnancy so you may need a doctor’s note if you plan to fly in your third trimester. Be sure to hydrate during flight and walk around to help maintain good blood circulation.

Pregnancy Myth #12: Morning Sickness is Only in the Morning and Ends After the 1st Trimester

Unfortunately some women experience morning sickness around the clock and throughout their entire pregnancy. Morning sickness is more likely in the morning since your body has been fasting overnight and nausea tends to peak when your body needs nourishment and blood sugar levels are lower. But this could happen at other points during the day as well and sometimes even eating doesn’t subdue morning sickness.

The majority of women experience less nausea and vomiting after the first trimester when pregnancy hormones change and your body gets used to being pregnant. Again, this isn’t the case for everyone and some moms are queasy throughout pregnancy. Ginger, lemon and mint can be helpful to reduce symptoms of morning sickness.

Pregnancy Myth #13: Avoid Sex

Sex is not off limits during pregnancy, ladies! In fact, some women feel heightened sexual pleasure during pregnancy, thanks to all that extra estrogen. Sex may help you relax and feel closer to your partner as you experience the ups and downs of becoming a new parent. Unless your doctor says otherwise, indulge and enjoy!

Pregnancy Myth #14: You Will Crave Your Favorite Foods

Pregnancy hormones change the way you experience food. Your favorite foods and foods you never liked before may taste different now. Therefore, you may not overdo it on chocolate even if that’s your favorite treat. And you may actually enjoy kale more during pregnancy than ever before. It’s a good reason to rediscover new, healthy foods.

Also, if you’re waiting for the urge for pickles and ice cream, it may never come. While that’s an infamous pregnancy combination, it isn’t a craving for all moms-to-be.

Sources: WebMD, The Bump, Tommys, CNN, Parenting and Babble

 

 

Pregnancy Myths: Part 1

Pregnancy Myths: Part 1When it comes to pregnancy and babies, everyone seems to have an opinion. Unfortunately, not all the unsolicited advice you get will be accurate, much less something you really want to heed anyways. Pregnancy myths are as common as morning sickness and swollen feet for moms-to-be. This week we’re debunking some of the major pregnancy myths so you can get to the bottom of what really matters in a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #1: You’re Eating for Two

You may feel a bit hungrier than usual but you actually don’t need much more food to sustain yourself and your growing baby. About 200 to 300 extra calories should do it. Many moms-to-be find it easier to graze on small meals throughout the day. This can curb pregnancy nausea and help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

As you progress throughout your pregnancy you may even find eating large meals difficult because your baby is compressing your stomach making it not able to hold very much at one time.

Overeating during pregnancy can lead to an excessive weight gain and a host of health problems for you and your baby during and after pregnancy. Physicians recommend a weight gain between 25-35 pounds for most women during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #2: You Can’t Take Any Medications

There are plenty of OTC medications that are safe during pregnancy including certain pain relievers, antacids, cough medications and allergy decongestants. Check with your doctor to make sure you select something safe for you and your baby. You may be able to continue taking pre-existing prescription medications or may be prescribed a new baby-safe medication during pregnancy to relieve symptoms. If you were taking something that is not safe now that you’re pregnant, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative drug.

Also, pregnant women should get a flu shot for the protection of herself and her baby. The flu shot for expectant moms does not contain the live virus and is completely safe and recommended for moms-to-be.

Pregnancy Myth #3: Heartburn Means Your Baby Will Be Hairy

The old wives’ tale about heartburn and your baby’s likelihood for excessive hair is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be, although there may be some truth to it. Plenty of moms with heartburn give birth to bald babies, but sometimes the pregnancy hormones causing heartburn are the same that stimulate hair growth for babies. So, if your heartburn is indeed from your hormones and not the hot tamales you ate last night, your baby may be hairy…or he may not.

Pregnancy Myth #4: You Can’t Drink Coffee

Studies show that caffeine in moderation is completely acceptable during pregnancy. Previous research indicated caffeine may lead to preterm birth or low birth weight but this myth has been debunked. In fact, eating chocolate – a food with natural caffeine – is healthy during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #5: Don’t Dye Your Hair

There is no evidence that the small amount of chemicals used to dye hair will affect your baby. It would take many times that level of toxins to do any harm to your baby and it certainly would have affected you long before your little one. If you need to touch up your roots or have a hankering for an entirely new hair color before your baby arrives, go for it.

Pregnancy Myth #6: You Should Always Feel Happy During Pregnancy

Sure, you’re excited, optimistic and eager to start a new life with your bundle of joy, but you may also be anxious, scared and stressed at the same time. Pregnancy hormones can leave you with a mixed range of emotions that are often confusing when you believe you’re supposed to just be thrilled about your baby all the time. Especially when pregnancy symptoms are at their worst, feeling happy isn’t always on your agenda.

Don’t feel guilty, these are normal feelings. Try to find a balance between everything you need to maintain in your life and supporting your physical and emotional needs at this critical time. Also, lean on your partner, friends and family to help you work through some of your feelings.

Pregnancy Myth #7: Carrying Low, Carrying Wide and Dark Nipples can Determine Your Baby’s Gender

All of these things may happen to you, but it isn’t an indication of the gender of your baby. Whether you find out your baby’s gender in advance of birth or not, your baby’s sex is determined at conception. Nothing that you do, say or believe is going to change that.

The way you carry your baby has much to do with your body type, your baby’s position in the womb, and your stomach muscles. If you have a shorter torso, your belly may protrude outward more because you have less “built-in” space for your baby. Stronger abdominal muscles tend to help moms-to-be hold babies higher. With each pregnancy your muscles may become more elastic and cause you to carry lower.

The darkening of your nipples is actually a wonderful way your body prepares for breastfeeding. It occurs due to hormones and some experts believe it is to help your baby, who has poor vision at birth, more easily find your nipples for breastfeeding.

If you’re shocked by these pregnancy myths, stick around for the second half of our series tomorrow!

Sources: WebMD, The Bump, Tommys, CNN, Parenting and Babble

 

Pregnancy Workouts for Couples

You’ve probably been told a time or two by your OBGYN and mom friends that working out during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. Yes, you may need to modify your pregnancy workouts and exclude some potentially dangerous activities for awhile (bye bye bikes, horseback riding and skiing), but exercise during pregnancy offers some amazing health benefits including stress relief, improved flexibility and strength to handle your growing body (which also helps during labor and delivery), and weight management. And you can reap these benefits with your partner in crime! Today we’re exploring pregnancy workouts for couples to keep both you and your hubs in good shape and ready to welcome your sweet new baby.

While you’re carrying the brunt of the body changes during pregnancy, your partner is an integral part of the experience. From helping prepare your home for your baby’s arrival, to supporting your physical and emotional health, dads-to-be are growing and changing in their own ways. Studies have even shown the hormonal shift that occurs in expectant dads during pregnancy resulting in “pregnancy symptoms” for fathers as well. And up to half of men gain weight during their partner’s pregnancy. What better way to combat the bulge than pregnancy workouts for couples?

Especially when you’re pregnant, having a partner around can make working out more enjoyable and safer too. Pregnancy takes a lot of adjustment so it’s hard to know how your body will respond to different exercises during each stage. With your husband around you’ll always have backup should you need a little assistance. Plus you can spend some quality bonding time together before the baby arrives, which may not happen often in just a few months. And of course you’ll both get the physical and mental benefits of working out, made even better by companionship.

Pregnancy Workouts for Couples

Pregnancy Workouts for CouplesWalking: Anything from a stroll to a power walk can make a great pregnancy workout for couples. Find your pace and get moving at least three times a week. Check out different parks and neighborhoods if you’re feeling adventurous, or stick to an indoor track if it makes you more comfortable. Be careful of treadmills and other gym equipment – the rebalance of body weight during pregnancy may have you feeling a little off-kilter. Also avoid rocky areas and steep mountain terrains where you would be more likely to fall.

Swimming: The weightlessness of water submersion can feel so good during pregnancy. You may not have the stamina for endless laps, but do what you can and then do some water calisthenics to round out your workout. The resistance of the water can be a powerful workout without the impact of regular aerobic exercise.

Partner Prenatal Yoga: When your schedules align, practice partner prenatal yoga. This mind-body workout will not only challenge your bodies, but also keep you connected and grounded during this exciting and anxious time in your lives. Partner prenatal yoga consists of pregnancy-safe moves where you and your partner support each other’s weight and help each other stretch. Plus, it incorporates wonderful breathing techniques that may help you during labor and delivery.

Weight Training: Weight training with light hand weights during pregnancy is a fantastic way to pump your heart rate and stay toned. It also allows you and partner to select appropriate weights for your fitness levels and your partner can be close by to ensure you are safe. Try simple arm strengthening moves to hit each upper body muscle group once or twice, and then use weights for resistance during squats, lunges or reclining leg-lifts. Take breaks as needed and unlike your pre-pregnancy workouts, there’s no need to engage your core!

Remember, follow the recommendations of your physician regarding exercise during pregnancy. Only workout to your fitness level and discontinue exercise that causes pain or unusual symptoms.

Also, gear up with a nursing sports bra that will take you from pregnancy through breastfeeding. The comfort and support is unbeatable and you’ll be ready to get back in the swing of exercise once your little one arrives.

Sources: Fit Pregnancy, Parent’s World and Baby Med

Let’s Get Real about your Pelvic Floor

Let’s Get Real about your Pelvic FloorIt’s probably not every day that you think about and talk about your pelvic floor but when you’re pregnant or if you’ve just had a baby, you should. Pelvic floor exercise, the most common of which is kegels, can help you during labor, delivery and beyond. We’re getting real about your pelvic floor and explaining all you need to know about kegels.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is the set of muscles, nerves, tissues and ligaments that support your bladder, rectum, vagina, and uterus. As you can imagine, these are all very important during pregnancy, particularly as your baby grows and puts more pressure on these areas.

How does a strong pelvic floor help during pregnancy, labor and delivery?

Your growing baby is doing her job by gaining in weight and length day-by-day inside the womb. However, this contributes to a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor. By exercising your pelvic floor, your muscles will be more suited to hold this extra weight comfortably. When it comes time for your baby’s big debut, your pelvic floor will stretch a great deal to allow for your baby’s safe passage. Women who have a strong pelvic floor generally have easier deliveries and perhaps even shorter periods of active labor.

How does a strong pelvic floor help postpartum?

After being stretched to the max during delivery, your pelvic floor will need some time to regain its shape. A strong pelvic floor will have an easier time “bouncing back” and can help reduce chances of side-effects like urine leaks or incontinence after childbirth. If these muscles remain relaxed, even sneezing, being startled or laughing can cause some leakage.

What are kegels?

Kegels are the exercise in which you contract and release your pelvic floor to build the muscles. The best way to learn how to do a kegel is to stop the flow of your urine while you’re going to the bathroom. The motion you used to freeze your urine stream is a kegel. Once you know how to do it, it’s pretty simple and can be done anywhere. No one will even know you’re doing it so feel fee to do it at your desk, in your car, in bed or while sitting at the dinner table. (But don’t continue to do it while urinating because it can lead to bladder problems.)

How often should you do kegels?

It’s best to work your way up to doing 3 sets of 20 kegels a day. Contract your pelvic floor for 5 seconds at a time and then release. You can make it fun by downloading an app with kegels music routines or involving your partner.

Exercising your pelvic floor may not be your most favorite activity during pregnancy and postpartum but it’s one that can surely pay off if you do it regularly.

Sources: What to Expect, Prevention Magazine and The Bump

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

The Effects of Stress during Pregnancy

The Effects of Stress during PregnancyAsk any mom-to-be and she’ll tell you that expecting a baby is stressful. Some amount of stress is normal and expected, but prolonged chronic or intense stress can be harmful to both mothers and babies. We’re exploring the effects of stress during pregnancy and some pregnancy-friendly coping techniques.

There are many avenues of stress when you have a baby on the way. Between the aches and pains of pregnancy, preparing for the arrival of your baby, and fear of your new role as a mom, to maintaining your work productivity, managing relationships, and life’s normal daily challenges, stress can creep up on you in many ways. Usually, this type of stress is normal during pregnancy as hormones increase. However, major stress caused by trauma, death of someone close to you, chronic problems (such as financial issues or abuse) or serious pregnancy complications require more attention.

In some ways, stress can be a helpful and motivating influence. For example, worrying about your labor may empower you to write a birth plan that can help you feel more in control over the unknowns of childbirth. Or you may put in some extra time at work to give yourself flexibility once your baby is born.

But when the symptoms of stress take a toll on your body, it can negatively impact your baby. As with other times in your life, side effects of stress include sleeplessness, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, changes in appetite and headaches. This is more often the case with major stress factors rather than normal pregnancy and daily life concerns.

Although the exact ramifications of stress are not traceable, the symptoms of stress can trickle down into pregnancy complications and potential problems for your baby. High blood pressure can cause preeclampsia, which may lead to preterm birth or low birth weight. Stress can weaken your immune system leaving you and your baby more susceptible to illness and infection. Prolonged exposure to elevated stress hormones in utero have also been linked to behavioral and emotional issues as children age. Additionally, prenatal anxiety and depression can lead to postpartum anxiety and depression, which is a critical concern for moms and the wellbeing of their babies.

If you are experiencing particularly high levels of stress during pregnancy, consider these ways of coping with your stress:

  • Talk it Out: Open a dialogue about your stressors with your partner, family, friends and other pregnant moms. If necessary, seek professional help from a therapist.
  • Keep a Journal: Write down your thoughts, fears and stressors to release them from your mind.
  • Prioritize your Health: Work hard to eat healthy and exercise, both of which can affect stress and your mood.
  • Consult your Doctor: Ask your physician for safe ways to ease the discomforts of pregnancy that may be exacerbating your stress.
  • Do Less: Sometimes you just need to let things go when you’re stressed or ask for help to ensure your responsibilities are covered.
  • Relax: When you feel your stress levels are at the max, take time to relax and rejuvenate. A full body break can help reset and rebalance your body, mind and spirit.
  • Study Up: When stress stems from unknowns, becoming more knowledgeable can curb your stress. If childbirth, baby care or parenting are stressing you out, read books about them or take classes to feel more prepared.

Sources: March of Dimes, WebMD and Parents

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 Dreams Part 2

If you’re having strange dreams during pregnancy, you’re in good company. Many moms-to-be report bizarre dreams and nightmares during their 9+ months of pregnancy. As we discussed earlier this week, the imaginative scenarios that arise in your dreams are thanks to a combination of hormones and emotions that are swirling around in your body and psyche. Questions about your labor and delivery process, ability to be a parent and even characteristics of your baby may rear their head in your pregnancy dreams. Today we’re helping you interpret some common themes in your pregnancy dreams.

Pregnancy Dreams about Childbirth

Pregnancy Dreams Part 2Although your birthing dreams may be traumatic or have you giving birth to non-human animals or inanimate objects, dreaming about childbirth actually means you’re excited about the arrival of your baby. It is normal to have anxiety over the labor and delivery process because there are many unknowns and some of it may be out of your control. Pregnancy dreams about giving birth to anything other than a human baby are just representative of your baby and your feelings of nurture toward your little bundle of joy.

Pregnancy Dreams about Harming or Forgetting your Baby

It seems horrible that you would even dream about harming or forgetting your baby but these dreams are actually quite common and normal. Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility – probably the biggest role of your life. You may not feel prepared for the job and that can be reflected in dreams about leaving your baby somewhere or not being able to protect your baby from danger. Recognizing these fears may help you come to terms with feelings of not being ready for motherhood and may even up your game in preparing for the arrival of your baby.

Pregnancy Dreams about your Baby’s Gender

Your baby’s gender is probably top-of-mind for you during pregnancy. Even if you opt to find out the sex of your baby, the weeks leading up to the gender reveal can provoke pregnancy dreams about your baby boy or girl. As much as you may wish you could dream up your baby’s sex, it’s just not possible. You’ll have to wait for your blood work, ultrasound or delivery to know for sure.

Pregnancy Dreams about Conception

Metaphorical and realistic dreams about conception are common during pregnancy. Sometimes these dreams manifest as planting or burrowing in the earth or they may become sexual in nature. This is your subconscious helping you connect to your baby and form an early bond as she grows and develops in your womb.

Pregnancy Dreams about Water

Whether you’re pregnant or not, dreams about water are usually a reflection your own feelings. If the water is pure and clear, you’re feeling optimistic and confident about your life. Murky water may represent feelings of uncertainty and doubt. Water dreams during pregnancy often occur in the first trimester as the amniotic sac fills with fluids.

Pregnancy Dreams about Being Trapped

Dreams of entrapment may have dual meaning. First, it can help a mom-to-be emphasize with her baby who is “trapped” in the womb. Also, it may represent an expectant mom’s feelings of losing freedom as she enters this new phase in her life.

Pregnancy dreams are fascinating and can help you acknowledge and manage feelings of fear, anxiety, inadequacy and doubt. If you experience pregnancy dreams, take some time to understand the emotions behind them. It may help clear your mind and enter motherhood with excitement and fresh perspective.

Sources: Huffington Post and Fox News

 

Pregnancy Dreams Part 1

Whether we remember them or not, we all dream. When you’re pregnant, your dreams may feel like they are on overdrive, thanks to the whirlwind of hormones and emotions that being a new parent conjures up. Pregnancy dreams – and often nightmares – can paint a picture of how new moms are feeling, even if she isn’t outwardly expressing herself during waking hours. Today we’re examining the meaning behind common pregnancy dreams.

When you’re expecting you may feel like you’re having more dreams than usual. That’s probably not true, but because pregnancy dreams are so vivid and sometimes troublesome, you may be more likely to remember them. Plus, when your dreams are scary, you may wake up more frequently, which also helps you remember your most recent dreams.

Pregnancy Dreams Part 1Hormones, stress and a range of emotions are probably the culprit of your strange pregnancy dreams. As with any dreams, they are provoked by something in your subconscious. Moms-to-be certainly have a lot of mixed feelings floating around and many of them debut in the form of pregnancy dreams. When you dream about turmoil and conflict, it is most likely representative of the internal and external changes you’re feeling as you enter a new stage in your life. After all, having a baby truly changes everything, from your relationship with your spouse and friends, to your job and your own identity.

Psychologist Alan Slegel studied pregnancy dreams in the 1970s and concluded that the seemingly bizarre imaginative dreams of moms-to-be were helpful in preparing them for motherhood. Not only do pregnancy dreams help expectant mothers release their fears, they also help mothers accept their new role as parents. More recent studies showed there may be a strong correlation between pregnancy dreams and shorter labor and less postpartum depression. Perhaps coping with feelings in dreams eases anxiety in the long run.

Many pregnant women question their ability to be a mother after experiencing pregnancy dreams. They wonder if the horrible things their imagination dreamed up are a sign of things to come. Fortunately, that’s not true at all so you can rest assured your mothering skills are not based on your subconscious dreams.

Many pregnant women claim to have dreams pertaining to similar in topics.  These are often about the labor and delivery process or taking care of a new baby. Later this week we’re sharing what the experts say these pregnancy dreams are all about.

Sources: Huffington Post and Fox News

Why You Should Avoid Soft Cheese during Pregnancy

Why You Should Avoid Soft Cheese during PregnancyIf you’re a cheese lover, it may be hard for you to avoid soft cheese during pregnancy – but doing so is for a very good reason. Soft cheese is on the list of foods to avoid while pregnant for a few reasons and we’re exploring them today.

Why is it necessary to avoid soft cheese during pregnancy?

It’s spreadable, creamy and downright delicious, however it’s important to avoid soft cheese during pregnancy if it is unpasteurized because it may contain harmful bacteria called listeria. Listeria is a bacteria found in water and soil that causes the illness called listeriosis. Listeria is most commonly found in raw meats, vegetables and unpasteurized cheeses. Usually the process of cooking or pasteurizing food kills listeria, however some packaged food may be contaminated during packaging.

Unpasteurized soft cheeses are more likely to be contaminated with listeria because they contain more moisture than hard cheeses. Moisture is the perfect breeding ground for listeria.

What types of soft cheeses might have listeria?

Unpasteurized mold-rippened soft cheeses and bleu-veined cheeses are most likely to have listeria. Mold-rippened cheeses include brie, goat cheese, camembert and blue-veined cheeses include Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort. These cheeses are generally considered safe if they have been pasteurized. However it is vital to be sure you avoid soft cheese during pregnancy if it has not been pasteurized. Hard cheeses don’t harbor moisture and are not likely to be contaminated with listeria.

Why is listeria more harmful during pregnancy?

Anyone who consumes food contaminated with listeria may end up with listeriosis but you are more likely to get it during pregnancy due to your weakened immune system. Your body is working very hard to create that precious baby and your immune system gets the short end of the stick, thanks to hormones. Less energy goes into keeping you well while you are pregnant and therefore moms-to-be are more susceptible to all sorts of infections, including listeriosis.  Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than others, according to the CDC.

Additionally, listeriosis can be dangerous for your unborn baby. Is has been linked to miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects or infections in babies. That’s why it’s essential that you do everything possible to avoid listeria contamination during pregnancy.

What to do if you believe you have listeriosis

If you think you may have listeriosis, contact your physician immediately. Antibiotics can help you get rid of the infection and protect your baby from any negative side-effects as well. Symptoms of listeriosis include nausea, vomiting, headaches, fever and other flu-like symptoms.

Sources: NHS, American Pregnancy Association and The Bump