Relaxing While Pregnant

pumpkinsmugglerDuring pregnancy, there is a lot of “dos” and “don’ts” for you to deal with. You should eat the right foods, but avoid too much sugar. You should exercise, but avoid doing too much of it. You should stay active, but make sure you have your doctor’s permission before you do certain things. The list goes on indefinitely. With all the rules for how to have a healthy pregnancy, it may seem like you forget to simply enjoy the fact that you are pregnant. Instead of letting it get to you, you should keep in mind that one of the biggest things you should do when pregnant is take the time to relax and the best part is; there is no “don’ts” with relaxing while pregnant.

Why Relaxing Matters

Every woman who has been through pregnancy knows that a body goes through a lot of things when it is pregnant. These changes go beyond the mental and physical aspects that you can see as your belly grows. From the moment of conception, your body is working to provide that tiny being inside of you with everything they need in order to develop into a healthy newborn baby. This means that your body is working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for nearly the entire 40 weeks that you are pregnant. After all that effort, who wouldn’t need a little relaxing? Taking time for yourself to read a book, watch TV, cuddle with older children, and enjoying a nice warm shower standing under a dual shower head, are all great ways to encourage your body to keep up the good work.

Positive Relaxation Techniques

bathtubpillowOne of the best ways to relax when you are pregnant is to lie back and watch television or read with your feet propped up, especially during the last trimester when your back and legs have to carry around a lot of extra weight. This may also be the time when your ankles are swelling the most. Many pregnant women also lay on the left side, as encouraged by doctors, because it encourages better circulation.

Cuddling with other children, if you have them, is also very positive while you are pregnant because other kids may feel neglected by you after your new little one is born. Take time to cuddle, talk about your growing body, explain how things will be different with the new baby, but that they will not be forgotten, etc. The more you prepare your child now, the happier things will be when you bring your baby home. You can also use this time to prop your swollen ankles and practice breathing slowly or doing other things that make you feel more relaxed.

maternityrobeWhen you are pregnant, most doctors recommend that you don’t take a long, hot bath. However, showers are always encouraged because using the best shower head not only gets you clean, but it promotes relaxation. To get the most out of your shower, you should keep soaps that you enjoy using, warm water with plenty of water pressure, and try to take your time with it. Make shower time, your time. Use it to think about and enjoy the baby growing within your tummy. Sing songs or simply enjoy the water flowing over you.

In short, if it makes you feel good, why not do it? After your little one comes you will miss the days of relaxing while pregnant. Go shopping, enjoy dinner out, and do anything that makes you feel refreshed. In a few months, you may not have the chance for a while.

Baby Preparations While Still Pregnant

When you are expecting a new little one to join your family, there are a lot of things that run through your mind. There may be concerns about whether you are really ready for him, whether you will be a good mom, and how to make sure that he is comfortable and safe. You can read all the how to books and prepare yourself mentally to take care of an infant, but the best thing you can do for yourself is consider handling the baby preparations while still pregnant instead of waiting until the last minute.

Set Up the Nursery

nurserydecorEven if you do not have an entire room to prepare at this time, you can still start preparing the area in your room where you want your little one to stay when they first come home from the hospital. This includes getting them a dresser set up, newborn or 0-3 month sized clothes, baby blankets, diapers and wipes, etc. Other furniture that you may want to consider is the glider or rocking chair you may want to use when it is time for your baby to sleep and a changing table. The one absolute necessity for any nursery or area where your little one will sleep is the crib. For this, you will want to take your time and read through many crib mattress reviews to ensure you get the right one for your little one.

The Baby Necessities

Other things that are a necessity include bouncers and swings according to some parents. For others, they want a baby carrier as well. Some parents want to get everything they could possibly need for their little one including bottles, Tylenol drops for colds, play mats for belly time, gas relief drops, wash rags and towels, etc. As the expectant mom, you have to decide what you need to have on hand for when your little one comes home.

Enjoy the Preparation

enjoynurseryChoosing a car seat for your little one, the mattress you feel you can trust to protect your sleeping baby, and all other things are huge. These decisions should not be made lightly. You should do your research and even though many others prefer the Simmons Beautyrest crib mattress, it doesn’t mean you should buy it unless you are sure you trust in its quality. There are many reviews about it and most people do feel that it is the best choice for their little one, but is it truly right for yours? You get to decide.

You have 9 months to worry about preparing for your little one. There are no decisions that have to be made right now, as long as you take your time and start preparing early in your pregnancy. Planning and preparing, doing your research early, and getting the little things as you go along will take the stress out of it and allow you to enjoy preparing for bringing your bouncing baby boy or your little princess home. This will also ensure that you gain an understanding of why others say that pregnancy is a beautiful time for a mommy-to-be.


How to Get Through Sleepless Nights with an Infant

Having a newborn in the home is a beautiful and exciting thing. You and everyone else will want to cuddle and coo at the adorable new little one while they get to know him. However, after a few nights with very little sleep, some of the thrill may fade away for mommy and daddy. You may feel very emotional, unable to concentrate, and even the simplest tasks, may seem like more than you can bare. It is a phase in life that will pass quickly and before long you will be getting more sleep, along with your little one. Until then though, here are a few tips on how to get through sleepless nights with an infant.

Rest When She Sleeps

619TKnbTsuL._SY679_For the first six weeks of life, your little bundle will most likely be up every two to three hours around the clock. This is when you level of sleep will drop the most. Instead of walking around like a zombie while everyone else is going gaga over your little one, make sure you rest a little, too. Rest during the daytime hours may be hard for some parents, but even if you just lay down and close your eyes for the two hours that your infant is sleeping, you will still feel calmer and less cranky. When you have a newborn, sun up does not have to mean you are. For parents who cannot sleep during the day, putting lavender scents on your pillows and other things may help you relax enough to stay calm so that when the baby does sleep during the darker hours, you can take full advantage of it.

Encourage Daytime Fun

Even if you are zombie-fied during the daytime hours, remember that you need to be the one to help your little one sleep at night. Often when a baby is born, they will want to sleep all day and party during the night. A lot of babies are more playful and social during the dark hours. You are the one who has to make this change, for yourself and for them.

This means making the daytime more active. When your baby lays down for a nap, try to keep the TV on its normal volume range, have her sleep where people are going to be moving around, and let her hear the “noises” of life. When she is awake, encourage playing. Keep the house bright using lights or natural lighting. You do not have to keep her awake hours after she starts to fuss, but keeping her awake until she is really ready for sleep and laying her down when she is drowsy, will ensure she learns that she does not need you to go to sleep.

At night, when it is nearing bedtime for all, turn off the TV, turn off the lights, put him further away from noise, and you may even turn on a white noise to drown out other noises in the home. When he does wake up during the night, even if you are tempted to smile and talk or turn on the lights and the TV to keep yourself awake, you should resist temptation. Keep the nighttime activity down so that he can see that there is a difference between night and day.

If All Else Fails to Help You

Trading off with your partner or someone else that you trust to watch your little one is a good option for most parents. This will allow you to get a little more sleep. You should also lessen the amount that you have to do during the day, drink plenty of water, a little caffeine if you need it, and maintain a good diet. The water and diet is the most crucial. Water can wake most people up more effectively than caffeine.

You should also keep in mind that this is all temporary. Within a couple months, you little one may start allowing you to sleep, “Through the night” or about 5 hours, which will feel like a blessing as long as you take advantage of it and sleep when he does. A few more months of this and you will be able to get back to your regular sleep schedule, perhaps with a few minor tweaks.

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Tips to Surviving the First Trimester

419Ss7fbzpLWhen you first hear that you are expecting a little bundle, you are excited and perhaps filled with wonder over the way your body feels more alive. Then, you will start to develop some very common, unbelievably horrible symptoms of pregnancy. This may include feeling bloated, having morning sickness, achy breasts, and a multitude of other un-pleasantries. Don’t let this stuff get you down. It is a temporary thing that most women must go through when expecting. Here are a few tips to surviving the first trimester.

Relieve the Morning Sickness

You may be wondering what triggers your morning sickness to kick in at the worst possible moments. Perhaps it is because you move too quickly or because your nose catches the scent of something that now makes your tummy do flip-flops, either way, you may find yourself praying over a porcelain toilet soon if you do not know how to make it stop.

Scent can trigger morning sickness. Research has shown that sometimes the best way to make it end is to find a better scent. If the lady next to you in the elevator seems to have nauseating perfume on, have something easily within reach to erase her scent. A small bottle of lemon extract that you carry along or even a piece of sage may help.


Keep crackers on hand for those movement spikes in nausea. This may help you during the night or early morning when you first go from laying down to sitting up. Pretzels and peanut butter can help also, if you would prefer them. You may also benefit from eating smaller portions of your favorite foods throughout the day rather than try to eat a large meal, three times daily.

However, because eventually you will still most likely spend time bending over the toilet, carry a travel sized tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush along with you. You may also want to carry wet wipes or other things to help you deal with what happens after you throw up.

Oh, the Aching Breasts

For this, you can take a warm bath or shower, you can give your breasts a massage, or as a last hope, opt for Tylenol if approved of by your doctor. Breast tenderness is often caused by your breasts beginning to develop milk glands which will eventually produce the milk that feeds your little one. It is a natural uncomfortableness that there is no true way to eliminate. Just keep in mind, you will want to wear a good bra that will comfort you throughout the day. This is possibly the best thing you can do for your breasts when pregnant, as if you didn’t already try to do it before you became pregnant.

Relieve that Bloated Feeling

Bloating is a normal part of early pregnancy that may continue throughout your pregnancy if you are not careful. To relieve some of it, do the same things that you would do when not pregnant to try and relieve constipation. Drink plenty of water, eat smaller portions of food, and eat more vegetables for the fiber content in them. You may also start to wear clothes that fit a little looser to keep the bloated feeling from being as uncomfortable.

Any of these tips should help you. If they do not, you should talk to your doctor about other possible ways to relieve your symptoms. Just rest assured, this part of pregnancy will be behind you very soon and then you will find yourself once again delighted with the fact that you are pregnant.

Preparing to Welcome Your Baby

Congratulations, you are getting ready to welcome your bundle to the world. You have already survived the hard stuff. Being pregnant is a constantly changing, hormonal, moody, beautiful thing and you are nearing the end of it. Preparing to welcome your baby will be a walk in the park after all of the other things you have done. Enjoy this time with your partner.

Setting Everything Up

81O46uzxyLL._SX522_As you prepare for your little one, you will need the baby basics. This will include a few bags of diapers, a safe place for him to sleep, sleepers or onesies for him to wear, wipes, and other things. After going through childbirth, you will not want to have to stop by a store on your baby’s first car ride. You will still want to rest and most likely, you will just want to get home. Having all of this stuff well in advance will give you peace of mind that you are ready.

You will also need an infant carseat. Your hospital will not allow you to leave if you are not prepared in this aspect. You can take it into the room with you and make sure all of the straps are going to fit him before you take him home.

Pack up for you and the baby as well. Take your favorite night gown, a change of clothes to ride home in, and all of your toiletry items to the hospital when you go into labor. This will ensure that when you are feeling up to it, you can be comfortable in your own clothes, clean, and ready to get to know your little one. You should also pack something for your baby to wear home. Most hospitals will give you diapers and other necessities for your baby to help you out while you are there, but most parents like for the bundle to wear a cute outfit home.

Enjoy Your Partner

In the time before you reach the delivery room, take time to spend time with your partner, because after you have your little wonder, time for the two of you will become less important. A baby is very demanding. It can cause stress between the two of you, even though you both will fall in love with her immediately. It is hard on a lot of couples to go from just the two of them to, “baby makes three” and no one really wants to be romantic when they are worn out after sleeping randomly along with a baby.

Planning a night out for just the two of you or a weekend in a hotel where no one knows you are located may go a long way in keeping the two of you close right before you have your world turned upside down with a new baby. From there, leave your phones turned off and the internet behind. It will give you two the time necessary to reconnect.

Take Time for You

It will be a while before you get to go have your hair and nails done. You most likely will not feel up to it for a while. If you do it before your baby is born, it will give you a little time for you before your world must revolve around diaper duty, feeding, and random naps throughout the day and night.

Having a baby is a beautiful experience, but there are a few things you should do to help you prepare for their arrival, both physically and mentally. Otherwise, you may find that the first few months of your bundles life will be more stressful than you at first bargained for.

How to Tell People You Are Expecting

61D+0h13nCL._SX522_Finding out that you are pregnant is a very special part of any relationship. For some people, this excitement flows over and they want to find fun ways to tell their family and friends that they are expecting a little one in a very creative way. If you are looking for a great way to make the people closest to you feel as much joy as you did when you found out, perhaps you should consider some of these ideas. It may be the best way ever for you to figure out how to tell people you are expecting. Even if you do not use one of these ideas, it may point you in the right direction.

Let an Older Child Spill the Beans

This is a great way for kids to take part in the fun, regardless of their age, and especially if they are going to become a big brother or sister. Perhaps you could take a photo of them holding a picture or wearing a shirt that says, “Big Brother in the Making” or “I’ll be a big sister in June”. You can email the picture, share it on Facebook, or send it via your cell phone. If a picture seems to boring and you have an older child who can remember to say certain things, have them make a video for you to share.


Show the Sonogram Picture

Some parents choose to take their little one’s first photo and take pictures of themselves holding it over the mommy’s belly. This could also work with the older child telling others. You could have the older child holding the picture while mommy and daddy look amazed. If you do not have a sonogram photo, showing a positive pregnancy test in a photo will also work well.

Host a Party

Whether it is to tell your partner or to tell your immediate family, you could have everyone over and have a cake or cookie that says you are pregnant as part of the desert. It is a guaranteed way to make everyone’s eyes get as big as the cookie you decorated.

Give Them a Gift

Offer the people you want to surprise a gift. It could be any occasion, but the easiest is often a holiday where gifts are exchanged. Instead of giving them something for them, give them a gift such a baby booties or a baby bottle. They will be able to figure out your hint from there, after a moment of confusion of course.


You could design tee-shirts that show you are pregnant. The mommy to be could have a bun on her belly and the daddy shirt could have a cheesy grin with an arrow pointing toward the bun. They could say, “Mommy/Daddy to BE”, or any number of creative ideas. You could even ask the question “Boy or Girl” and it is guaranteed that everyone will get the hint. Even having your other child wearing a shirt with a date and funny saying will be a fun way to break the news.

Regardless of how you choose to tell those that you love that you are pregnant, it will be a memorable event for everyone. If you can get a little creative with it, the memory will be that much more fun to look back onto. With a few ideas and a little of your own creativity, you should be able to figure out how to tell everyone that you are expecting in your own magical way.


Antibiotics During Pregnancy

Safe antibiotics for use in pregnancy

Penicillin is known by several different names and is known to be safe. Common penicillin drugs include amoxycillin, cloxacillin and methicillin. There are many other types of penicillin. It is safe to use at any stage of pregnancy. 

Another group of antibiotics which are not known to cause any harm to the fetus are the cephalosporins. These too are known in a variety of names. Those commonly used include cephradine, cefuroxime, cefotaxime, cefalexin, cefaclor, and cefadroxil.

Tetracycline in pregnancy

There are various types of tetracycline. These are known to be harmful in the second half of pregnancy, where they can be incorporated in the developing bones and the forming teeth. With the latter, the discoloration caused is permanent.

Even though the confirmed harm appears to be confined to the second half of pregnancy, the standard advice is to avoid them throughout pregnancy. This advice also applies to the period after delivery, if the mother is breast-feeding.

Trimethoprim in pregnancy

This drug, which is commonly prescribed for urinary tract infection, is frowned upon by most doctors when it comes to use in pregnancy. There is a theoretical risk, yet to be confirmed, that the baby may be harmed. This is based on the fact that it is a folic acid antagonist. Most doctors would prefer to use alternatives. 

Trimethoprim is marketed under various names including Proloprim, Triprim, Trimpex, Primsol etc. 

Septrin (Co-trimoxazole) in pregnancy

Septrin is one of the well-known old antibacterial drug. Its generic name is Co-trimoxazole. It is actually a combination of two drugs, one of which is Trimethoprim (above).  Because of the concern mentioned above for Trimethoprim, the advice for Septrin is the same: Avoid.

Gentamicin (and other aminoglycosides) in Pregnancy

Gentamicin is a powerful antibiotic belonging to a group of antibiotics called aminoglycosides.There is no known harmful effect to the baby if these drugs are administered during pregnancy. The consensus is that, since these have been in use for decades with no reported teratogenic or other adverse effects to the fetus, these are very unlikely to occur and, if required, these should be used.

Other aminoglycosides where similar advice applies include streptomycin, Tobramycin, Kanamycin and a few others. 

Ciprofloxacin use in pregnancy

This is another powerful antibiotic effective against a wide-range of bacterial infection. In this age of terrorism, it may also be familiar in its role as an antibiotic used to treat (or prevent infection) those who have been exposed to anthrax. It belongs to a group of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. There is no known adverse effect to the baby when used in pregnancy. It should, therefore, be used if necessary. There are several other antibiotics in this class including gatifloxacin (Tequin), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), nalidixic acid (NegGram), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin) and several others.

Vancomycin safety in Pregnancy

Vancomycin is one of the so-called ‘glycopeptide antibiotics’. It has been used in pregnancy for years for a variety of infections especially where resistant to commoner antibiotics has been identified. It is also used in some forms of colitis. No adverse effect has been reported from its use in pregnancy.

Headache Following An Epidural

Again, in a few instances, headache soon after delivery may be a direct consequence of an epidural. This normally results from what is known as a “dural tap”. This simply means the needle had extended into another space (the sub-arachnoid), causing the fluid in this space to leak.

The headache from a dural tap is usually frontal but may also be felt at the back. It is normally felt on rising from a lying position or on standing up, the so-called postural headache. The person will also complain of nausea and/or vomiting, occasionally sensitivity to light (photophobia) and neck stiffness.

 Maintaining a flat position is very effective in keeping her free of pain but is normally not a practical solution for a new mother. In such a case, treatment using a ‘blood patch’is very effective and quick. This involves injecting the patient’s own blood (about 10-15 ml) into the site of the epidural puncture. 

 This complication is very uncommon but can be quite distressing.

Paralysis as a direct result of an epidural: Can this happen?


In years gone by, severe neurological damage taking weeks, even months, to recover was occasionally reported. The issue then was the use of other chemicals (not the local anesthetic used in epidural) and also involved injection of those chemicals in the sub-arachnoid space (not epidural).  

Childbirth that has been improperly managed has a far greater potential of producing neurological damage than an epidural ever can.

Circumstances where epidural in labor is specially recommended

An epidural is first and foremost a method of pain relief. There are, however, circumstances in labor when it has additional advantages by facilitating successful vaginal delivery and preventing potential complications.

Epidural analgesia is strongly recommended in pre-eclampsia as it improves blood supply to the womb (which may be tenuous in such cases) and hence the baby. It also effectively combats one of the main catalysts of worsening high blood pressure, i.e. pain. 

It is also strongly recommended in the case of a breech presentation or twin delivery. In the latter case, it is especially useful if the second twin is in an abnormal lie, where some kind of manipulation may be required. 

It is also quite useful in preterm labor where the fetus is rather delicate, and in medical conditions such as heart disease, where maternal exertion may be a bad idea. It also prevents maternal exhaustion and distress in prolonged labor.


Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is a true emergency in the sense that, time is a critical factor. It needs the necessary expertise within a limited time, no more than minutes, to get a good outcome and prevent an adverse outcome.

What is shoulder dystocia?

shoulder-dystocia-yellow_434Shoulder dystocia is diagnosed when the shoulders get stuck  at the pelvic brim when the head has been delivered. 

This means, the head is out, the baby’s neck is stretched within the birth canal (vagina) and the rest of the baby is stuck within the abdomen. 

 Size of baby and shoulder dystocia:

While it is true that larger babies are more at risk of shoulder dystocia, it is also true that the majority of cases of shoulder dystocia occur with babies of normal (average) weight. It is very difficult, probably  impossible, to accurately predict shoulder dystocia. 

Risk factors for shoulder dystocia:

  • Gestational diabetes especially with a suspected large baby
  • Maternal short stature
  • A prolonged second stage of labor despite strong regular contractions
  • Previous shoulder dystocia
  • Need for instrumental delivery (forceps or ventouse)
  • Postmaturity
  • A macrosomic (above average size) baby

The  idea that recognition of risk factors (above) will facilitate prediction and therefore avoidance of the complication is seductive but ultimately very simplistic and of limited practical value.  The vast majority of those who fall within the identified ‘at risk’ groups do actually achieve successful uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. Conversely, most of mothers who experience shoulder dystocia do not have any of the mentioned or any other identifiable risk factors. That is the practical difficulty.

Dealing with shoulder dystocia:

Once recognized, shoulder dystocia calls for immediate action. Obstetricians and midwives involved in delivery will be familiar with the mnemonic HELPERR. 

This is meant to help them remember the steps involved in the emergency manoeuvre to deliver the stuck baby. Each letter in the mnemonic represent an action (in sequence)  The majority of cases of shoulder dystocia will be overcome using the manoeuvre. Delivery is usually achieved within minutes. Occasionally, injuries can result from  these efforts (see next page)

When this manoeuvre fails, a measure of last resort known as the Zavanelli manoeuvrecan be employed. This involves replacing the head back into the abdomen, giving a general anesthetic and performing a cesarean section to deliver the baby.

Phantom Pregnancy

When a woman has a phantom pregnancy she is not setting out to deceive. In fact, she believes absolutely, that she is pregnant. She will exhibits all or most of the usual pregnancy signs and symptoms. These would include lethargy, nausea and vomiting, breast engorgement, increasing abdominal size and, of-course, she will not have menstrual periods.

Phantom pregnancy which is also medically termed ‘Pseudocyesis’ (Greek: pseudes[false] and kyesis [pregnancy])is not a new phenomenon. The most famous historical sufferer was probably Queen Mary I, the daughter of King Henry VIII and ruler of England in the mid-16thcentury. Even Hippocrates ‘The Father of Medicine’ described cases of pseudocyesis all those centuries ago.

Causes of Phantom Pregnancy

Nobody knows for sure what causes phantom pregnancy. However, one thing binds sufferers together: The extreme desire to bear a child. Contrary to some descriptions, Phantom Pregnancy is not the same as ‘feigned pregnancy’. There is one important difference: Women with phantom pregnancy are absolutely convinced that they are pregnant. Even a negative pregnancy test and a negative ultrasound scan are not sufficient to shake their belief. They are not trying to deceive anybody and will describe all the common experiences of a pregnant woman including fetal movements.

Feigned pregnancy merely refers to women who set out to deceive others that they are pregnant for a variety of reasons. This includes the women criminals who put out an elaborate plan, the end of which is meant to be the stealing of infants from other women and passing them off as their own newborns after a well demonstrated ‘pregnancy’. That is not Phantom pregnancy.

True phantom pregnancy is thought to have a deep psychological basis, strong enough to bring about the hormonal changes which cause the display of the physical features such as absence of periods, breast engorgement and abdominal swelling which is merely gaseous distension of the bowel.

Treating Phantom Pregnancy

Phantom pregnancy is quite uncommon. However, women who suffer from this do require sympathetic specialised counselling by a psychotherapist. It is a condition that affects women of any age even though it is more common for women in their 30s and 40s. It could and often does affect women who already have children.