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Pregnancy Tips

  • Sex During Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What’s Fun

    Pregnancy is full of ups, downs, and constant physical changes. The same is true for your sex life while you’re expecting. Every woman’s sex drive is affected differently by pregnancy. The first and third trimester normally bring a decrease in libido as fatigue, morning sickness, and other discomforts of pregnancy are at their worst. Lots of women report an increase in sex drive during the second trimester as first trimester symptoms pass. Regardless of trimester, it is generally safe to continue having sex throughout a normal pregnancy. Here are some things you should know about how to have safe and fun sex while you’re expecting.

    Communication is key. During pregnancy, sex often feels different than it usually does. On any given day during any trimester, these changes might make sex more pleasurable or more uncomfortable. Positions you try regularly might start to hurt or feel awkward. You might be more sensitive in particular areas, like your breasts, which can either be a turn off or a turn on, depending on how you feel at the time. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about what feels good and what doesn’t, even if that changes day to day. While it can be awkward to have conversations about sex, it’s also important to do so. You should be open with your partner about your sex drive, how intercourse feels, and any concerns or thoughts you have now that you’re pregnant.

    Some positions are better than others. You’ll want to experiment with your usual positions, and maybe try some new ones, to see what feels best for you and your partner. As your bump grows, your sex life will likely adapt along with your changing body. Often, positioning yourself on top is most comfortable, especially as you get bigger. Side-by-side positions are a good bet, too, since your uterus won’t be bearing down on you during sex. Lying on your back should feel fine early in pregnancy, but painful as the weight of your uterus increases. By the third trimester, you might want to avoid any position that leaves you on your back.

    Oral sex is still on the table, with modifications. Obviously, there’s no barrier to you performing oral sex on a partner, if that’s what you choose. But you can be on the receiving end of oral sex while pregnant, too. There are considerations for oral sex, though. It’s critical that your partner not blow into or around your vagina. That could cause an air embolism, which could be life-threatening for the baby. Also, if your partner has ever experienced oral herpes, you should avoid oral intercourse during the third trimester.

    There are many ways to be intimate. While you’re pregnant, your sex life is likely to undergo some changes, and that’s okay. No matter how you normally get intimate with your partner, you may need to get creative during pregnancy and try something you never have before to stay connected. There are loads of ways to be close with your partner, and you might discover something new that lasts long after the baby arrives. If intercourse isn’t going to happen for one reason or another, try a different way to get intimate. Some options are cuddling, spooning, massaging one another, watching adult movies together, or mutually masturbating.

    You’re allowed to feel sexy. Pregnancy can be a hard time for some women, when our bodies don’t quite feel like our own anymore. It’s also a period when we’re acutely aware that we are, or soon will be, mothers. And moms aren’t supposed to be sexy, right? Remember that you’re still you, and you don’t need to feel badly about having a sex drive. Likewise, a lower libido is no reason to stress, either. Whatever you feel about sex while you’re expecting is valid, so don’t let shame hold you back.

    Don’t shy away from the topic with your doctor. Like with so many other activities, it’s best to keep your doctor in the loop about what you’re doing while pregnant. You probably won’t need to go into detail, but you should check in with your practitioner to be sure that having sex won’t be harmful to you or your baby. There are some circumstances in which intercourse is not advised, and your doctor knows you and your condition better than anyone.

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  • What to Eat When You Have Gestational Diabetes

    5 nutritional tips to keep your blood sugars under control.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Did you just drink that not-so-tasty orange beverage only to find out that you have gestational diabetes? First, know that you are not alone: gestational diabetes, which occurs later during pregnancy when the body is not able to process insulin as efficiently due to hormonal changes, affect between 2 and 10 percent of expecting moms. And though many women with the condition end up delivering healthy babies, you want to manage symptoms and keep your blood sugar levels within range to avoid complications during, and possibly after, birth. For example, pregnant women who have gestational diabetes are more likely to have a C-section, preterm birth, and type 2 diabetes later in life. So how do you keep your blood sugar levels under control? The best treatment (or even prevention) for gestational diabetes is healthy food choices and eating habits.

    So here are five nutrition tips to manage gestational diabetes and ensure that you and baby are still getting all the nutrients you need.

    1. Incorporate protein at every meal. Eating foods that digest slowly and take longer to reach the bloodstream, like protein, cause insulin to release gradually. This helps the body maintain healthy glucose levels. Both animal and plant-based protein have positive impact on blood sugar levels. For example, consider a hard-boiled egg at breakfast, legume based salad or soup for lunch, and lean ground meat, like meatballs, turkey burgers or chicken patties for dinner.

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  • Natural Cures for Morning Sickness

    For many women, the first sign of their pregnancy isn’t a positive test or an expanding midsection. It’s morning sickness, and it affects more than 50% of pregnant women. Nausea, sometimes accompanied with vomiting, can put a real damper on the happy news that you’re pregnant, and on most other parts of your life. Fortunately, there are ways to manage that sick sensation, so you can get to the fun parts of pregnancy, like eating ice cream and picking out new maternity clothes. Here are ten all-natural remedies we’ve found to help ease morning sickness.

    Ginger settles the stomach and promotes digestion, making it a favorite all-natural remedy for morning sickness. Ginger ale is a well-known cure for queasiness, but you’ll want to find sodas that are made from real ginger, not the standard supermarket sodas. You can also try chewing on ginger candies, crystallized ginger, or grating fresh ginger into hot water for ginger tea.

    Keep your digestive system healthy with probiotics. When your digestive system is functioning well, your morning sickness and nausea can be less severe. Eat fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and Greek yogurt for probiotic health and to keep your system balanced. It’s also recommended that you not lie down immediately after eating, since that can slow down digestion and exacerbate an upset stomach.

    Sip peppermint tea for a simple nausea remedy. Peppermint is soothing to your stomach, and is usually pregnancy-safe. Of course, you’ll want to check with your doctor before you begin drinking new herbal teas. If cold liquids are more comforting, you can brew a batch of tea and leave it in the refrigerator overnight for a cool, calming start to the morning. You can also try sucking on peppermint candies for a similar effect.

    Lemons pack a double-punch against morning sickness. Drinking cool water with lemon is recommended to combat nausea and vomiting. But even if you can’t keep liquids down, the aroma of lemon could help make you feel better. Whether you add lemon to water, tea, or simply squeeze out the fresh juice into a cup to sniff, the lemony scent is said to help alleviate feelings of nausea.

    Make your own Morning Sickness Elixir. Made with ingredients you might have in your kitchen already, this anti-nausea drink has been known to soothe upset stomachs. Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar into 1 quart water and stir in the juice of two lemons. Add 1 tablespoon honey. Combine the ingredients well, and sip the drink throughout the day to combat nausea.

    Tick up your B-vitamin consumption. Research has shown that an increase in B-vitamins, especially B6, can help ease nausea, though it’s still unclear why it’s such a relief. Before you start taking new supplements while pregnant, talk with your doctor. You can also try sprinkling brewer’s yeast, which is high in B-vitamins, on your food, or add more bananas, green beans, potatoes, carrots, and lean fish to your diet.

    Motion sickness bands can put your nausea out to sea. Are you prone to motion sickness? Sorry, but you may be more likely to experience intense morning sickness while pregnant. But motion sickness bands, particularly the ones that wrap around your wrist, can help calm your stomach. Many pregnant women swear by them!

    Acupuncture may bring morning sickness relief. Before you schedule any appointments, you’ll want to check with your doctor. But many women say that acupuncture, with a specialist who is fluent in the pregnant body, diminishes the symptoms of morning sickness, especially in the first trimester.

    Try eating small, frequent meals throughout the day. Eating small amounts of food regularly can curb your nausea by ensuring that your stomach is never empty. This can be tricky if you’re feeling too sick to eat, but if you can snack on high-protein foods and complex carbohydrates, you might be feeling better soon. Avoid foods that are overly rich, spicy, greasy, and high in fat; these are difficult to digest and can exacerbate your symptoms.

    Stay well-hydrated. Like with small meals, it might be hard to keep liquids down while you’re experiencing morning sickness. But drinking fluids will keep your system balanced. Try cold drinks and carbonated beverages to soothe your stomach. And if you have been vomiting, have a sports drink that contains potassium, glucose, and salt, to replace what you’ve lost and to ease nausea.

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  • The Spring Collection that Has Us Pumped to be Preggers

    HATCH’s new Spring/Summer 2017 collection is finally here, and we’re eyeing pretty much everything! All the clothes are, true to the brand, effortlessly chic and breezy, flattering to all body types and perfect for all stages of pregnancy and beyond. Explore the collection here.

    Courtesy of Well Rounded NY

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  • The Benefits of Prenatal Massage Therapy

    Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but we can’t ignore the difficult parts that come along with it. Along with the dewy glow of your skin and excitement over a new baby, often comes aches, pains, and strains on your body. Growing a baby is tough work, so it’s important to take care of your body and show it extra love while you’re expecting. As mothers and mothers-to-be, we can forget that we need support and care along with our little ones. So when you’re expecting, your to-do list should include at least one massage to pamper and relieve some of the discomfort that comes along with pregnancy.

    As your body changes, so does the tension. With a growing baby and increasingly heavy uterus, there is tremendous new strain on many parts of your body, especially areas that felt fine pre-pregnancy. By releasing the tension on various body parts during a massage, a good therapist can help relieve hardships like sciatic nerve pain, headaches, lower-back pain, leg cramps, heartburn and acid reflux, stiffness, and even constipation. Although you may be feeling discomfort in various and specific areas, massage therapy is a way to holistically address your pains and soothe many parts of your body.

    Believe it or not, massage can reduce the troublesome swelling that comes with pregnancy. During pregnancy, your joints tend to swell, which is a condition called edema. It’s caused by reduced circulation and escalating pressure on major blood vessels. When you get a massage, your soft tissue is stimulated and there is a reduction of fluids accumulated in the joints, which brings you back to pre-pregnancy status-quo.

    Massage therapy gets your blood flowing and encourages lymph circulation, which has many positive effects on your changing body. When your blood circulation is increased, both you and your baby are provided with more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood flow. Also, the movement of lymphatic fluid in increased, which is what cleans away toxins and other metabolic waste. Encouraging blood flow throughout your body, especially to the areas experiencing the most pain, can relieve muscle tension. These effects can be felt after one massage, but are even improved after regular appointments.

    Massage is relaxing, and you deserve to lower your stress when you’re expecting. Even during the “easiest” pregnancies, there is a lot to think through and possibly worry over. First-time mothers especially can be concerned about anything from baby gear to labor to sleep schedules. Fully relaxing your body and mind during a massage isn’t just a nice perk, it’s actually very helpful to promoting overall calm and wellness. With regular massage, your stress hormones ebb while dopamine and serotonin levels increase, which can stabilize the nervous system and set the stage for a more balanced labor.

    Choosing the right massage therapist will put you even more at ease. When searching for massage therapists in your area, start searching for a therapist who specializes and is certified in prenatal massage. Maybe you already see a massage therapist who is knowledgeable in prenatal needs, but if you’re starting from scratch, look for the specialists. Read their websites and get a sense of their philosophy and mission. Do they go into detail about why they practice prenatal massage? Do they seem to have a grasp on what a body goes through while pregnant? If you feel calmer just by reading their website, it’s probably a good match. Don’t be afraid to call the massage therapist and ask questions to get a good sense of what the appointment will entail. You might ask about the oils and scents used during massage, the position you and your belly will be in on the table, and which body parts they tend to focus on. And of course, talk with your doctor before you schedule an appointment to be sure massage therapy is right for your pregnancy.

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  • All about Folic Acid

    If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably come across an advice article that tells you to “take your folic acid!” There are so many supplements that are lauded as must-haves while pregnant, but while you sift through what’s the best for you and what’s not, be sure that you do look twice at folic acid. Folic acid is understood to be vital to your health and the health of your growing baby. Fortunately, it’s simple to supplement your body with folic acid on a day-to-day basis. But what, exactly, is folic acid, and why is it so important to not skimp on it while you’re expecting?

    Folic acid is a form of Vitamin B called folate. This water-soluble vitamin supports your system in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen from your lungs to every part of your body. The folate assists in normal growth and development for you and your baby. While you might only be hearing about folic acid now that you’re expecting, everybody benefits from taking in supplemental folate. Folic acid is the synthetic (man-made) version of folate, which can be naturally found in many foods.

    Folic acid is beneficial at any time, but it is particularly instrumental in the development of a healthy baby. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) and The U.S. Public Health Service actually recommend that pregnant women take folic acid in the form of a daily supplement. Folic acid is instrumental in preventing health problems centering around neural tubes, like spina bifida and anencephaly in your developing baby. It can also reduce your risk of miscarriage. Various studies suggest that folic acid could also help prevent low birth weight and premature birth. Aside from these tremendous benefits, folic acid is important for your body, too, since it keeps your blood healthy and supports your own continuous cell growth as your body goes through the changes of pregnancy.

    When looking for folic acid supplements, it’s important to know what you’re getting. While taking folic acid is important during pregnancy, you want to be sure that your consumption stays within the recommended daily range. Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, so it’s wise to start with those. You should double check with your own doctor, but most recommend taking between 400 and 600 micrograms of folic acid daily while pregnant. If you plan on taking a separate folic acid supplement, be sure you’re staying within the recommended daily amount. It is possible to consume too much folic acid, so discuss every vitamin you’re taking with your doctor. When it comes to prenatal vitamins that are equipped with folic acid, we especially like the vegan, gluten free Rainbow Light prenatal vitamins and Garden of Life raw prenatal vitamins.   

    Get folic acid every day by diversifying your diet with foods rich in the vitamin. Folic acid is also found in a variety of foods. You can add these to your diet to be sure you’re consuming a healthy amount for you and your baby. Some foods are enriched with folic acid, like certain breads, breakfast cereals, flours, pastas, and rice. When folic acid is found naturally in food, it’s called folate. If you’d rather up your intake this way, stock up on lentils, pinto beans and black beans, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, peanuts, leafy green vegetables, and citrus fruits.

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