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Pains and aches are part and parcel of every pregnancy. Physical discomfort, muscular tensions, headaches, backaches, pains occur due to increase in weight, shifting posture and hormone levels. Pre natal massages aim to improve circulation, alleviate aches and pains, eases muscular tensions and other pregnancy related symptoms, perking up expectant mother’s mood and mental attitude.
Stress related areas which demand attention are back, neck and shoulder. Massaging the legs reduces blood pooling and full body massage to the head/scalp, feet, hands and face area provides relief from tensions and aches. All the areas should be massaged gently and pressure should be applied when needed.
Experienced masseurs pick ways that are safe and effective and provide special pampering and comfort. Prenatal massage offers encompasses a broad range of benefits such as:
- Increases circulation
- Improves digestion
- Reduces fatigue
- Reduces swelling in hands and lower legs, fewer calf cramps
- Eases backaches, headaches, shoulder and neck aches caused due to muscular tension and postures to accommodate the increasing weight.
- Lessens pain in the pelvic/hip area
- Alleviates stress on weight bearing joints such as knees, ankle and lower back
- Promotes relaxation and deep breathing
- Reduces stress hormones
- Decreased insomnia
- Helps in maintaining proper posture
Prenatal massage during pregnancy is beneficial emotionally as it allows soon to be moms to unwind, feel calm, healthy and comforted during the period of physical and emotional stress.
Prenatal massage can be done in different ways. Expectant moms mostly lie on their sides. A newly designed pillow especially for expecting mothers is available. This pillow has deep center cutout enabling the moms to lie flat on their bellies making them relaxed and comfortable. Lying flat on back reduces circulation of blood to the mother and child; pillows are used to keep the mother’s body in elevated position. Body pillows are used for side lying positions too.
After delivery, new moms are under all kind of emotional and physical stress, especially sleep deprivation. Post partum massage is therapeutic, helping the body to return to its normal state by adjusting to the physical and emotional demands of their little one.
Massage is usually safe for most mothers, though it is advisable to check with your doctor prior to getting one. If you have high BP or diabetes, prenatal massage is not recommended. It is ideal that you tell your therapist if you any problems or complications with your pregnancy. Duration of the massage can be anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour. It depends on how much discomfort you are experiencing and how much time you have on hand. Massage once a week during 2nd trimester and twice a week or more during 3rd trimester are ideal.
Parents tend to want to do what is best for their children, including breast feeding their infants. While it can be uncomfortable to do in a public setting, the bond between child and mother grows tremendously when the baby eats from its mother’s breast. In addition to strengthening the bond between parent and child, there are many medical benefits associated with breastfeeding. Discover now some of the medical benefits of breastfeeding your baby such as:
• protection against gastrointestinal trouble
• protection against allergies
• increased intelligence in the child
Research studies have found that the first milk your body produces contains immune factors that guard against germs by forming a protective lining on your baby’s mucous membranes in the intestines, throat, and nose. This is why it is important for mother to start nursing her child directly after birth.
Breastfeeding your baby helps protect your infant child from gastrointestinal trouble as well as respiratory problems and ear infections. Many research studies have been conducted around the world and have concluded fewer diarrheas, less ear infections, and fewer respiratory illnesses in children who have been breastfed. Women involved in the research studies breastfed their babies exclusively for at least the first six months. This means the baby consumed breast milk only, no solid food.
Many research studies have also found that breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months can reduce the chances of the child developing allergies. At least one research study has proven that this lasts up into the age of adolescence. Breastfed babies are also at less risk of developing asthma up to the average age of 6.
In addition to the above research studies, other studies have been conducted and have found possible links between breastfeeding and the child’s IQ. In these research studies, people who had been breastfed at least for the first six months of their lives scored higher on IQ tests. Experts have said that the emotional bonding associated with breastfeeding may be a key factor in this, but that fatty acids in breast milk just may play the larger role in a baby’s brain development.
There are many other health benefits associated with breastfeeding your baby. Some of these benefits include:
• prevention of obesity in your child later in life
• lower your baby’s risk of SIDS
• prevention of childhood leukemia
While breastfeeding is not always a viable option, when it can be done, it can be beneficial to both mother and child. Not only is the bonding experience incredible, but the health benefits associated with breast feeding are numerous. Whenever the option is viable, a mother should consider breast feeding her child, because it is best for both mother and child.
As the old saying goes….breast fed is best fed!
photo by: hugabub.com
“Just eat a few saltines and you’ll be ok”.
I don’t know about you, but as someone who suffered with prolonged, severe morning sickness (which I affectionately call morning noon and night sickness), when I hear someone say this, I just want to slug them!
If you’re suffering with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, you’re not alone. Most women experience it to some degree during their first trimester. If you’re one of the unfortunate few whose symptoms last longer than the typical 6-12 weeks, I empathize. I’ve had the same experience with all 4 of my pregnancies. I have learned a few things that helped however, and I hope you can get some relief with these tips.
1) Getting your blood sugar regulated is priority #1.
One theory about why morning sickness is worse in the morning (and for some women only occurs then) is because when you wake up from sleep, you have low blood sugar. For some pregnant woman, going 8 hours without food is just a bad idea.
You might find it helpful to eat a high protein snack before bed, and even to eat a bite each time you get up in the night to go to the bathroom. (Which in the beginning may be quite frequent!)
Personally, I found that what I did first thing in the morning was of paramount importance. I had to eat a few bites of food *while still lying down*. So I either put some food on a plate beside my bed or asked my husband bring me a snack first thing in the morning.
Don’t jump out of bed. Eat your snack slowly and lie still for a few minutes afterwards. Then slowly get up and immediately go to the kitchen and eat another bite. Again, emphasize protein.
2) Avoid foods that cause rapid blood sugar shifts.
Fruit juice, sugary snacks, processed cereal (the kind that comes in a box), anything made with white flour, etc…these types of foods cause your blood sugar to rapidly rise then come crashing down, triggering nausea and vomiting. Eat protein foods and whole foods.
Meat, cheese, yogurt (be careful here- try plain yogurt with frozen berries mixed in. Most yogurt has way too much sugar in it.), eggs, nuts, nut butters, veggies, and whole grains should be your staples.
Even if eating doesn’t appeal to you, coaxing yourself to eat a little bit of a protein food every 2 hours will help prevent vomiting. Don’t leave the house without carrying a snack with you.
3) If drinking water makes you sicker, try these alternatives.
It’s very important that you stay hydrated. You’re going to need extra fluids to support the pregnancy, but many women find that drinking water makes them more nauseated. Some things to try:
Smoothies made with fruit, ice and plain yogurt or kefir. The tangy flavor of these two dairy products really hit the spot for me. They also sneak in some extra protein.
Water served VERY cold with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Carbonated water with a small amount of fruit juice for flavor.
Weakly brewed iced or hot tea with lemon. The small bit of caffeine won’t harm your baby. Something about the bitter tannins in tea may help ease nausea.
Citrus fruits and melons.
4) Avoid nausea triggers as much as possible.
Your nose is on hyperdrive during early pregnancy!
Stinky smells like poopy diapers, kitchen trash, even morning breath may be impossible to totally avoid, but try your best to avoid smelly situations.
Have someone else take out the trash. Have hubby change your toddler when he’s home. It’s the least he can do!
And don’t be shy about telling someone who has bad breath, noxious perfume or cigarette smells on them that you’re in a delicate condition and need some fresh air. During my pregnancies, my husband had to switch to unscented deodorant and soap, otherwise I couldn’t hug him!
If cooking smells make you ill, take a break from your usual garlic and onion specialties. Don’t be a martyr. Hubby will understand that you can’t make his favorite sausage and peppers for a while.
Prepare meals that won’t stink up the kitchen. Green main dish salads with cold, cut up chicken, steak or hard boiled eggs. Sandwiches are good too.
5) Try Aromatherapy
Put a couple of drops of lavender, mint or lemon essential oil (these oils are generally regarded as safe to use during pregnancy) on cotton balls and keep these in various locations… the kitchen, bathroom, your purse and in the car. Take a whiff when you feel sick. Put a few drops on your pillow.
6) Take it easy- but don’t forget exercise
I know, I know… exercise is the last thing you want to do when you can hardly get your face out of the toilet! But if you force yourself to take even a ten minute walk outside every day, it WILL help.
But do try to take it easy, avoid stress as much as possible, and rest as much as you can. You’re doing the very important job of growing a baby. Explain to your other children why you’re feeling poorly and that it won’t last forever. Call in favors and ask friends to come over to play with your 2 year old for an hour so you can sleep, or ask them to cook extra when they make dinner tonight and bring you a dish.
When you feel a bout of nausea coming on, try to lay down for a few minutes in a dark room with your eyes closed. Sometimes if you do this the episode will pass.
7) Focus on the positive
Sometimes when you’re so miserable it’s easy to forget what’s making you so sick! Remember that statistically, women who experience nausea and vomiting of pregnancy are more likely to carry the pregnancy to term.
One of my midwives told me that she always worries when a Mom comes in for her first prenatal feeling wonderful…the chances of her miscarrying are higher.
So rejoice in your strong hormones! Read pregnancy magazines, birth stories on the Internet, look through maternity clothing catalogs, do whatever you need to do to cheer yourself up and get yourself in the mood for a new baby.
8) More Misc. Tips
Try eating candied ginger or sipping ginger tea. I found ginger in capsules to be too harsh and they hurt terribly if they did come back up.
Brewer’s yeast capsules work for some Moms.
Try sucking on lemon slices when you’re feeling a wave of nausea.
Sip mint tea or chew mint gum to help dry up excessive salivating that may trigger nausea.
If you have trouble brushing your teeth due to an overactive gag reflex, switch to using baking soda for awhile. The foaming of regular toothpaste may be too much. And brush your teeth in shifts if you need to… first the top teeth, then a few minutes later the bottom teeth, then your tongue, etc.
Avoid getting overheated or chilled. Extremes in temperature can trigger vomiting.
Try Sea-Bands, available at large drug stores. They’re designed for motion sickness but helps some pregnant women.
Go with your cravings, within reason. For some reason, pizza and Taco Bell always hit the spot during my pregnancies.
Clean the toilet daily, even if it’s the only household chore you can do right now. Better yet, have someone else do it. And wear your hair up for awhile. If you’re going to be throwing up, at least you will have your hair out of the way and a clean bowl to hug!
photo by: Raelene G
Breast feeding is said to be the best nutritional choice for feeding your new newborn baby, but it also has proven health benefits for moms as well. You can lose that pregnancy weight quicker by breastfeeding because it burns extra calories and lowers your body fat content – without exercise! Breastfeeding also releases a hormone called oxytocin which will cause your uterus to contract and return to its normal size more rapidly. It reduces the amount of postpartum bleeding and also improves the storage of minerals in your bones which lowers the risk of osteoporosis. Breast feeding can also help in preventing ovarian and breast cancers. And of course, it’s a wonderful way to bond with your new baby.
So if you are a new mom, or mom-to-be who has chosen breast feeding instead of the prepared formula method, you are probably interested in using a breast pump. Breast pumps are especially great for moms who work outside the home or who can’t be available at every feeding time for their newborn. They come in several designs and the two options for usage are either manual or electric.
As in most situations, there are pros and cons each method. Following are some details on these two types of breast pumps to help you make an informed decision and prepare before you buy – or rent.
Manual pumps are preferred by lots of new moms who say that they appreciate the convenient size. They are simple to use because you control the suction manually. Hand pumps are also more affordable, lighter and quieter than electric pumps, and many new mothers say it is a more natural feeling – closer to how it feels when the baby is feeding directly from your breast.
For busier and working moms, an electric pump might be a better choice than the manual kind because they are much faster at pumping and some models even have the option to pump both breasts at the same time.
Breast pumps are widely available for purchase and you might also like to know that many hospitals offer the option of renting a top-of-line model directly from them. You’ll have to estimate the cost per day in comparison to the price you would pay if you purchased your own though to make sure that it will work out for you financially.
Being a new mom can have its share of challenges, so be nice to yourself and look for a breast pump that best suits your lifestyle. By comparison shopping online or polling some moms who have been though the experience, you’ll save yourself both time and effort that you’ll be able to share instead with your new bundle of joy.
photo by: planet_oleary
Just because you are 8 months pregnant with a stomach out to there, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still care about your appearance. In fact, when you’re feeling hormonal and down in the dumps, a good shopping trip for stylish maternity wear may be exactly what you need.
The first instinct pregnant mothers have when shopping is to go directly for something that is large and baggy. Please avoid this as maternity clothing that is layered or has bold prints or horizontal stripes will only make you seem bigger. Everyone knows that black is slimming so if you want to appear smaller, go for maternity clothing in one solid color. Don’t compromise your style. If you find maternity clothing too plain, try going to plus size stores or shop at your usual haunts but buy a bigger size. This will allow you to go for styles that you would normally have preferred pre-pregnancy.
Maternity wear budget
Be careful with your budget though, as you have to remember you won’t be that big for that long! If you want to save money, borrow other people’s maternity clothing. Most mothers’ keep their maternity clothing in case of future pregnancies or as a keepsake and they’ll probably be happy to let their used maternity clothing be used by you. Or, you could try yard sales or consignment shops for a good bargain.
If you are well into your pregnancy, you don’t want to buy high heels. Flat shoes or flip flops are the best way to go. If you must have heels in your shoe, try kitten heels as they are not that high and will be comfortable to wear.
Maternity formal wear
The best kind of formal wear won’t hide your shape. Be proud of your new pregnant shape and show it off. Formal wear for expectant mothers can be found in suits or dresses. The most common colors are black or midnight blue as it is one solid color that is slimming to all shapes. The best maternity dresses are empire cut, which means it is cut right under the bust, to provide maximum room for movement of your growing belly. Maternity suits are also alternative and very flattering to those who are four to five months pregnant.
Maternity swim wear
If you are only four to six months pregnant, you can probably get away with going to plus sized stores and purchasing larger swimsuits as maternity swim wear. In this way, you will get a greater range of swim wear to choose from without having to change your style. Maternity swim wear is not readily available all year round so make sure to head straight to your favorite maternity clothing store when the sun comes out if you’re planning a tropical holiday during the winter.
Whatever your shape or size, you are bound to find maternity wear for any occasion! Don’t just stick to the boring styles you often see in maternity stores; be inventive when mixing and matching to create your own maternity wear style!
photo by: mujerboricua