6 Early Pregnancy Signs You Should Watch For When You’re expecting

Pregnancy is one of the most natural processes known to man. However, it still remains one of the most mysterious. Taking a pregnancy test is the quickest way to know for certain if you’ve finally conceived. Then again, there are various common ways to verify if you are one of those blessed to carry a new life.

All women are different and therefore so are that experiences that will happen throughout the entire pregnancy. Some women may have more symptoms than the other, and the same woman may have different symptoms with her different pregnancies.

pregnant

Most of all, since the early symptoms of pregnancy are the same as what women usually experience right before and during menstruation, it becomes quite difficult to ascertain whether you are actually pregnant or not. Now is the time to focus and stop asking what are the most obvious early pregnancy signs, exactly?

Discussed below are the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. Be mindful of the fact that the following may be caused by other conditions aside from being pregnant. Be aware that the symptoms can only assist you in deciding whether you should be getting that pregnancy test or considering that trip to the doctor.

Breast Tenderness

A woman’s hormone levels change at an incredibly fast pace right after conception. One of its physically noticeable effects is a noticeably change in the breast. A woman’s breasts may become sore, swollen, tingly or sensitive to touch in a few weeks after conceiving. They may also feel heavier, appear fuller and feel tender. The areola, the area around the nipples, also tends to darken in shade.

breast-tenderness

While other factors could cause similar changes in your breasts, if you are pregnant, it takes a while to adjust to the increased level of hormones. Once you get used to it, the pain becomes easier to manage.

Spotting/Bleeding, Cramping and Discharge

A couple of days after conception, the fertilized egg appends itself to the uterus wall. This causes what is commonly referred to as spotting. Spotting, also known as implantation bleeding, can occur anytime from six to 12 days after the egg has been fertilized.

Spotting can also be accompanied by cramping. A lot of women experience menstrual cramps as a regular indication that their period is about to begin, and thus, they can mistake spotting as the onset of their cycle. In pregnancy, however, the bleeding and cramps are only minor.

Aside from bleeding, when the vaginal walls begin to thicken in preparation for the growth of the embryo, a woman may see a white, milky discharge from the vagina. The rapid growth of the cells lining the vaginal walls starts immediately after conception and causes the discharge. The discharge persists throughout pregnancy which it is quite normal and doesn’t require treatment.

However, if it is accompanied by a foul odor or fishy smell and a burning or itching sensation, it is best to consult your doctor to rule out any possible bacterial or yeast infection. If you are indeed pregnant and a yeast infection is left uncured, the infection could be passed on to the baby’s mouth during delivery.

Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (Morning Sickness)

Morning sickness is a widely-known symptom of pregnancy. However, there are fortunate women who don’t have to suffer from it. The exact cause of this famous symptom has not been solidly defined, but this phenomenon is likely due to the combination of physical changes a woman undergoes after conception.

morning-sickness

Contrary to the name, morning sickness can occur any time of the day including the evening and may happen a lot of times throughout the day. True enough, it is reported that the nausea is most commonly felt during the morning. This symptom can begin in as early as four weeks, and the intensity greatly varies among women.

Quite interestingly, some women strongly crave specific foods while others can’t tolerate even a slight proximity to certain foods once they’re pregnant. It’s a drastic change where, say for example, a woman may be very fond of chocolates before pregnancy, but may not be able stand the sight of it, let alone its smell, once she’s conceived. Vice versa, it may also be true for a woman who couldn’t be bothered to eat chocolate before but soon cries out for it during pregnancy.

This symptom can possibly last for the entire pregnancy, but its frequency decreases during the 13th to 14th week of pregnancy.

If you’ve confirmed that you are pregnant, it is highly recommended to follow a healthy diet so both you and the baby receive vital nutrients for development and delivery.

Missed Period

A missed period motivates a woman to take a pregnancy test more than any other symptom listed in this article. While not all missed or delayed menstruation is caused by pregnancy, the chances are stacked pretty high that you are pregnant if your cycle is quite regular prior to the delay. You can consider your period delayed if it has been more than week after your expected first day of the cycle.

If pregnancy is not an option, other reasons for a missed period may include but are not limited to: weight loss or weight gain, hormonal imbalances caused by birth control pills, constant exhaustion and high levels of stress. It is still best to consult a doctor once you’ve missed your period and aren’t pregnant.

Fatigue

fatigue

Fatigue is another common symptom that occurs very early on during pregnancy. A woman may begin to feel oddly exhausted as soon as one week after conception. Your body’s metabolism increases considerably during pregnancy, and your blood sugar and blood pressure have a tendency to lower. The mood swings brought about by pregnancy contributes to the exhaustion as well.

If you’ve confirmed that you are pregnant, it is advised to eat plenty and often while getting enough rest and exercise. This helps combat the dragging feeling and shifts in your mood. If you feel other symptoms such as weakness, breathlessness, apathy, panic or anxiety, you should consult your doctor to detect conditions like iron deficiency or prenatal depression, both of which can be treated when diagnosed properly.

Other Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

Due to the rapid changes in your hormones especially during the beginning of your pregnancy, other symptoms may soon arise:

Frequent Urination – This commonly happens to women around six to eight weeks after conception. This could be caused by other conditions such as urinary tract infection or diabetes, but if you’re pregnant, this is also one of the effects of the changes in your hormonal levels.

Constipation – The hormone progesterone naturally increases during pregnancy. Progesterone causes your muscles to relax allowing food to pass more sluggishly through your digestive system. In turn, this allows more time for nutrients to be absorbed by your body and, therefore, by your baby.

mood-swings

Mood swings – Similar to symptoms before you have your menstruation, the hormonal changes brought about by conception causes mood swings. You can be really cheerful one minute and be very depressed the next.

Headaches and back pain – There are plenty of reports from pregnant women who experience mild headaches and chronic back pain early on in your pregnancy.

Since every woman is different, some of them may experience all of the above while others may only have one or two. It is suggested to calmly assess your body for the changes and use a pregnancy test if in doubt. If you suspect that you are pregnant and any of the symptoms hamper you from day to day activities, the smartest thing to do is to consult your doctor to avoid possible complications, whichever is the case.

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Life Insurance Affects Your Family – What You Need to Know

If a child, a spouse, a life partner, or a parent depends on you and your income, you need life insurance.  – Suze Orman

Providers, agents, and plan holders would say that the primary purpose of getting a life insurance is to have a peace of mind. Basically, it works as simple as how your agent or the providers put it: you buy a policy and pay the monthly or annual fees (i.e. premium) on time, and if you die, the insurance company pays your family, or whoever you named as the beneficiaries, the amount of money specified in the policy.

life insurance

However, there is more to getting a life insurance that just safekeeping the money.

If you are thinking of finally following your gut feel and taking the advice of your financial planner, you need to know the basic terms with regard to having a life plan.

With life insurance, the beneficiary is the person or entity entitled to receive the claim, or the face value, and other benefits upon the death of the benefactor or at the maturity of the policy. The eligibility to be considered for the benefits is confirmed either as per the specifications in the policy documents or by other legal norms such as that for a legal heir.

When setting up your policy, the insured person is usually asked to declare the name of the beneficiary (who he or she would like to bestow the insurance proceeds upon his or her death) at the time of commencement of an insurance policy. There are also provisions for making a contingent beneficiary in case the primary beneficiary is not longer qualified to accept the benefits for whatever reason.

family life

In order for the policy to continuously take effect, an insurance premium, or the amount of money that an individual or business must pay for the insurance policy, should be kept updated at all times. Depending on the insurance provider or the plan you are availing, you may get an extension of the deadline for premium payment, or even get a premium holiday. You can contact your insurance advisor about the average price of premiums, or you can get further information from online-friendly insurance providers like Big Lou Life Insurance to estimate how much premiums could cost.

With the basic laid out at this point, it is imperative to choose which type of policy you should choose for your needs. Companies usually brand their plans as enticing and colorful as possible. Don’t be swayed so much with the names as the plans usually fall under 2 types:

The Types of Insurance

There are two main types of Life Insurance – Term Life Insurance and Permanent Life Insurance.

Basically, term insurance covers you for a set amount of time. If you have a 30-year plan, and you keep up payment and pass away within those 30 years, your beneficiaries get the face value as per contract. If you live past the 30 years stipulated in the contract, the plan expires then you have to get a new policy, if you can still qualify.

Permanent Life Insurance, on the other hand, does not expire. However, they are usually more expensive than most Term Life Insurance deals.

Term Insurance

A Term policy is like “renting” Life Insurance for a set amount of time. Since the plan is bound by a limited amount time, it’s more affordable than Permanent Insurance.

family talking to agent

You can avail of this insurance for a set amount of time – which is called a term – often in 5, 10, 20, or 30 year increments. It’s usually at a set price, which means you pay the same amount of money for the policy every year until the term is up. When the insured pass away during the term, the beneficiaries of your policy receive the face value of the policy. Bluntly speaking, if the insured lives past the term, there’s no payout. However, if you want to continue to plan, you always have the ability to renew your policy (more often than not, at a higher rate).

One of the biggest advantages of term insurance is its lower initial cost as compare to permanent insurance. Term insurance is often a good choice for people who are at a stage wherein the family is still young and growing. This is especially purposeful if you are on a tight budget as it allows them to buy plans with bigger coverage when the need for protection is often greatest.

Term insurance is also a good option for covering needs that may disappear in time. For instance, if paying for college is a major financial concern but you’re pretty sure that you won’t need life insurance coverage after the kids graduate, it might make more sense to get a term policy while going you through your children’s college years.

On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage is that there’s no actual payout when you live long enough past the term. In this case, you might wonder, “what happens when you buy a term policy only to realize at the end of the term that you still have a need for life insurance?”

The answer offers both good news and bad news. The good news is that aside from the fact that you’re still alive, there are still other option for you to choose from, offering more fitting policies that may give you better benefits. However, the bad news is that you’ll probably incur much higher premium rates costs since age is one of key factors used to determine life insurance premiums.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance (also known as Whole Life Insurance) lasts for your entire life and never expires. Also, permanent policies usually have an investment element, allowing you to invest and/or borrow money from the policy.

Much like Term insurance, Permanent insurance can pay your beneficiaries the face amount stipulated in the policy should you pass away while the plan is still enforced. This is commonly called as “death benefit”.

In addition to the death benefit, Permanent insurance policies usually have a cash value that increases over time on a tax-deferred basis, which you can reinvest and borrow as your need arises. Loans taken out against the cash value of the policy are on a tax-free basis but usually accumulate interest and reduce the death benefit.

Permanent insurance is treated as cash-value life insurance, as it builds reserves through excess premiums plus earnings. These deposits are held in a cash-accumulation account within the policy. Cash-value life insurance offers the opportunity to access cash accumulations within the policy through withdrawals, policy loans, or partial or full surrender of the policy.

Generally, it is possible to withdraw limited amounts of cash from a life insurance policy. The amount available differs based on the type of policy you own and the company issuing it. The main advantage of cash-value withdrawals is that they are not taxable up to your policy basis, as long as your policy is not classified as a modified endowment contract (MEC).

The big downside of having withdrawals is that reducing your cash value causes a reduction of your death benefit – a potential source of funds you might need for future income replacement, business purposes or wealth preservation.

key to success

Meanwhile, loans through most cash-value policies allow you to borrow money from the issuer using your cash-accumulation account as collateral. Depending on the terms of the policy, the loan might be subject to interest at varying rates; however, you are not obligated to financially “qualify” for the loan. The amount you can borrow is based on the value of the policy’s cash-accumulation account and the contract’s terms.

In addition to withdrawals and policy loans, you can surrender (i.e. terminate) your policy and use the cash in any way you see fit. However, if you surrender the policy during the early years of ownership, surrender fees will likely be charged by the company, reducing your cash value. These charges vary depending on how long you’ve had the policy. In addition, when you surrender your policy for cash, the gain on the policy is subject to income tax, and if you have an outstanding loan balance against the policy, additional taxes could be incurred.

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Brushin’ and Smilin’: The Correct and Fun Way to teach tooth brushing to your Kids
Aug24

Brushin’ and Smilin’: The Correct and Fun Way to teach tooth brushing to your Kids

If you have kids, you’ve probably wondered (or are wondering still) about the best approach or the best time to teach them how to brush their teeth. You know how important (and difficult) it is; much like having them take a bath or eat vegetables, brushing their teeth is a learning experience for children as much as it is vital for their wellness while growing up.

child brushing teeth

The rule of thumb is that you are supposed to brush your kid’s teeth until the age of 5. Until then, it is best if you, as the parent, brush their teeth in a correct manner and also ardently in schedule. This way, children will have a sense of what is the correct way to brush or the proper schedule to follow.

How to brush your child’s teeth

Before teaching your kids how to brush on their own, you must first understand the correct way of brushing their teeth:

Steps to tooth brushing

Step 1: To properly brush children’s teeth, the parent or child should angle a soft-bristled toothbrush at 45 degrees towards the gums of the upper and lower teeth.

Step 2: The toothbrush should be moved gently in a back-and-forth motion with short strokes along the teeth and gums. This technique should be continued along every tooth’s interior and exterior surface in a similar way.

Step 3: The tip of the brush should be placed in an upright position to reach behind the front teeth on the top and bottom.

Step 4: Brush the tongue to remove bacteria on the surface.

child brushing tooth

When children should floss

Flossing is optional, although still highly beneficial. Children should start flossing when tooth surfaces are next to each other. It is important to floss at least once a day. Bacterial plaque and food can settle between the teeth, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and halitosis.

Steps to flossing

Step 1: Hold a short length of floss between the thumb and index finger, twining it around one finger at each end to gain better control. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when inserting the floss between the child’s teeth.

Step 2: Adjust the floss into a ‘C’ shape curve around each tooth and slide it up and down gently along the side of the tooth and under the gumline.

Step 3: A new section of floss should be used for each tooth to avoid reinsertion of food and plaque.

Step 4: An interdental brush can be used to clean between tooth surfaces that have space.

Also, there are other ways to clean your child’s teeth with the help of the technology right now. There are readily available electric toothbrushes and even water flossers for home usage. In case you need some other tips, this site has a great article about water flossers.

mother and daughter flossing

What should be the next step

Now that you know the basic ways on how to brush and floss your child’s tooth, you should be able to follow through with the development of your child’s oral hygiene practice through independent tooth brushing.

It all starts with knowing the right approach. Creating a misstep early on (i.e. playing hardball in teaching your child) can result in resentment and even dental phobia later on in life. It is more common than you think.

Thus, modeling good behavior is one of the best paths to take to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth instead of thinking it’s a chore.

As such, when you brush your teeth, be happy that you’re doing it. If you make it look like fun, the kids would want to do it too. While you’re brushing your teeth with them, crack jokes or make statements that appear to make brushing a rewarding experience. You have to also mean it, look happy when you’re doing it!

Let them copy you. Buy them the same color toothbrush as you have, or try an electric one, which may be more entertaining for them.

Here are some tips in making tooth brushing a desirable experience for kids:

Tips

Get in front of the mirror. You might not be successful if you sit your child on the toilet and go at your kid with a toothbrush. Instead, have your child looking in the mirror while you stand behind him or her and brush his or her teeth while you both look into the mirror. Better yet, brush your own teeth with them.

mom and daugheter burshing teeth

Make it a priority. You’re trying to fit tooth brushing into a busy schedule, but your child interprets this to mean that brushing your teeth is an afterthought, and something to do as quickly as possible. Now is the time to send the message to your kids that their oral health is a priority.

Make it a family activity. Just as dinner is a family activity, you can make brushing a time when the family gathers in the bathroom to brush after a meal. This is great when your child is just starting to brush their first set of teeth. You can even let your kid brush your teeth just so as to make it a relatable experience. Most importantly, make it a fun and family-centered experience so kids can attribute it to good memories.

brothers brushing teeth

Keep it positive. The worst thing you can do is threaten your child with brushing. Don’t tell your child that if she doesn’t brush, she’ll have to go see the dentist as if it’s some big scary punishment for not brushing. Brushing, as well as visiting the dentist, should both be positive lifelong habits.

Give them a good story. You’re teaching kids, and kids love stories. Sometimes, kids need a reason or a good story to get on board tooth brushing. There are many stories that you can tell them, such as how sugar bugs make holes in one’s teeth if you don’t brush them away. By telling them stories that are fit for a child, kids can have a positive outlook while still dutifully following the discipline of tooth brushing.

Let your kids choose their toothpaste. Don’t let toothpaste be a limiting factor in their tooth brushing experience. Toothpaste can make kids want to gag or need to spit, and can make things unnecessarily messy, which makes brushing a chore. Let your children choose a kids’ toothpaste they want to use. Adult toothpastes can be too strong for tiny palettes. Bring them to the supermarket before buying the toothpaste so that they’ll have some options when choosing.

child brushing teeth with mom

Take turns. If you’re really worried that your toddler’s teeth aren’t getting properly cleaned while he or she is learning to take the reins, let him or her do the morning brushing session, while you handle the evening one. That way, he’ll get practice brushing on his own in the morning, but he’ll also get a reminder of your technique at night. Nighttime is also a good opportunity for you to get him used to flossing once a day before brushing (unlike brushing, flossing is something you’ll want to do for him at this point).

Lower your expectations. Your child probably won’t be cleaning the gum lines or reaching into tiny crevices just yet. Don’t sweat it. These early lessons are as much about instilling the habit as they are about technique. The more practice he gets, the faster he’ll improve. Don’t be up their heads by telling them that they should do it perfectly. Have them learn to improve by themselves.

Remember to not make it too hard or too much of a chore for your kids. However, make sure that they would follow the process dutifully. Teach them that tooth brushing is a fun and rewarding experience.

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7 Effects Of Obesity On Pregnant Women

You are in love with food. Like most people who are like this, you tend to enjoy a wide variety of foods, and especially prefer anything with a crumbly crunch and a soft chew.

At some point, eating unhealthy foods may have been tolerable – when you were only thinking of yourself. However, in the light of your pregnancy, you are now bound by a responsibility to the new life growing inside you. You may have already gained the extra weight, but your new bundle of joy has given you hope and a new light of day.

A pregnant woman standing on a scale.

So how does obesity affect your pregnancy? Learn more about your body to make sure you can take the necessary actions to ensure a better life for you and your new baby.

1. Obesity Increases Your Chances of Having An Overdue Pregnancy

Nine months of carrying your child in your womb will already take the majority of your energy and effort. What more will happen if you are to experience an overdue pregnancy, which can harm your child? Furthermore, this condition also increases your chance of having a longer and harder labor before giving birth. The pain that you will feel may be doubled as compared to giving birth when your body is supposed to.

Three pregnant women holding their bellies.

Overdue pregnancy can affect how your placenta affects your baby. The job of the placenta is to make sure that your baby is protected and healthy when he or she comes out. You need to take note that placenta grows with you and may get too old past the regular term. If that happens, it is likely to hinder the growth of your baby.

2. Obesity Can Threaten Your Ability to Breastfeed

There is beauty in breastfeeding. The act of naturally feeding your baby gives an uplifting connection between the baby and mother. You can witness how much life can be so wonderful when two souls share a life is a surreal moment. As a woman, you also dream of having the same personal connection. You want to feel it firsthand how breastfeeding can connect you and your baby.

Obesity poses a threat to your health when the time comes you need to naturally feed your newborn. Hormonal changes occur in your body due to obesity. These changes can affect your ability to breastfeed and provide sufficient nutrients to your child. Addressing obesity in the onset of your pregnancy can bring you closer to a healthier and more worthwhile breastfeeding experience.

3. Obesity Can Lead to Sleep Anea

Imagine setting up the mood as you lie down and call it a night. Sweet scents and warm lights are all attuned. The best air purifier is all set to induce the healthiest sleep that you could ever dream of having. Some nights, you experience a good sleep. You may even be lucky enough to be blessed with a good dream.  However, you may have some nights when your sleep may become too labored for your own comfort.

A pregnant woman sleeping on her left side.

A lot of things are happening once you close your eyes, and finally rest your body for the day. Obesity opens doors to higher risk of sleep-related conditions during your pregnancy, such as sleep apnea. This condition causes your heart to stop beating while unconscious. Though you will not experience any discomfort, sleep apnea is still a condition worth checking for your own good and for the good of your baby. Find a doctor specializing in sleep science to help you if you think you may be suffering from this condition.

4. Obesity During Pregnancy Can Lead to Preeclampsia

This kind of condition only occurs during pregnancy. Preeclampsia deals with high blood pressure and signs of organ system damage. In most cases, kidneys are the first to suffer due to preeclampsia. The root cause of this ailment is unknown, but researchers believe it may be related to the formation of the placenta during your term. Similar to hypertension, you might feel severe headaches, blurred vision, and shortness of breath when pre-eclampsia kicks in.

In order to lower the risk of incurring this ailment, you may want to stay healthy prior to and during your pregnancy. Of course, you would want to make sure you are healthy enough to enjoy every special moment as a new mother.

5. Obesity Can Lead to Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes is also known as gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM. It means that your body has too much sugar in your blood. Obesity during your pregnancy may increase the chances of acquiring GDM.

What you can do about it is to have yourself tested for diabetes during your 24th week of your pregnancy. This can help you determine your sugar levels, whether it’s low and your clear, borderline and you’re going there, or high and you really need to consider improving your lifestyle. Keep in mind that your health affects the health of your growing baby. There is a high probability that you can pass on the diabetes to your baby if you tested positive for GDM.

6. Your Child Risk of Asthma Is Increased

Practically everyone has or knows someone with asthma. You see how they struggle with an inhaler and nebulizer just to make sure they can breathe properly. Asthma patients are advised to avoid strenuous physical activities as to avoid serious asthma attacks. Every time they gasp for air, an inhaler becomes their life saver.

Asthma may come to a baby, or to any person for that matter, through genetics or any other external factors. However, health conditions during pregnancy may contribute to the development of this ailment to your offspring. As you may very well know, asthma is a lifetime condition. It is imperative for a mother to do everything she can to make sure the child be at his or her healthiest the moment he or she sees the light of day.

7. Obesity Increases the Risk of Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Based on a study done in London, There is 29% greater chance that an overweight pregnant woman may miscarry compared to women who are of normal weight. 67% greater chance for miscarriage when she is obese. For those with a body mass index (BMI) of over 35, the risk goes to 119% greater chance for miscarriage.

The numbers are extremely daunting.

Miscarriage happens when the unborn child passes away while still in the womb. On the other hand, stillbirth is when a baby dies at birth. The idea of losing a child may be a bit too much to handle, but the reality of life is that health determines how well you and your child lead to living, and actually having, healthy lives. 

A pregnant woman sitting in a field of grass holding her belly.

A mother’s love for her child is unconditional. Having the opportunity to start your own family is a blessing. It is just fitting to start showing your love for your child as you show love to yourself through good health.

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3 Essentials for Pregnant Women

Come to think of it, being pregnant is much like going to war. A mother has to be well armed to take on different challenges during this phase in her life. Antagonists such as stress, hormonal imbalances, mental and emotional breakdowns, and being physically unfit are the front line opposition when a mother’s body prepares itself for the birth of a baby.

Pregnant mother in the sun.

Much like a soldier on a mission, a mother-to-be needs all the right tools to help her through this big undertaking. She has to have the right set of equipment, know-how, and attitude in order to overtake and conquer these seemingly unsinkable adversaries. She needs to make sure that she has as much as she needs to survive the long haul as she tries to pull things together for her and her child.

Here are the three most essential things every expecting woman should have to raise her level of physical well-being, mental state of mind, and social skills throughout her pregnancy.

A woman making a heart with her hands on her belly.

Maternity Clothes

Inevitably, pregnant women’s bodies will change. Some of these physical changes can come unexpectedly, and some of them take a longer period of time.

How these changes really affect a woman does not encompass only the physical side of things. For a woman, her physicality reflects her mental state of mind. Thus, she should not surrender to the idea of ending up looking like she’s been under the weather for years.

This is why it is important that a woman makes an effort to gather the most efficient and stylish clothing to dress herself and her baby bump.

One of the items to greatly consider for the expecting woman is new bras. During pregnancy, breasts enlarge and prove to be quite uncomfortable for a great deal of pregnant women. Getting bigger bras, aptly named maternity bras, can do just the trick in eliminating that stuffy, and pushed feeling in the chest.

Another thing to put into the cart is a good selection of looser, more comfy shirts. These types of shirts are important to let a woman’s body breathe out the exhaustion and stress.

Blake Lively's maternity style.

Similarly important is the right maternity footwear. The kind of shoes that provide comfort and balance for moms, which aids them in their mobility and other activities. Those high heels are definitely out of the question for the time being.

Overall, pregnancy doesn’t always equate to a woman losing her style. This has been proven by numerous moms out there walking with glamour on their side instead of the seemingly daunting labors of pregnancy. With the right concoction of comfort and style, moms around the world can be as dazzling as they want. 

Pregnancy Vitamins & Supplements

During pregnancy, mommies cannot afford to have their immune systems down. This is why overall health improvement should be taken into great consideration.

Mothers can orally take multivitamins and minerals to help boost immunity against common bacterial and viral infections. This is an imperative step in pregnancy because sickness can be twice as hard to endure while having a child. Since all of the nutrients of a child come from the mother, it is especially important to support and boost the immune system with the right amount of vitamins. There are vitamins that cater to the needs of pregnant women to help them back up their health.

Vitamins for pregnancy.

Also, moms are encouraged to buy medicines that can help them be more comfortable during their term. For instance, when the mom experiences itches, rashes and red bumps on their skin, a proper medicated moisturizer should be used to help relieve the skin. On another note, if a woman frequently has acidity problems, she could buy antacids to address the discomfort.

Another effective way to support her overall health is by providing a clean, stress-free environment.  Setting up a place to minimize clutter and arranging furniture in a way to lessen the disorder can make a significant contribution to her health. Purchasing best air purifier for allergies also draws the fine line between an allergen-proof environment and allergy-prone one.

Providing various methods to support maternity health is important. Besides, a mother should consider every bit of help in these exceedingly harsh and physically demanding times.

Pregnancy Stress-Relievers

Pregnancy comes packed with a brand new approach of stressing a person.

The mental pressure of stress can come at any time during pregnancy, and often in the most inconvenient situations. There are things that a woman can do, or purchase, to bring back the joys and comforts of life during pregnancy.

One of the trending materials used to support moms around the world is actually quite a simple. Pregnancy pillows seem like a small, irrelevant item, yet it plays a major role on a tired and weary mother when it comes to sleeping time. This is because as pregnancy develops, there is a noticeable change in the size of a mother’s midsection. This brings out a whole new set of challenges, one of which is sleeping comfortably. This is where pregnancy pillows give a huge benefit.

Pregnancy pillow.

Women around the world are actually finding it hard to position themselves during sleep. The reason is that bearing a child presents major discomforts for the body, which includes sleeping posture and sleeping soundly. With this pillow designed for the use of mothers and their growing tummy, sleeping is much easier since the back and the front parts of the body are well supported.

Another suit of armor for pregnant woman is a maternity belt. The amount of load weighing down on a mother makes her prone to have various problems in her lower back. Maternity belts or belly bands give support to the stress-laden backs of a lot, if not all, moms. This can spell the difference between a stress-free day or another day of aches and pains.

On a lighter note, stress relief for women can come from just cuddling up with a book or a magazine and reading off a gloomy Thursday morning. This simple way of relaxation can boost her mood and condition her psyche because it takes her mind off to another place, inducing a sense of creativity and imagination. Listening to music can also spell a huge difference in providing stress relief.

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Having an integrated sense of comfort and fashion can boost a mommy’s morale and mental health because it reminds her that she can still be glamorous and comfortable in such a demanding time.

Similarly, overall health should be taken seriously during pregnancy. This is why purchasing products that will help boost health can make a huge difference, like multivitamins, food supplements, and essential minerals.

Lastly, stress relief is as important as the aforementioned elements.  Things like maternity pillows and maternity belts can help eliminate both physical and mental pain for these already stress-laden moms.

Being pregnant is a battle of the mind and the body. It is a tale of survival spanning 9 long months that shows the resiliency and true inner strength of a woman. With these three essentials, pregnancy doesn’t have to be so hard.

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Mother & Child: A Pregnancy Walkthrough

New life is a gift treasured by everyone. There is pure joy to be seen in every smile of parents when they see their newborn baby. But before witnessing and welcoming a child into this world, there are lots of sacrifices and earnest efforts given before, during, and right after delivering a baby. Thanks to all the women who carry all hardships and endures every ounce of pain in order to become a bearer of a new human being.

Four mommies sitting together.

Saying that being pregnant entails a very hard role is an understatement. Just imagine, a 9-month period of carrying a baby inside you seems to be a heavy burden already. How much more if you add up all side effects of being pregnant? There’s physical pain, emotional disturbance, necessities to cover and a whole lot more just to bring a new person to life.

In order to fully understand the life of an expectant woman, below are several information that everyone needs to know, especially for all soon-to-be parents.

There Are Several Stages of Pregnancy

Pregnancy usually lasts for about 40 weeks, starting from the first day of a woman’s last normal period. To fully grasp the phase, the weeks are grouped into three trimesters.

The first trimester (week 1 to 12) already shows a lot of changes due to the effects of hormonal changes in the body. Even symptoms are already present in the early weeks. Changes may include extreme exhaustion, tender and swollen breasts, constipation, morning sickness or the distressed stomach with or without throwing up. Also, there’s the usual mood swings, headache, heartburn, and weight gain or loss.

A mom in nature.

As a pregnant woman, you have to watch carefully for the things you do to cope with the changes during the first trimester. Your daily routine might need to change – going to bed earlier than before, eating small meals more frequent and many others. Though for some women, the discomfort brought about by being pregnant isn’t much of a big deal.

Studies show that most women find the second trimester (week 13 to week 28) easier than the previous one. In this stage, you may observe that symptoms such as fatigue and nausea are fading away, but changes in the body are starting to show up. Your abdomen begins to get bigger as the baby starts to grow as well inside you. You may also feel the sudden movements of your baby too!

As pregnancy continues, you may still feel body aches particularly at your abdomen, back and thighs. There is also a darkening of skin around your nipples and a noticeable line on the skin running from your belly button down to your pubic hairline. Sometimes called as the mask of pregnancy, patches of darker skin usually seen around your cheeks, nose, forehead or upper lip soon shows up.

You may also experience itchiness on your palms, abdomen, and soles of your feet, but beware if you are also experiencing loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or nausea at the same time. Such signs can be associated to a serious problem of the liver.

There is also another condition called preeclampsia wherein in you notice sudden or extreme swelling of your ankles, fingers and face or gaining weight in a very rapid rate. Consult your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms.

The third and last trimester (week 29 to week 40) is also similar to the second one since some of the anxieties you had before are still present. At the same time, a lot of women also experience shortness of breath and are observed to frequently the bathroom. This occurrence happens because of the pressure on your organs given by the baby as the he or she gets larger and larger.

A black and white photo of a pregnant woman's belly.

There are also other bodily changes you may notice which include hemorrhoids, heartburn, sticking out of belly button and having trouble in falling asleep. There may also be a leak of a watery pre-milk called colostrum from the breasts as it gets tender. Your baby may also start to “drop” down to your abdomen in response to the delivery getting sooner.

Take note that contractions you feel can either be signs of the real labor or just the false ones. As your due date gets closer, you will experience a process called effacing wherein your cervix happens to become softer and thinner. Do not panic because this condition is a natural process to help the birth canal to open up during labor.

Post Pregnancy Changes

You sure are very busy carrying your baby inside you, coping up with all the necessities you need during the delivery. At the same time, you’re thrilled in preparing all the things that your newborn child will be needing soon – starting from his or her mini clothes, her extremely decorated crib, all the way to her well lit nursery room. Not to mention the whole house air purifier installed and a bunch of story books and baby-friendly toys strewn around in practically all rooms of the house.

But have you also thought of what comes right after bringing your baby out of your womb? Here are some surprising and important things you need to consider for the next chapter of your life as a mother.

According to Dr. Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG, an OB/GYN in Beverly Hills, California, and also the author of Expecting 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy, most women will feel her full body shaking right after delivery. This is a normal occurrence which is associated with the immediate hormonal shifts that occur after the delivery. It might also be a reaction to an endorphin release or the anesthesia wearing off. No worries because this trembling will go away in a matter of minutes or a few hours at most.

If you’ve heard that episiotomies aren’t usually made by doctors, the truth is that you might still need some stitches even if your doctor haven’t done any incision. This is very common especially for the first time mothers. On the bright side, if you have chosen for an epidural, there’s a good chance that you won’t feel the incision or tear. However, if you had your childbirth without hospital care, your midwife will numb the affected area at first, and this will surely hurt, Dr. Hakakha revealed.

For sure you’ve been briefed about the importance of breastmilk for babies right after delivery to start a nursing relationship in that instant. Don’t be shocked if your baby doesn’t like breastfeeding right away because according to Dr. Hakakha, most babies usually don’t want to eat after delivery, for about 15 to 30 minutes. So during this time, it is important to have a skin to skin contact with your baby as this initiates a significant mother and baby bonding.

According to Yvonne Bohn, MD, and coauthor of The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, “After delivery, the uterus has to shrink from the size of a large watermelon down to the size of a cantaloupe.” Wait for the assistance of your doctor or midwife to massage your uterus to help it shrink. Your nurse will also help out by pressing your belly and massaging it every 15 minutes for the first two hours after childbirth. Oxytocin also helps you in this process by causing uterine contractions. Bohn also said that this process can be very painful especially if you haven’t had an epidural.

Don’t be shocked to know that within the first 10 minutes, “you will lose more blood than would fill a pint-sized container of ice cream — and in some cases more.”  It is normal to experience this huge amounts of bleeding as well as a gush that can occur while breastfeeding. This will continue at a declining rate for about four to six weeks after your delivery.

A mommy holding her yawning newborn baby girl.

Another surprising fact is that the birth canal can triple in size, especially during a very long labor time. “This is an alarming event” said Dr. Hakakha, who also noted that this is much more probable for first-time mothers compared to those who experienced childbirth before. In this case, ice packs are needed to help numb the area and to minimize the swelling.

Lastly, it is important for you to have your well-earned rest. As a matter of fact, you actually have to stay in bed for 12 to 24 hours because the spinal or epidural makes your legs too weak to even make some few steps, Bohn explained. At the end of the day, try to seek for assistance from your loved ones in order for  you to take the utmost care of your newly born child.

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What You Need To Know About Vertigo

Have you ever experienced a sudden feeling of dizziness, light-headedness, or spinning?

Has there been a time when you stood up and then objects started to swing around or your vision went black? That at that moment, you try to grab a chair or a table as you feel your body is about to give in and fall?

A pregnant woman feeling dizzy.

It’s common to associate these scenarios with fatigue. Sometimes you think that this circumstance is just a by-product of an ordinary headache or your pregnancy. In some cases, you just conclude that what happened is due to a sudden spike in your blood pressure, or, you think you need to eat something.

Eventually, you decide to resolve the pain by taking over-the-counter medicines for an ordinary headache or a quick fix for your hypertension.

In other words, you end up addressing your situation based on your own personal diagnosis. It’s like giving your sick Corgi probiotics for dogs with diarrhea to cure the poor creatures wheezing and coughing. More often than not, you are wrong.

These experiences may be results of fatigue, headache or even hypertension. Or, it could be something more.

Your case might be a manifestation of vertigo.

What Is Vertigo? What Does Vertigo Feel Like?

Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness. When you have vertigo, you feel that the objects around you are moving, even when they aren’t. This distinct visual incident is the associated experience of almost everyone who has vertigo.

A graphic representation of what vertigo feels like.

You could also start to feel nausea which may result to vomiting due to the “moving” sensation you experience. You might also start sweating as walking becomes more difficult than normal. Since your environment seems to be spinning around you, finding the right footing for you is like walking on water – you just don’t know where to place your feet.

If the nauseating feeling is not enough of a physiological journey for you, vertigo can run for a varying periods of time. It is possible for you to experience vertigo for a few minutes, or it could go on for days! Obviously, the longer it goes, the more time for you to go back to getting through your normal day.

What Causes Vertigo?

You have to know that there are two classifications of vertigo: peripheral and central vertigo.

Peripheral Vertigo

In peripheral vertigo, your inner ears, or vestibular system, are affected. If you can still remember your lessons in your science classes, you would know that your ears have tiny passages. These tiny passages are called semicircular canals.

The anatomy of ears.

Within these passages, there are tiny organs that enable your ear to send messages to the brain. One type of your message your brain receives from the ear is the fact that you are in a vertical position. Through this kind of communication, you are able to maintain your balance, thus, you can stand properly due to equilibrium.

If something interrupts the smooth communication between your brain and inner ears, vertigo kicks in, and starts giving you problems. An example of a brain-ear communication hurdle is having an infection. When infection hits your ear canal, it can result in inflammation. Your vestibular nerves swell and this can cause a disturbance with the communication process. As a result, you experience vertigo.

Under the peripheral vertigo, there are two causes. The first one is Meniere’s disease. This kind of vertigo is a result of inflammation due to a viral infection or immune disorder.

The second cause of peripheral vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or commonly known as BPPV. If you have this kind of vertigo, it means that tiny calcium particles have penetrated the canals of your inner ear. According to researchers, women and older people are more prone to BPPV. Most cases of BPPV are the results of a head injury, ear surgery, long bed rests and reduced flood flow in your brain.

Central Vertigo

While peripheral vertigo is caused by a complication in the inner ear, the central vertigo is an anomaly in your central nervous system.

What you need to know about vertigo.

With central vertigo, you might end up experiencing slurred speech and double vision. There are specific areas in the central nervous system that trigger this type of vertigo. This occurs most likely due to problems in your brainstem and cerebellum.

Under the central vertigo, the causes of the vertigo are more serious and may require drastic measures. The most common and more familiar cause of this kind of vertigo is migraines. Other causes include a stroke, transient ischemic attack and brain tumors. You can also acquire vertigo if there is a growth of an acoustic nerve in your brain.

Vertigo Myths

  1.   Forgetting things is part of getting older. The same is true with vertigo.

It does not follow that old people will eventually have vertigo. Age has nothing to do with how you keep your body’s balance. Your ears do not lose its ability to keep your balance as you get older. Thus, as long as you take care of yourself and keep yourself well-checked, you are good.

  1.   If you are afraid of heights, then you have vertigo.

People may have based this myth on the fact that things seem spinning around when you have vertigo. With this uncomfortable sensation, people ended up believing that vertigo is the same as fear of heights because you feel like things are moving around when you feel the fear. Remember, vertigo can happen anytime regardless of where you are standing on.

  1.   Hospitals are the only place where you can get help with your vertigo.

This assumption is definitely not true. You can find cure to your vertigo at home. You can start with drinking a lot of water. Acupuncture and herbal medicines can also remedy your vertigo problem. One of the best ways to address vertigo is daily intake of vitamin D supplement. However, you have to take note that you cannot self-diagnose yourself. You can only do these home remedies if your doctor has already diagnosed you with vertigo and you under his or her medical supervision.

Spinning.

  1.   There is no difference between lightheadedness and vertigo.

It is possible that you can experience these two things at the same time. However, they are entirely different. Light headedness means you feel like you are about to pass out. You may still feel dizzy due to the “moving” sensation of your surrounding. With vertigo, objects seem spinning or swaying around you even though the things are not actually moving. You have to be particular on differentiating these two conditions so that you know the right way to address them.

  1.   Vertigo will not leave on its own accord.

This assumption is not correct. There are cases where vertigo will just fade away even without taking any medications. Then again, it is always better to seek the help of your doctor.

  1.   Ears are not entirely related to vertigo.

As mentioned above, vertigo has something to do with the ears. You have to remember that your ears are also responsible with keeping your balance. Your ears are not simply for hearing. It is a fact that simple swelling of your vestibular nerve may interrupt how your inner ears send messages to your brain. If this happens, then you can lose your balance.

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3 Benefits Of Having A Pet During Pregnancy

Stress during pregnancy is especially a heavy thing to shoulder for a woman. The body and mind are pressured by a lot of aspects that can easily alter a mommy’s mood and mentality. Questions like “Will I have a safe delivery?” or “Is my baby going to be healthy?” pop up in the heads of mothers on the regular.

This is why it is important that throughout the duration of a woman’s pregnancy, she gets relief from her stress and comfort from her partner, family members, and friends.

Not to mention…her pets!

Baby shoes and puppy paws.

Having a pet while being pregnant has been a matter of various debates for many people. It is true that owning a pet whilst pregnant can pose some hazards for the mother and child. The number one argument for that is the fact that a pet can bring different bacteria and viruses which can be harmful to the immune system. However, with proper medication and vaccination, both the pet and the owner can be safeguarded from these harmful diseases.

To put things into perspective, dogs, for instance, can be quite clingy and jumpy to their owners. When inflicted by a certain disease, they can infect a number of people in their proximity. This can be addressed, however, by vaccination and other medications to clear away those bad bacteria. Besides, probiotics for dogs can easily be bought for preventative measures. In addition, dogs can be trained to be less clingy than nature intended. With proper training, these lovely beings can still be there for mom in her hardest times.

A cat laying on a pregnant woman's belly.

Diving deeper into the matter, what exactly are the pets’ roles in a person’s life? More specifically, what can they impart on the life of a stress-laden mom or mom-to-be? Here are some benefits pet owners can get during their pregnancy:

A Healthy Heart = More Lovin’

With a truck load of  physical and mental stress poured onto future mom, there is a higher risk for her to develop a number of heart ailments. All the more risky when the mom has had any sort of heart disease even before pregnancy. In fact, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, maternal heart disease complicates at least 1% of pregnancies and is one of the most critical causes of maternal death.

A rare type of heart failure called Peripartum Cardiomyopathy is a heart failure that occurs during pregnancy or immediately after delivery. The condition weakens the heart muscle, causing the heart to become enlarged. As a result, the heart can’t pump blood properly to the rest of the body.

A pregnant woman walking her dog.

This is why cardiac health should be taken seriously during her term. The answer to these problems may come from a very unlikely source. Yes, pets.

According to studies, having pets like dogs can make one less likely to have heart disease. This is because owners exercise more when walking these pets, thus, inducing lower blood pressure. Having a pet during pregnancy is actually hitting two birds with one stone. Moms get to love their pets and exercise all at the same time.

On another note, petting a cat or dog induces a feeling of relief and relaxation. It can similarly lower blood pressure and helps the body release relaxation hormones, and in turn, level down the stress hormones. This soothing effect is a major advantage especially when undergoing pregnancy stress.

Having a Pet is Pseudo-Parenting

The inevitable and most apparent lesson that taking care of pets teaches a person is responsibility. This is in fact backed up by a plethora of studies. For a pregnant woman, the results can be so much more.

In some noble way, taking care of a pet teaches parenting.

How exactly does petting your cat or dog similar to raising a child? There is a huge disparity between the two species, but there are also close similarities. More and more parents are exploring how pet care gears them towards responsible parenthood.

In a way, a parent or parent-to-be can look at how similar pets and kids are during their early years. Without training, they are probably reckless and without notion on how to go about regular activities. This teaches people how to be responsible enough for the welfare, care, and safety of their ‘children’.

A pregnant woman training a dog.

The analogy is simple. A pet owner may have a cause to think “Has my cat eaten this morning?” which can be later translated to as “Did my kid get a nutritious breakfast?” Overall, having a pet is training not only for pregnant moms, but for both partners on their way to a responsible parenthood.

Having a Pet Can Influence a More Meaningful Pregnancy

Pregnancy comes as a very ironic circumstance. The fact is that it puts a chunk of pressure with regards to the mental, physical and social state of a woman. Then again, in the most unthinkable ways, it is the most cherished phase a woman can undergo. Bringing a child to the world with the support of their respective partners and families can make pregnancy so meaningful.

And so much more when one’s pet is a witness and a part of the undertaking.

Pets are valuable beings that connect people together. They can be considered social magnets which can be so beneficial to a distressed mother. Animals give a sense of comfort and company which can never be truly replaced, especially if a person is an innate pet lover.

According to research, people with pets are generally happier, more trusting, and less lonely than those who don’t have pets. They also visit the doctor less often for minor problems. The same case definitely applies to that of a pregnant woman.

A cat kissing a baby.

Pets give off a feeling of belongingness and devotion. Bearing a child requires the same key elements. When these auras of the owner and the pet merge, it is an indescribable feeling that challenges the dangers often considered when having a pet when pregnant. It makes pregnancy even more meaningful.

Stress comes as a difficult adversary to handle, most especially in times of pregnancy. The mind is inflicted with various fears and stroke of depression, while the physical state is burdened with caring for another beating heart.

Having a pet gives a variety of benefits for a pregnant woman. In fact, some of which can be considered as noble. As opposed to the conventional knowledge that pets are dangers to the health of a mom and a child, pets can actually help boost the immune system of their owners, and improve heart health by encouraging an active lifestyle, especially through exercising them.

Pet care also helps a mom figure out the responsibilities that come with motherhood. Having a pet gives a sense of parenting on its own, and this training can prove vital when the child is born. Plus, owning a pet makes pregnancy a little more meaningful. A pet’s company during these difficult times can prove to be positively reinforcing and reassuring.

Still, the question remains.  Is it medically advisable to have pets at home during pregnancy? With ample preparation and proper care, yes, it is. Having a pet during pregnancy is definitely manageable. Besides, letting your heart out and letting pets in does come with great benefits.

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