Dizziness During Pregnancy

Dizziness During Pregnancy
Dizziness during pregnancy tips to treat and prevent.

No doubt, pregnancy is an exciting period of every woman’s life because it is the expectation of a little angel in your life. Where pregnancy brings a lot of excitement and thrill in your life, it is also a tough time for an expectant mom. You have to change your daily routine, your food, and your lifestyle.

There are many problems that you can face during pregnancy; dizziness is one of them. It is a common problem, and often ladies feel lightheaded and dizzy while pregnant. You often feel that room is spinning, or you feel unsteady, faint, or week. You frequently experience dizziness because during pregnancy, you’re hormonal, and other changes in the body lead to the relaxation of the blood vessels and cause the blood pressure to fall. Although it is common during pregnancy, it is terrible if you have severe morning sickness.

Here I will discuss what causes dizziness during pregnancy.


When does dizziness occur during pregnancy?

Dizziness often occurs between 12 weeks of pregnancy and the first few weeks of the second trimester of pregnancy.


Is dizziness a sign of the pregnancy?

Usually, dizziness is not the first sign of the pregnancy, but it may be an early pregnancy sign. You are not eating as much during this time because you feel like vomiting, and this can contribute to dizziness.


Causes of Dizziness in Early Pregnancy

Various factors contribute to dizziness during pregnancy.

1. Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes occur during pregnancy that help to increase the blood flow to develop the baby in utero, increase in blood flow changes the blood pressure; often, blood pressure decreases during these changing and causes you to feel dizziness. Usually, low blood pressure is not the cause of concern and returns to its average level after pregnancy.

2. Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

Dizziness may occur if you are experiencing extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It often occurs in early pregnancy due to hormonal changes. In this condition, you may not be able to take in food or water and get weak and dizzy as a result.

Your doctor may recommend several things, including:

  • Particular diet
  • Medication
  • Hospitalize you to provide extra fluids.

Dizziness in the second trimester

Sometimes, the causes and symptoms of dizziness increase as your pregnancy progresses. The factors that cause dizziness in the 2nd trimester are discussed below:

1. Stress on the uterus

In the second and third trimester, the uterus becomes enlarged with the growth of the baby and presses on your blood vessels and makes you feel dizzy.

Dizziness also occurs when you lay on your back during pregnancy because your enlarged uterus blocks the blood flow from the lower region toward the heart. It not only causes the dizziness but many other concerning issues.

Try to sleep on your side to avoid the blockage of blood supply during pregnancy.

2. Blood sugar abnormalities

If you have a low blood sugar level due to abnormal eating or you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, then there are maximum chances of feeling dizziness during pregnancy.


Dizziness During the Third Trimester

Factors that cause dizziness in the first and second trimester lead to the same symptoms in the third trimester. If you are feeling dizziness in your third trimester, then you must see your doctor regularly to avoid the potentially dangerous conditions that dizziness can cause.

Take extra care during this time to avoid falling, avoid standing for long periods of time, and stand up slowly to prevent lightheadedness.


Other Causes of Dizziness During Pregnancy

Some factors can cause dizziness at any time during pregnancy; these factors are not specific to any trimester.

1. Anemia

Most women have a reduced number of healthy red blood cells during pregnancy that can lead to anemia. Anemia often occurs when you don’t have enough iron and folic acid in your body.

Anemia not only causes the dizziness but also makes you feel tired, pale, or short of breath.

You can experience anemia at any time during pregnancy and this is diagnosed with a simple blood test. Your doctor may recommend iron or folic acid supplements.

2. Dehydration

Dehydration is the leading cause of dizziness during pregnancy; you may get it in the first trimester if you experience nausea and vomiting. It may occur in late pregnancy because your baby needs more water.

It’s recommended to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily, during pregnancy as your water needs are greatly increased during pregnancy.


How to Control Dizziness During Pregnancy

There are several ways to decrease dizziness during pregnancy. Some of them are discussed below:

1. Eat healthy food

Eat healthy foods to keep your body healthy so you can avoid dizziness during pregnancy. Add a mix of protein and complex carbs in your diet to keep your blood sugar level within the normal range.

2. Stop lying on your back

Try to avoid lying on your back when you are pregnant because your enlarged uterus blocks the flow of water. Try to lay on your side. There are a variety of pregnancy pillows are available which can help with sleeping on your side. You can choose any pillow according to your comfort to improve sleep during pregnancy.

There are some other cautions that you should adopt to avoid dizziness.

  • Do not stand for a long time
  • When you stand to increase circulation, make sure to keep moving
  • Do not stand immediately, take time to stand up, and when lying down, stand up slowly.
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Take supplements regularly recommended by the doctor to avoid dizziness.

When to Visit the Doctor

You must try to let your doctor know about the signs of dizziness that you experience during pregnancy so that doctors can take the necessary steps to diagnose the symptoms, causing dizziness.

If dizziness is severe or you are feeling other symptoms with dizziness, then consult your doctor immediately.

Symptoms that are concerning with dizziness during pregnancy are listed below:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pain in stomach
  • Swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Severe headache
  • Vision problems
  • Fainting

Final Verdict

Dizziness is a common symptom during pregnancy; it may occur for a variety of reasons, but it’s always important to talk to your doctor about the signs of dizziness. You can often decrease or eliminate it by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods. If you notice other concerning symptoms with the dizziness, then consult your doctor immediately to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

Bringing Home Your Second Child

Bringing Home Your Second Child

Bringing a new baby into your home is always a big deal and a big adjustment for everybody involved. Whether it is your first baby or your 5th, this tiny little being is wholly dependent on you, so naturally changes do take place.

Bringing Home Your Second Child

Bringing Home Baby Number One

When it comes to baby number one the focus is on mum and dad. As new parents, the prospect of being handed a new little person to care for 24/7 can be quite daunting. You often have very little idea what to expect, or exactly what changes are in store for you and your little family.

Once they arrive, of course everything just falls into place. You slowly find yourself coming out of the newborn fog, with a much clearer handle on this parenting thing, and your life has adjusted to this new little person.

Then you decide it’s time for a sibling.


Second Time Around

Of course, just because you already have one child, doesn’t make baby number 2 any less daunting. You are suddenly going from two on one (mum and dad vs baby) to two on two, and all hands are going to be on deck for this one. You may be a little more aware about what is to come for you, but it is still such a big change for your lives.

But, there is another little person to think about now. Your first child is set to become an older sibling. They are used to having you and your partner all to themselves for their entire lives, and all that is about to change. Depending on the age gap, they may be completely unaware of what any of this means.


Helping Your Child

It’s important to prepare your older child for the arrival of a sibling, even if they do seem too young to comprehend. It is amazing just how much little minds can take in from such a young age.

Here are some great tips for helping ease the transition for your little one before the baby arrives:


Be Open

Talk them through the entire process. While it might not be ideal to bring them along to hospital or obstetrician appointments, make sure you still include your older child in the process. Tell them you are off to see their baby brother or sister, show them ultrasound photos, and pat your belly and explain that’s where the baby is growing.

There’s no need to be technical about the whole experience, but you want to baby to be a regular topic of conversation. Nine months is a long time in a little person’s life, so use it to your advantage. By talking about the baby for nine months, it will be less of shock when they do arrive. Plus, their comprehension will also develop as they get older, so as the months go on they will understand more.

You can develop that bond from the beginning:

  • Ask them to sing a song to the baby
  • Read a book together to the baby
  • See if they would like to pick out some clothes for the baby
  • Get their help setting up the nursery for the baby

Make sure you also talk about their role when the baby arrives:

  • Are you going to help mummy dress the baby?
  • Do you think you will help cuddle the baby?
  • Do you have some favorite books you would like to share with the baby?

Practice Makes Perfect

Boy or girl (no gender stereotypes here!), buy your little one a doll in the lead up to the arrival of their sibling. They will love being able to mimic you once the baby arrives and it’s a great way to teach them how to be gentle and treat the baby before they come.

If you are buying or setting up a new pram for the baby, get your older child involved and ask for their help. You can also get a pram for their doll so they can feel as involved as possible.

Once the baby arrives, there are plenty more things you can do to ensure the transition is as easy as possible:


Help Is Always Needed

Kids just love to help, and let’s face it, with a second baby’s arrival, you could use all the help you can get. The tasks you set for your little one will depend on their age. If they are quite young, keep it simple. Leave the nappies in a place that is easy to reach and ask them to bring you one each nappy change.

You can also get them involved in all the different tasks that come with caring for a newborn, but remember, don’t force it. They may want to join for a few minutes before they get bored and want to run off with their toys, and that’s great! They will feel included and happy to head off on their own. Here are some tasks they might be able to help with:

  • Swaddling baby: let them help wrap the baby with your guidance.
  • Cutting nails: of course, don’t let them attempt this one on their own, but just simply let them watch. Here are some great tips on choosing the safest way to cut your baby’s nails.
  • Bathing baby: Either pop them in the bath together, or if this is too hard, let them come into the bathroom at bath time and help out. Give them a washer and let them help clean their baby brother or sister.

Get Playing

It may seem impossible in those early days of feeding and settling, but once the newborn fog starts to lift, set aside some time each day to play with your older child. It only has to be 10 minutes. It’s important to remember to get down with them and spend some quality time, so they get their dose of mum and dad too.

Giving them this time also means they will be more willing to play on their own at other times and won’t always be fighting for your attention.


Keep Them Occupied

As you will know, with a new baby, you are going to be confined to the couch a fair bit for feeds, and your older child won’t understand why. Set up a special box of toys just for them and fill it with things they don’t normally play with. Think about including stickers, playdoh, new books, new games and other quiet toys, and get this out each time you feed.

Your child will love the novelty of all these new toys and they won’t feel jealous of the new baby eating up all your time. If they are a bit jealous, get one arm out and cuddle them into you as you feed. It’s important they feel just as loved and cared for, and you will love those snuggles too!

Finally, make sure you take it easy as a family. Take some time for this big adjustment and recognize it is a big change for everyone and you have to do what works for you as a family. Enjoy some special time bonding and you will find yourself settling into this new life as peacefully as possible.

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8 Skin Product Ingredients You Should Avoid When Pregnant

8 Skin Product Ingredients You Should Avoid When Pregnant

Pregnancy can be one of the most amazing (but delicate) experiences women go through in their lifetime. Besides a growing belly, you’re bound to experience plenty of changes in your overall disposition and well being, such as mood swings, cravings, nausea, fatigue, and skin sensitivities. It pays to be extra attentive to what your body is telling you at this time.

Other than congratulatory notes from your friends and family, you’ve also probably been to the doctor a lot lately—emerging with a list of dos and don’ts during your term. Usually, these reminders have a lot to do with your diet and physical activities, but it also heavily involves the products that you’re not allowed to use on the skin.

Some ingredients may cause harm to you or your unborn child when applied, and as an expecting mom, it’s never wrong to be too careful! Expecting moms should take care of their skin, too. It’s time to review all the products you’ve been using and carefully read their ingredients label. Here’s a list of what you should avoid and why.

8 Skin Product Ingredients You Should Avoid When Pregnant

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is not safe whether or not you’re pregnant, but being exposed to it during your term can pose a higher risk. This offending ingredient has been linked to cancer and the development of other respiratory issues.

It’s commonly found in hair-straightening products in the salon, as well as some nail polishes. If you can check the ingredients list of your favorite nail lacquer, make sure it’s marked as 3-free or 5-free—these indicate that there is no formaldehyde present in the product.


Retinol

Retinol is a popular anti-aging skincare ingredient that helps fight acne, minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and stimulate collagen production. It’s also called Retin-A or retinyl palmitate and is naturally derived from vitamin A. While adequate portions of vitamin A can help in embryonic growth, there have been studies that link excessive intake to deformations of a baby’s head, brain, heart, and spinal cord.

Retinol is also an ingredient in anti-acne treatment Accutane, which has been said to cause congenital disabilities. If you’re getting rid of pimples, it’s recommended to switch to skincare products containing glycolic or oleic acid instead. If you want to continue reaping retinol’s anti-aging benefits, wearing all-natural sunscreen is a better alternative.


Oxybenzone and Avobenzone

While on the topic of sunblock, it’s worth noting that many are created with chemicals that aren’t safe for pregnant women. Oxybenzone and avobenzone are commonly present in chemical sun protectants, so make sure to get a natural or organic variant.

These ingredients have been linked to controversial issues such as possible hormone disruptors, a contributor to childhood obesity, ADHD, and defects on a child’s nervous system—not exactly what you want for your baby!


Parabens

Parabens are another popular beauty ingredient commonly found in makeup and hair and body products. This harmful ingredient has been linked to the development of breast cancer, as well as reproductive issues. It’s mainly used as a preserving agent in different products, but the truth is, many other products in the market don’t need parabens to stay fresh. Go for the alternatives instead!


Phthalates

Commonly in tandem with parabens, phthalates are used to stabilize the formulas in everyday beauty and skincare products. However, it’s been in the spotlight for causing liver, kidney, lung, and reproductive issues. If an ingredient ends in -phthalate, avoid this and look for something else, stat! A great place to start looking is at organic, natural, or zero-waste brands.


Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is another popular acne-fighting ingredient. While dermatologists deem it safe for topical use on pregnant women, they do advise against oral medication. There have been reports suggesting that this ingredient can cause intracranial bleeding in the fetus. If you’re too wary about even applying this topically, you may refer to the same alternate ingredients recommended for retinol.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

SLS is commonly found in shampoo products, especially those from highly commercialized brands. There’s a high chance that you might already have a bottle or two containing this ingredient sitting on your bathroom shelves. It’s the chemical component that makes your hair products lather well onto the skin.

However, dermatologists advise against this because the level of concentration can act as an irritant to many. Your body is not capable of breaking down the chemicals, and with prolonged use, you can be susceptible to nervous system disorders, as well as kidney and liver failure.


Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening ingredient used to treat skin discoloration issues such as melasma or chloasma. These usually develop during pregnancy, and you may be thinking of having them removed or treated as soon as they show up.

It may be better to wait until after your baby is born before you push through with the procedure, as studies show that your body can absorb up to 45% of the chemical during topical application. That’s a lot of chemical exposure in the bloodstream that you wouldn’t want for yourself or your baby!


Don’t Forget to Read the Fine Print

With a new baby on the way, moms must think twice about the products they use on their bodies. Something as simple as reading the ingredients list can already help in ensuring that their pregnancy, delivery, and the growth of the child will go as smoothly as possible. You can never be too safe!

With the overwhelming amount of alternatives out there, you might not even feel restricted with the products that you have to avoid.

If you suspect that there are other ingredients you should be wary of, or you have more follow-up questions, the best thing to do is to ask your doctor about this matter. They’ll happily inform you of great products you can use and even notify you of more things or habits you should avoid. Remember: the most important thing you can do for your baby right now is to take care of yourself.

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Socks Appeal: How Compression Socks Keep Your Legs and Feet Safer During Pregnancy

Socks Appeal: How Compression Socks Keep Your Legs and Feet Safer During Pregnancy

We all know (or can at least imagine) the toll that being pregnant takes on a woman’s body – you can be affected quite literally from head to toe. This is especially true during the last trimester, when the list of symptoms and issues just keeps on growing.

One particular issue is taking care of your legs and feet, which can have a tendency to swell and cause pain in the last few weeks leading up to the birth. As your baby grows, so your uterus grows with it and starts impeding on your other internal organs. Your pelvis is squashed into an increasingly smaller space and so the veins within it also become compressed, slowing down the blood flow into your legs and feet. At the same time, your body produces up to 50% more blood and bodily fluids during pregnancy to meet the needs of your growing baby and to help lubricate and prepare the pelvic joints for delivery.

The combination of squeezed organs, restricted veins and increased bodily fluids can all lead to a condition known as oedema, or swelling in the hands, face, legs, ankles and feet. While oedema is a normal pregnancy symptom, it should still be monitored carefully as it can cause pain and discomfort and become dangerous if left untreated. External factors, such as warmer temperatures, having to stand a lot while pregnant, too much physical exertion and a high level of caffeine intake can exacerbate the problem.

Socks Appeal: How Compression Socks Keep Your Legs and Feet Safer During Pregnancy

Swollen legs? Act now!

Symptoms of an oedema include heavy or tired legs and feet, swollen legs or ankles and the appearance of dark veins in your legs. Smaller, thinner veins are known as thread veins, while deeper ones are called varicose veins. These latter veins must be treated right away, as they can lead on to more serious, life-threatening conditions, such as DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If you are concerned about your legs, ankles or feet during pregnancy consult your doctor or midwife straight away. Equally, if you see or feel a sudden swelling in your face or hands you must seek urgent medical attention, as this can be a sign of something serious like preeclampsia.

In the meantime, try to remain active without tiring yourself out. When you feel tired, uncomfortable, or simply in need of a rest, sit or lie down with your ankles elevated so that they are higher than your bump. Try to remain in this position for at least 20 minutes to help your legs recover and to encourage any excess fluid to drain away and ease the pressure from your lower half. You may also be able to reduce the swelling a little by eating a banana (for the potassium) and avoiding caffeine. Stop wearing high heels and avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles. A cold compress will also offer relief from discomfort caused by swelling.


Sock it to ‘em

A major way to ease leg pain and reduce swelling, or even prevent it from occurring in the first place, is to invest in a pair (or several) or maternity compression socks or tights. These are tight-fitting, sturdy hosiery that fit closely around your legs and feet to promote healthy circulation of the blood and ward off thread or varicose veins. They work by squeezing the leg tissues and the walls of your veins to help the blood flow back to your heart. They counteract any weaknesses in the lower legs that could lead to blood pooling. Additionally, they can improve the flow of the lymph fluid in your legs to help reduce swelling in the tissue.

Compression tights designed for pregnancy also tends to have built in support for your stomach, bump and lower back and are well-proven to soothe aches and pains and to reduce swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. They come in a variety of sizes –use a tape measure to measure the circumference of your legs at various places, such as your ankle, calf and thigh in order to find the closest fit.


Get the compression look

Compression tights and socks also come in a variety of colors and styles to suit your look; gone are the days of unsightly, white hospital versions being your only option. If you are concerned about skin infections or other medical conditions that could be adversely affected by wearing compression hosiery, seek expert medical advice before starting to use them.

Try to keep your compression socks or tights on all day, taking them off to go to bed. You may like to get two or three pairs so that you always have a clean pair available when others are in the wash. It can be easier to put them back on in the morning before you get out of bed to reduce the risk of swelling taking place before you have a chance to get dressed.

Make sure there are no folds or wrinkles in them that could dig into your leg and exert excess pressure on the skin. Do this by smoothing your compression tights or socks down with the palms of your hands to check that they are sitting correctly. They come in different levels of compression, from light to very strong, and it’s best to start with a lighter version first to make sure that you feel comfortable wearing them.


Post pregnancy

Another advantage to compression socks and tights is that they can also be used during long-haul flights and travel when your legs are also at an increased risk of DVT from sitting still for hours in a confined space. Always follow your doctor or midwife’s advice when it comes to flying and travelling during pregnancy. Don’t forget that you can always keep your compression socks or tights for use during long flights after the baby has been born, or simply for wearing at home if you feel weary or uncomfortable, or if you find yourself standing for long periods at a time when you are back at work.


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How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

Depending on who you ask, it can be a blessing or a curse to live far from family when you have a baby.  I spent an entire post outlining the pros and cons of having a baby when you live far from family. However, it may be the situation you find yourself in.  Here are tips for labor, delivery and postpartum when you live far from your family.

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

You probably don’t need your family there while you are in the hospital.

Your due date is really just a guess on when your baby will be born.  In reality, it will likely fall somewhere in a 4 to 5-week range.  This can make it really hard for family to plan travel to be there precisely when you are in labor without risking missing the baby entirely. 

Also, while you are in the hospital, you have your husband to help and an entire team of nurses and doctors taking care of your every need.  We didn’t even change a diaper until we got home because the nurses did it every time.  Depending on if you have a natural birth or C-section and what complications occur, you will be kept in the hospital anywhere from 24 hours to 4 + days after giving birth.  There really isn’t much for your family to do other than be in a cramped room.  To solve this, ask your doctor how fast past your due date they will let you go prior to induction.  Have the first family visit take place a week after that date.  This will ensure that baby is here and you are home prior to having family come.


Take advantage of family visits. 

When you live far from family, they are likely planning to visit for a week or more at a time to make the trip worth it.  Take advantage of this to have round-the-clock help.  I wanted my mom to be the first to come visit, and my mother-in-law to be second.  Therefore, I had my mom come 2 weeks after my due date (based on the above formula).  She stayed for 2 weeks.  Then my mother-in-law came and stayed for a week.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared prior to bed each night.  Then our moms would get up with the baby for the 6am feeding.  They were already awake because of the time difference, and it gave us a solid 6 hours of sleep before I needed to be up for another feeding.  The result was we felt pretty human the entire first month.

photo of a grandma with her newborn grandson who is yawning

Practice going out while you have help. 

While you have family visiting, go out to eat, go to church, go to the mall, etc.  Use the extra set of hands to help while you are learning how to juggle a newborn and everything that goes with a baby.  Make sure to get all my tips for going out with a newborn.


Plan for time without family prior to going back to work. 

If you will be returning to work after having a baby, you will want a week or two right before you go back where you don’t have family visiting.  This gives you, your husband and your baby time to figure out a routine that will work.  Check out my other tips for returning to work after maternity leave to make your transition as smooth as possible.


Schedule family visits with a buffer in between. 

When our son was born, the day my mom left, we dropped her at the airport in the morning and picked my mother-in-law up a few hours later.  In hindsight, it really would have helped to have at least a 24-hour buffer to adjust.  I was still emotional from my mom leaving, and not mentally ready for another visitor that fast.  I also wanted time to just hold my son and let him sleep on me without having to share him with family.


Plan the next visit before the current one ends. 

With the emotions after birth, it can be difficult saying goodbye to family.  I found it was easier to know when we would see each other again before the current trip ended.  Sometimes this was our family visiting again, other times, we visited them, or sometimes we met somewhere in the middle for an extended weekend.


Estimate how much time your guests will want you to entertain them versus entertaining themselves or simply being happy to take care of the new baby. 

My mom was happy to go out and do things, but also brought work with her to occupy herself if the baby was asleep and we wanted to rest.  We had other family that wanted time to go do the tourist things in the area and were happy to do this on their own.  Figuring out what everyone wants helps to manage expectations.

photo of parents with grandparents and a baby with napa valley in the background.

Get involved with a church. 

This is a great way to meet like-minded people.  If you find a church full of other young parents, they can be great support for you as you navigate new parent life.


Final Thoughts

If you are pregnant and don’t live near family, there are many pros and cons.  However, it’s important to make the best of it and have a plan in place prior to giving birth.  Consider who will be coming to visit, how long they want to stay, and what order you want them to come in.

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Maybe you love where you grew up and couldn’t imagine living far from the place you have always called home.  Maybe you are on the other end and spent high school counting down the years until you could escape to somewhere more exciting.  Either way, as a responsible adult you are now considering having kids and are wondering if you are better off raising your children near family or farther away. 

I’ve lived on the other side of the country from my family as well as my in-laws while having my first child.  Here are some things to consider about having kids while living far from family.

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

I’m a positive person, so we will start off with the pros of living far from family.

Pros of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family


1. There is no pressure to allow family to be present at birth 

If you live a short drive from family, there is a good chance your mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, grandma, or anyone else you can think of may decide they are entitled to be present for the birth of your child.  You may not want an audience, but it can be really hard to tell the well-meaning family they aren’t invited.   If you live a plane-ride (or very long drive) away from the family, you won’t be able to predict exactly when you will go into labor, so they won’t be able to plan a visit without risking their stay ending before the baby is born.  It was really easy to have a labor, delivery and hospital stay without anyone except for my husband.  I was happy to show off our new baby once we got home, but the hospital stay was a whirlwind of recovering and figuring out breastfeeding.  I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else there.

Mom holding a newborn baby in the hospital.

2. You have more freedom to develop your own parenting style 

There are so many opinions on the “right” way to be a parent.  However, the right way for you is the way you and your husband decide to parent.  This should be a decision made based on your preferences and not on pressure from family.  Being far away means you don’t have family around offering their input as often.


3. You have more power over the visit schedule 

If you live near family, well-meaning family may feel entitled to drop by for a visit whenever the mood strikes them.  If they happen to be coming over to clean for you, then it may be welcome.  However, they likely aren’t planning on that.  If you live far from family, it requires planning visits ahead of time.  This allows you to make sure both families aren’t there at once (unless you approve it), and to have buffers between visitors if you desire. 


4. You and your husband learn to rely on each other 

If you have a great relationship with your mom, it may be really easy to get her help and input on every parenting question and call her for babysitting frequently.  However, it can be easy for you to rely more on family than your husband which can make it hard to form a parenting team.  Being far away decreases your ability to rely on family and allows for a stronger parenting team to be formed between you and your husband.


5. When family visits they stay with you 

This means that they are already planning to be present for those 2 am wakeups.  If there is a large time difference, you can utilize it to have family help with overnight feedings or rocking baby back to sleep.  We had almost four weeks of help between our mothers visiting right after our son was born.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared at bedtime each night.  Our mothers would get up with our son and give him a bottle for the 6 am feeding which gave my husband and me a six-hour stretch of sleep before I needed to be up for the next feeding.  The result is we actually felt pretty human during the first month.


6. Your child gets well-traveled at an early age

I believe helps make baby and the parents more adaptable to new situations.  My son went on 10 round-trip flights during his first year.  The first trip was stressful, but after that we got a system figured out and it wasn’t a big deal.  Here are all the tricks I learned for flying with a baby

Dad holding a baby on an airplane.

Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family


1. If you want family present at birth, this can be hard to plan 

Often affordable plane tickets have to be purchased well in advance.  With a 4 to 5-week range around the due date, it’s difficult to pinpoint when people should come to visit. 


2. Family doesn’t get to visit as much 

For your family to visit the new baby, either they need to travel to you, or you need to travel to them.  Also, when they come, they usually stay with you which means extended time with family versus short visits.  Depending on your situation, ever-present family may be a major additional stress when you are already stressed with a newborn. 


3. Family visits can be difficult if you have parents that don’t travel or have health problems that make traveling difficult  

If you are in this situation and will have to be the one traveling, make sure to get all my tips for flying with a baby.  You can also use my Family Travel Planner to make the travel planning process much easier.


4. You might feel like you are missing out 

We lived a 5-hour plane flight from all of our family for almost 3 years.  The only times I really broke down because I didn’t have family nearby was when we found out we were having a boy and when my mom left after visiting right after my son was born.  These were times when I did really want to share them with my family, and I felt like a phone call or FaceTime just didn’t cut it.

A couple holding a baby boy balloon.

5. You don’t have as much help 

When you live near family, they are often happy to babysit or be an extra set of hands.  However, living far from them means that you don’t have these built-in, free babysitters.  Friends can be helpful, but you can only impose on them for free babysitting so much.  Living far away meant we couldn’t go to the movies without paying a babysitter or going when we had people visiting.  We made a point of taking our son out to restaurants, the store and the mall starting when he was only a week old.  Therefore, it became normal for him and us, so going out to eat or shopping with him in tow isn’t a big deal.  Definitely get my tips for going out with a newborn to make your life easier.


6. Holidays can be hard 

For holidays, you will likely be traveling back to family or spending them without family.  Either way it can be hard.  We traveled back to visit family.  Like I mentioned above, traveling itself wasn’t a big deal.  However, with Christmas, it was difficult having to consider luggage allowances and making sure our son didn’t get too many large or heavy gifts that we would need to figure out how to get home.

Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage.
This was the amount of luggage that we traveled with when visiting family for two weeks over Christmas and New Years.

7. Guilt trips from family about living far away 

You may hear comments from family (likely grandparents) about how they don’t get to spend time with their grandchild because he lives so far away.  Even if you don’t hear these comments, you may feel guilty that your parents don’t get to spend much time with their grandchild.  This is likely to be more significant if your baby is the first grandchild. 


Final Thoughts

Do the pros of living far from family outweigh the cons?  That depends on your family situation.  For us, we made do and logged some serious frequent flier miles.  It was good for my husband and I to grow as a couple and figure out the whole “new parenting” thing.  However, we will now live driving distance to our families.  It’s not close enough that people can drop in unexpectedly, but it’s close enough we can fill an entire car for the holidays and not have to worry about how much baggage we are dragging along.  For us, I feel like that is a good compromise.

What do you think? Do the pros or the cons weigh heavier in your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

When you are pregnant, comfort is key. However, flying and comfort don’t often belong in the same sentence. If you find yourself flying while pregnant, make sure to avoid these 5 mistakes that I learned about the hard way.

1. Taking the Window Seat

The window seat may be prime airplane real estate for some people.  However, when you are pregnant, you will want to rethink your seating choices.  I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that pregnancy makes you pee a lot.  If you have a window seat and need to ask multiple people to move every time you go to the bathroom, you are likely to be tempted to hold it which can lead to a UTI.  If you are sitting on the edge it’s easy to get up whenever you need to.

2. Staying in Your Seat

When you are pregnant, you are more prone to DVTs which are blood clots in your legs.  Anyone can get DVTs, but pregnant women have a higher risk, and the risk increases when you are on an airplane and sitting for an extended period.  Therefore, you want to get up periodically and walk around – a bathroom trip counts. This is another situation where having an aisle seat comes in handy.  It’s generally a good idea to try and get up once every hour to 1.5 hours.  Other things you can do to decrease your risk are to wear compression socks that reach your knees and flex your ankles while sitting.


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3. Skipping the Snacks and Water

Pregnancy requires more calories than normal, and you want to make sure you eat plenty while traveling.  If you have short flights, this isn’t as big of a problem, but if you have a long flight, you want to make sure you plan to snack.  These can be snacks you brought from home (I really like these protein bars) or snacks you buy on the plane.  Try to find snacks that incorporate some protein and aren’t just carbs. 

You also don’t want to turn down an offer of water.  It may seem like a good way to not have to go to the bathroom so often, but you are more prone to dehydration while flying because there is less water in the air.  If you get dehydrated while pregnant, that can increase the risk of Braxton Hicks contractions and general discomfort.  I recommend purchasing a large bottle of water prior to boarding and then accept all offers for water while on the plane.  If you cringe at the price of airport water, you can bring an empty bottle and fill it at a water fountain.


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4. Flying During Late Pregnancy

Flying during the first and second trimesters isn’t too much of a problem.  However, things get a little more difficult during the third trimester.  Check with your doctor, but in general it’s okay to fly up until you reach 36 weeks.  However, the closer you get to that point, the more uncomfortable flying will become.  There are the obvious issues with feeling huge and being cramped in a tiny seat.  However, there is also the problem of catching your breath.  When flying you are at a high altitude which has less oxygen.  Therefore, it’s a little harder to breath for everyone.  Most people won’t notice, but when you are pregnant, it can be hard to catch your breath even at sea level.  When flying it becomes much more noticeable.  I continued to fly until 32 weeks, and the last couple of trips I took were really uncomfortable because I couldn’t catch my breath.

5. Wearing Stylish Clothes

It seems like travelers are either in the ‘leggings’ camp or the ‘must look good because everyone will see me’ camp.  When you are pregnant and flying, stick to leggings.  You don’t need uncomfortable pants pushing on your already uncomfortable belly and you don’t need nice shoes making your already sore feet worse.  The chances of seeing someone you know are quite slim, so travel in comfort.  If you have to go straight to a work function or other event where you need to look nice, bring a change of clothes in your carry-on to change into when you get off the plane.

Get all my tips for what you should do while flying during pregnancy here.

What mistakes have you made flying while pregnant?  Let me know in the comments.

5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Vaccines During Pregnancy

Vaccines During Pregnancy
Vaccines During Pregnancy

I see questions regarding vaccinations during pregnancy all the time.  I’m also a pharmacist trained to provide all standard immunizations.  From both my role as a pharmacist and as a mom, I know that doctors recommend vaccinations but often provide very little information.  There is also a lot of misinformation floating around about the safety of vaccinations. 

Here I’m going to answer the common questions about vaccinations in pregnancy.


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Let’s start with the flu shot.

Q: Should I get a flu shot during pregnancy?

A: The flu shot is recommended every year regardless of whether or not you are pregnant. If you happen to be pregnant at the time you would normally get the flu shot, then it’s important to get it because your immune system isn’t as strong during pregnancy.  However, you should only get the injection (not the nasal version) because the injection is a killed vaccine whereas the nasal version is live.

Q: What is the chance the flu shot will give me the flu?

A: There is a 0% chance you will get the flu from the flu shot. The injection is a killed vaccine which means it is absolutely impossible for the virus to multiply.  There are no zombie viruses (although that would make for a good horror movie).  What you might get (and why people often say the shot gives them the flu) includes a sore arm and a mild fever.  If these occur, they can be treated with Tylenol.  These are signs that your body is mounting a defense against the virus (which is a good thing).  Tylenol can help if the symptoms are bothersome, but they will go away in a couple of days regardless of whether you treat them.

Q: Does the flu shot actually work?

A: How well the flu shot works varies from year to year.  The flu is a virus and viruses mutate to prevent detection by the body.  Therefore, the flu virus looks a little different each year.  These different versions of the virus are called strains.  Each winter/spring the CDC tries to determine what strains of the virus are going to be present for the coming flu season.  The flu vaccine contains the 4 strains that are predicted to be the most problematic.  The efficacy of the vaccine is based on how well the researchers guessed when determining the strains. 

It’s also important to note that the flu vaccine is for the respiratory flu, not the stomach flu.  The stomach flu may make you miserable for a few days, but it isn’t going to kill anyone.  The respiratory flu on the other hand is extremely dangerous for the elderly and babies to get. 


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Q: Will the flu shot hurt my baby?

A: The flu shot will actually help your baby.  While you are pregnant, the antibodies (the cells that are designed to attack specific viruses) are transferred to your baby.  Once your baby is born, the antibodies will last for a few months.  Therefore, by getting vaccinated you provide protection for your baby until they are old enough to get vaccinated.

Q: I got the flu shot last year, why do I need it again?

A: Like I mentioned above, the strains that cause the flu change each year which means the vaccine has to change each year.  Therefore, you need to get the current vaccine to be protected from the current year’s strains.

Now let’s move onto the Tdap vaccine.

Q: What is Tdap? 

A: Tdap is a combination that stands for tetanus, diptheria, acellular pertussis.  The main reason you are getting this vaccine is for the acellular pertussis component.  This is just a fancy name for whooping cough.  The whooping cough vaccine only comes in combination with tetanus and diptheria. You can’t get it alone.

Q: Do I need a Tdap vaccination during pregnancy?

A: Yes. It is recommended that a pregnant woman get the Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of every pregnancy.

Q: Why do I need this vaccine?

A: Whooping cough is annoying for healthy adults, but it’s not life-threatening.  However, infants die every year from whooping cough.  Sometimes they develop a really bad cough, but other times they turn blue and stop breathing.  A baby that develops whooping cough will often have to be admitted to the hospital for treatment, and the younger the baby is, the more likely it is that serious complications will occur.

Q: Will I get sick from the vaccine?

A: Tdap is a killed vaccine.  Therefore, like the flu shot, it is impossible for the virus to come alive and replicate.  You may get a sore arm from the vaccine, but this will go away within a couple days.  If it’s bothersome, you can treat it with Tylenol. 

Q: If I have two pregnancies close together, do I have to get the Tdap vaccine during both?

A: The benefits of passing the antibodies onto your baby are significant enough that it’s recommended for you to get the vaccine during the third trimester of every pregnancy regardless of how close together they are. 

Now for some general vaccine questions.

Q: Are there any vaccinations that I should not get while pregnant?

A: During pregnancy you should not receive any live vaccines.  The live vaccines include MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Varicella (chicken pox), Herpes Zoster and oral typhoid vaccine.  These 4 vaccines are live which means that there is a tiny chance that they could cause the illness (compared to the other vaccines where it is completely impossible).

Q: Do I need to get any other vaccinations while pregnant?

A: There aren’t any other vaccinations that are recommended for all pregnant woman.  However, if there are other vaccinations that you are due for based on your vaccination schedule, you can get these (just not the live ones mentioned above).

Q: Do people that come visit the baby need to be vaccinated?

A: This is your choice as the parent.  Personally, I required all people that were coming to stay with us during the first 6 months have a flu shot and Tdap vaccination.  My suggestion is to require flu shot and Tdap for everyone that will be spending a significant amount of time holding your baby during the first few months.  By surrounding your baby with people that are vaccinated, you are creating herd immunity. Herd immunity refers to surrounding an individual that can’t be vaccinated, such as a newborn, with people that are vaccinated which prevents transmission of the virus.

Now you are educated on the basic vaccinations during pregnancy.  If you have further questions ask your doctor or pharmacist, so that you get all the facts.   If you want to learn more, check out the following resources:

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Vaccines During Pregnancy

Second Pregnancy: The Secrets No One Tells You

Second Pregnancy: The Secrets No One Tells You
Second Pregnancy: The Secrets No One Tells You

So, this pregnancy has been 180% different from my first!

Let me explain…

My first was for the most part, perfect. No food aversions, no serious mood issues, nothing crazy. I could tell my first baby had a schedule after a bit of time. She would be up and about by 10 a.m., and a few other active times during the day. She would move around of course, but not enough to stop me in my tracks or anything like that. I worked at my job up until a month before her due date, and everything went well during delivery.

See? Surely the second one will be just as easy.

Right?

Not exactly!

One year and seven months later, I was pregnant with my second child.

Now, as far as the secrets go…

All bets are off.

Despite this being another baby girl, I had severe nausea and could only eat certain things, but with my first, I could eat anything! Also, this baby is constantly moving. There’s no such thing as a “schedule.” She is up and about 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She is a constant hyper mess, ready to enter the world at any moment.

I could work all the way through the first pregnancy, but with this one, I have had to stay on the couch most of the day for the last three months of the pregnancy. Severe contractions begin in the amount of time it takes to take half a shower. Ouch!

New, challenging factors can weigh in on you that you have never dealt with before.

I was at a point where my job was stressing me out. I was having daily headaches, and the doctor had just taken me off that medication as it was not good to take while pregnant. I knew I needed to find an alternative job so that I could make it through. But, in the meantime, I was crying four times a day for reasons I’m still not sure about.

Prenatal Depression is real… And it is terrifying.

I could tell I was losing who I was, and quick. I looked to the internet for help, and it appeared that I was suffering from prenatal depression. Who knew that was even a thing? I told my doctor about it, and I was promptly prescribed medication. This medicine, like the kind I took for headaches, was also risky to take with the baby.

So, what’s a girl to do?

I waited to see if things changed after switching jobs- lucky for me, they did. I never had to take the medication, but I do know that if I would not have changed my situation, it would have been an absolute necessity.

You’ll feel like you made a mistake. 

I did. I wondered why I ever decided to have children so close in age, when my first is still a “baby” herself. She has also had to deal with the fact that my every other phrase is “be careful with belly,” as she tries to climb all over me.


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The Final Secret: None of these things matter.

Sure, your pregnancy can be completely different from the last. You may have things occur that you didn’t expect to happen. You might feel like you made the wrong move for your family. You may go through serious changes that you never accounted for.

But, you know what? It’s all temporary feelings.

You begin to realize that you’re going to be okay, with medication or without, with the same job or a different one, and if you’re limited on how long you can stand. Or, something else could happen while you’re pregnant. Every mom is unique and we all find ourselves in different situations.

You will wake up one day and realize this is the decision that you made for your family and that your child will be a fabulous big sister or brother. You’ll have the comfort of knowing that they both will have each other, and that bond will be so special. You will be able to love both of your children. And you’ll know that when they are sitting together, giggling with one another, running around outside together, or falling asleep with one another that you made the right decision. Creating life is a miracle, no matter when it happens. Embrace it! All of it is worth it.

How did your second pregnancy differ from your first?  Let me know in the comments.  

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Tips for Flying When Pregnant

Tips for Flying When Pregnant
Tips for Flying When Pregnant

It may be for work or to visit family or to take a pre-baby vacation. Whatever the reason, you are likely to find yourself on an airplane at some point while pregnant. Before you fly, check out these 9 tips for flying when pregnant


Check-In With Your Doctor

If you have a low risk of preterm labor, then it is likely safe to fly up until 36 weeks.  However, if you have risk factors, your doctor may advise you to keep your feet on the ground sooner rather than later.  Make sure to talk to your doctor early about what air travel restrictions she recommends for you.

Know Your Airline’s Policy

Airlines really don’t want you going into labor while on their plane.  Therefore, they have policies about letting women who are close to their due date fly.  If you have low risk factors, your doctor may be okay with you flying up until 36 weeks, but the airline may have a different policy.  These policies also differ depending on if you are flying domestic or international.  Here are some of the policies for the major airlines.


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Stay Hydrated

The air in planes is dryer than normal; therefore, you are likely to get dehydrated more quickly.  This can happen to anyone, but when you are pregnant, being dehydrated can increase Braxton Hicks contractions, so it’s important to drink plenty of water.  Airplanes do generally provide drinks while you are on the flight.  However, turbulence can prevent service or drastically delay it.  Be prepared and grab a big bottle of water before boarding.  If you don’t want to spend the money to purchase airport water, you can bring an empty bottle through security.  Many airports have water bottle filling stations, or some restaurants will fill a bottle for you.


Plan for Lots of Bathroom Breaks

The more pregnant you are, the more baby is pushing on your bladder. You also have more blood volume during pregnancy which means more for your kidneys to filter out.  Therefore, you will likely need lots of trips to the bathroom.  This doesn’t mean you can’t still snag the window seat, but make sure you are okay with asking the person in the aisle to get up.  You may decide you are better off in the aisle.


Move Around Frequently

When you are pregnant, you have an increased risk of blood clots in your legs, also known as Deep Vein Thromboembolism (DVT). Moving around decreases your risk and sitting for many hours increases that risk.  Therefore, you want to get up and walk around at least once every hour while flying.  Getting up to go to the bathroom counts for you hourly walk.  You can also consider wearing compression socks.  These help to keep blood flowing to help prevent DVTs, and they are also helpful for keeping the annoying foot swelling at bay.  When you can’t get up and walk around (i.e. lots of turbulence), flex your feet up and down to keep the blood flowing through your legs.


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Know it May be Harder to Breathe

The air at 30,000 feet is thinner with less oxygen than the air at sea level.  When you aren’t pregnant, you probably don’t notice any difference when sitting on an airplane.  However, when you’re pregnant, it’s already harder to breath because baby is squishing your lungs.  Therefore, you notice the oxygen deficit more.  This isn’t going to cause harm, but it may make flying later in pregnancy somewhat uncomfortable.


Know the Signs of Labor

Dehydration can increase the frequency and intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions which isn’t harmful but can be uncomfortable.  However, the biggest risk with flying is that you will go into preterm labor.  Therefore, it’s important to know the difference between Braxton Hicks and actual labor.


Get TSA Precheck

Taking your shoes and sweatshirt off for security is a pain when you aren’t pregnant.  When you are pregnant you want to avoid having to remove and put back on your shoes if at all possible.  TSA precheck allows you to leave your shoes and light jacket on when going through security.  It also means a shorter line.


Dress Comfortably

This isn’t the time for high heels and pants with a real waist.  Think stretchy tent dresses and leggings and supportive shoes.  Sitting in the cramped airplane seats is uncomfortable enough while pregnant, you don’t want to add to it by wearing restrictive clothing. This is definitely one thing I learned from my mistakes with. To see what else I learned, check out this post.


If you have flown while pregnant, do you have any tips I didn’t mention? If so, share them in the comments.


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Tips for Flying When Pregnant
Tips for Flying When Pregnant