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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Breast Pump Comparison

Breast Pump Comparison

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.

Breast Pump Comparison

Breast pumps – do you need one, how do you decide which one, do you have to pay for it yourself? These are all questions that soon-to-be-moms will be asking at some point.  Looking back, I made a lot of mistakes selecting a breast pump.  But hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes.  Therefore, read on for my complete guide to selecting the perfect breast pump for you. I will cover definitions that are important to know when evaluating breast pumps and well as a breast pump comparison between all of the major brands. If you are looking for a breast pump because you’re worried your baby isn’t getting enough milk, make sure to check out this post.

Around my second trimester, I got a random call from a company that supplies breast pumps.  My doctor had put in the order for me to get one through insurance.  The company rattled off a long list of all my options, and when finished asked which one I wanted.  I selected one I had heard of off the list and was told it would be at my door in a few days if it was covered.  Less than a week later, I had a new breast pump on my doorstep.  However, I ended up buying a second pump and wishing that I had yet another type.  Here are my tips for planning out your breast pump situation, so you end up with a pump you love (well as much as you can love something that leaves you feeling like a cow) as well as a comparison of all the readily available breast pumps.


Terminology

First things first, let’s cover breast pump terminology.

Hospital-Grade Pump

Heavy-duty pumps that have the most powerful motors and a higher amount of “sucks” per minute compared to personal pumps.  These pumps are more efficient but come with a higher price tag.

Personal Pump

These pumps are designed to fit the lifestyle of most moms.  They are usually relatively easy to transport and are more affordable than hospital grade pumps.  However, they are not as efficient as hospital-grade pumps.

Electric Pump

A pump that uses electricity via a wall outlet, but some pumps have the ability to run on batteries.  These pumps have the ability to pump both breasts at the same time and are much more efficient than manual pumps.

Manual-Pump

A pump that requires the user to do the work.  These pumps have a lever that requires a squeeze and release motion to express milk.  These pumps can be useful because they are highly portable and have few parts. However, they can be labor intensive.

Closed-System

Has a diaphragm that acts as a barrier.  This protects the milk from outside air and prevents milk from leaking into the pump tubing.  Therefore, expressed milk is never exposed to the pump tubing or motor which means that the tubing doesn’t require washing or sterilizing.

Open-System

Does not have a barrier between the tubing and the milk collection, so milk may potentially leak into the tubing.  This can be an inconvenience because it requires washing, sterilizing and air drying the tubing.  However, some moms report that small amounts of milk may get into the tubing without being noticed and this can lead to mold in the tubing. 

Flanges/Shields

These are the plastic pieces that go over your breast when pumping.  It is essential that these fit properly.  Flanges that are too small can cause pain from rubbing and flanges that are too big will not allow sufficient suction.  With some brands you can buy flanges in sizes other than what come with the pump, but this results in an added cost.

Dual-Phase Expression

The first step in breast milk expression is when the baby takes short, shallow and frequent sucks to cause a let-down.  The second phase occurs when the milk comes in and the baby’s sucks get longer and deeper. A dual-phase expression pump mimics these phases.


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Things to Consider

  • Unique needs: Determine if you will be pumping at work or while traveling.
  • How many pumps: If possible, plan to get two pumps in case one breaks.  My first week back to work, I accidentally dropped my pump and it broke.  That left me without a pump for a day (thank goodness for Amazon Prime 1-day shipping!).  It was a very stressful day because I was at work and my son wasn’t a big fan of nursing, to begin with, so he was not impressed by having to act as the pump.  Once I got my new pump in the mail, I eventually got my original one fixed, so I kept one at home and one at work.  This was really the ideal situation.  If you are able to get two pumps, I recommend two different styles (one hands-free and one traditional).
  • Manual or Electric: If you are only planning to pump occassionally and/or you need to have something handy to use once in a while when traveling, you may be able to get by with a manual pump.  However, if you will be pumping with any consistency, then you definitely want an electric pump.
  • Hospital or Regular Grade: Breast pumps come as hospital grade and regular grade.  Hospital grade is the type that may be in pumping rooms at work and what the hospital will have.  These are designed to have multiple people use the same pump.  Regular pumps are designed to be single user.  They are smaller and easier to tote back and forth to work.  Regular grade is likely sufficient for what you are doing. 
  • Style: Once you focus on regular grade, electric pumps, you have two basic groups of pumps: the traditional style with the cones and bottles hanging off of them and the hands-free, discrete pumps.  If you are able to swing two pumps, I highly recommend getting one of each. 
  • Desirable characteristics: Things to look at and consider include the following:
    • Battery-powered option
    • The weight of the pump
    • Discrete and hands-free
    • Reviews
    • Availability of support and parts

Breast Pump Comparison Tables

Below is a comparison of all readily available electric breast pumps.  Hospital grade pumps and manual pumps are not included.

The Criteria Evaluated

  • Hands Free (yes/no): Pumping bras are available to make any pump “hands-free” but being hands-free without a special bra is a big plus.
  • Runs on Battery (yes/no): Some pumps don’t maintain great suction on battery. However, having the option to use a pump on battery is helpful in a pinch.
  • Car Plug Ability (yes/no): The ability to power your pump with a car plug is a big plus when you are on the go.  If you can pump hands free, then pumping while driving is a great way to multi-task.
  • Digital Display (yes/no): Some mothers find a digital display really helpful for adjusting pump settings.  Usually pumps with a digital display come with additional features, like a timer or more setting options.
  • Closed System (yes/no): A closed system prevents any milk from getting into the tubing and potentially the pump motor which makes the pump more hygienic and saves you the hassle of cleaning the tubing.
  • Customer Support (yes/no): I learned the hard way that customer support is not a given with breast pumps, so I’ve included it as a criterion to evaluate.
  • Shield/Flange Size: You can often order a variety of sizes of shields/flanges. However, that’s an additional cost and hassle.
  • Warranty: If your pump breaks you want to know that it will be replaced quickly without additional cost to you.
  • Price: Many breast pumps are available through insurance.  However, if you are looking to get a second pump, or want one that isn’t covered, price is important to consider.
  • Amazon Rating: This seems to be the rating system that has the most submitted ratings, so I included it as a way to help compare the pumps.
  • Notes: This is where I included any additional features that I thought were important to consider.

Medela Pumps

Medela Pump In Style Advanced

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Medela Freestyle

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3 stars
Notes

Medela Sonata

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$350
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Spectra Pumps

Spectra S1

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 28 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

Spectra S2

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 28 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$158
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

Spectra 9 Plus

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor
Price$180
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Motif Pumps

Motif Duo

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
21 and 24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Motif Twist

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
21 and 24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$100
Amazon Rating
3 stars
Notes

Freemie Pumps

Freemie Liberty

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 28 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesCan be charged with a USB

Freemie Freedom

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 28 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$132
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

The First Years Pumps

Breastflow Memory Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Comes with 2 sizes; unclear which ones
WarrantyNone
Price$74
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesStores record of pumping sessions

Quiet Expressions Plus

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
“Flexi fit shields”
WarrantyNone
Price$66
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

BelleMa Pumps

Melon Comfort

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$105
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

E5

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year
Price$140
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Plethora

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$130
Amazon Rating
2 stars
Notes

Effective Pro

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$130
Amazon Rating
4 stars
NotesUSB charging

Other Brands

Lansinoh Smartpump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 30.5 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
NotesBluetooth connectivity

Momcozy Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$60
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesUSB charger; portable

BabySteps Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$59
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

BellaBaby Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$52
Amazon Rating
4 stars
NotesUSB charging

KidsTime Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$33
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesUSB charger; hot/cold message pads

Philips Avent Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 27 mm
Warranty2 years
Price$170
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Nibble Electric Breast Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determineX
Warranty1 year
Price$70
Amazon Rating
2.5 stars
NotesOnly comes with one bottle
Hard to find additional bottles and parts
Compatible with Medela bottles and some parts

Ameda Finesse

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 30.5 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Evenflo Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24.5, 28 and 30.5 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$64
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Willow Wearable Breast Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$480
Amazon Rating
N/A
Notes27 mm is only other size available
Run by smart phone app
1:1 coaching included with pump purchase

Additional Considerations

The above section gives you the basics of each pump to help you narrow down your search.  Once you decide which pumps sound like the best fit for you, make sure to research and consider the following.

  • Availability and cost of spare parts
  • What size flange you need. Note: This may change over time.
  • Amazon reviews

My Breast Pump Experience

I originally got the Freemie Freedom Pump which is hands-free.  The cups go inside of your bra and then have a pour spout to put the milk into bottles or bags.  I loved this pump at home, but it’s the one I broke my first week back at work.  I called the company and they simply said they didn’t service their pumps.  Luckily my dad was able to fix it.  In the meantime, I ordered a Spectra S2 from Amazon.  This wasn’t hands-free, but I could purchase adaptor tubing to use my hands-free cups with this pump which I did.  Compared to my Freemie, this pump was lighter weight with better features like different settings, and it was quieter.  I could also use it with traditional cups or my hands-free ones. However, the S2 isn’t able to run on battery (the S1 is).  One that could run on the battery would have fit my lifestyle better, but I’ve heard other mothers say that when running on battery the pumps don’t have enough suction.


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If I was to do it again, I would get a traditional style pump (probably Spectra S1 or Medela) and either the Willow or the Freemie Liberty which are a little more discreet and allow you to walk around compared to the Freemie Freedom that kept me tethered to my desk.  I may gravitate towards the Willow having experienced the lack of support from Freemie.

If, despite a great pump, you are finding you still need to supplement, check out this formula price comparison.

Want more great info like this?  Subscribe in the sidebar for weekly updates and tips.

Once you decide on a breast pump, make sure to check out these other posts on baby essentials.

Breast Pump Comparison

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.

Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

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.

Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

Let me guess – you have reached the point where it’s becoming a reality that your baby is going to have to come out eventually, you don’t want to forget anything you might need for the hospital, pregnancy brain has taken over, and you are the one that needs to make sure everything is packed and ready to go to the hospital.  I’ve been there.  I’m the person who would much rather over pack than under pack.  I obsessively searched the internet for hospital packing checklists during my third trimester and none of them seemed to cover everything.  In the end, I took a lot of stuff but used almost all of it.  Below I’ll go through everything that went on my packing list and why I recommend taking it.  There is also a downloadable PDF packing list that you can print to check off items.

Get My Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist

Get the only hospital packing list you will need for labor and delivery. This is the list I compiled for myself and then modified based on reality. Benefit from my experience!

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Items Specifically For You

    Towel and garbage bag for in the car: Good to have just in case your water breaks on the way to the hospital.

    Gift for nurses: This is a nice gesture but not required.  I prepared a small jar with Hershey’s Kisses and tied on a cute bow.  I forgot to pull it out of my bag though, so I had been there a day before I gave it to anyone.  I recommend dropping it off at the nurses’ station shortly after arriving. If you are wondering why you would bring a small gift for someone whose job it is to take care of you, check out this story from a labor and delivery nurse where she talks about the training she did and the great and no so great parts of her job of trying to do everything she can for you and your baby.


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    Copy of birth plan (if you have one): If you spend the time creating this, you want to make sure you take at least one copy, but 2-3 copies may be better.  I didn’t make a birth plan because my plan was to go with the flow and it worked out well for me.

    Yeti mug (or similar): I have a 32 oz Yeti mug that I kept at home full of ice water which really helped me to drink more.  Taking it along was a last-minute thought, but I’m so glad I did.  The nurses would bring me ice and water whenever I needed a refill.  I then had a mug with a lid that kept the water cold which really increased how much I drank.  Pro tip: Bring one along for your partner too.  The nurses are happy to provide ice water, but it would have been much better if he had a mug to keep it cold.

    Pillow: The hospital will provide pillows, but they aren’t very comfy.  Having one from home can make a big difference.  Pro tip: Bring one for your partner too.  My husband insisted that he didn’t need to take a pillow because the hospital ones would be fine.  He was fine because he kept taking my pillow.

    Exercise ball and pump: Bring this and leave it in the car until you decide you need it.  The hospital had two exercise balls, but someone was already using the bigger one, and the one they brought me was way too small.  Had my own definitely prevented a mid-labor meltdown.  Don’t forget to bring the pump as well so that you can add more air if you decide it’s too squishy.

    Handheld fan: Pushing is hard work, and I was doing it for 3 hours!  I’m so glad I had a rechargeable handheld fan that my husband could hold up to my face. This is the one that I’m so glad I had at the hospital.

    Music: Some people create a playlist specifically for labor.  If this is you, great.  If not, still bring some source of music in case you need something to block out the annoying sound of machines (or your husband).


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    Robe and fuzzy socks: You will likely want to walk the halls at some point and you don’t want to do it wearing nothing but an open-backed hospital gown.  A robe and fuzzy socks are perfect… if you’re cold.  However, that’s where it’s also a good idea to bring PJ shorts that you can wear under your hospital gown if it’s too hot for a robe.  I wore my robe and fuzzy socks a decent amount after giving birth but was so hot while I was walking the halls that I just wore PJ shorts, a hospital gown and flip flops.

    Flip flops: Because no one wants to stand in the gross hospital showers without flip flops.  These also work for walking the halls if you’re too hot for the fuzzy socks.

    Nightgown/Labor and delivery dress: You can buy a dress designed for labor and delivery which is basically a fancy hospital gown.  If you do this, I would save it for after delivery.  What I did was purchase a stretchy tank top style nightgown from Target.  This was cool in case I got hot, had easier access compared to shorts and was stretchy at the top so I could pull it down for nursing.  Everyone thought I was wearing a sundress, but really it was just a nightgown.  I ended up going back and buying a second one in a different color after I got home. This one is similar to mine.

    Depends: It may require some effort to stoop to buying adult diapers, but these are a wonderful thing to have postpartum.  The mesh panties that the hospital provides do fit right and don’t stay put – they are essentially useless.  Depends on the other hand are extremely comfortable and can be discretely worn under yoga pants.  Get at least one pack and take a bunch to the hospital and have them at home.  I wore them for at least a week postpartum.

    Perineum Ice Packs: The hospital will provide you with diaper ice packs that work really well (and fit well inside Depends). However, they aren’t that comfortable to move around in.  I suggest ordering a package of perineum ice packs that you can activate at the time of use (these can be easily found on Amazon). Take a couple to the hospital and have the rest of the package on hand at home.  These are the ones I got, and they worked great.

    You will also want a bunch of other self-care items when you get home, but the hospital will supply you with everything else you need while you’re there.  To see what to have on hand at home, check out this post.

    Going home outfit: You will not automatically fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans.  However, you will be smaller than when you arrived, but how much varies from person to person.  I recommend leggings or yoga pants and a loose-fitting shirt which is a comfy outfit that can be cute and gives you wiggle room on what size you are when you leave the hospital.

    Nursing sleep bra: This may be necessary depending on what you are planning to wear in the hospital.  With the nightgown I mentioned above, it has built-in padding and is fitted enough to provide support, so I didn’t wear any other bras until I left.  A nursing sleep bra will come in handy when you go home though.

    Nursing pads: If everything goes smoothly, and you are discharged on schedule, your milk probably won’t have come in yet.  However, if you have an extended stay you may end up needing nursing pads.  I didn’t need them, but they are small, so I recommend taking a set or two just in case. These bamboo ones are the washable ones I suggest for long term.

    Breast pump with all accessories: The hospital will have a hospital-grade breast pump you can use if you need one.  However, if you are a first-time mom I recommend taking your personal breast pump and all the related pieces.  The lactation consultant can help you figure out how to use it and make sure everything fits appropriately.  For me this was a life saver.  If you are not new to the world of pumping, then you can probably just use the hospital one if necessary.

    Makeup: The thought of putting makeup on right after giving birth may sound crazy to some, but I’m so glad I had it with me.  As soon as I was given the okay to shower I did so and followed that by styling my hair and doing my makeup.  This took about 20 extra minutes, and I love the pictures of me and Paxton in the hospital. 

    Hair styling items and ponytail holders: See above for why you want to take hair styling items.  If your hair is long enough for a ponytail you will definitely want to utilize this style to get your hair out of your face during labor.

    Chapstick: Hospital air is dry, so you will want something for your lips.

    Glasses and contacts: If you have both, take both.  You may want contacts for labor in case your glasses get fogged up, but you may not want to put contacts in the entire time you’re in the hospital. 

    Laundry bag: You will generate laundry, so it’s helpful to have a designated place to keep it separate from things that aren’t dirty.

    Cell phone and charger, shower items, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash and deodorant: I hope that why you would want these items is pretty self-explanatory.

    Insurance card, ID and hospital paper work: I hope these items are pretty self-explanatory too.

    Items For Baby and Your Partner (because chances are you are responsible for everyone else. Get used to it.)

    Going home outfit for baby: This can be as fancy, as sentimental or as plain as you want.  Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s appropriate for a car seat and bring both newborn and 3-month size outfits.  My husband and I were both big babies that never fit into newborn clothes, but out son wore newborn clothes for a solid month.  You also don’t want to be in the position of having a baby that doesn’t fit into newborn clothes if that’s all you bought.  We had friends that had to go to the gift shop and get a bigger outfit for their baby to go home in because he didn’t fit in what they brought. 

    Car seat: Get this installed in your car ahead of time.  You can leave it in the car until you are close to leaving which helps keep the room from getting too cluttered.

    Stocked diaper bag: I cover what should go into a diaper bag in a different post.  You can view it here.  Most likely you won’t need any of these things before you get home, but you will quickly learn that baby and diaper bag go everywhere together.  It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.

    Baby blanket: If it’s cold, this can be used to tuck around baby in the car seat.  The hospital provides plenty of blankets for use while there, but some people prefer to have their own so consider what you prefer. We used the hospital ones until it was time to go home.

    Baby socks and Onsies: Something you may or may not need, but tiny enough they are worth tossing in. The nurses kept our son swaddled unless they were doing something with him, so we didn’t really see a need for baby clothes.  However, we eventually realized that he hated being cold and actually was happier dressed.

    Pillow for partner: See above (under your pillow) about why you must bring your partner a pillow.

    Entertainment: The last thing you want while you are in labor is a bored husband.  Make sure to have whatever will keep him entertained when you aren’t keeping him busy.

    PJs for partner: Sleeping in jeans is never fun, and you don’t need the whining.

    Cash for vending machines and snacks: The cafeteria is likely closed when you want to eat and the meals they deliver never seem to come at convenient times.  I was in the hospital for 2 days before I ever had a chance to eat one of the meals they brought me.

    Yeti mug (or similar for partner): Nice to have, and the nurses are happy to fill it up with ice water.

    Shower items, razor and shaving cream, ball cap, toothbrush, deodorant and cell phone and charger all for partner: Hopefully self-explanatory as to why these are needed.

    Card games: During early labor and after I got an epidural and slept for a couple of hours we played a bunch of card games.  Sometimes a pause was required for a contraction, but it was a great way to relax and keep us both occupied. This game got a lot of use in the hospital and while I was on maternity leave.

    Computer and charger: I can’t be the only one who never goes away overnight without taking my laptop.  I think I used it for maybe 10 minutes, but I’m sure I would have missed it if I hadn’t taken it.  The laptop can also be used for Skyping with family, listening to music or watching movies that you downloaded ahead of time (recommended).

    Extension cord: There may not be a plug near where your partner is sleeping so an extension cord can be good for allowing more flexibility with plugging in a cell phone.  In my room, the only outlets were behind my bed which wasn’t super convenient for keeping cell phones plugged in.

    Gum: Always good to have on hand for dry mouth, nausea and your partner’s bad breath.

    Camera: We took all pictures on cell phones, but if you are talented with a camera, don’t forget to take it.

    Overall, I am a strong proponent on taking everything that there is a slight chance you might need.  I hate being somewhere and wishing I had brought something, so I really don’t want to be in the situation while in labor or learning how to care for a new tiny human.  I do suggest packing multiple bags.  A bag for you, a bag for your partner, a bag for baby and a bag of stuff to leave in the car until needed.  It’s also helpful to have an extra bag to put stuff in as you finish with it.  Taking stuff used during labor to the car and bringing in baby stuff after our son was born worked well to keep the room from getting cluttered.

    Download PDF packing list here: Ultimate Hospital Packing List

    Did I miss anything?  What are you glad you had at the hospital?  Let me know in the comments.

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    Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery
    Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist for Labor and Delivery

    Get My Ultimate Hospital Packing Checklist

    Get the only hospital packing list you will need for labor and delivery. This is the list I compiled for myself and then modified based on reality. Benefit from my experience!

      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

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

      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.


      Was this helpful? If so, make sure to subscribe in the sidebar, so that you don’t miss out on any great content!

      Tips for Flying When Pregnant
      Tips for Flying When Pregnant

      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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      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

      13 Essential Postpartum Recovery Items

      13 Essential Postpartum Recovery Items

      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.

      13 Essential Postpartum Recovery Items

      Coming home with a baby is like waking up in an alternate reality. You are in the same place, but everything has changed.  You will adjust and learn to love this life, but it’s going to take some figuring out, and to add to all the new you have the physical scars to show for growing and giving birth to a tiny human.  Taking care of you is important but it can take a backseat to take care of your new tiny human. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are prepared with the best postpartum items when you come home from the hospital.  This postpartum preparation list contains the 13 absolute must-have postpartum care items to have ready before you go into labor.

      The following list covers what postpartum recovery items to have on hand at home before you head to the hospital.


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      Essential Postpartum Items

      Padcicles

      These are wonderful, and you can easily make these ahead of time and store in the freezer. They consist of lavender, witch hazel and aloe vera applied to a maxi pad.  To make them, follow these steps:

      Unwrap a few maxi pads so that you can see the top of the pad, but don’t detach the pad from the wrapper

      Spread aloe vera along the length of the entire pad.  Be generous with the amount of aloe applied.

      Pour witch hazel down the middle of the pad.  About a teaspoon is a good amount.

      Add a few drops of lavender oil.

      Once everything has been applied to the pad, fold the pad back up.  Place all pads into a freezer bag and freeze.

      As needed, pull pads out of the freezer one at a time.  Allow the pad to thaw for a minute or two before using.


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      Instant Activate Perineum Ice Packs

      In the hospital they will give you diaper ice packs, but these are wonderful to have a few of at home for convenience.  If you have a bunch of padcicles premade though you may not need them. These ones are what I used.

      Depends

      You will have stuff leaking for weeks after you give birth.  Just make your life easier and have a package of Depends on hand.  They are surprisingly comfortable and discrete even under yoga pants.

      Peri-bottle

      The hospital will give you one to take home but having one in each bathroom at home can be helpful.

      Sitz Bath

      This is nice for soaking, but you need to be able to devote 10-15 minutes to do this.  I did it preemptively a couple of times, but it wasn’t something that I thought made a huge difference.  A sitz bath is inexpensive and maybe not a bad idea to have on hand.  However, the hospital gave me one to take home.

      Epsom Salts

      If you are going to get a sitz bath, you want to get something to put in it.

      Donut or Travel Pillow

      People talk about the need for a donut to sit on for the first week or two.  However, I found one of those travel pillows that wrap around your neck worked just as well.  I actually only used it for sitting on these really hard wooden chairs we have.  I didn’t need it anywhere else.

      Nursing Pads

      I recommend the washable kind, but whatever type you decide to go with you will want to have on hand when your milk comes in. These ones worked great for me*.

      Large Underwear

      A good item to have on hand as you transition away from the Depends.  Sadly, your thongs will need to be put away for a while.

      Nighttime Maxi Pads

      To put in your large underwear.

      Tucks with Witch Hazel

      The hospital may give you some of these, but it isn’t a bad idea to have an extra pack.  They work well in place of toilet paper for a while.

      Dermoplast Spray (blue lid, not red)

      This numbing spray is great.  Just make sure to get the blue lid one.  The one with the red lid has an antibacterial agent and it really stings.

      Nipple Cream

      If you are going to nurse, you will want to have this on hand.

      Nipple Gel Pads (buy or make your own):

      These are helpful when you first start nursing.  You can buy gel pads to keep in the fridge or freezer which are basically little ice packs.  However, you can also use small baggies and the aloe left over from the padcicles to make your own.  Just put a generous amount of aloe into a small ziplock bag (I used the square snack-sized ones from Walmart) and refrigerate or freeze.

      What top postpartum items did you rely on for self-care after giving birth?  Let me know in the comments.

      To hear more about my postpartum journey and tips for recovery, check out this post. For more about C-section recovery, make sure to read this post.

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      13 Essential Postpartum Recovery Items

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