What to Pack for the Hospital

It’s time! You are about to become a parent, and you want to be sure that everything is perfect. There’s probably a part of you that can envision every single second of the labor and delivery experience. There’s also another part of you that probably wants to be sure that you don’t forget a thing. Being prepared well in advance can really help to take some of the anxiety out of things later. Whatever you can do in advance will help you to stay calm when the big day arrives.

One of the most important things that is advised to do in advance is to pack for the hospital. As you are likely never going to know when the big moment will arrive, you want to be prepared so that you can pick up the bag and go when it’s time. Though every woman has individual items that she wants to take with her, there are a few fundamentals that are worth considering throwing in your bag.

What Will You Need to Keep You Calm and Comfortable?

You want to be sure to consider the items that you want to take not only for after the baby’s birth, but everything leading up to it as well. Consider any items that will be sure to keep you calm and focused throughout the birthing process. Is there any music that you want with you? Do you need to take an iPod or a DVD player? Is there something that can help you to focus? Considering any scented items or comfort items that can help to relax you are crucial to your comfort and to a healthy and happy delivery.

Be sure that you bring whatever you need to stay comfortable throughout your hospital stay. Though you may very well be in hospital attire throughout the birth, you may have the option of changing into comfy clothes at some point. Take along a couple of sets of pajamas and anything else that you feel comfortable with. Always bring an extra set or two as birth can sometimes be a messy experience.

Bring What You Need to Feel Like Yourself

We are all creatures of comfort, so be sure that you have the items you need to make you feel like yourself. Birth can take a toll on your physical appearance, at least temporarily. Bring along any toiletries that you use on a regular basis such as shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, and of course makeup. Don’t ever underestimate how good a shower and a bit of freshening up can help you to feel after a long labor and delivery. Remember too that you may have your fair share of visitors, so bring the items that you need to help you feel like a human again be it hair products, a bit of jewelry, or cute and comfortable clothes to wear.

Bring the Essentials

If you absolutely must sleep with a certain pillow or blanket, then be sure to bring that with you. Bring your video camera, regular camera, and anything else you can use to capture the first few precious moments. Also be sure that you make a call list in advance that your partner or close family member can use to contact those close to you to let them know about your baby’s arrival. Bring your cell phone too as well wishers may want to get in touch with you after the birth.

Bring along an outfit for the baby and one for you to travel home in. Many women tend to forget this and are sorry later on. This is a big picture opportunity and an important moment, so be sure that you are both ready for it. Always pack a few extras for both you and baby so that you are never left without some of the items that you may need.

Understanding a C-Section Delivery

There is often much anxiety and ill feelings surrounding a C-section delivery. Most women go into the birthing process expecting to have a natural or vaginal delivery, and sometimes that’s just not possible. Though there are a number of viable reasons why a woman would have a C-section, there is a great deal of worry when it comes up as a topic of conversation.

As it is a major surgery, it’s understandable that moms-to-be would not be necessarily excited to have such a delivery method performed. However it is important to know that a C-section can not only be necessary but preferred in light of a few key circumstances. It’s important to understand what these are and how the process works. Then if the situation ever comes up or you find yourself facing a C-section, it might not be so scary.

Reasons for a C-Section Delivery

The reality is that there are a number of reasons that a woman may find it necessary to have a C-section to deliver her baby. There’s the planned type of C-section and then the emergency C-section.

In an emergency C-section, a woman may be forced into this type of delivery if the baby won’t turn, if the baby’s heart rate is dropping, if the cord is wrapped around the baby, or a number of related factors. This is not an optimal situation as there is potential danger towards the baby, but it can be a real lifesaver to ensure that the baby is healthy and delivered quickly and safely.

In the instance of a planned C-section, there are a number of factors that this may be done. A woman may have had a previous C-section and may be asked to consider this as a method for delivery the second time around for a safe delivery. The baby may be breech and won’t flip the proper way, or the baby may just be too big to deliver the old fashioned way. There may be certain health conditions associated with the pregnancy that may make a vaginal delivery difficult such as placenta previa where the placenta is low and covers the cervix making vaginal delivery virtually impossible. As you can see there are many reasons for a planned C-section. Sometimes a planned C-section gives the woman a bit more time to mentally prepare for this surgery.

Knowing What to Expect

A C-section works like any other surgery in certain respects. The woman will be put under anesthesia so that she can’t feel the incision or any of the pain that may occur during the surgery itself. Her partner will be allowed into the room with her after she has been prepped and they will be able to sit next to them the whole time. What may be different about this type of surgery however is that the woman is likely awake the entire time. She is aware of what’s going on, but feels no pain. She may feel a bit of pressure or pulling as they reach in and grab the baby out, but that’s usually it. She can hear her baby cry for the first time and if all goes well, she can even hold the baby immediately after delivery.

There is a longer recovery associated with a C-section than a vaginal birth since a major surgery has taken place. The woman will need to take it easy for a few weeks and limit driving or physical activity, but nothing that would interfere with her ability to care for her new baby. Though a C-section may not be how a woman envisioned her birth experience, knowing the facts can take a bit of anxiety out of things.

Thinking Ahead for Your Stay in the Hospital

It’s almost time for the baby’s arrival and you have a lot to do. You want to get the house ready and be sure that everything is just perfect for you to bring your little bundle of joy home. Though you’ve probably planned out every little detail of your pregnancy and are sure that you’ve anticipated everything for baby’s arrival, there is often one major thing that is overlooked.

You’ve probably considered everything after the birth, but have you thought through all the details for your actual hospital stay? Many women get so consumed with the actual birth and arrival, that they often forget to plan ahead for this major hospital stay. Thinking through a few major details can take a great deal of stress out of things later on.

Think Of Who You Want There

One thing that can really stress a lot of women out is who they have there at the hospital. If you think this through in advance and then consider your options, this can be easily communicated in advance.

  • Do you want just your partner there with you when it comes time for the delivery?
  • Are there any other family members that you want present?
  • Do you wish for others to be there in the room with you or wait in the waiting room?

These are all areas that can tend to be stressful if not planned out in advance, so giving some thought can alleviate much of that. You also want to consider visitors after the baby is born. Many family members and close friends will have the best intentions and wish to visit you in the hospital. Consider if this is something that you are comfortable with, or if you’d rather wait until you get home to welcome visitors in to see the new baby.

Making Arrangements Beforehand

Anything that you can do in advance will help you to relax and enjoy the new baby once it has arrived. Take the time to pre-register for your hospital stay while you are still pregnant. If you have any other children, consider who will watch them while you are in the hospital. Work it out with your spouse if you want them to be there with you in the hospital the whole time. Consider who can be there quickly when labor comes on and who can stay with your child while you are in the hospital. These are all important considerations that should really be thought out in advance. Not only can this help you to sit back and relax a bit, but it can ensure that you make the proper arrangements. Be sure that you work out similar arrangements if you have a pet that must be cared for while you are in the hospital so that Fido isn’t left at home without food or water for a couple of days.

Think Of How You Want The Hospital Experience To Be

Though things don’t always go the way that we plan, you do want to think about what you’d like to happen while you are in the hospital. Do you want to keep the baby in the room with you at all times? Are you interested in sending the baby to the nursery at night so you can get some sleep? Do you want a lactation consultant to visit you if you plan to breastfeed? Think through anything that is important to you so that you can plan for it in advance. All of the plans that you make can allow you to focus on the beautiful new baby that you have, and take the guesswork out of things later on.

Taking the Stress Out of the Labor Experience

Even if you are lucky enough to experience a healthy and happy pregnancy, there’s always something on your mind. If you are a first time mom, you are likely worried about the labor and delivery experience. If you have been through it before, then you may be worried about the pain that you know to be true. Though the birth of a child can be one of the most beautiful experiences in life, there is also a great deal of pain associated with it. Though you may try your best to avoid thinking about it, that big day is coming. It can be quite helpful to think through the best ways for managing your labor experience. Whether you are worried about the pain or just have anxiety about the experience itself, there are some excellent ways to take the stress out of everything.

Consider Your Options

First and foremost, you want to think through your options for pain management. If you take a look at a resource such as this from the respected ‘What To Expect’ series, then you can see that there are many different routes you can take to get the pain out of the experience.

Every woman is different, every pain threshold is different, and every birthing experience is different. It can really pay off to consider all of your options beforehand and see what you think works for you. Though most women get an epidural to deal with the pain of labor, other routes may work better for different women. It’s a very personal choice as some women opt to go the natural route, and so you may want to stop and consider this before the big day arrives. Talk to your doctor and see what options and insight he can offer. Take the guesswork out of the equation so that you know what you can expect and know how you want to manage the pain.

Stay Calm and Think of the End Result

Though childbirth is definitely an experience that doesn’t come without pain, it’s important to think about the end result. This is not like anything else you will experience in your life. After all of the pain and potential anxiety, you will end up with a baby. You will most certainly forget about all the pain and any of the other negatives once you hold the baby that you have carried for nine months. So if you can get into that mindset before you go into the hospital, it will really serve you well when the time comes to go through the delivery itself.

You may also want to turn to some very natural or alternative ways of coping with the pain and anxiety. Not only can this take much of the stress out of things, but it can also allow you to do so naturally. Breathing techniques can work wonders for getting you through any painful bouts. Never underestimate what a clear head and deep breathing can do for helping you through even the most challenging circumstance.

Many women also find that turning to aromatherapy can be of great help too. This doesn’t have to be anything extensive, but can be something as simple as bringing along various objects that are contain scents that are calming to you. Turning to calming music can also help to keep you calm throughout the birthing process. Think through whatever helps to calm you down and ensure that you have it on hand to help take the stress out of the birthing experience.

Simple and Effective Ways to Get Exercise Into Your Day

No matter what your stage of life, finding time for exercise can be tough. When you were busy with your career, you had no time to do anything but work. When you were pregnant, you were likely too tired to get up and get moving. Now that you’re post partum you may feel as though all you do is care for your baby and have little time for anything else.

After an initial adjustment period, you may just find that fitting exercise into your day is far easier than you had anticipated. The problem is that most people look at exercise as a sort of torture or a way by means they must hit the gym and sweat profusely. With your new adjustment to motherhood, a new baby to care for, and likely a new body to get back into shape, this is likely not the way that you want to do it. So if you are really struggling to find time to exercise, consider some really easy tips that can get you moving and physically fit.

Don’t Always Take the Easy Way

The problem with most people is that they take the easy way. We are often in a hurry and just want to get from Point A to Point B as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Avoid this temptation and you open up a bunch of great exercise opportunities. Consider parking a bit further from the store and walking to get your heart pumping. Rather than grabbing the closest parking spot, this method ensures that you get a brisk walk in and really adds up if you do it consistently. Another easy way to get in some exercise is to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator-a bit harder to do if you happen to have the baby in a stroller, but whenever possible can get in some heart pumping exercise.

Another excellent way to get some exercise in is to consider putting the baby in the stroller and walking to wherever you need to go. Obviously you want to consider weather and distance in this, but just a quick trip to the store can be made much more enjoyable and add in some serious physical elements if you try this out. Beats taking the easy way and is a great way to get in some exercise and bond with the baby!

Get a Friend in on the Act

Many new moms find that they barely have enough time to care for their baby, much less do anything else. If you feel that you’ve been neglecting your friends lately or are looking for a creative way to add in some physical activity, this may be the way to do both.

Consider getting your friend to go walking with you outside or at the mall once a week. Meet a friend for a quick jog around the park when you’re up for it. If you both have kids, put them in the stroller and get in a power walk before you end up at a park. Whenever you can get a friend in on the act it allows you to spend some quality time with them and get in your exercise. If all else fails, look for an exercise class in your area that includes the baby. There are yoga or power walking classes everywhere made just for mother and baby that ensure you get quality time with your new little bundle of joy, and that you get in the perfect amount of exercise.

Managing Morning Sickness Throughout the Day

Whoever called it morning sickness clearly never experienced it. Though some women are lucky enough to avoid the nauseous stage of their pregnancy, many are extremely affected by this all-too-common symptom. The reality is that most women will experience some sort of nausea or vomiting at some point in their pregnancy. It can be very difficult to deal with, and can make the simplest functions seem complicated.

Another harsh reality that many women experience is that they don’t just experience this sickness in the morning, but rather the whole day through. Some may feel sick throughout each day and it lasts as long as they are awake. Still others are affected by that sick nauseous feeling in the afternoon or later in the day. There’s no rhyme or reason as to how it affects different women. There are, however, some reasons behind why it occurs and those can be very helpful to know.

What Makes You So Sick?

If you’ve ever experienced this terrible nausea it can feel like you have the stomach flu or as if you’re sea sick. The problem is that it can last for hours throughout the day and can carry on for weeks or even months. What’s happening in most instances is that the hormones are hard at work to supply for your baby. Hormonal changes are the most common cause for morning sickness or nausea at anytime.

The hCG hormone which helped to indicate that you were pregnant is what starts off the process. Then the higher levels of estrogen and progesterone that are needed for the baby go to work. They are essential for the pregnancy and the baby’s development, but they can really slow things down in terms of digestion and overall stomach upset.

Add to these hormonal changes the fact that your sense of smell is heightened. This results in a great aversion to foods and smells that can leave you feeling awful if you experience them. The simplest things that you may have loved before pregnancy such as coffee can make you sick to your stomach with a single whiff. As the day goes on and particularly if you have a tricky stomach to begin with, the nausea may hit you later on in the day. It may even last throughout the entire course of the day, and that makes eating and simple functioning very difficult. So you can see why some women are hit particularly hard with the nausea and even vomiting in some instances.

Managing Your Nausea

If you happen to be one of those women who experience the nausea later on in the day, there may be some things that you can do to alleviate it. Many will tell you that eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can bring great relief and help the nausea to subside on its own. Keeping the stomach full and eating bland foods when the nausea hits such as saltine crackers or pretzels can offer additional help.

No matter what time of day the nausea hits, you can always get some help with natural remedies that are perfectly safe to take during pregnancy. You can always turn to ginger in any form as it naturally helps to soothe the stomach and alleviate the nausea that you may be feeling. You can also turn to remedies such as Vitamin B6 which help to naturally curb the nausea. Knowing about these remedies and helping to naturally get rid of the nausea can help you to ward it off later in the day and get rid of it altogether.

Don’t Worry If You Drank Alcohol Before You Knew You Were Pregnant

Every new mom-to-be has their set of worries. They worry about maintaining a healthy pregnancy. They worry about ensuring that they give their unborn child everything that they need to help them grow big and strong. They worry about the potential risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Along with these common worries comes the notion of what you can and can’t eat or drink during pregnancy. You may think that pregnancy is a time to consume whatever you want, but there is actually a list of restrictions or limitations. One such substance on the list is always alcohol in any form. Therefore this leads new moms to a scary new worry-what if they drank before they knew they were pregnant?

Usually Nothing to Worry About

Let’s face it, most women do not find out that they are pregnant until several weeks into the pregnancy. They may have just missed a period or realized that they were late and suddenly are surprised when they see the results of a pregnancy test. Therefore there could be the potential for several weeks of alcohol consumption which has many moms worried. There have even been experiments run on this very phenomenon in the medical community. The reality is that there isn’t much of a potential risk to your unborn child if the drinking was done that early on. The baby is just barely developing at this point, and therefore you can usually put aside all concerns.

Just Quit When You Know For Sure

It can become overwhelming to worry about all the things you ate, drank, or did before you knew you were with child. However all of this worry isn’t going to do anything positive for the baby in the long run. Do your best to avoid the temptation to worry, as hard as it may be. Chances are that when you were drinking, it was within the first few weeks, right around the time that you expected to have a period. The embryo is so tiny and just starting to develop, that some alcohol won’t hurt the development. As evidenced in forums and medical advice sites across the web, drinking in early pregnancy is one of the most common concerns of pregnancy. However the most important thing to do is to quit drinking alcohol once you find out that you’re pregnant. This will ensure that there is no further potential risk and that you get on the path of caring for your baby first and foremost.

When In Doubt, Ask Your Doctor

If all else fails and you really need to put your mind at ease, then by all means talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. This is a time when many women have a lot of worries and questions, and therefore you can and should always count on your doctor. Ask them their thoughts on the subject, and chances are that they will tell you undoubtedly that there is nothing to worry about. Though they certainly wouldn’t recommend drinking during pregnancy, doing so early on before you even knew will likely pose no potential dangers to your unborn child.

As with any aspect of pregnancy, always talk to your doctor first. Tell them about this concern at your first appointment just to clear your head. When they tell you the same thing and assure you that there is nothing to worry about, then just do your part to put this aside and focus on proper care for your baby moving forward.

Detecting the Early Signs of Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be such a wonderful and miraculous time. For some it comes rather unexpectedly and therefore can catch you off guard. For others, it can come after years of trying and a great deal of stress along the way. No matter how prepared you truly are, the early signs of pregnancy can be something that you want to focus on. Though they say that every pregnancy is different, there are certain signs that act as a good indicator if a woman is pregnant or not; and although these can be symptoms of other health conditions, their presence means it is often well worth taking a pregnancy test to see if that’s what is going on. It is also worth noting that many times, the earliest signs of pregnancy can tend to come in pairs, leaving less room for doubt and necessitating confirmation.

Food Plays a Big Role

Some women may float through their pregnancies without one single food aversion. Others feel sick at the very look of chicken or other common culprits. As you will see on any early signs of pregnancy list, food aversions are often a big indicator. Food cravings often come later on, but the aversion to coffee, meat, or other commonly enjoyed foods can usually tell you that something is different. Some of the very things that you’ve always enjoyed or consumed on a daily basis may all of a sudden make you want to vomit. Just the smell of something like bacon cooking in a pan may make you physically ill. Food often plays a big role and shows up in the aversion form early on in a pregnancy, so keep an eye out for this.

Subtle Yet Obvious Body Changes

One of the biggest things to look for is the way in which your body changes. Have you noticed that all of a sudden your breasts feel very tender for no apparent reason? Do you feel as if you are getting headaches every day and can’t really explain why? Though you aren’t going to necessarily put on the pregnancy weight until later on, the reality is that your body is going to change and it will likely happen early on. Some of the most obvious early signs of pregnancy include headaches, vomiting, and extreme nausea. These are often due to the changing hormones and the way that your body responds to them. The good news is that these symptoms usually go away into the second trimester, but they can make for a bumpy ride along the way. Keep tuned into this and if you feel nausea well beyond a day or two or feel as if you are constantly battling a headache, it may be time to take a pregnancy test.

Use Your Cycle to Guide You

Some women don’t necessarily keep track of their monthly menstrual cycle. However one of the first signs of pregnancy early on is a missed period. You may not even miss a period, but you may notice that you have a very light one a little earlier or right around the time that you would have had your period. This could be implantation whereby the embryo is implanting itself into the uterus. So look out for either a missed period or a slightly different period because those are usually good indicators. And of course if you have any lingering question, a positive pregnancy test is of course your best indicator that you are pregnant.

Avoiding Sleeping on Your Back During Pregnancy

You hear a whole lot of information while you are pregnant. Not only do you get a whole packet of information from your doctor, but you are inundated from other sources as well. Every woman that has been pregnant has some advice to give. Some of it can actually be helpful, and some is based on old wives’ tales. There are, however, certain facts that you should never ignore. When you find something out from your doctor or another trusted resource, then you really should pay attention. One such aspect of pregnancy that you should always pay attention to is sleeping on your back. Though sleep position doesn’t sound like it would play a big role in pregnancy, it really can and so you should respond accordingly.

The Role of Sleep Positions

As soon as you find out that you’re pregnant, you should really do your part to avoid sleeping on your stomach. This seems rather obvious, but ensures that you don’t crush the baby or disrupt their normal functioning. A lot of women are quite surprised though to learn that they should not sleep on their back when they get into their second trimester.

A variety of pregnancy-related issues can be compounded from sleeping on your back during the last 6 months or so of pregnancy. Not only can it cause additional symptoms in you, but it can also cause problems for your baby. You may end up suffering from backaches, hemorrhoids, and even further problems with your digestive system. You may also develop low blood pressure as the uterus rests on your major blood vessels. If in doubt, look to reliable resources such AmericanPregnancy.org for potential dangers related to sleep positions.

Putting Pressure Where It Doesn’t Belong

Though sleeping on your back may not initially sound problematic, you will see later on that it can be a danger. In your first trimester, you aren’t really experiencing much growth in the way of your uterus or the fetus. However when you enter the second trimester, you quickly find that the uterus, and the precious cargo inside it, is growing and becoming a main focal point of your body. Therefore you can see where the extra weight that is comprised in the uterus can become an issue if it rests on your organs and blood vessels. This can interfere with the baby’s ability to get a proper blood supply and can cause potential damage if done over a lengthy period of time. When you lay on your back, your uterus has nowhere to go and therefore rests on the very organs that supply your baby with what they need. This is where the low blood pressure comes in, and ultimately where you find great concern that the baby may even suffer from a lower heart rate.

Don’t Panic If You Find Yourself On Your Back

Once we’ve heard about this potential fear, it’s enough to scare any of us into sleeping on our sides as is recommended. But what happens when you wake up and find that you are on your back? This can send some pregnant women into hysterics as they worry that there may have been some damage created to the baby. The reality is that if you find yourself on your back during the night, the best thing to do is simply change positions. Oftentimes you will wake yourself up on your own if you find yourself in this “wrong” position, and then it’s just a matter of switching it up.

Avoiding Back Pain During Pregnancy

There are so many great things about pregnancy. There are also a lot of trials and tribulations that a woman may go through. It’s true that even the healthiest pregnancy may result in a whole plethora of symptoms. Being prepared for them and knowing how to ease those symptoms can come in handy. Though you can’t always avoid the symptoms, you can do your very best to manage them. One common symptom that many women experience during pregnancy is backaches. You can quickly see that there are some common culprits for what is contributing to the backache by doing a bit of investigating.

Take It Easy

It’s important to remember that you are lugging around a whole lot of extra weight with you when you are pregnant. Your body is different, the way in which you carry your weight is different, and the strain that is put on your body is different as a result. Therefore one of the best things you can do to ease the backache is to take it easy. Get off your feet whenever possible and take the strain off of your lower back. This is often where the pain originates from as this is where you carry the most strain. Therefore whatever you can do to put your feet up and take the stress off of this often-afflicted area will be much to your benefit.

Always Put Comfort First

Though you always want to be cute and fashionable, pregnancy is a time to put pregnancy first. Avoid high heeled shoes or any that may cause you to stand in uncomfortable or unnatural positions. As you can see by looking at a checklist even the posture that you maintain can help to avoid and ease backaches. You need to always remember that the extra weight that you are carrying around can pose a potential danger and mean a whole lot of pain. If you learn how to make comfort your number one priority and go for comfortable shoes, good posture, and take whatever other means are necessary, then you will live a much healthier and painless pregnancy overall.

Learn the Right Techniques

As back pain may be something that plagues you throughout your pregnancy, you want to find the best way to deal with it. Learn simple relaxation techniques that can help the muscles to relax and the pain to subside. Learn how to lay correctly in bed for the safest and most pain-free night of sleep. Find out how to alternate hot and cold compresses on your back, right at the source of the pain. These are all measures that can help you to get rid of the back pain or at least keep it to a minimum.

There are many different reasons that back pain may occur in pregnancy-it can be a simple result of the extra weight, it may be due to nerve pain, or it may even be due to a change in hormones. Whatever the reason for the back pain, you can find an effective way to minimize it. Take it easy, go for comfort, and of course treat the pain as necessary and you will find that constant backaches are a thing of the past.

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