Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy stages ’ Category

Gift Guide: Your Pregnant Friend Who Always Has Crumbs on her Belly and a Little Plumber’s Crack Action Because Her Shirts are Too Short and Her Pants Refuse to Stay Up

Monday, December 10th, 2012

‘Tis the season for gift guides. I solicited a few ideas from my nearest and dearest preggos and received two retaining water thumbs up at the list below. To ensure gift giving success and cause the pregnant in your life to give a jolly heel kick (if she were in any condition to do so) read on.

1. Pants that stay up and don’t show yo booty. I’m not sure who decided maternity pants rely on a thin layer of spandex to contain a watermelon sized gut, but I shake in my boots for the day when my belly shows the spandex who’s boss by ripping clean through it after one indulgent meal. If you find these mythical maternity pants let me know. Everyone in my life would thank you for it.

Don’t even get me started on “the never stays in place” belly band that requires constant tugging and pulling to stop the public from the imminent danger of a full moon.

2. An endless supply of cozy, cute, slip-on shoes. There’s a point when seeing how far you can bend over isn’t a funny party trick anymore, it’s just not plausible. For this purpose alone the slip-on has been invented. Get those swollen feet into some TOMS or better yet, some sex-ay cheetah print house slippers.

3. Accessories (totally separate from shoes people). If you peruse maternity wear, 1% is actual clothing, the rest accessories. Apparently, when you’ve reached Bulgy the Whale stage, all one can do is accessorize the crap out of that bump. A pregnant lady deserves to feel did up by rocking the rhinestones with her food stains.

4. A house cleaner. Whether you take on the noble task yourself or hire out, let the pregnant lounge around the house while someone else conquers the dust bunnies. I’d save this invaluable gift for the third trimester when again, bending over is not an option and your pregnant completely understands the sentiment when Disney’s Gaston belts out, “I’m roughly the size of a barge!”

5. Gift cards for clothes. The maternity wardrobe constantly needs updating due to the ever-changing bod. Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all for the food baby stage, the beer belly stage, the basketball under the shirt stage, the slowly shrinking uterus stage, and nursing boobs the size of your face stage. Help your preggo feel beautiful through each stage with gift cards as she still loves clothes, they just may not love her back yet.

6. An intravenous line of food. Maybe it’s a pregnant pipe dream, but sometimes getting off the couch to scrounge for food is just too much. Let the craving of choice flow freely by cutting out the middle man (i.e. movement of any kind).

7. A napper. Put your pregnant to bed. This is the best advice I can give. It thwarts hormones and makes the world seem rosy again. If she’s got kids already, this gift is of supreme importance. Come over and take her littles to the park and refuse to bring them back until she’s slept for at least 2 hours. Kidnapping for the sake of bestowing a pregnant with a nap is a-okay in my book.

8. A massage. I’ve never had one while pregnant but my pregnant people swear by them. As one friend put it, it was worth every handsome penny she paid the sweet soul who worked her zebra-esque stomach and expanding J-Lo booty.

9. Tummy time. The luxury of belly sleep is kissed goodbye during pregnancy. I’d sell many a body part on the black market for one night of some sweet tummy sleep lovin’. The mattress to make this dream come true exists. I think it’s still in the early stages of production, but I believe in science. Maybe next Christmas it will be as popular as that dang Elf on the Shelf.

10. Mechanical claw or grappling hook. This may not seem thoughtful at first but the inability to bend over and pick things up can be a real downer. I frighten small children everywhere with my hog in heat grunts as I attempt not to burst from bending over. Now this idea would be a real winner if the hook could support the weight of my 2 1/2 year-old. It would solve all sorts of predicaments. It would be like gifting world peace.

Image: Plumber’s Crack via Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock.com

Image: Cleaning Supplies via Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Image: Prenatal Massage via Leah-Anne Thompson/Shutterstock.com

Image: Mechanical Claw via PHOTO FUN/Shutterstock.com

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Super No No’s or Don’ts for Maternity Photos

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Let’s get something straight. I believe in documenting pregnancy. ALL of it. Like the fact that I’ve cried every day this week. About nothing. Hello third trimester hormones, you’re obviously bunking with me.

In that same spirit of documentation, I believe in photographing the pregnant bod. I’ve done a total crap shoot of a job of it this pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t tout the importance of remembering the incredible act of growing a baby. Whether a professional, your shorty, or the bathroom mirror helps you photograph, take at least a few of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I know many a woman who doesn’t want a camera near her for 9 months, but I think it’s a treasure to share with your child. Also, how can you deliver a convincing dose of guilt regarding the sacrifice it was to birth the little hooligan when they’re being an entitled teenager unless you give them documented proof of your belly so large it defines the laws of gravity and rips through every shirt that dares to cover it?

Maternity photos are a relatively newish trend. It wasn’t common during my mother’s child bearing years to have a professional photographer snap the bump. Now, it’s common place. We took them with our first and I’m hoping to find time to do it with this pregnancy as well.

The number one DO for maternity photos is do what makes you happy. If you’re happy, you’ll look beautiful and love them, and that’s what matters. If it makes you happy to take naked nudie pictures on the beach with an “artistically” finger-painted bump courtesy of your toddler while your husband stands awkwardly clear of center stage giving an overly enthusiastic thumbs up, then do it. It doesn’t matter what haters like myself think.

Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful ideas for maternity photos on the Internets, and while most of them are sweet, a few out there need a little…editing. Or a lot. Or a serious “Just Say No” campaign.

Let me offer (and probably offend) some unsolicited tips to keep your pregnancy pictures off awkwardfamilyphotos.com (a gem of a website). Remember, the point is to celebrate the belly, not scar future generations with your uh, creative ideas.

This Lady’s Take on Super No No’s or Don’ts for Maternity Photos

1. Go Nudie with Your Partner. I’m going on record and saying couple’s nudity is not for pregnancy photos. No one wants any reminders of how your baby was conceived.

2. Wear Costumes. Dressing the belly up for Halloween is one thing. To remember yourself as a maternally glowing Bozo the Clown? Hard to pull off.

3. Be the Overly Supportive Partner. See reference to number one, but I’m not sure why a man needs to be shirtless in a pregnancy pic. It screams belly envy and over compensating by baring their pectoralis major. Nobody’s breasts should be the star of the shoot.

4. Draw on the Belly. Everyone knows there’s a baby in there. Drawing a fetus on your belly is overkill. And creepy.

5. Look like a Creepin’ Impregnater. If you want your significant other in the picture, put them in the picture. His leering in the background doesn’t send quite the right “supportive” vibe.

6. Compare Bellies. There’s a beautiful reason you’re the size of a house, what’s his beautiful excuse?

7. Use Guns as a Prop. Maybe it’s just my own hangup, but something about babies and guns just doesn’t mix for me.

8. Look Uncomfortable. I’m fully aware it’s difficult to look like like the most comfortable lass when you’re nine months deep, but set yourself up for success I say. Pick poses that work with pregnancy. I’ve never seen them supermodels pull off the pregnant lady reclines in tree pose. If the professionals can’t do it, maybe the rest of us shouldn’t either.

Shoot girl, you know I know that sometimes it’s hard to feel beautiful while pregnant, but I think if you steer clear of the above list, you’ll be taking a step in the right direction. Okay really, you’ll be taking one giant leap for pregnancy-kind.

Image: Yours truly working the awkward “peeping bump” pose

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A Royal Congratulations

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

My #1 Christmas wish has been granted by Santa: Pregnant with a royal. As a celebrity news enthusiast, I consider this a Christmas miracle. My theory is it makes my baby royal by association, or at least increases her gestational cred (kind of like street cred) by being born in the same year as a royal.

I may have peed my pants with excitement (and in the spirit of pregnant lady solidarity) when I heard news of the royal baby. I figure this brings me one step closer to being Kate’s girl for life. There is nothing so unifying as the crazy miracle of growing a babe.

The happy stories, the horror stories, it brings ladies together. Kate, why can’t we be friends? Let’s share maternity clothes and rub each other’s feet, no? Restraining order, yes.

Really, I give a sincere congratulations to mah girl (I’m taking liberties here) Kate and his handsomeness, Will, on the baby heard round the world, his or her future royal highness.

The royal Palace officially confirmed her pregnancy yesterday, after Kate checked into the hospital for acute morning sickness. Please, it’s not severe morning sickness, it’s royal Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Everything sounds classier through an official Palace statement. And by me adding the word royal.

I knock on wood that it doesn’t happen to her, but when the Palace confirms her royal lack of bladder control and releases her royal dilation, it will all just sound a bit dreamier.

This Christmas, I’ve got visions of royal maternity fashion, royal baby names and royal onesies dancing in my head.

Some may think all the fanfare silly, but I think it grand. While I’m sure there will be plenty of nosiness surrounding the baby, I believe most of it is out of sheer joy. There is something about babies that just makes people ridiculously happy.

Regardless of blood, all babies harbor a bit of royalty in their angelic little innocence and chubbiness. The royal baby, along with all babies, deserve some speculating, dreaming, and congratulating.

I don’t live in a palace but my official homestead report to the couple declares, “My deepest regrets on the royal morning sickness, but my sincerest cheers on this amazing experience. Parenthood is the absolute best.”

Image: Her pregnant foxiness, Princess Catherine, and Prince William, via Featureflash/Shutterstock.com

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Letting it All Hang Out

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

My pregnant gut is not the only thing hanging out these days. I’ve recently realized when it comes to my relationship, maybe too much of my personal business, or bidnass as they say, is on display.

I must confess, I’ve been a little lackadaisical in keeping that air of mystery alive in the ol’ marriage. My corazon breaks for my husband. He’s a great one, so he’s said nary a word about it, but as I stared at my salves (read: hemorrhoid cream, suppositories, Monistat 7) littering the bathroom, I felt a twinge of guilt.

I firmly believe in not going to the bathroom or breaking wind in front of my spouse, but I feel a hypocrite espousing these points when one glance at the bathroom lets my husband know something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The thing is, pregnancy makes a lot of things hang out. It requires a lady to have conversations she thought she’d never have, getting down to the nitty gritty with one’s spouse: the cervix, the engorgement, the milk ducts…need I go on?

Like I said, the Rands is a solid. He doesn’t bat an eye when I pee my pants and regularly asks about my fiber intake to ensure bathroom success. Heck, I know he’d make me a “dry days” chart just like when we potty trained our toddler if I requested it. He shies away from no conversation and listens to my ailments. I appreciate this tremendously.

Just because I scored in the marital department however, doesn’t mean I have free reign to be that girl who lets pregnancy get the best of her and especially her marriage. I’m calling myself out. It’s time to clean up my act and my creams.

Sure there are days when I just am that pregnant girl. The one who is slowly but surely turning into the hunchback of Notre Dame to compensate for the burgeoning bump, the one wiping tear stains off her phone because the ol’ hormones struck again and I had to talk it out, the one who decides it’s best to bring up any and every feeling I’ve ever had after 11pm, or the one who can’t fathom um, er, physical activity…of any kind, past 8pm. Oh that pregnant girl. Bless my husband’s heart for loving her so.

But to be honest, I’m feeling a bit sheepish at the realization that I’ve let myself go a bit, in the wife department. Marriage is about mystery at times. Surprise. Knowing when to shut one’s pie hole. The Rands has proven he understands pregnancy ain’t easy. He’s no stranger. He’s mostly a saint. And sure, pregnancy can be rough on a lady, but them significant others, they have some rough days as well.

I know my husband regularly looks past my strict sweat pants after 7pm policy, the crumbs settled in for the long haul on my protruding belly, and my annoying habit of  mooching all of his food.  We both look past things at any given time in marriage, but I don’t want him to always need to look past the little things, which make up the big things. I don’t want him to feel unappreciated. His understanding, his kindness, especially during pregnancy, makes me want to try a little harder.

Pregnancy and kids change marriage. It requires some readjusting, some forgiveness, and a lot of laughter. I believe in the importance of honesty and sharing in marriage. But I also believe in holding certain cards close to your chest to keep it interesting and less like roomies and more like, “hello lover.” So I stand here today, ready to reform my careless ways and not let the state of my lady bits be on display at any given moment. May the force be with me.

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Honey, ah Sugar, Sugar

Monday, November 26th, 2012

29 weeks/6 months

While we’re all still coming down from the most glorious pie holiday, and the lesser known, but just as important subsequent holidays, “pie for breakfast” and “mashed potatoes at midnight,” let’s talk pregnancy and nutrition. What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment.

Last week I hit another pregnancy milestone, the glucose screening test, or the drink that pregnant ladies love to hate, but personally, I think tastes like the nectar of the gods.

When the nurse handed me the drink and reminded me that I had 5 minutes to finish it, I had already guzzled that soda-orangey goodness before she could complete her sentence. Please ma’am, sugar and I are no strangers. I heard rumor that one practitioner gives his patients a Snickers bar instead of the drink. I’d like to sign up for that test. Weekly.

Overall, I’m a rule-follower. I do what I’m told. I was the dorky kid who could not comprehend the classmates who didn’t do their homework (but what will you tell the teacher?!), or how a person’s guilty conscience doesn’t shame them out of the carpool lane when they are clearly not carpooling. Rebels, all of them. I’d be way too scared of getting caught. Okay, so maybe rule-follower equates to wuss.

Either way, prior to completing the screening, I called to see if I could get the drink beforehand, since it is not administered at my doctor’s office, drink it at home, and then come in to have my blood drawn. The nurses response on the phone made me feel as if I’d just told her I was a vampire planning to suck the blood of her first born child. She was aghast at my request.

She maintained that this was an impossible request and I must come and sit on my fanny for an hour. Ooooookay lady, I’m bringing my toddler, “sit” is a vocabulary word familiar to dogs, not small children. But being a rule follower, I did as I was told.

Maybe it was the sitting that irked me. Maybe it was the fact that my pregnant friends told me they guzzled their cup o’ orange drank in the luxury of their own home and then went in. Maybe it was the fasting. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t get a Snickers bar. Whatever it was, I was annoyed.

(Just to show that nurse who was boss I took my daughter to the bathroom 4 times in a hour because even though I follow rules, sometimes, when I’m all jacked up on glucose, I test the boundaries a bit. Read: danced down the hall all the way to the bathroom. Take that nurse lady.)

I’m not trying to be cavalier about the importance of the test. Let me explain.

As a rule-follower, I do not advocate for skipping the glucose test, even though one can opt out. Even more important than just being a rule follower is the health of my baby and forgoing the screening puts her at risk because gestational diabetes is serious, especially undetected. “Between 2 and 5 percent of expectant mothers develop gestational diabetes, making it one of the most common health problems during pregnancy.” It can even lead to fetal demise.

The administration of the screening got my my knickers in a knot and lead me to talk to my pregnant posse and turn to my main squeeze, Google Scholar. Apparently, there’s a lot of different ways to administer the glucose test, and the range for testing positive is not very concrete, which leads me to feel the test itself is a bit flawed.

Flaw #1: The requirement to fast prior to taking the test is an interesting one and is not universal. Some sources such as American Pregnancy state that fasting is not required while others, such as WebMD, state fasting is necessary.

Regarding fasting, it feels counter-intuitive to deprive the body of food and then load it up with high levels of sugar. It seems plenty of bodies would flip if they didn’t eat anything for a few hours and then their first source of “nutrition” was liquid sugar. Don’t even get me started on how fasting makes many a pregnant lady hangry. It ain’t pretty. The most common side effect is a rage blackout, says me, a serious hangry sufferer. Fasting during pregnancy is not ideal. It can be done, but if it is not necessary for accurate results, why do some practitioners require it?

Flaw #2: The test also has a notable number of false positives. Women screen too high “15 to 23 percent of the time,” which then requires a three-hour glucose tolerance test. Most women whose screening tests show elevated blood sugar don’t turn out to have gestational diabetes. Then again, why are there so many false positives? A pregnant woman’s sugar levels are often elevated because growing a baby requires additional nutrients and therefore, glucose, to do important things like growing cells and producing energy.

Flaw #3: Apparently, different practitioners use different standards for determining whether the level is too high. Some place the cutoff at 140 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood plasma (mg/dL), others put the cutoff at 130 mg/dL. It seems that they are trying to catch more women with gestational diabetes, but it also seems questionable as the way to test for it is to get sugar wasted, which if a woman has GD, is the exact thing to avoid.

More accurate measurements of glucose levels are emerging, which give a more telling picture, but they are in no way replacing the current glucose screening test administered nationwide.

Flaw #4: The sitting. I admit, I was peeved by the sitting. For the record, my toddler lady was a champ for the duration. I however, was not. I felt like a chastised child, who stupidly questioned the medical intelligence of my superiors. Yet I felt jilted. There was no consideration for my lifestyle, my diet, my exercise, and genetic components (age, history, race, previous pregnancies, etc). This again makes the test feel flawed. Each pregnancy, and pregnant body for that matter, is so very different, so why does each individual take the exact same test regardless of important lifestyle and genetic factors? It seems like each body handles sugar very differently, yet the cutoff is the same. The administration is the same.

Flaw #5: I am an advocate for nutrition during pregnancy but I hear little about it unless I take the time to research it myself. I remember being shocked to learn with my first pregnancy that really the pregnant bod only needs 300 extra calories a day in the first trimester. Luckily, that’s almost the equivalent of a Snickers bar. I jest, I jest. But I do not jest that women should be counseled on nutrition prior to the 28 week screening. It would be better to emphasize nutrition before testing, which forces a woman to focus on it.

Given these flaws, I have so many questions about this method of testing. Why is so much sugar necessary? Why is a woman required to sit? Why are these the practices of some doctors and labs but not others? I understand passing out from fasting could be an issue, but it seems like a woman would give a more normal depiction of what her body was doing with sugar if she is able to go about doing her normal routine as well as eating normally and healthily prior to the test. In isolation, the screening seems inauthentic to everyday life and what the body is actually doing.

I am not a doctor. I am a rule-follower. And now, apparently a questioning rule-follower. My inquires lead me to question if there is a better method for detecting gestational diabetes. And additionally, why pregnancy and nutrition is not emphasized more. It seems as long as a lady passes the glucose screening, all’s fair in pregnancy and face stuffing. I have a beef with this (see what I did there?).

Gestational diabetes should be taken very seriously, but with a test that gives women the best way to truly assess their risks. And if it turns out that eating a Snickers bar is the most accurate way to do that, this rule follower will oblige.

Image: Candy bar via Givaga/Shutterstock.com

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