How to get your baby to move during an ultrasound

Getting your baby to move around in your belly during a scan appointment is especially desirable for 3D/4D ultrasounds and HD live scans. If your baby is sleeping during the appointment, you won’t get to see too much on the screen and on the video recording. Here are a couple of tips to follow right before your scan appointment that will increase the likelihood of your baby moving and kicking.

Walk around for 10 minutes

Physical activity won’t let your baby go to sleep. You don’t need to exercise heavily in the morning of your ultrasound appointment. Just make sure you have time to walk around for at least 10 minutes right before your appointment starts. It is unlikely that your baby will fall asleep right back during the scan.

Chocolate

Sweets have a good chance of stimulating your baby to move and be more active. For many women, chocolate works great, although you might find other sweets that are more effective.

Ice-cream

Ice-cream and cold, sweet drinks might do the trick for you if chocolate has no effect. Eat a little bit of ice-cream or drink a milkshake before your appointment.

Orange Juice

Apparently, many women have found that orange juice has an energizing effect on their baby. It’s also a healthy drink, so there’s no reason to hold back from experimenting with orange juice to see if your baby becomes more active.

Fizzy drinks

Fizzy, sugary drinks get a response in most cases. You can try to drink a plain sugary drink first, and see if that works for you two. Orange juice is still the healthiest option, but it doesn’t have the same effect on all women who are pregnant.

Milkshake

If ice-cream is very effective for getting your baby to move in your womb, milkshake should have the same effect. This is a good option if the weather is cold and you’d rather have a healthy milkshake than an ice-cream.

Pickles

Sour foods might get your baby to move around, if nothing sweet works. Try pickles, lemon or lime slices, grapefruit juice or sour green olives from the can.

Caress your belly

Gently stroking and brushing your belly usually gets a response from your baby, especially after 17 weeks. Try doing that even during the scan, if the sonographer recommends it.

Top folate foods during pregnancy

Folic acid – or folate, when absorbed from food – is very important during pregnancy and infancy. Also called Vitamin B9, folic acid aids the rapid cell division and cell growth, especially during the preconception period and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Thus, if you’re planning to get pregnant, you should have a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid (or folate absorbed from foods) during your prenatal diet. This will help reduce the risk for birth defects in the brain and the spine. Continue to maintain this level of folate right after conceiving and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

If you’re not at ease with taking folic acid as a dietary supplement, include these folate-rich foods in your diet.

Lentils

Lentils are very rich in folate. Only 100g of boiled lentils (or 40g of raw lentils) contain almost half of your daily dose of 400µg of folate. Lentils are also a good source of iron, dietary fibre and zinc.

Spinach

100g of raw spinach in your salad will take care of half of the folate amount needed for the day. Other leafy greens are good sources of folate, but spinach is particularly rich in folate and iron, which makes it a top choice for your salads.

Turnip Tops

100g of boiled turnip tops contain 118µg of folate, which covers about 30% of your folate intake need for the day. To reduce the bitter taste of the leaves, change the water from the initial boiling with fresh water. Turnip tops are also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Calcium. Here are the most important 7 vitamins and minerals during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Fortified cereals

Breads and cereals enriched with folic acid typically contain more than double the amount of folate found in grain products. Ideally, you should combine fortified cereals or breads with foods that are naturally rich in folate. For instance, you can try adding banana and orange slices in your cereal bowl, or eat fortified bread with a spinach salad.

Kidney beans

Red kidney beans are an excellent natural source of folate. 100g of uncooked red kidney beans, which amount to a couple of servings, will cover your entire daily recommended dose of folate. They do, however, require pre-soaking and then boiling for at least 10 minutes in order to reduce their toxicity.

Chicken liver is also a very rich source of folate, but it is not recommended during pregnancy due to its high levels of retinol – a form of Vitamin A. High levels of retinol in your body are not healthy during pregnancy, which is why you need avoid consuming liver, liver products and dietary supplements that contain retinol.

Everything about the HD live scan

We are proud to be one of the first clinics worldwide to work with the new technology of HD live scanners. Book an appointment for an HD Scan to get better quality images and video recordings of your baby in motion. Read below on how the technology works and how the images will look like.

Benefits of the HD Live Scan technology

The new HD Live 4D Scan technology allows rendering clearer images of your baby. Compared to other ultrasound images, the pictures and video you will see during an HD Live Scan are in high definition and have better colours. It’s very hard to tell how the baby looks like from 2D ultrasound images. With 3D/4D scans you get a much clearer image of how your baby actually looks like in 3D, but this technology does not offer yet the crisp clear, high quality images of the HD Live Scan. Moreover, you will get to see your baby on a large screen. The realistic look of HD scan images is unbeatable at this hour.

How HD scan pictures look like

HD Live Scan picture

HD live scan picture capturing detailed facial traits

HD live scan picture of twins in womb

HD Live Scan image of twin babies

HD live scanners show your baby in a pinkish hue. The images are very realistic due to the accuracy of colours and shadows rendered. Have a look at the image below from a HD live scan and compare it with 3D and 2D ultrasound images.

HD Live Scan image difference from 3D and 2D images

HD live scan image (left), 3D scan image (middle) and 2D gender scan image (right)

When to take an HD live scan

You can book your appointment anytime between 17 and 13 weeks, but we recommend waiting until after 22 weeks for better quality images. The ideal time for taking the HD live scan is around 27 weeks. By this time, your baby’s body will be proportionate, the skin will be opaque and complex facial traits will have developed. This means the images will look better and you will actually get to see how your soon-to-be born baby looks like, whose nose she inherited and how strong her grip is.

Getting your baby to move during the HD scan

You probably want your baby to move around and do some kicking during the HD scan, so it’s a good idea to stimulate the baby to move. In case your baby is sleeping, plan a walk for about 10 minutes right before your appointment. You can also stimulate your baby to move by eating chocolate or other sweets.

19 Weeks Pregnant

Congratulations, you are halfway along your pregnancy! This is a busy week for the development of your baby’s senses. Areas in the brain are specializing to refine vision, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Communication with your baby is getting real now. Start singing lullabies and read her stories.

Your baby’s development at 19 weeks

At 19 weeks, your baby is 6 inches long, and she is growing at a fast pace. The sensory development is on the rise. Your baby can hear you and she might be able to taste the amniotic fluid she swallows. The arms, legs and body are now well proportioned, as you might be able to see in the ultrasound pictures. More cartilage is being transformed into bone, which means grasping and kicking are done more firmly and controlled now. Your baby might also grow hair on her scalp already, although you will not be able to see this yet at a 3D scan. The skin of your baby is getting covered in vernix – a white, creamy substance that protects her sensitive skin from the amniotic fluid. This will shed by the time of birth, although some premature-born babies can be covered with vernix.

Your body and lifestyle at 19 weeks

Your uterus is getting crowded after this halfway mark of pregnancy. Be prepared with comfortable maternity wear, midwife advice, a nutrition plan and a schedule for your most important ultrasounds and check-ups.

This is also a period of pregnancy called quickening – when mums start feeling their baby’s movements. It usually happens between 18 and 21 weeks, but if you only start feeling movements later, it is not a worrying sign. Try to pat or brush your belly whenever you get signals from the baby. She might be able to feel it and a true bond will start to form between you two. For many mums, this is an experience that helps to become aware of how real the baby is. It’s a magical moment. Share with your close ones. Everybody is delighted to feel the baby kicking.

Ultrasound scans you can take at 19 weeks

One of the most important pregnancy scans is the anomaly scan. Book this scan before the end of week 21. It is recommended to have this scan for assessment of risks and of the general health and well-being of the baby.

You can already have a growth scan at this time if you haven’t yet. This is to track how your baby is growing in size. Your sonographer can explain you in detail all the measurements that are taken during a growth scan appointment and how the results can be used.

You can also have a gender scan, although it is better to wait until after 20 weeks for clearer images that can confirm the gender of your baby with accuracy.

Schedule an appointment for a 4D Baby Scan to see your baby in motion, floating and, if you’re in luck, grasping and kicking. For better video quality, book an HD Live 4D Scan.

Prepare Your Toddler for the Arriving Baby

Sibling rivalry is quite common. It can be overwhelming for a mother to give attention to both her toddler and her new-born and avoid the jealousy of the toddler. It’s not going to be easy, but there are a number of ways to prepare your toddler emotionally for the arrival of a new family member while you are pregnant.

Are you worrying too much?

An important stress factor is worrying too much about how your toddler will handle the arrival of a new baby who’s competing for your attention. There are a few issues that need to be addressed while you’re expecting, but it’s useless to worry about problems that you cannot control until your toddler will actually interact with the new-born.

How to tell your toddler that a new baby is coming

Don’t wait too much to announce your children that you’re pregnant. Try telling your toddler about the future baby around the same time you’re telling other family members and friends. Your toddler will likely pick up on the positive emotions expressed by the others when hearing the news and she will see it as good news.

Make sure your toddler gets a general idea about how a baby grows in the tummy and then joins the family. Explain it in simple steps and use references to stories your toddler knows. The miracle of life is impressive for everyone. Your toddler will be fascinated about this story. Take this curiosity and answer the repeated questions about the new baby with patience and acceptance. Show your toddler pictures of when she was a baby, and tell her about how she needed to sleep, be fed and played with. Tell her what will happen at birth, where mommy will be and when mommy will return at home with the new baby. The more you talk about it, the more your toddler will be prepared to accept and love the new baby.

Constantly reassure your toddler of your love

Your feelings for your child will not change after giving birth to the new baby, but she might understand differently. Always tell your toddler how special she is to you and how much you love her, before and after the arrival of the new-born. Spend some time playing, reading or watching TV just the two of you. Make the most out of your time together, as it will be harder to find the energy and time for one-on-one activities after the birth.

Get your toddler involved in the preparations for the new baby

If you are going to make changes in the house for the arrival of the new-born, ask your toddler to help you with the decisions. You can plan together what colour to paint the walls of the nursery room, what crib you should choose and let your toddler help you decorate. It’s a great activity to have together and it will help your toddler prepare for bonding with the future sibling. It’s a good idea to let her help you after the birth as well, with things like picking up toys, handing you wet wipes or deciding what story to read to the baby.

If you need to move your toddler to a different room or to a different bed, talk to her about this early on and make the change at least a couple of months before the baby delivery. It might take her some time to accustom with all these new changes, so it’s better to make them at separate times.

Dark Chocolate and Other Delicious Snacks for Expecting Mums

Enough with the spinach salads. There are tasty foods out there that are healthy during pregnancy and you should have it. Did you know dark chocolate and popcorn are actually healthy for you? Read on for the most mouth-watering snacks and desserts.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate helps relax your muscles, it’s a delicious source of serotonin, it will put you in a better mood and it can help prevent preeclampsia. Above all, it’s probably the tastiest healthy snack you’ll keep around.

Fruit parfait with cereal

Mix low-fat yoghurt, cereal and pumpkin puree or mango, top with maple syrup and cashews and you’ve got yourself a nice treat. Pumpkin is a good source of Vitamin E, Iron and Folate. Mango is a good alternative: it’s rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C.

Dried cranberries and cashews

Have you tried it? It’s one of the best trail mix recipes ever invented. Cranberries enhance the taste of cashew nuts and they work great with walnuts as well.

Raisins

They’re sweet, they’re easy to store and carry along, great for trail mixes and at hand for whenever you feel like nibbling a snack. They’re also healthy. Raisins are a source of fibre, iron and potassium.

Popcorn

Whole grains are an important source of fibre and popcorn is one of them. It contains a lot of nutrients that are healthy for you. Try to eat it freshly popped and don’t put too much salt.

Home-made nachos

If you’re craving for salted chips, make your own nachos with salsa sauce and cheese. It’s a tasty snack and it’s much healthier than supermarket chips or restaurant nachos.

Roasted almonds

Almonds are more nutritious in raw form, but their delicious flavour really comes out when roasted. Eat them with raisins or cranberries or mix them in a banana smoothie. The combination of bananas and roasted almonds is a unique experience for the senses.

Baby carrots

They’re sweet and healthy, and they’ll satisfy your need to nibble on candy. Dip them in low-fat sour cream, it’s the healthy alternative for chips and dip.

18 Weeks Pregnant

You now only have one week left until the half-way mark of your pregnancy. Your baby is gaining weight and developing her nervous system at a fast rate, while you’re getting hungrier and your belly is visibly growing.

Your baby’s development at 18 weeks

As fat is being deposited under your baby’s skin, she’s gaining weight, reaching about six ounces at 18 weeks. She’s developing new muscles and experimenting with new moves. She can kick, roll, yawn, swallow and do all kinds of wonderful baby moves. Pay attention to the types of movements you feel in your belly, you might be able to distinguish them. It’s very likely that you will be able to see your baby moving at the next ultrasound scan.

The nervous system is now developing at a very fast pace, and the five senses – touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing – are becoming more accurate. Teeth also form around 18 weeks, and sex organs are developing.

Your body and lifestyle at 18 weeks

If you’re feeling hungrier than before, it’s normal. Have water and snacks with you all the time and set on a diet with many small meals a day.

Feet swelling is also a common symptom around this time. Whenever you can, rest your feet on a surface that’s higher than your upper body. Try to have a nap every day, for 10 or 15 minutes. You will feel more rested and be able to get through the day without feeling exhausted in the evening. When you lie down, tilt on one side to accommodate your belly and avoid putting pressure on your spine. Use pillows as props to make yourself comfortable. Massage your legs and feet every night to improve blood circulation and to avoid leg cramps and varicose veins. Use hand cream to massage your hands as well if they are swollen.

Ultrasound scans you can take

Although your baby’s sex organs should be developed around 18 weeks, we recommend waiting for another two weeks for a gender baby scan. The ultrasound images are much clearer at 20 weeks.

If you haven’t booked your anomaly scan yet, do it before the end of week 21. This scan will assess the health and well-being of the baby, while checking for specific risks.

If you want to see your baby moving and have the recording of it, schedule an appointment for a 4D Baby Scan or an HD Live 4D Scan.

5 Ways to Control Your Food Cravings during Pregnancy

Many pregnant women crave for junk food, specific snacks (pickles, anyone?) and peculiar food combinations. If you lust after cucumbers and apples, you’re one of the lucky ones. Longing for junk food like chocolate and burgers is however more common than craving healthy food. This is list is not about abstaining from your cravings. It’s about keeping your pregnancy diet under control, so that you and your baby receive all the necessary nutrients for a healthy development of the pregnancy. Here are the easiest ways in which you can do so.

1. Stock up on healthy snacks

Have healthy snacks with you all the time, in sufficient supply. When you get hungry, you’ll have something healthy to eat at hand. Think fruits, granola bars and nuts.

2. Eat right before shopping for groceries

Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. Your craving might take power over your shopping list and you’ll end up with too much ice-cream, chocolate, chips and other unhealthy foods. Avoiding to buy junk food in the first place makes it easier to not eat it.

3. Eat small portions of everything

Abstaining from eating any junk food that you are craving for is too much of an effort. It can lead to stress and make you tired. It’s absurd. You can have a scoop of ice-cream if you feel like it and you will be fine. The secret is moderation. Don’t buy junk food in large quantities and prepare very small servings of the food that’s not healthy for you. Once you’ve had a taste, it’s easier to manage your cravings. Eating healthy food in advance makes it even easier.

4. Find substitutes for your cravings

Challenge yourself to find the healthiest possible substitutes that are close enough to the foods that you’re craving to satisfy your appetite. You can choose to buy sweets that have less sugar and fat for instance. Try baked chips instead of fried chips, nuts over crisps, fruit juice instead of soda, frozen yoghurt over ice cream and whole-grain cereal over chocolate cereal.

5. Experiment with your cravings

Sometimes you think you’re craving for a particular food, but that’s not necessarily true. You might just be craving for something that has a particular taste, thus you can find more foods that can satisfy one craving. Try different combinations of foods that get close to the taste you’re craving for and experiment until you find healthier options.

7 Signs Your Pregnancy is Going Well

Pregnancy symptoms can be hard to interpret sometimes, but don’t stress over anything that doesn’t seem too serious. Here are seven reassuring signs that everything is going well with your pregnancy.

1. Frequent urination

Although uncomfortable, frequent urination is perfectly normal during pregnancy. In the first trimester, this is caused by the increase of blood flow to your kidneys. Later, when your baby starts growing, the pressure of your uterus on the bladder is the main cause for your need to pee often. Take it as a sign that your pregnancy progress is normal and try to stay away from caffeine – it makes you pee even more often.

2. Your body temperature has risen

With elevated progesterone levels come elevated temperatures. A slight rise in your body temperature is a sign that your hormones are doing their work just fine.

3. Your breasts are changing

Your breasts should enlarge due to pregnancy hormones and the areola should darken in the first trimester of your pregnancy. This is a sign that the estrogen has increased in levels and is doing a proper job.

4. You cope well with stress

Being pregnant can bring about plenty of circumstances that can be stressful for you. Try not to fret over issues that are out of your control. Those are the most stressful ones. Then create a strategy for dealing with problems that can be solved by you. Make time for yourself to relax and disconnect from your day-to-day thoughts. Your partner can help a great deal with your coping strategy, so talk it through and think of methods that both of you can apply to lead a stress-free life.

5. You feel comfortable exercising

Exercising is recommended during pregnancy and can lift your spirits and give you more energy. If you feel tired – which is a common symptom of pregnancy – try to stick to a light exercise routine. An established routine will make it easier to motivate yourself to stay active. If you feel comfortable and energetic during your exercises, that’s a sign of a healthy pregnancy.

6. You’re on track with your antenatal appointments

Pregnancy scans and tests help prevent pregnancy risks if taken on time. At your first antenatal appointment, plan a schedule of the important tests, ultrasounds and routine checks you need to do throughout your pregnancy. Keeping up with an appointment plan will help you stay safe and give you peace of mind.

7. You feel activity from your baby

Half-way through your pregnancy, you should already start to feel kicking and other movements from your baby. This is a good sign. Try to keep monitoring the activity you feel in your belly. In case you notice fewer movements for a full day, call your doctor immediately.

Reshape your belly after birth

Timely action and an effective plan will help you reshape your post-partum belly and regain the muscle tone and skin firmness you had before getting pregnant. Read on our tips on exercising to get rid of the flabby stomach aspect and make the stretch marks fade away.

How your belly looks like right after birth

Unless you are a celebrity catered by trainers, nutritionists and doctors, your post-partum belly will not look so toned and flat. Most women have a flabby stomach after birth, cleft in the middle where the stomach muscles have distanced to make room for the baby. Stretch marks don’t make it better either. It feels somewhat like a deflated ball and looks like a sinking cake. The skin loses its firmness and feels soft at touch. The linea nigra will disappear in a few months and the red stretch marks can fade if treated.

Get rid of the stretch marks

It’s easier to prevent the appearance of stretch marks than to remove them afterwards. Use lotions and oils with vitamin E throughout your pregnancy. If stretch marks have been formed, they will fade in time if you continue to use lotions.

Exercising can also help regain the elasticity of the skin, but don’t exercise in the days right after birth. After you feel more energized, start training with exercises focused on your stomach muscles.

Regain muscle tone

You’ll likely feel sore and tired in the first week after birth. When you regain your energy, start with some light exercises and increase the intensity week by week. Sit-ups and plank exercises are very effective for building the muscle tone on your stomach. Try yoga, pilates and swimming to complete your training and build your overall muscle tone.

Maintain an after-birth diet

In the first two months after delivery you need to ensure that you get plenty of nutrients and calories to recover and maintain a healthy milk supply. Don’t rush into a diet to lose weight while you’re still breastfeeding. You will naturally start to get back in shape if you exercise. Later on, you can speed up the process by combining training with a healthy post-partum diet. Set your daily target to an intake of about 1800 calories after you are no longer breastfeeding. With the proper motivation, your belly will get back in shape in 6 to 12 months from birth.