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.

17 Weeks Pregnant

At 17 weeks, your baby is growing faster than ever. Unique fingerprints are forming and the kicking is growing stronger. Fat is being deposited under your baby’s skin, and soon those 3D scan pictures will look adorable. Your bump is visibly bigger now, so get comfy in stretchy clothes and flat shoes.

Baby development at 17 weeks

Your baby’s bones have started to harden and deposit calcium. The hand grip and legs kicking are now stronger and firmer. You are likely to feel some of the kicking already. Body fat is slowly accumulating under the skin and the heartbeat should now be regulated. Your baby’s heartbeat should be about twice as fast as your heartbeat. Weighting around 150g, the body is growing bigger and will start to look more proportionate. Ears should be fully formed and they are starting to reposition closer to the face.

An exciting development is that of her fingerprints. Around week 17, the fingertips and toes are starting to form unique fingerprints.

Your body and lifestyle at 17 weeks

Pay attention to movements in your tummy these weeks. You won’t feel strong kicks for at least a month yet, instead you will start to feel gentle fluttering movements. After 22 weeks, you might be able to guess if it’s a hand or a foot that’s kicking.

You might feel a little off-balance as your gravity center is shifting. Now is the time to give up wearing high-heels and wear flat or low-heeled shoes to avoid any falling or stumbling.

When sitting, try not to get up too sudden to avoid fainting. Keep exercising and maintain a healthy diet to feel fit and well during these months.

You will notice skin pigmentation around your nipples, some spots on your face and a dark line below your belly-button. These are normal and will fade after birth. The dark circles around your nipples will be gone in about a year after you’ll have given birth.

Ultrasounds you can take at 17 weeks

From 16 to 24 weeks you can take the Growth Scan, an ultrasound that helps the doctor take measurements of your baby and check how she is growing.

From week 17 onward, you can have a 3D/4D scan. It’s a good idea to document the early moves of your baby at week 17 in video and images. The images will look better however later on, when more fat will have formed under the skin.

7 Things to Discuss with Your Partner before Having a Baby

Have you had family planning talks with your partner yet? Make sure you agree on these basics of parenting before having a baby.

A financial plan for raising the baby

Create a financial plan to better understand how you and your partner will be able to face the expenses of raising a child. Account for medical expenses, housing (you might need more space), a suitable car, babysitting, education, emergency savings and life insurance.

Caretaking options

Who will be the main caretaker of your child? Discuss how you will share your responsibility of staying at home with the child and whether you’ll hire babysitters or opt for day-care. You will also have less time for household responsibilities, so it’s a good idea to start your new family with a clear agreement on sharing household chores and child care responsibilities.

Parenting styles

Discuss with your partner about the parenting styles you are inclined to apply in different scenarios. How will you or your partner react to your 4 year old misbehaving, to your school-aged child getting bad grades or to your teenager smoking marijuana? How much telly will your child be allowed to watch? How much candy? How many hours of playing computer games? How many hours on the phone? Do you incline towards an authoritative parenting style, authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting or uninvolved parenting in such scenarios? Talk to your partner about your opinions on corporal punishment, raising the voice, arguing for or against an action and methods of punishment and reward.

Ambitions and traditions

Perhaps one of you has clear goals and ambitions for your child or would like your child to practice certain cultural traditions or adhere to a religion. These are important issues that need to be clearly communicated from the very start.

Cooking and diet

Talk about the kind of diet you would like your child to have. Take-out is not a daily option for most families, so you might need to discuss about sharing your responsibility to cook healthy food for your child.

Life insurance and child guardian

You need to agree on a plan to ensure your child will be cared for, should something happen to you or your partner. Explore life insurance options and decide on who would be the most suitable person to be the legal guardian of your child.

How many children

Are you both on the same page when it comes to the number of children you want to have? Discuss your views and think about an ideal timeline for distancing their births.

Pick a Baby Name That Passes These Tests

Have you decided on a baby name yet? Run it through these tests to check that it is bullyproofed and that it will suit your child for a lifetime. If the name you picked doesn’t pass all the tests though, don’t worry. A truly beautiful name will overcome all the jokes.

The name sounds good in daily-life phrases

Try and say the name out loud in common phrases. Let’s try it with Iris:

“Hi, Iris!”

“How is Iris?”

“Iris’s mom is awesome.”

“I admire Iris.”

“Pick Iris, Iris is the best player.”

“Will you introduce Iris to my friend?”

“Can Iris come with us too?”

“I’m going to marry Iris.”

By testing how the name sounds in common phrases, you can avoid cacophonies and unwanted sounds. For instance, names ending in -co or -ca may sound unpleasant when followed by words that begin with the same sounds (“Monica can’t hear me”). Names ending with an “s” sound – like Iris, Alex or Alice – have a longer pronunciation in the possessive form.

The spelling of the name is simple

Countless of hours are being wasted every day to clarify difficult name spellings over the phone. It can get very irritating for people with unusually spelled names to keep correcting phone operators and receptionists (“No, no, it’s K-A-T-E-L-Y-N-N with K and double N”). The safest option is to pick a name that has only one spelling and is easy to understand.

It’s not one of the 10 most common British names

More than 7000 boys born in 2013 were named Harry. Chances are the little Harry will have two other Harrys as classmates several years later. It’s easier for kids to learn they have a unique identity when their name is not shared with others around them.

The name is fit for an adult

Sammy is a very sweet name for a little boy, but do try to think about the name’s resonance for an adult. Names that are just too cute may be annoying for your kids when they grow up.

The name is bullyproofed

Don’t pick a name that rhymes with something funny or shameful. Mean kids will find it. Use a rhyming dictionary like Rhymer.com to find all the words with the same ending syllable.

The resulting initials are not BAD

Unfortunate initials like LOL, ASS, KKK, DIE or WTF are out. If you’re really fond of a name, you can change the middle name or choose not to give your child a middle name at all.

Hopefully, this post has given you an idea of the factors to look out for when choosing a name for your baby. It can be difficult to find a safe, yet interesting name, but your efforts will pay up – for a lifetime.

7 Misconceptions about Pregnancy

1. Eating for two

Eating twice as much during pregnancy is unhealthy and not necessary. You do have to make sure that you are getting the proper nutrition, but that’s far from eating without limits. You will eventually put on weight, but that is not a goal in pregnancy. Focus on the right diet, not on the overall quantity. Measure your calories and keep track of the minerals and vitamin intake. You can still have chocolate and bacon, but don’t make an excuse out of pregnancy to eat too much.

2. Exercise will cause a miscarriage

Unless you’ve had complications with your previous pregnancy and your doctor specifically advised you to avoid physical activity, exercise will not cause a miscarriage. Exercising brings great benefits during pregnancy and keeps you healthy.

3. It is dangerous to have sex during pregnancy

Many people believe that having sex during pregnancy can harm the baby. That is absolutely not true. The placenta protects the baby and the mother will be safe as well. It can sometimes be uncomfortable for the mother, but there are no risks. In later pregnancy, many women actually feel a peak of sex drive, because of the increased blood flow in the uterus.

4. No heavy lifting during pregnancy

Your body consumes more energy and you will feel more tired, but that does not mean that carrying bags or lifting a toddler is dangerous. As long as you keep an upright position of your spine when you bend and pick up a weight, your back will be safe.

5. A glass of wine now and then is fine

Studies show that it is not fine to smoke or drink during pregnancy, not even in small amounts. Alcohol is metabolized differently from individual to individual, so even a glass of wine can be above the harmful threshold for you.

6. The shape of the belly predicts the baby’s gender

There is no correlation between the baby’s sex and the position in the womb or how your belly looks like. A gender scan can determine your baby’s sex, and not by examining the belly’s shape, but by using an innovative ultrasound technology.

7. Coffee is forbidden

Too much caffeine affects the blood flow to your placenta and can leave you dehydrated. Still, drinking a small cup of coffee daily is safe. Decaffeinated drinks are recommended, but not a must, so if you need your morning coffee, that’s ok. Try to add more milk and drink more water throughout the day to make sure that you are well hydrated. Remember though that coffee will not help on your need to pee often, which is why giving up coffee during pregnancy generally brings more benefits.

16 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby has already reached the size of an avocado and will grow double in weight in the next three weeks. At the next doctor appointment, you will be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat. You’ll now start to bond with her in several ways.

Baby developments at week 16

Communication between you two is getting more real: your baby can hear your voice and you might be able to feel kicking or some fluttering in your belly. If you started to feel the kicking, you will notice activity for even five minutes at a time, though your baby’s movements are quite tempered at 16 weeks.

Your ultrasound pictures will start to make more sense: your baby’s head is more raised, eyes are closer together and hair is developing, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

Taste buds are also forming when you’re 16 weeks pregnant. You will be really eating for two now. The umbilical cord is fully formed and the skeleton continues to strengthen.

Your body and lifestyle at 16 weeks

The fluttering sensation might feel unusual at first, but as it will grow in intensity, you will recognize the kicking. If you haven’t started to feel the kicking yet, it might have to do with the positioning of your placenta. Your doctor will analyse the placenta at the Growth Scan.

Nausea and the feeling of tiredness should have vanished by now, yet you might feel like you need to catch your breath as your lungs are getting crowded by your growing placenta.

Your breasts continue to grow and feel tender. Constipation and indigestion are common symptoms at this stage, due to pregnancy hormones. If you often experience leg cramps, try resting with your feet at a higher level than your body or massage your ankles.

Preparing for birth can be stressful for you and your partner. While this is normal, try to get informed on what you should expect and talk about it. It’s also a pretty good time to plan a mini-vacation, now that you are not feeling nauseous anymore.

Ultrasounds at 16 weeks

The Growth Scan is carried out between 16 and 24 weeks, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. At this ultrasound, the sonographer will observe your baby and your placenta in detail and will take a series of measurements for comparison to the average data. This is useful for tracking the progress of your pregnancy and ensures that the development rate of your baby is normal.

Best Times to Get a Pregnancy Ultrasound

After your first appointment with your OB doctor, it is advised to make a planner for your pregnancy scans and tests. Although most scans can be taken in a flexible period of time, for some ultrasounds there is an optimal time frame.

11 Weeks – the Early Pregnancy Scan

This is the first baby scan you can take and one of the most important ones. The early pregnancy scan, also called a viability scan or a dating scan, confirms pregnancy, calculates your estimated due date and checks for twin pregnancy. It can be taken starting with week 7 of pregnancy. The scan images will not show much, but their symbolic value makes them a precious memory.

12 Weeks – the NT Scan

The NT scan is carried out at 11 to 13 weeks and is designed to provide initial measurements of your baby and identify the risk for Down syndrome and other abnormalities. Screening tests for Down syndrome are also taken at 12 or 13 weeks.

16 – 24 Weeks – the Growth Scan

The best time for a growth scan is the one recommended by your doctor. This baby scan can be taken several times and records measurements of your baby. These measurements are compared to the average sizes. The purpose is to track your baby’s development and make sure that your pregnancy progresses as planned.

20 Weeks – the Anomaly Scan

The Anomaly Scan is a notable pregnancy scan, carried out between 18 and 21 weeks. The sonographer will look at the scan in detail to analyse specific anatomical structures.

20 – 36 Weeks – the Gender Scan

The best time to take a scan for finding out the gender is after week 20. The gender scan can also be carried out earlier, at 17 weeks.

26 – 29 Weeks – the 3D/4D Scan and HD Live Scan

The 3D, 4D and HD Live scans can be carried out between 17 and 32 weeks, but the best time for a really cute picture of your baby is after week 26 and before week 30. Before 26 weeks, your baby’s skin is very transparent and you will not be able to see your baby’s face very clearly. After week 30, the chances to see your baby’s face at all are small.

32 Weeks – the Wellbeing Scan

Also called the Late Pregnancy Scan, this ultrasound is carried out between 25 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Checking the overall wellbeing of your baby indicates how your baby is prepossessing before the big day.

10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Pregnant Partner

Most pregnant women have had the experience of an insensitive comment at least once. Learn how to avoid the most common ones.

1. “Who is the father?”

This is by far the most dangerous question you could ask a pregnant woman. If you have reasonable doubt that you are the father, talk to her about that, express your concerns and reasons for doubt and be understanding. It will nonetheless be a difficult conversation, so think it through beforehand.

2. “How hard can it be?”

Have you ever had a baby? The experience of being pregnant brings pain, discomfort, stress and a great deal of anxiety and bad moods. It’s extremely important to show empathy and support, so try to be more understanding and less condescending.

3. “Are you crying again?”

Pregnancy is an emotional time, so don’t be surprised if your partner will start crying over small issues. Be supportive and offer her hugs and tissues.

4. “You’ve gotten big”

Don’t make any comments about her weight gain, ever. For most pregnant women, this is a very sensitive subject and should be handled cautiously.

5. “Are you going to wear that tent for dinner?”

Pretty maternity clothes are much harder to find than regular clothes, especially when she’s on a budget. You should make her feel beautiful and comfortable. Don’t create insecurities by commenting on her maternity wear.

6. “You’re too emotional”

And that is normal during pregnancy, so don’t make her feel bad about it.

7. “I know how you feel”

Unless you’ve actually been pregnant before, you don’t know. You might laugh together about a remark like this or she might get upset. It’s good to ask her how she feels and to be understanding, but remember that you’re not really sharing the same load.

8. “You can’t eat that”

Never tell your pregnant partner what she may not eat. That’s her decision. Don’t question the cravings she has and try to help her have a balanced diet without imposing anything.

9. “Let’s have a drink”

Suggesting alcohol or coffee is irresponsible and might be upsetting to her.

10. “I don’t feel like rubbing your back right now”

Back aches are a common symptom during pregnancy. Giving her back rubs every evening is your responsibility as a partner and one of the most soothing things you can do to make her pregnancy easier.

10 Life Hacks to Make Your Pregnancy Easier

Whether a product you can buy or a tip you can follow, these ten life hacks will turn out to be priceless for your pregnancy experience.

1. Use a custom body pillow to sleep on your side.

Sleeping on your back is not healthy during pregnancy, and sleeping on your belly will become increasingly uncomfortable as your bump will grow. Invest in a total body pillow for sleeping on the side. It will truly make a difference for the quality of your sleep.

2. Get massages

Ask your partner or go to a massage therapist for a relaxing massage at least once a week. Even a simple back rub every night will help relief your backaches.

3. Enhance your bath experience

Taking a nice, relaxing bath before bed can do wonders for your well-being. Take your time to improve this experience with candles, aromatherapy and bath salts.

4. Go swimming

Swimming will feel completely different when you are in the third trimester of pregnancy. Most pregnant women enjoy swimming because they feel more lightweight. It’s a great exercise and at the same time it’s a break from the daily weight load.

5. Wear pretty maternity clothes

Being comfortable in your maternity clothes is the most important, but feeling beautiful matters. Invest in maternity clothes that are not just comfortable, but also pretty (or fun to wear). Body image issues can get stressful during pregnancy, so nice clothes and beauty products will make you happier.

6. Treat your skin

Use oils and lotions after your baths to feel pampered and prevent stretchmarks.

7. Use a warm rice bag for your backaches

Fill a pillow case with rice and sew it at the open end. Heat it in the microwave whenever you have a backache. Rice bags are perfect for this because they keep a warm, not too hot temperature. For an upgraded experience, add a pinch of cinnamon or lavender and mix it with the rice.

8. Exercise with a birthing ball

Sit straight on a birthing ball and roll in small circles, it’s very soothing for your back.

9. Turn your veggie meals into smoothies

When you get tired of salads, start your morning with a veggie smoothie. Try a new recipe everyday through combinations and experiments with veggies, fruits and nuts.

10. Create pampering opportunities for yourself

Having a relaxing moment for yourself is precious and rare during pregnancy and maternity. That’s why you need to create them with every opportunity you get. Take advantage of your free time and go to the spa, take a nap, read a book or get your manicure done. It’s the little pleasures that keep us happy.