10 things you don’t need to do while pregnant – Pregnancy Tips from a Postpartum Mom

betsyfinnToday’s guest post is by Betsy Finn. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two boys, and two cats (Betsy’s story). You can read more of her thoughts on life and creative musings at BPhotoArt.com. There, Betsy blogs about a hodgepodge of topics including fine art and portrait photography, parenting, capturing memories, and finding contentment in the journey of life. You can also find Betsy on Facebook,Twitter,Google+,Pinterest,and Instagram.

There are so many resources online for pregnant moms — and most focus on what you “need” to do while pregnant. For my first pregnancy, we “followed the rules” and did all the stuff that the pregnancy books recommend. My second? We didn’t. We did what what worked for our family. Here’s my list of 10 things you don’t need to do while pregnant, from a mom who’s been there and done that:

1. Don’t give in to the “prenatal” exercise fad.
My first pregnancy, I took prenatal yoga. With my second, I found a pilates class. Instead of gearing exercises towards the pregnant body, the pilates class focused on strengthening my core and adapting exercises, as needed, so that I could do them while pregnant. I wish I’d taken pilates sooner; working my core muscles throughout pregnancy made my changing physique much more manageable.

2. Don’t register for everything under the sun.
As parents-to-be, we thought that we were being reasonable about our baby registry. We didn’t put a lot of extras on the list, and kept it more to essentials. Despite our attempts to be minimalistic, as our first son grew I found myself donating numerous unneeded baby items that we had thought were essential. A baby wipe warmer? Sounds like a good idea, sure, but we never used it. Crib nightlight and music machine? Neat — until you realize it turns off abruptly and wakes up the baby.

3. Don’t forget to document your pregnancy with pictures.
With my first pregnancy, baby’s growth was well documented with snapshots, but for round two, I just wanted nice maternity portraits. I’m a photographer though, so maybe I’m biased on this one.

4. Don’t overpack for the hospital.
I don’t remember what we packed in our hospital back for the first time around. But the second time, I overpacked. What did we use from my extensive checklist? tennis balls for counter-pressure and an aromatherapy diffuser. That’s it. nothing more. One good suggestion I did find? Separate your things into “labor” and “postpartum” bags — and leave the second bag in the car..

5. Don’t try to learn everything about pregnancy.
Do yourself a favor and don’t read all those pregnancy books. I read them with my first pregnancy, but later realized you can get the important information from your doctor (or online).

6. Don’t put life on hold.
Sure, there are some things you can’t do while pregnant. No alcohol, no lunchmeat, no rare/raw meats… no raw sushi. But find a way to still enjoy your pregnant months (e.g. virgin daiquiris, cooked sushi).

7. Don’t be afraid to “pester” your doctor with questions or concerns.
That’s what your doctor is there for. After my first birth experience, I switched OB/GYNs, and my new one was much more receptive to my many questions.

8. Don’t scoff at hand-me-downs!
Brand new baby stuff is expensive…especially when you consider how little they get worn. Most used baby clothes are practically brand new. So, if you are offered hand-me-downs from a relative or friend — accept!

9. Don’t wait until you are pregnant to start getting healthy.
Between my first and second pregnancies, — a postpartum health issue required me to make some dietary changes (which led to weight loss and improved health). Being healthier before my second pregnancy allowed me to be more active towards the end of my second pregnancy.

10. Don’t be stubborn, accept help when needed!
I admit it. I like being independent. But when you’re pregnant, there are certain things you shouldn’t do: lifting heavy things and cat litter duty, for example I was reluctant to ask for help — it’s important to remember, you feel like more of an imposition than you actually are.

So, there you have it. Ten things you don’t need to do while pregnant. Those are my suggestions as a mom who’s been through it. Neither of my pregnancies and neither of my birth experiences were identical. There is no one size fits all approach to pregnancy, birth, or even life in general. You have to find what works for you and run with it. Take what works, and leave the rest.

Family Movie Night Popcorn with Perfect Pop App – Sponsored

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One of my favorite things to do as a child was go to the movies. I loved the big screen, the late nights, and, most importantly, the heavenly scent of movie theater popcorn. Now that I’m a stay at home mom, going out to the movies is easier said than done, but luckily I can compromise by satisfying my craving for amazing popcorn with Pop Secret popcorn‘s Movie Theater Butter variety.

Tonight was one of those nights were I just wanted a nice bag of popcorn and a great movie. It was a particularly dark and stormy night, and I worried about what every popcorn lover fears when making microwave popcorn: burned popcorn. Luckily, I discovered the Pop Secret Perfect Pop App and decided to give it a try.

The Perfect Pop App truly delivers. I used the “start” feature on the app once I began the microwave and stopped accordingly. As the name implies, my popcorn was popped perfectly - not a single piece of burned popcorn. It’s a popcorn enthusiast’s dream come true. Aside from the fact that the app works wonderfully, it’s also really pretty to look at. Here’s what the Perfect Pop App looks like:

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Gorgeous, right?

Although my husband and I have both seen popcorn before, this was Clark’s first popcorn experience, and this is one of those scenarios where a picture speaks a thousand words.

Here’s Clark’s first bite:

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Obviously a winner, because he immediately grabs more:

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And there you have it, a recipe for popcorn success: 1 part Pop Secret popcorn + 1 part Perfect Pop App = 1 very happy toddler. Thanks, Pop Secret!

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Special thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring this post!

33 Things You’re Not Supposed To Eat During Pregnancy

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According to most lists, pregnant women can’t eat anything. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out this list of what not to eat:

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Finding Balance: Advice From a L&D Nurse

jennifer

Jennifer has twenty years experience in the nursing field. For the past 13 years she has loved being a labor and delivery nurse. A pastor’s wife and mother of three great kids, ages 7, 10 and 13, she enjoys spending time with her family, running and writing. Jennifer is originally from Bucks County, PA in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her husband’s ministry career has taken her family to Roanoke, VA and then to the Eastern Shore of MD where they currently reside. She recently started her own blog about her son’s experience in a groundbreaking clinical trial for peanut allergies. Read more of her work at http://peanutallergykiddos.blogspot.com/

Prepared childbirth is all about finding balance. I’m not talking about a meditation, inner peace, find your center type of balance. I’m referring to a being well informed without trying to plan every second of your labor balance.

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve seen women come to the hospital with all different levels of readiness.

There is the Type A, ” I have to know exactly what’s going on” mom who arrives with three childbirth books, five suitcases and a 40 page birth plan. Then there are the girls who show up with just the clothes on their back, a cell phone, and not a clue in the world about what’s about to take place.

Honestly, the best possible patient is somewhere in the middle! Know what to expect, but also be open and ready for the unexpected. With that in mind, here are a few things we’d like you to know before coming in.

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11 Things Every Mom Needs to Look Human Again

Having and raising a baby (or more than one) is exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be frumpy. Here are 11 essential items every mom needs to restore her confidence and charm. And, trust me, ladies, you need these, because you probably think you look okay, but really, you look like this.

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1. Aveeno BB Cream

Instead of wasting your precious moments putting on makeup, trade your face time for “free time” by using this all-in-one moisturizer, sunscreen, and concealer. Aveeno BB Cream provides minimal coverage but delivers maximum results. It’s my personal favorite, whether I spend the day at the park or a night on the town.
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No Baby Shower? 5 Reasons You Should Still Create A Baby Registry

If you’re not planning to have a baby shower, or you’re on baby #2, #3 or beyond, you might decide against creating a baby registry. Your reasons are varied: it’s a waste of time, I already have everything I need, I don’t want people to feel obligated to buy the baby things, etc. All of those reasons are invalid, and here’s why:
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A Starbucks Guide for Pregnancy

latteEveryone loves their morning coffee or an afternoon latte, but are these things safe? If so, how much and what size? Don’t you wish you had a secret Starbucks formula to let you know which drinks contained an appropriate amount of caffeine? Well, ladies, there is. And I’m going to share the secret Starbucks code to knowing exactly how much caffeine is in your favorite iced or hot espresso-based beverage.

Let’s start with the hot lattes. If you’re ordering a vanilla or any other syrup flavored latte, the Starbucks secret is 1, 2, 3.

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Mom Confession #981: The Muppets

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m (most likely) a horrible mom. I complain about basic baby care, and I let my 10 month old chew on expensive television remotes. I also let him watch television; specifically, the Muppets. Some of my loyal readers will remember a time when Clark monster was obsessed with Katy Perry. Sadly (or, gratefully? I can’t decide), that ship has sailed. Clark has moved on to bigger, more obnoxious things, like The Muppets with Jason Segel and Amy Adams. No, Clark does not like the Muppets themselves. He refuses to watch any other version of the Muppets. However, with The Muppets, I am guaranteed – at least – an opening credits and dance number worth of sanity.
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8 Moms Who Are Doing It Wrong

As parents, there are times where we all think we’re doing it wrong (even if we don’t admit it). Being a parent is equal parts stressful and rewarding (I hope?), but no matter what you do people will always judge your parenting style. Yesterday, I got judged in my own apartment for letting my 10-month old fling spaghetti and tomato sauce all over the living room (HE WAS HAVING A GOOD TIME, OK?!). Although some people think things like feeding your child McDonald’s or formula make you an unfit parent, these examples deliver a big STFU to those snobs. This week’s roundup of loathsome parents includes 8 winners from around the United States. Although the stories are quite sad, I hope it will serve as a reminder that, overall, you are (most likely – and, especially, in comparison) a fantastic mom:
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Why The #MomsNotLovinIt Trend Needs to End

Blogger and activist Casey Hinds of kyhealthykids.com is gaining recognition for her Twitter campaign against McDonald’s using the hashtag #MomsNotLovinIt. Hinds compared McDonalds to Joe Camel, and is attacking the McDonalds corporation for targeting children. There’s little doubt that the McDonald’s Happy Meal is marketed toward kids; it is, after all, a kid’s meal. The Lexington Herald-Leader describes Hinds as an “advocate for healthy food for kids,” but what does going after McDonald’s have to do with advocating healthy food?

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