How soon can I find out the sex of my baby?

While some people prefer the old-fashioned element of surprise, others enjoy knowing ahead of time whether they’re having a girl or a boy. It does take the guess-work out of buying baby clothes!

So for those who are eager to know, how soon is it possible to find out your baby’s sex?

It’s basically just a question of how soon the ultrasound technician can see what needs to be seen, if you know what I mean. Using a standard ultrasound test, a baby’s gender may generally be determined between 15 and 25 weeks.

Another thing to factor in is the baby’s cooperation- some are just more modest than others and don’t let anyone get a good look! It is possible, during the earlier part of pregnancy, for mistakes to be made. Waiting until the middle of pregnancy will definitely give you a more accurate answer!

feature image: Carters

Don’t Eat These Foods if you’re Pregnant!

Everything you eat and drink while you’re expecting influences your baby’s health.  Good choices are whole grains, lean meats, lots of fresh fruits and veges, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. As for the rest… well some foods are questionable, some are OK in moderation, and some are all-out no-no’s.

Here’s some “food for thought:” consider these guidelines before indulging in every pregnancy craving:

Raw or Undercooked Animal Products

These foods may contain an array of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  When cooking meat, chicken, and fish, it’s recommended to test the doneness with a food thermometer, cook eggs until they are no longer runny, and don’t eat raw dough. Here are some other things to watch out for:

  • rare meat
  • raw oysters
  • clams
  • sushi
  • unpasteurized eggs
  • raw cookie or cake dough
  • homemade eggnog

Hot Dogs, Cold Cuts, & Unpasteurized Dairy Foods

These foods are prone to Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that causes listeriosis, which may result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or other serious health problems. These include food such as:

  • hot dogs and
  • luncheon meats (deli ham or turkey, bologna, salami, etc)
  • refrigerated pates or meat spreads
  • refrigerated smoked seafood (such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel)– may be labeled “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.”
  • raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products such as Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined, queso blanco, queso fresco, and queso Panela.

It’s safe to eat smoked seafood, lunch meants, and franks, when it’s part of a cooked dish (like in a casserole) or if you reheat them until they are steaming hot. Always wash your hands, utensils, and cooking surfaces after handling raw meats, deli meats, etc.

Certain Seafood and Fish

Some large fish harbor high concentrations of mercury, a byproduct of coal-burning plants that interferes with the normal development of a child’s brain and nervous system.

  • Fish to avoid: swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel
  • Fish to eat in moderation (up to 12 ounces weekly, according to the FDA):  salmon (farmed and wild), shrimp, canned light tuna, pollock, sardines, tilapia, and catfish.
  • albacore (white) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. Limit to 6 ounces a week.
  • Fish caught for sport in rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams may also contain industrial pollutants that play havoc with a developing nervous system. Check the safety with your local health departments.

Raw Vegetable Sprouts

The FDA advises pregnant women not to eat raw sprouts — including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts.   Bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella can get into sprout seeds, posing a danger for a weaker immune system. Cooked sprouts are perfectly fine.

Drinks to Limit or Avoid

  • Alcohol (beer, wine, or spirits) robs developing cells of oxygen and nutrients, preventing normal fetal development. The effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on intellectual abilities and physical growth are permanent. While some assume the motto “Everything in moderation,” there is no known “safe level” of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • Unpasteurized juices, such as cider from neighborhood farms. These products may contain germs including E. coli.
  • Lead in tap water is linked to low birth weight, preterm delivery, and developmental delays in children. If you have an older home with lead pipes, it can leach into your tap water, and home filtration systems may not prevent it from reaching you.
  • Caffeine from coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy beverages, and other sources may increase the risk of miscarriage, reduced birth weight, and stillbirth, but the research is conflicting. The March of Dimes recommends limiting caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams a day. That’s about the amount found in 12 ounces of coffee.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA is an industrial chemical used to make many hard plastics and the liners of many canned foods. It’s an endocrine disruptor that could disturb normal fetal development.

The FDA has not yet recommended that pregnant women avoid BPA, but they did express concern about “the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.”

If you wish to be safe, a wide range of BPA-free plastics and glass containers are available.

Herbal Teas, Vitamins, & Supplements

There are herbs and other supplements that can be used safely to support a healthy pregnancy, but always talk to your doctor or midwife about any supplement use during pregnancy.  Herbal teas are caffeine-free, but there are definite studies on the safety of herbal preparations during pregnancy.

Duffy MacKay, ND, is the vice president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, suggests the following guidelines during pregnancy:

  • Herbs that contain stimulants or caffeine-containing supplements, especially those that are intended to promote weight loss: guarana, kola nut, betel (Piper betle), Citrum aurantium, yohimbe, theobromine (cocoa extract), Garcinai cambogia.
  • Other botanicals to avoid include golden seal, Cascara sagrada, black walnut, wormwood, tansy, pennyroyal, senna, saw palmetto, pao d’arco.
  • Do not exceed 10,000 or more IU per day of vitamin A because of the risk of birth defects.  MacKay adds that “many newer and specialty nutrients have not been proven safe for use during pregnancy and should be avoided.”

Foods That May Cause Food Allergy

Your baby is more lifely to develop food allergies if you, your child’s father, or one of your other children has allergies.  The American Academy of Pediatrics  says that avoiding certain food allergens (such as peanuts) during pregnancy and nursing may reduce allergy in susceptible children.

If you don’t have any family history of allergies, there is little, if any, benefit to avoiding allergens during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Before changing your diet, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian who is knowledgeable about food allergies.

Excess Calories

Eating for two does not mean that you need twice the calories! Gaining too much weight is not just bad for your health, it may actually increase the risk of your future child being overweight.

It is important to chose healthy foods that will provide good nutrition for you and your developing baby. If you are overweight at conception or if your physical activity level declines, you may not need as many extra calories.

  • First trimester: no need to add extra calories yet.
  • Second trimester: add 340 calories a day to your pre-pregnancy calorie needs.
  • Third trimester: add 450 calories a day to your pre-pregnancy calorie needs.

It’s usually not that important to count calories, as long as you are eating a balanced diet and feel energized. If you are unsure about how many calories to consume, ask your doctor or dietitian.

Source: Web MD

feature image: mom logic

Pregnancy Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Aches and pains, weird skin conditions, fatigue and mood swings are all part of a normal pregnancy. But sometimes you  may experience something that could be a potentially serious warning sign.  Most women don’t want to bother their doctor over every tiny thing, so how do you know what warrants immediate attention and what can wait until your next doctor’s visit?

WebMD consulted the experts, who say you’re always better safe than sorry. If you are concerned that something is not normal, call your doctor. And every pregnant woman should be aware that there are some symptoms during pregnancy that need immediate attention.

WebMD presents the seven top signs of a potentially serious pregnancy complication:

1. Bleeding During Any Trimester

Bleeding during pregnancy is serious and always needs to be evaluated immediately. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room. Some serious causes for bleeding include:

First trimester: Heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, menstrual-like cramps, and feeling like you might faint could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. This happens when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, and it can be life-threatening.

First and second trimester: Heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriage.

Third trimester: Bleeding and abdominal pain may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining.

2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting

If it gets to the point where you can’t keep anything down, you are at risk of becoming dehydrated and malnourished, which can cause serious complications ranging from birth defects to premature labor.  Proper nutrition is very important for you and your baby.  Your doctors can prescribe safe medications for controlling nausea, and may also advise some dietary changes to help you find food you can keep down.

3. Baby’s Activity Level Decreases Significantly

What does it mean if your previously active baby is not moving as much as it used to?  It is possible that he is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients from the placenta.  To find out if there really is a problem, eat something or take a cold drink. Then lie on your side to see if this gets the baby moving.

You can also count kicks, although “There is no optimal or critical number of movements.” As a general guideline, you should count at least 10 kicks in two hours. Anything less, call your doctor as soon as possible.

4. Early Contractions

Contractions could indicate preterm labor. First-time mothers may be confused by real labor and Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are false labor pains.  Braxton-Hicks are unpredictable and do not increase in intensity. They generally subside in an hour, with activity, or after drinking. On the other hand, regular contractions start off about 10 minutes apart, and over time increase in intensity while becoming closer together.

If you are feeling contractions and don’t know what they are, don’t take a chance! If it is too early for the baby to be born, your doctor has ways to stop labor.

5. Your Water Breaks

Sometimes water breaking is a dramatic gush of liquid, but other times it’s just a subtle trickle.  Then again, it could be urine leakage due to increased pressure on your bladder. One way to tell is to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid keeps coming , then your water has broken… time to call your doctor or go to the hospital!

6. Severe Headache, Abdominal Pain, Visual Disturbances, and Swelling

These are all symptoms of preeclampsia, a serious and potentially fatal condition. Other signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. It usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.  You need to call your doctor and get your blood pressure tested. With good prenatal care, you can catch and treat preeclampsia early.

7. Flu Symptoms

Pregnancy puts added stress on the immune system, so pregnant women are more likely to catch the flu when it’s going around. They are also at a higher risk for more serious flu complications.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you think you’ve got the flu, call your doctor first instead of rushing into his office where you could spread it to other pregnant women.

Something else to be aware of is that a fever greater than 101.4 degrees could indicate an infection. So even if you don’t have the flu, you should call your doctor so he can evaluate your condition.

For more information on health and pregnancy, visit WebMD

feature image from US Moms Today

Types of Ultrasounds for Pregnancy

You may be looking forward to your first ultrasound as an opportunity to see your baby for the first time, or to learn whether it’s a boy or a girl. On the other hand, your doctor views the ultrasound as an opportunity to ensure that the fetus is healthy and developing properly. The images seen during the ultrasound can help determine the gestational age of the fetus, check the heartbeat, and look for congenital problems with the baby.

Here are the most common types of ultrasounds for pregnancy:

Standard Ultrasound

A standard ultrasound is the most common type performed during pregnancy. The technician holds a wand shaped transducer and rubs it over the stomach to produce two-dimensional pictures of the baby. If the doctor has any reason to suspect problems with the fetus, he may ask the technician to perform an advanced ultrasound. In an advanced ultrasound, the doctor points out areas of concern and the technician pays particular attention to those area.

Transvaginal Scan

In the case of a high risk pregnancy or if the mother is experiencing health issues, the obstetrician may want to perform an ultrasound earlier than a standard ultrasound. In these cases, a transvaginal ultrasound is used. The technician inserts the transducer into the vagina to perform the scan. Once the pregnancy reaches ten weeks, the obstetrician will typically choose a standard ultrasound.

Fetal Echocardiography

This ultrasound assesses potential problems with the development and anatomy of the baby’s heart and diagnoses any suspected heart defects. The obstetrician may recommend a fetal echocardiograph if he sees something suspicious on the standard ultrasound. He may also recommend a fetal echocardiograph if the patient or her partner has a history of cardiac abnormalities or the doctor notices irregularity in the fetal heartbeat. The technician can perform fetal echocardiographs either vaginally or through the abdomen.

3-D Ultrasound

A 3-D ultrasound uses computer software along with a specially designed transducer to generate a more complete picture of the baby. The transducer takes images in a series of slices which, when transmitted to the computer, form a three dimensional picture.

Dynamic 3-D Ultrasound

Often called a 4-D ultrasound, this ultrasound uses specially designed transducers to give a more realistic view of the baby. Parents enjoy seeing the dynamic 3-D ultrasounds because they can see their baby in action. The doctor and parents can watch the baby move in the uterus. While 3-D and dynamic 3-D ultrasounds are fun for the parent, they offer no diagnostic advantage over standard ultrasounds.

Info from LiveStrong

Image from UNC Healthcare

Prenatal Check-ups: What, when, & Why?

While there are no guarantees in life, taking good care of yourself during pregnancy is the only way to take care of your unborn baby. Regular prenatal visits help to monitor your health and ensure that your baby is growing as she should.

The usual schedule of prenatal visits to your practitioner is:

  • Monthly for the first 28 weeks
  • Every two weeks from 28 to 36 weeks
  • Weekly thereafter until delivery.

The frequency and complexity of these visits may vary, according to your practitioner’s philosophy, your previous obstetrical history, and any special needs you and your baby may have.

If you are like me, and lucky enough to be experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy, you may think these visits are a little too frequent, bordering on obsessive. Things are going fine! What exactly is your doctor checking out and looking for?

Dr. Sears explains what’s going on at each doctors visit, tests and examinations, things to watch for, and what to discuss with your doctor throughout each exciting stage of pregnancy.

FIRST MONTH VISIT TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER

0-4 WEEKS
On your first visit to your healthcare provider plan to have:

  • Confirmation of pregnancy
  • A general medical history and previous obstetrical history if you have one
  • A general physical exam, including an internal exam
  • Blood tests: hemoglobin and hematocrit, blood typing, rubella titer, hepatitis B screen (HIV screen, venereal disease screen, and sickle cell screen are optional)
  • Examination and possible cultures for vaginal infections
  • Pap smear
  • Possible blood test for genetic diseases if your history warrants
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • Weight and blood pressure check
  • Counseling on proper nutrition and avoiding environmental hazards
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

5-9 WEEKS
During this month’s visit you may have:

  • An examination of your abdomen
  • An examination of the size and height of uterus
  • A hemoglobin and hematocrit check for anemia
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Weight and blood pressure check
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

10-14 WEEKS
During this month’s visit you may have:

  • Examination of your abdomen to feel the top of the uterus
  • Examination of the size and height of uterus
  • Hemoglobin and hematocrit
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • Weight and blood pressure check
  • Possibly hearing baby’s heartbeat with a doppler device
  • Discussion of tests if needed: ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis, and prenatal screening for genetic problems
  • Exam for swelling of hands and legs or fluid retention
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

15-19 WEEKS
During this month’s visit you may have:

  • Examination of the size and height of uterus
  • Examination for swelling varicose veins, and rashes
  • An opportunity to hear baby’s heartbeat
  • Opportunity to possibly see baby move and all the organs that are now developed on ultrasound, if indicated
  • A triple screen test for possible prenatal genetic defects
  • Weight and blood pressure check (expect a more rapid weight gain over the next three months)
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • Ultrasound in many practices is now a routine around 15-19 weeks to screen for possible birth defects, number of babies, placental location, and dating of baby’s age.
  • An opportunity to discuss feeling baby move, which you may have already
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

20-24 WEEKS
During this month’s visit you may have:

  • Examination for the size and height of uterus
  • An abdominal exam
  • Examination of your breasts and skin
  • Examination for swelling of hands, legs, and enlargement of veins
  • Weight and blood pressure
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • An opportunity to hear baby’s heartbeat
  • An opportunity to see baby on ultrasound, if indicated
  • An assessment of fetal activity — how often your baby moves and what it feels like
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

24-28 WEEKS
During this month’s visit you may have:

  • Examination of the size and height of uterus
  • Weight and blood pressure check
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • Oral glucose tolerance test, screening for gestational glucose intolerance, if indicated
  • Vaginal culture, screening test for beta strep infection, if indicated
  • An opportunity to hear your baby’s heart beat
  • An opportunity to see your baby growing on ultrasound, if indicated
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

28-32 WEEKS
During this month’s visit you may have:

  • Examination of the size and height of uterus
  • Examination of your skin for rashes, enlarging veins, and swelling
  • Weight and blood pressure check
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • Hemoglobin and hematocrit, if indicated
  • Review of your diet, an opportunity to discuss your weight, if necessary.
  • An opportunity to hear baby’s heartbeat
  • An opportunity to see on ultrasound how baby has grown (if indicated)
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

During month seven and eight your healthcare provider may want to check you twice a month.

32-36 WEEKS
During this month’s visit you may have:

  • Examination of the size and height of uterus
  • Examination of your skin for rashes, enlarging veins, and swelling
  • Weight and blood pressure check
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein
  • Hemoglobin and hematocrit, if indicated
  • Review of your diet, an opportunity to discuss your weight, if necessary.
  • An opportunity to hear baby’s heartbeat
  • An opportunity to see how baby has grown on ultrasound, if indicated
  • An opportunity to discuss your concerns

During month seven and eight your healthcare provider may want to check you twice a month.

36-40 WEEKS
During this month your healthcare provider may check you weekly. During this month’s visit you may have:

  • Examination of the size and height of uterus
  • Palpation of your uterus to determine position of baby
  • An internal exam, if indicated
  • Weight and blood pressure check
  • An ultrasound exam if needed to determine the size and position of your baby
  • Urinalysis to test for infection, sugar, and protein,
  • An opportunity to discuss when to call your practitioner if labor begins
  • An opportunity to discuss the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and the “real” ones
  • An opportunity to discuss signs that labor has begun
  • An opportunity to discuss when to go to the hospital or birth center
  • An opportunity to discuss your birth plan, including labor assistants, avoiding episiotomy, or special birth requests
  • An opportunity to discuss other concerns

If your weekly or twice weekly visits drag on, your healthcare provider may discuss what to do when you’re “overdue”. You may have weekly ultrasound examinations to assess the volume of the amniotic fluid, a biophysical profile, or discussion of possible induction of labor at some point. If you are overdue your healthcare provider will counsel you on worrisome signs to watch for. Frequency and content of healthcare provider visits during the final month depends greatly on your particular obstetrical situation.

For more information on pregnancy, healthcare, and medical testing, visit Ask Dr. Sears!

Virgin Cocktails for the Pregnant Gals

This comes a little late for the holidays (sorry!), but here’s a good book to know about in case you have a party coming up (or just feel like mixing a fun drink to enjoy with your husband or a friend)! Haute Mama published the following two recipes from a new book called “Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-To-Be,” by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen (the Liquid Muse).

Here are two sample drinks to try out…

Chanukah Bubbly Bubbala
Celebrate the Festival of Lights while sipping Bubbly Bubbala and impress your Mommy-to-be guests with a perfectly palette pleasing combination to tantalize those taste sensitive tongues.

• Champagne flute
• Sparkling concord grape juice
• ½ ounce lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 1 lemon wheel
• Pour sugar and lemon juice into a champagne flute. Fill with sparkling concord grape juice.
Garnish with lemon wheel.

Christmas Spice of the Season Mulled Wine

Simmering spiced wine on the stove makes the whole house smell like Christmas. With this alcohol-removed version, you don’t have to miss out on that special sense-memory.

• Wine goblet, or other heat resistant glass
• 1 bottle Fre® merlot alcohol-removed wine
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 2 cinnamon sticks (If desired, buy additional cinnamon sticks and garnish each cup with one).
• 3 whole cloves
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 tablespoon of honey
• Pour wine into a double boiler pot, over medium heat. Add other ingredients, and stir until honey has dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and gently simmer, stirring occasionally. Serve…

…serve what? Serve warm? Not sure, it was cut off :) But in any case, if you are expecting a little one but don’t want to miss out on any of the fun, this is a good book for you!

If you decide to try out any of the recipes, let us know how they turned out! Happy celebrating!

All you need to know about Hernias and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is full of surprises. Although the bulge of your growing baby is cause for joy, there’s another type of protrusion that may be unexpected, and is definitely unwelcome… a hernia. The following info is from Bluegrass Moms:

A hernia is simply a hole in the muscular layer of the abdominal wall, which causes intestinal or fatty tissue within the abdomen to stick out. This can cause pain and, occasionally, intestinal obstruction.

Hernias can occur as a result of any increase in abdominal pressure. While straining and lifting are most commonly associated with hernias, the pressure in your abdomen will undoubtedly increase from a growing fetus.

Hernias do not go away. Once a hernia has formed, it will remain until it has been repaired. However, not all hernias need to be repaired, particularly hernias that are not causing any symptoms. This is particularly true during pregnancy.

Most hernias diagnosed during pregnancy can be treated without surgery and if surgery is necessary in most cases it can be delayed until several months after the baby is born. In many cases, the hernia becomes less painful later in pregnancy due to the uterus blocking the hole in the muscles.

Surgeons should consider the risks of surgery in considering repair. During the first trimester, the likelihood of a miscarriage is increased with an elective operation. During the third trimester, the likelihood of pre-term labor is increased. Elective surgery should only be considered during the second trimester (months 4-6). However, the growing baby and uterus will place increased stretch and strain on the repair and could result in an early recurrence of the hernia. In general, when hernias return, they are larger than they were originally.

In general, hernias are repaired with a soft and pliable material called mesh. Mesh is sewn around the hernia to reinforce the defect in the musculature. While mesh is very strong and is designed to prevent hernias from returning, it will not stretch. If a mesh is placed during pregnancy, it may tear away from the muscles as a result of the growing uterus, resulting in a return of the hernia. This can cause significant discomfort during the remainder of pregnancy.

Minimally invasive surgical techniques can be used to repair most hernias. Three tiny incisions are made, and a small camera is placed inside of the abdomen. Patients undergoing a minimally invasive, or laparoscopic, hernia repair will have less postoperative discomfort and a quicker return to normal activities while avoiding the larger incision associated with a traditional open operation. The long-term outcomes following hernia repair are comparable between traditional open surgery and minimally invasive surgery.

Even with a hernia, a Cesarean section is not usually necessary. Almost all women can safely deliver a baby vaginally. Your obstetrician or midwife can help you throughout the delivery process to ensure that the hernia does not become a problem during delivery.

The development of a hernia during pregnancy is not uncommon. The joy of future motherhood need not be interrupted by the development of this new bulge. By working closely with your obstetrician and hernia surgeon, most hernias will not endanger your well being or your baby’s.

Best Dressed Maternity Styles for the Holidays!

It’s holiday season, and even the pregnant ladies want to dress up for the family Hanukkah party, Christmas party at the office, or the big New Year’s bash. But when none of your party dresses fit like they used to, it’s time to start shopping again! Here are some gorgeous dresses to set you on the way to looking your holiday best! And you can avoid the holiday crush by browsing online from the comfort of your own home!

Japanese Weekend Sublimation dress from Blossom Maternity. The rosy foliage and square neck make this a stunning choice for any party! Or how about this sleek Olian dress, also from Blossom Maternity, in a rich cocoa:

Old Navy is always a good stop for stylish, affordable maternity clothes. This season’s dresses are simply gorgeous! My two favorites are this red knit front-tie dress and this luxurious satin paisley dress. You’ll be the belle of the ball!

If you want to mix ‘n’ match, Due Maternity has some fabulous dressy tops, like the Cobalt Floral Strapless top, silver, sequined silk cami, or pink Twig top.

Another pretty option, also from Old Navy, is this elegant voile tank with cut-out bodice that can be paired with your favorite skirt or pants. You might also like the satin puff sleeve top. Best part: They are only $12.50 each!

But what to wear with these fabulous tops? The Over Bump Skirt is a fabulous option, with kick pleats and belt. If you prefer pants, try these comfy velveteen pants or shiny straight leg trousers.


If you want something super sassy to show off your blooming figure, the Boob Shiny Maternity dress is a real attention-stealer. (Just don’t ask me why the designer is named Boob… must be a British thing. They do ship to the US, though!). For something more conservative and elegant, the Satin Bow Dress is stylish and and classy.

Of course, when in doubt, there’s always a little black dress. Strapless and V-neck wrap dress from Due Maternity. The Japanese Weekend wrap dress is lovely for something more modest. Also check out Liz Lange for Target, which has over 30 styles of black dresses at affordable prices!

If you need something for a black-tie event, you can’t go wrong with a floor-length, black stretch-lace dress. I also think this green lace gown with scalloped lace detail is beautiful… and LOVE the white ribbon gown!  I reccomend that you check out Maternity Clothing Fashion for lots more super gorgeous, glamorous dresses.

It’s chilly outside, so you’ll need something pretty and cozy to keep out the cold! This cardigan from Mimi Maternity ties in the front with a gorgeous satin bow. For full coverage, try their wool front button maternity coat.

And… just for fun (since not many of us can afford a$1,540 Amethyst maternity gown or $1,340 Gold fish gown):

Ooh la la!! Now THAT would make a statement at your office holiday party!

Did you find the perfect party dress online? Let us know where to find it!

12 Benefits of Ultrasound

The first ultrasound is exciting, and each one, where the baby is a little more identifiably human, is anticipated more and more with each visit. By eight weeks the image resembles a lima bean with a pulse; by fifteen weeks the ultrasound image can show baby’s major organs; by the 20th week, the ultrasound pictures can often confirm the sex of your baby.

Twenty-year follow-up studies of thousands of mothers and babies who received diagnostic ultrasound have shown no apparent harmful effects. It is certainly safer than x-rays. There is a theoretical concern about whether the sound waves striking growing fetal tissues can cause any damage the cell. The National Institutes of Health Task Force on Diagnostic Ultrasound concludes: “We could find no evidence to justify the recommendation that every pregnancy be screened by ultrasound. In the face of even theoretical risks, where there is no benefit, then the theoretical risks cannot be justified.”

This means that, as fun as it is to see your growing baby on screen, the use of ultrasounds is really to check the baby’s progress and make sure he is developing properly. Dr. Sears lists 12 benefits of ultrasound:

1. Verify whether or not the mother is pregnant, when pregnancy tests and the usual signs of pregnancy are unclear.

2. Detect a possible ectopic pregnancy .

3. Obtain a more precise determination of baby’s gestational age when there is a discrepancy between uterine size and estimated due date. In the first half of pregnancy ultrasound can accurately date baby’s gestation within 7 to 10 days. In later months it is not as accurate and is useless for dating the pregnancy.

4. Evaluate baby’s growth if other signs, such as uterine size, suggest a problem.

5. Determine the cause of unexplained bleeding.

6. Confirm how baby lies in the uterus (breech, transverse, vertex) if the clinical signs are unclear late in pregnancy.

7. Detect suspected multiple pregnancies if mother’s uterus is growing faster than expected.

8. Detect problems with the placenta, such as placenta previa (the placenta being positioned too low or over the cervix) and abruptio placentae (the placenta is separating prematurely, causing bleeding).

9. Measure the amount of amniotic fluid if mother is losing amniotic fluid or not replenishing it at a normal rate.

10. Detect abnormalities of the uterus, especially in women with a history of previous miscarriages or problem pregnancies.

11. Detect developmental abnormalities in the growing baby that would influence where baby should be delivered and what preparations need to be made beforehand. Abnormalities of heart, lung, and intestinal development can, if detected early, alert parents and healthcare providers to deliver the baby in facilities equipped to begin management immediately after birth. Oftentimes, early recognition and early treatment can be lifesaving.

12. Assist in medical or surgical procedures: amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, trying to turn a breech baby, fetoscopy, or intrauterine transfusion.

Throwing a baby shower? Shop for baby shower favors here!

Foot Pain while Pregnant? Try Orthotics!

The Daily Breeze posed the following question about foot pain, which was answered by Dr. Barry A. Wertheimer, D.P.M.:

Q: Now that I am pregnant I have noted severe foot and other joint pains whenever I have to stand or walk for an extended period of time. What is the reason … and besides taking medications, can anything be done to help?

A: As many as 80 to 85 percent of women experience increased pain in their feet, legs, neck and back during pregnancy. Most doctors will tell you that wearing good shoes and massage is all that can be done to relieve the pain of this very common affliction. The reason for this pain is often the release of a hormone (relaxin) that allows stretching of ligaments in the pelvis to facilitate the birthing process. Since we live in a society that stands and walks on hard concrete surfaces, this hormone allows the feet to spread, flatten out and fatigue easily during the pregnancy. What is sometimes helpful is the purchase of over-the-counter orthotics, available at many sporting goods and drug stores. If not effective, then a custom-made foot orthotic, made by a podiatrist, is required to offer the greatest relief. Orthotics are custom-made supports that cradle the feet inside the shoes and hold them in a corrected position. They are a safe, effective, noninvasive treatment for the foot and posture. Orthotics also are effective in treating many other problems as well.

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