How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery

You’ve heard of birth plans, but making a postpartum plan can be equally if not more important.

A postpartum plan is a way to help you prepare for those first few months after giving birth.  Many women create birth plans in anticipation of their labor and delivery, but often neglect the postpartum period.  This can result in sleep deprivation, breastfeeding problems, added stress and may even contribute to symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety. 

Here’s how and why you should create a postpartum plan for the months following your baby’s birth. 
How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery

The postpartum period is often called the fourth trimester and usually considered the first three months after giving birth.  However, women require different amounts of time to recover after childbirth.  The physical and hormonal changes usually regulate within six weeks, but mental health can sometimes take longer.  Whether it’s your first or your fourth child, it can be hard to predict how long you will need postpartum care until the time actually comes.

Download our 13 page printable Postpartum Plan in the Postpartum Depression Free Resource Library!

Limit Visitors

The birth of a baby is like a mass signal to all our family and friends that it’s time to come and meet them.  But too many visitors at once can interrupt the postpartum healing process.  You may either feel excited to show off your new baby, or anxious about too many people crowding them (and you).

If you’ve given birth in a hospital, then there are usually specific rules that visitors must follow and this should also be the case when you are home.  Try to schedule specific times for visitors, and don’t have everyone come all at once.  Make sure visitors are washing their hands before holding or touching baby and don’t let anyone to kiss your newborn baby.  Don’t allow visitors to simply “drop by” because that could interrupt your sleep or breastfeeding routine.  And if at any time you feel anxious or overwhelmed by your visitors, feel free to ask them to leave or excuse yourself to your your bedroom.  You’re not a party hostess. 

Communicate these rules to your family and friends, even if it feels awkward.  Adding this into your postpartum plan and letting them all know your wishes ahead of time can make it easier.  Once baby arrives, the excitement can often distract everyone from the plan, so make sure to remind them in a text, e-mail or a printed note on the front door.  No one should feel offended by your decision to focus on your postpartum health. 

printable newborn car seat signs
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Keep Track of Your Appointments

Just like during pregnancy, both you and baby will require regular check ups during the postpartum period.  It’s important not to skip any of these appointments, and making a schedule of them can help.

Take a look at a calendar and figure out your postpartum timeline. When will you be 2 weeks postpartum?  Baby will need a check up with their pediatrician.  What date will you be 6 weeks postpartum?  That’s when you will need your checkup.  The postpartum period can often go by quickly, so knowing the dates that you hit these milestones ahead of time can help you stay focused on your recovery. 

If you can, try to book all of your appointments in advance.  Doctor’s offices can sometimes be difficult to get into, and a lot can change in just a few days during the postpartum period.  If you know that you have an appointment coming up, you can prepare any questions that you have ahead of time.  Making notes of things that you want to discuss can help to reduce stress and anxiety. 

And don’t forget to include any appointments with lactation consultants, the public health nurse, newborn photographers, for religious ceremonies, to get government paperwork or passports done, etc.  When you think about it, there’s a lot that needs to be done to welcome a new person into the world. 

Postpartum Appointment Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Enlist Help

It really does take a village to raise a child.  Many moms these days tend to go it alone thanks to our ever busy lives.  But historically and in many cultures today, it’s unheard of for a new mother to tackle the postpartum period on her own.  Asking for help during the postpartum period does not make you any less capable of a mother.  If anything, it’s one of the smartest things you can do.

Make a list or schedule for those who are available and willing to help you out.  Your spouse or partner is going to be helper number one but it’s understandable that they won’t be available 24/7 as most workplaces only offer minimal amounts of parental leave.  Try to schedule additional help during the times they are not around.  Parents, siblings, friends, neighbors are often more than happy to help you out – all you have to do is ask. 

If you really can’t find anyone to help, and your budget can afford it, considering hiring help.  A postpartum doula is specifically trained to help you with everything you need in the postpartum period. You can also consider hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service, a food delivery service or night nurse.  If there isn’t room in your budget for these kinds of things, add them to your baby registry.

Postpartum Helper Schedule
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Make Time to Rest

Your postpartum plan should be centered around getting rest.  Rest is so incredibly important in those first few months postpartum.  Regardless of how your labor and delivery went, all moms need to allow their bodies time to heal.  A lot is happening inside of us that we don’t always see from the outside.  So while making your postpartum plan, make sure to schedule in lots of time for sleep, naps and lying down with your feet up.

Moms tend to feel guilty when it comes to rest.  The urge to cook and clean and take care of everyone else is a strong force within us.  But rest is an important part of the healing process, both physically and mentally.  Thankfully, newborns are pretty cooperative when it comes to this.  Even if you’re not “sleeping when baby sleeps” make sure that both you and baby are getting enough sleep.

Once you’ve enlisted help to take care of all your other responsibilities, spend as much time as you can in bed with your baby.  Focus on breastfeeding, have lots of skin to skin contact and sleep whenever baby does. This will also help with the bonding process, which can help with symptoms of the baby blues or postpartum depression

Postpartum Sleep Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Plan Out Your Meals

A healthy diet is essential to healing in the postpartum period.  What type of food you eat can affect breastfeeding, your postpartum body and your mental health.  You shouldn’t have to worry about cooking during the first few weeks, so having prepared food ready should be an essential part of your postpartum plan. 

Stocking the freezer with healthy meals is a common practice for many moms during the “nesting phase” of their pregnancy.  This will ensure that you always have something hearty that can be ready with very little effort.  Stock your pantry with healthy non-perishables that are easy to whip up, like canned meats or beans, soups, pasta, or instant oatmeal (great for boosting your milk supply.)  Buy them little by little throughout your pregnancy so that you have a fully stocked pantry by the time baby arrives.

Create a list of some of your favorite healthy dishes that family and friends can cook and bring for you when they come to visit.  The majority of people (especially veteran moms) love feeling helpful by bringing food, but you don’t want to end up with a bunch of casseroles that you’ll never touch.  They don’t have to be full meals either, you can request some simple things like fresh fruit or vegetables, smoothies or sandwiches. 

Or try a food delivery service.  There are so many different ones available now. Many of them offer free dishes and trial periods which can hold you over during the postpartum period.  Don’t forget to add gift cards to these services on your baby registry, they make great last minute or long-distance gift ideas. 

Postpartum Meal Plan
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Add in Light Exercise

Your postpartum body is very different than your pre-pregnancy one.  Many moms are anxious to start dropping the baby weight and get back into shape, but postpartum fitness should be more about strength and wellness than weight loss.  Once you’ve gotten the green light from your doctor or midwife, you can begin to add in light exercise to help your body recover from pregnancy and childbirth.

Focus on your pelvic floor muscles.  The pelvic floor muscles do the majority of the work when it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery.  During the postpartum period, they will need some work to get them back into shape and reduce the risk of pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.  There are several light exercises you can do to strengthen them, including Kegels and pelvic lifts.  Or you can invest in a pelvic floor training device to do them with ease. 

Try low-impact workouts, like yoga.  Postpartum yoga is a popular option and some places even offer mom and baby classes.  Walking or jogging is another great option for moms, with local stroller walking groups popping up all over the place.  Any kind of light exercise will help get you feeling like yourself again.  But until your body is fully healed, it’s a good idea to hold off on weight lifting or high-intensity workouts. 

Postpartum Exercise Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Monitor Your Mental Health

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are one of most common complications of childbirth.  Even if you are low risk, there are chances that you could get postpartum depression, anxiety or psychosis.  This is something all mothers should be aware of and prepare for in their postpartum plan.

Keep track of changes in your moods and daily habits.  If you feel less energy, are prone to rage and anger, become frustrated or cry easily and often, these could be warning signs that it’s more than just the baby blues.  If you think that you are suffering from postpartum depression, perform a self assessment to help you see things more clearly.

Don’t stay silent about it.  Speak up if you feel like something isn’t right.  Tell your spouse, your mom or best friend.  Talk to your doctor or midwife.  Call a postpartum support helpline.  There are several different options available and it’s better to get help sooner rather than later. 

Postpartum Mood Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

A postpartum plan should be designed with you and baby in mind.  Just like with a birth plan, make sure to communicate what you want with those who will be supporting you in the first few months.  And, also like a birth plan, bear in mind that things may not always go according to plan.  Your labor and delivery will have a lot to do with your recovery process.  Make sure to leave room for adjustments as needed.  Most importantly, rest, relax, and get to know your new baby!

Postpartum Plan Printable Workbook
Click here to download the Postpartum Plan Workbook, available in the Postpartum Depression Free Resource Library.

How To Take Care of Your Oral Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy affects the entire body, including our oral health.

While it may not be the first thing on your mind, maintaining your oral health during pregnancy is very important.  There are several different ways that oral health problems can occur during pregnancy.  It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to experience bleeding or swollen gums, eroded tooth enamel from vomiting and other unpleasant oral health problems. 

Here’s some more information about taking care of your oral health during pregnancy.
How to Take Care of Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

When you’re a mommy-in-the-making, you have to make a lot of sacrifices. Namely, your body will suffer through some dramatic changes. While most of them are pretty familiar to pregnant women, one area is often neglected – oral health problems. They are pretty common ailments for pregnant women, and they shouldn’t be ignored. Here are a few issues that might occur during pregnancy and how you can resolve them.

Gums tend to swell

It’s not easy handling the influx of hormones during pregnancy, but they’re an essential part of the process. They influence just about every part of your body, for better or for worse, but it’s mostly leaning towards the worse part.

Whether it’s the mood swings, bladder getting smaller, or onset of weird food cravings, there’s always something that hormones will offset. This happens with our gums as well. You might have noticed that they swell quite a bit more than they did before the pregnancy. This causes them to be easily irritated and damaged, which is something you want to avoid.

Use soft bristle toothbrushes to minimize irritation and keep your gums clean. An advanced cleaning toothpaste is also recommended, as it can help clear plaque without causing gingivitis.

13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know
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Pregnancy “tumors” appear

Don’t let the name alarm you, these tumors aren’t the malignant kind. Small, raspberry-like growths appear between the teeth and often cause pregnant women to rush to their dentist while worried out of their minds.

The growths aren’t harmful, but they can be irritating. They will disappear after the baby is born, but until then, they will cause mild discomfort while eating. The good news is that they can be removed if necessary with the help of cleaning.

Morning sickness can harm teeth

Morning sickness is a very recognizable sign of pregnancy when it starts, and many women have experienced it. What most women don’t know is that it can be very harmful to tooth health. This is generally true of vomiting, but most vomiting conditions don’t last very long.  Morning sickness, especially hyperemesis gravidarum can have a detrimental effect on oral health during pregnancy. 

The acidic nature of stomach content erodes tooth enamel and it can cause further damage the longer the exposure. There are some precautions you can take to prevent this harmful effect, though. Your first instinct might be to brush your teeth, but this won’t do any good. Instead, what you should be doing is swishing your mouth with some baking soda in water. This will neutralize the acid and provide some protection for your teeth.

The Hyperemesis Gravidarum Diet
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There’s lots of snoring

Another irritating effect of hormonal imbalances during pregnancy is snoring at night. The mucous membranes in the nose tend to swell, causing a disruption of the flow of air. This results in the infamous sounds that will keep your partner awake throughout the night.

 While this may only seem like an annoyance, it can also be a telling first sign of various disorders. Most commonly, snoring in pregnancy can be the result of sleep apnea. This might not be an immediate threat to most adults, but pregnant women need to be wary. Less oxygen is bad news for the baby, which is why most dentists will recommend that an acrylic snoring mouth guard is applied at night. This allows air to enter the airways without issue and keeps you well-oxygenated.

On the other hand, snoring could also be a sign of gestational diabetes, another common condition. To make sure it’s kept under control, consult your designated medical professional for screening and tests.

Hupnos, The High-Tech, Anti-Snoring Mask
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Increased need for calcium

It’s common knowledge that a pregnant woman’s nutritional needs are greater than when she wasn’t with child. The baby takes up a lot of resources as it grows, which is why pregnant women must adjust their diets to compensate for this loss.

While most nutritional needs are met, many women disregard their body’s need for calcium. It’s something that’s essential to bone and tooth health throughout the pregnancy, as well as something that the baby requires as well. Luckily, there are many foods that help increase calcium.

Good dietary sources of calcium include cheese, milk, and yogurt. Increasing intake of these should be more than enough to compensate for the low levels of calcium.  If you are unable to increase your intake of calcium through food alone, then consider taking a calcium supplement for better oral health during pregnancy.

Conclusion

Maintaining oral hygiene and health is very important in everyday life. This goes double for pregnancy, as there are many factors that negatively influence the health of our pearly whites during this period. Make sure you apply the safety measures mentioned above for optimal oral health during pregnancy and you’ll be able to deliver your baby without ending up with any problems with your teeth.


Author bio:

Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year-long career in journalism, recently writing on behalf of Penrith Dental. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days dribbling and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.

How to Enjoy Being Pregnant

Not all women instantly enjoy being pregnant, some need additional motivation.

There’s little doubt that being pregnant is one of the most profound experiences of a person’s life, but it’s not as if it’s always a stroll in the park. Indeed, sometimes women begin to feel sick of carrying a child, and look forward to it being over. Since wishing for it to be over won’t make time speed up, it’s best to find ways to enjoy being pregnant. But good news: this isn’t so difficult!

Below, we take a look at a few tried and tested methods for getting the most out of your pregnant period.
How to Enjoy Being Pregnant
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

Embrace the Status

Don’t forget – pregnant women have a special status in society, so make the most of it. You’re unlikely to get so many strangers offering to do things for you on a regular basis, so why not relish the status and let them do it for you during pregnancy? There’s going to be plenty for you to do when you’ve had your child; for now, enjoy being treated as a queen. This is also a chance for you to indulge yourself. If you want to spend 10 hours lying on the couch, then go ahead – you’ve got a free pass to rest as much as you want.

The Hyperemesis Gravidarum Diet
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Handle the Problems

One of the downsides of being pregnant is that things can become a little uncomfortable from time to time. And that’s not surprising, since you’re putting your body through a pretty intense experience. So it’s important that you have the right set up at home, so you’re able to handle the problems that pregnancy may throw your way. Create comfortable seating and sleeping areas, stock up on stool softener and indigestion relief medicines, and be mindful of your mental health. The more problems you’re able to quickly handle, the more you’ll be able to enjoy being pregnant.

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Share Your Joy With Friends and Family

One of the best things about being pregnant is that you’ll have so many people who are happy for you. So embrace the happiness of others, and have some fun. There’ll be times for celebrations with your friends and family, and special weekends away with your loved ones. Essentially, pregnancy should be fun — it is, after all, a wonderful experience that you’re going through. So if you have opportunities to get together or you have people who want to get involved and make a fuss over you, take it.

Look to the Future

Pregnancy can feel like a whole new world, but really, it’s just the beginning of a long journey. In order to enjoy being pregnant, remember that this phase only last 9 months and then you have en entire lifetime that follows. So while you’re pregnant, take some time to think about all that you’ve done so far and where you’re going in the future. It’s a time to reflect on all areas of your life, and be blessed for all that you have.

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It’ll Only Happen Once

Finally, keep in mind that this pregnancy is only going to happen once. Even if you end up having more children, every pregnancy is unique! Be present, and aware of all that’s going on. Schedule a maternity photo session to help you remember your changing body.  It’ll allow you to see just how wondrous and magical a pregnancy can be.


5 Chic Winter Fashion Tips for Expecting Moms

We are big believers that busy moms can still have functional and fashionable wardrobes.

When it comes to winter fashion, expectant moms often struggle.  Any mother can tell you that, while pregnant, there’s a whole separate set of fashion challenges to face. Simply put, your body is changing, and this can leave even the most confident of fashionistas uncertain about how to dress. This is especially true during the winter, when it can seem that all maternity clothing consists of bulky outerwear and unflattering sweaters, without too many stylish options mixed in.

Thankfully, there are so many comfortable pieces that can be found outside of the maternity section that will keep you stylish and warm, and fit just fine.

So here are five chic, cozy winter fashion staples for moms-to-be!
5 Chic Winter Fashion Tips for Expecting Moms
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Turtleneck Dress

Elizabeth & James - Refinery 29
Elizabeth & James – Refinery 29

A figure-hugging turtleneck dress is a great way to show off your adorable baby bump without really feeling confined or compressed. There are actually a lot of good options for this kind of garment making the rounds this winter season, though we’d have to say Elizabeth and James’ latest turtleneck dress is a particularly festive choice. The Clementine Space-Dye Wool Turtleneck Dress from the brand looks like something straight out of a 1970s fashion magazine – which, with vintage looks trendier than ever, is always a major bonus!

Not First Time Mom to Be Gift Guide
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Fleece Lined Footless Tights

Even when you aren’t pregnant, fleece lined footless tights can be life savers when temperatures drop. They’re also quite handy, given that they’re fairly versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For instance, some of these tights paired with a jersey top and tennis shoes is an adorable look when you have to head out on some holiday errands – but you’d also look incredible rocking the tights with a sequined silver sweater and a pair of chunky black boots at your next festive get-together. The main draw of these pieces for expecting mothers specifically, though, is that they’re super stretchy, meaning they can adjust and last through the duration of your pregnancy.

Wool-Blend Long Plaid Coat

Wool Blend Long Plaid Coat - Woman Within
Wool Blend Long Plaid Coat – Woman Within

A plaid wool coat is arguably one of the classiest types of winter fashion outerwear you can buy. Typically though, some pregnant women may feel that wool coats can be too restrictive (especially during the last trimester). A long, more relaxed version of the coat, however, can be just the thing. The brand Woman Within presents a number of coats and jackets suitable for all sizes, and happens to have a Wool-Blend Long Plaid Coat that perfectly combines the chic quality of the garment with the inclusive fit so many moms-to-be will appreciate. Its flattering cut will suit any body type, and it can even be worn open if it’s not too cold outside.

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Boyfriend Jeans

A good pair of blue jeans is always a winter fashion essential (if not a year-’round one) but wearing denim can be somewhat tricky during pregnancy. It’s not the most forgiving fabric, particularly with a new pair, and so it can be difficult to find a pair of jeans that is both comfortable and fashionable. But this is where boyfriend jeans come in. These jeans – which tend to have a far more generous cut and relaxed design – happen to be very much “on trend,” and will look great with other seasonal staples, such as a black thermal top and a cozy cardigan.

Billowy Jumpsuit

Asymmetrical Wide Leg Jumpsuit - Who What Wear
Asymmetrical Wide Leg Jumpsuit – Who What Wear

Lastly, if you’re in a bind and can’t figure out to what to wear for a holiday party while pregnant, we’d suggest an always-fun billowy jumpsuit. For this season, the stylish designer Halston has a gorgeous option with a relaxed fit that’s well worth looking at, either as a specific option or simply as inspiration. The Asymmetrical Wide Leg Jumpsuit is designed in ultra-chic fashion, but made such that it’s roomy enough to remain comfortable during your pregnancy. A piece like this in white, or perhaps a festive red, can actually be quite the statement at your next holiday party!


Being pregnant can make some women feel extra large and unattractive over the holidays.  And no one wants to splurge on maternity wear they may only wear for a single season.  These winter fashion tips can help you enjoy your pregnancy, and the holidays, even when it’s cold outside.  And the best part is, they’ll likely be staples in your wardrobe for years to come!


A Look at Mobile Ultrasounds for the Anxious Mom-To-Be

Mobile ultrasounds are a great way to beat a case of anxiety for expectant mothers.

Many women choose to get non-diagnostic ultrasounds during their pregnancy, where they can view their baby in the womb in 2D, 3D and 4D (video). But thanks to modern technology, a mobile ultrasound is the newest option for expectant moms to view their babies in-utero from the comfort of their own homes.  This helps moms feel more relaxed and at ease during the process. 

With Jess expecting her third baby in February, we thought it would be a great opportunity to test out the mobile ultrasound process for ourselves.  So we collaborated with Prenatal Peek, Winnipeg’s ONLY mobile ultrasound company, and the first mobile ultrasound company in Canada.

Check out some of these awesome features of mobile ultrasounds that can help put anxious moms at ease.
*This is a sponsored post for which I received compensation. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Jess elected to have a mobile ultrasound from Prenatal Peek at her home, surrounded by her husband and two girls.  At the time, she was 24 weeks pregnant and they had been told the gender of the baby over the phone by their doctor but wanted to confirm it.  Jess had non-diagnostic ultrasounds with her two prior pregnancies, each at different locations in Winnipeg.  This was her first mobile ultrasound experience. 

Friendly Service

One of the best things about Prenatal Peek‘s mobile ultrasound process is the service.  Owner, Tracy, has been doing mobile ultrasounds for nearly 7 years and as a mother herself, she knows exactly how to make moms feel comfortable and at ease.  She has seen hundreds of babies via ultrasound, but when it was finally time to see Jess’s baby on the screen, she was just as excited as if it was the first time.

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Appointment Scheduling

An amazing benefit of the mobile ultrasound process is the flexible scheduling.  Unlike most elective ultrasound locations, there wasn’t a long wait to get an appointment.  Tracy fit us in on a Saturday afternoon and often works evenings and weekends because she understands what it’s like to be a busy, working parent.  We even had to make a few last minute changes to our appointment time, which she easily accommodated. 

Atmosphere + Environment

One of the biggest factors for an anxious mom-to-be when it comes to an ultrasound is the atmosphere and environment.  For moms who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss or who have anxiety about hospitals, ultrasounds can make for an unpleasant experience.  This includes siblings and fathers-to-be who might also have a fear of hospitals due to a past trauma.  The option of having the ultrasound done in your own home is a great alternative.

It took almost no time for Tracy to get her equipment set up in Jess’s living room.  In fact, I was surprised at how little equipment was actually needed for the process.  With just a few cables, Tracy was able to link her screen onto the television, making it possible for everyone to view baby.  

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A Family Affair

With the ability to project the screen, a mobile ultrasound would make a fantastic option for a gender reveal party, a baby shower or to include grandparents and other extended family members.  Or, as Jess and her family chose to do it, a private and intimate family affair.  However you decide to host your mobile ultrasound, Prenatal Peek can usually accommodate.  But keep in mind that moms should be relaxed and comfortable in order to get baby to cooperate.  

Great for Siblings

Many children can have a fear of doctor’s offices, hospitals or new places and strangers.  This can make taking siblings along to an ultrasound quite difficult.  But Tracy did a great job of including Jess’s two daughters during the mobile ultrasound process.  The girls felt at ease in their own home and were excited to see the new baby on the television screen.  They each got their own stuffed animal that had a recording of the baby’s heartbeat and it was clearly their favorite part!

One of the most special moments during the mobile ultrasound was when Tracy handed over the controls.  Jess, her husband and her children each took a turn performing the ultrasound themselves.  This was a great way for them to connect with the baby.  And I’m certain it made dad and big sisters feel more involved in the pregnancy.  This unique experience really made mobile ultrasounds stand out among standard ones. 


In the end, we think that the personalized one-on-one service, convenience and comfort make mobile ultrasounds the way to go for moms to be and their families.  It’s a great option for moms suffering from prenatal anxiety or depression as they get all the benefits of seeing baby without the hassle normally associated with elective ultrasounds.  With the variety of different packages available, Prenatal Peek mobile ultrasound is totally affordable and you get to keep the images and video of your ultrasound for no additional cost, regardless of which package you choose! 

For more details and to book your appointment, visit the Prenatal Peek Website (prenatalpeek.ca) or Facebook page

Bonus: Mention that you read our review when you book your mobile ultrasound and get 10% off!

Holiday Gift Guide for the NOT First Time Mom-To-Be

Let’s be honest, when it’s your first pregnancy, you are showered with gifts and attention and the spotlight is always on you.

Your partner, your family and friends constantly check on you and ask you how you are feeling, if there is anything you need or want.  You feel like royalty and I loved every second of it.

But by your second, or third/fourth/fifth pregnancy, you have found yourself lost in the background in the story of your ever growing family. Ironically, by this time you are so exhausted from looking after your current little humans, that the body growing your newest addition needs more love and attention than ever before!

With the holidays fast approaching, if you are stumped on what to get that pregnant not first time mom-to-be in your life, here are a few ideas.
Not First Time Mom to Be Gift Guide
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
Not First Time Mom to Be Gift Guide Not First Time Mom to Be Gift Guide

A Prenatal Massage

Whether it’s the first or the fifth pregnancy, a mom-to-be is sore all over.  Her back aches, her neck hurts, she always has some strange shooting pain in some part of her body. A prenatal massage specializes on a growing mama’s needs. Although there is a very good chance she’s gonna snooze on that massage table, because… motherhood.

A Pedicure

By the middle of the second trimester, and for sure by the third, we can barely bend over to put on our shoes, never mind paint our toenails. Plus, for a NOT first time mom-to-be, there’s the added problem of having other children with their own busy schedules.  So we can hardly remember the last time we did something just for ourselves.  Sending a pregnant mom for a pedicure is one of the best gifts you can give her (and I love going just to sit in those massage chairs!)

13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know
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A Back or Foot Massager

Speaking of those massage chairs at the nail salon, how about one that we can use in the comfort of our own homes?  Being able to sneak in a massage while watching our other children play is multi-tasking done right!  This is a gift that will definitely keep on giving because we’ll also be able to use it postpartum, including while breastfeeding or as part of our regular self care routine.  In fact, the luxury of being able to enjoy a massage while binge watching Grey’s Anatomy after the kids going to bed sounds heavenly! 

Check out the full selection of back, neck and foot massagers available from HoMedics.com

A Comfy Robe with Pockets

I had one when I was pregnant with my first baby. I lived in it postpartum, those middle of the night feedings and sitting in a rocking chair all night.  But that was 6 years ago.  It’s worn out and I’ll admit, a little on the small side now… (it MUST have shrunk in the dryer). But a brand new comfy robe would be the perfect gift for a NOT first time mom-to-be.  Make sure that it has some good pockets because we carry ALL the things:  washcloths, pacifiers, baby monitor, phone. Bonus points for some new house shoes to go with it! 

Zulily.com

A Subscription Box

A box full of goodies showing up her doorstep each month is enough to make a NOT first time mom-to-be tear up (not that it takes much).  If you want her to feel special and remembered this is one of the nicest gift options.  And where else would you go than Bump Boxes?  They are specifically designed for the pregnant mama and contain high quality products that she’s probably never tried before but will be super excited to.

A 3D/4D Non-Diagnostic Ultrasound

There are several companies that offer non-diagnostic ultrasounds for expectant mothers nowadays.  This is a great way for moms to get a look at their babies before they are born and have a keepsake of their pregnancies.  It’s also a great gift for the entire family, including older siblings, and helps them feel more involved in the pregnancy.  There are even mobile ultrasound companies that will perform the sessions in your own home! But they can be costly and are often neglected by moms in subsequent pregnancies.  A gift certificate for one of these sessions would make an awesome gift.

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Hair Salon Gift Certificates

We want to get our hair done. We want to get it colored and cut and styled. We really do. But sometimes our kids’ ballet lessons are more important, or the van needs an oil change.  So the money that we want to spend on ourselves needs to go somewhere else. We say we’ll do it “one day” and we throw our hair into a mom bun and move on.  A gift certificate to her hair salon is the the gift of guilt free beautiful hair.  That postpartum hair loss is about to do a number on her, so she might even want to use it after the baby arrives to help give her the much needed cool mom pick me up! 

A Gift Certificate for Skip the Dishes (or her favorite restaurant)

This is not to use on her family when she doesn’t want to cook (although it could be!) No, these are for her to splurge on that order of chicken wings, mozzarella sticks and deep fried pickles after the kids are in bed and some strange craving hits her.  One of the most thoughtful gifts I remember is our neighbors giving us a gift card for pizza place when our 2nd daughter came home. We were so grateful for such a small thing on those first few days of complete exhaustion. 

A Self-Care Basket

Finally… give her all the self care products you can find!  Face masks, moisturizers, lip balm, makeup, skin care, exfoliating scrubs, bath bombs, essential oils, deep conditioner, you name it!  A NOT first time mom-to-be is even more guilty of neglecting self care throughout her pregnancy and afterwards so she needs as much encouragement as possible.  Chances are, if she has the products in her home already, she’s more likely to make time to use them.  This time of the year you can find self care products everywhere – or do your one stop shopping online at stores like Rocky Mountain Oils, Aveda or Well.ca

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Hopefully some of these ideas inspire you when it comes to treating that expecting mom in your life. You also don’t have to wait until Christmas morning, a just because gift can be the best ones!  We get so used to taking care of other people that it is nice to be remembered.  Happy Gifting! 

Jess Sankar | Running in Triangles
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My Third and Last Pregnancy: Thoughts from Jess

So far, I have spent almost 2 years of my life being pregnant.

I am now 22 weeks pregnant with my third baby. Just over halfway there! As a family we have decided that this will be our last baby, and with that comes a roller coaster of emotions. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I knew we had planned for 3 kids in total, so I feel as though I did not appreciate every moment of that pregnancy.

But there’s something different about the last pregnancy: 
    • This will be the last time I will feel those flutters and kicks, so I am trying to stop and really feel every movement. 
    • This will be the last time I grow a life inside of me. 
    • The last time I will wash newborn clothes and prepare a nursery. 
    • The last time I will choose a name for a new person.
My Third and Last Pregnancy: Thoughts from Jess
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

I thought maybe I would feel sad about it, but to be honest, I am feeling very at peace about the whole experience. In a way, I feel like this little bonus baby is a gift for my two girls. Both my daughters, who will be 6 & 3 when baby arrives, are beyond excited about the arrival of their new sibling. I think their excitement elevates my own. In a way I think it’s so special that I am growing this little gift for them, who they lovingly refer to as their baby.

Maternity Photo Shoot Ideas 1
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With my first pregnancy, I was so anxious about everything.

I had no idea what to expect. I was your typical first time mom, I read everything, I googled and researched and went to birthing classes. I bought everything brand new, planned fashionable outfits and decorated a beautiful nursery with matching bedding. We spent hours looking for the right stroller and car seat. I thought all the right “things” would be so important. Looking back now, I laugh at myself for putting so much effort into the things that didn’t matter as much.

With my second pregnancy, I worried about the adjustment to having two kids.

I worried about my oldest daughter feeling replaced. I worried about how to care for two lives. I worried about how to love them equally. I worried about the logistics and how to manage being out in public with two kids.  I worried about how I would split my time and attention. I worried so much, I couldn’t sleep. And when she finally arrived, life worked itself out, just like everyone had assured me it would. Her older sister was in love with her, and I learned just what exponential love really was. Just like that, our love had doubled.

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Now with my third, I am excited.

I know that this baby will add another level of love. I have heard from other moms of three (or more) that a second baby is a harder adjustment than a third and I believe it. I am already so busy and I am already used to juggling schedules and attention. After the initial first trimester where I was a pukey nauseous disaster, I am in that second trimester sweet spot. I am still getting sleep, I can eat anything I want and I can walk without waddling. I know that will all end very soon, but for right now, I am enjoying this stage.  And while I am SO excited to meet this baby, I am in no hurry. I am savoring every last minute of this pregnancy… the stretchy maternity pants and all! 

Not First Time Mom to Be Gift Guide
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So while the thought of this being my last pregnancy does feel like the end of an era, it also feels right for me and my family.  I will try my best to keep you updated on this journey with my growing family. I appreciate the outpouring of love I have received as I start my own adventure Running in Triangles.

Jess Sankar | Running in Triangles
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A Look Into the Science-Backed Benefits of Doulas

Ever considered using a doula to help you through labor and delivery?

There are so many benefits of doulas, and it’s not just for moral support.  Science has proven that having the support of a doula through labor, delivery and in the postpartum period can lead to better health for mom and baby.  For most women, the process of giving birth can be extremely frightening and stressful and a doula can ease some of that stress.  Having someone in your corner that will put your needs first is something all moms can benefit from. 

Neve from WeTheParents was gracious enough to share some of her research about the science backed benefits of doulas, as well as a handy infographic (don’t forget to PIN it!)You can check out the full post here.

Benefits of Doulas
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may be in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Let’s be truthful here, giving birth is no easy task. It’s called labor for a reason. First-time mothers experience it on even another level due to the fear of the unknown. To the dismay of many moms-to-be, the medical community took a natural process and made it into a sterile procedure to be feared. The birthing mom was isolated in a stark, cold room to give birth in an unnatural position, separated from loved ones, and without support. Fortunately, the medical community has finally begun to come around to what works for a new mom and her baby.

The scientific community began to realize that perhaps the ways of modern medicine did not work well for the most natural process on our planet, and that is giving birth. After many compelling studies, scientists discovered that stress-free labor had many benefits to both the mother and infant. They found that doulas played a significant role in providing a stress-free environment, aiding in an uncomplicated birth.

Postpartum Doula
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Mothers who received doula support during labor and the birthing process experienced less pain as well as a shorter labor duration. This was a result of the confidence they felt in their abilities, knowing that they had the full emotional and physical support of a doula by their side. In addition to this, they also had fewer incidents of cesareans, epidurals, and the use of invasive birthing instruments.

A mother who experiences stress-free labor without invasive intervention due to the support of a doula will also have a stronger bonding connection with her newborn. Both mother and child come together in the world for the first time in a positive atmosphere. Studies have not only shown that this type of birth increases positive mother-infant interaction but also boosts early breastfeeding scores.

Scientific studies have forced the medical community to realize that there are so many benefits of doulas for a laboring mother that it can no longer be ignored.

Here are 17 evidence-based benefits, including infants with higher Apgar scores, reduced postpartum depression, and fewer birth complications.

Doula Infographic
wetheparents.org

Author Bio:

Neve is a pragmatic and encouraging natural birth advocate. She loves science and hates dogma, and she tries hard to empower women with information while steering clear of criticism and judgment. A mother of three, Neve is also chief researcher and editor at WeTheParents. You can catch her on Twitter and Facebook.


While it’s great that science is able to prove the benefits of doulas, it’s also just plain common sense.  Even if you have a supportive spouse or friend with you, it doesn’t often compare to the experience of a trained doula.  Having someone who is completely devoted to your care and well being during one of the most intense moments of your life is a luxury that all mothers should have access to.

Have you used a doula for your labor and delivery?  We’d love to hear more about your experience.  Feel free to contact us or leave a comment! 

4 Things You Need To Do When You Find Out You Are Pregnant

Congratulations, you’re expecting!

Finding out that you’re pregnant is an incredibly exciting, but also terrifying moment, especially if it’s the first time. Your initial reaction is going to be one of joy, but then you’re going to start thinking about all of the things that you need to sort out before the baby arrives and all of the difficult pregnancy stuff that you have to deal with. It’s easy to start panicking here but that’s the worst thing that you can do.  

There are some important things that you need to sort in the first few weeks and months of the pregnancy and the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can start preparing yourself.  As soon as you find out that you are expecting, subscribe for monthly Bump Boxes to make your pregnancy go smoothly.

These are the things that you should do when you find out that you’re pregnant.
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links. Furthermore I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice.

Calculate Your Due Date

The first thing that you need to know is when the baby is going to arrive, so you need to calculate your due date. You can use this calculator to work out roughly when your baby is due. The reading from the calculator isn’t going to be completely accurate but it will give you a rough idea of when the baby is likely to arrive, so you know how long you have to sort everything out. When you go in for a scan, you’ll get a more accurate due date, but this initial estimate is useful to have right away.

Access more pregnancy resources here, including resources for genetic testing and screening.

Book An Appointment With Your Doctor

Next, you need to get in touch with your doctor and let them know that you are pregnant. They will set up a booking appointment which usually happens around 8 to 10 weeks into your pregnancy. They may want to see you right away but it differs depending on the doctor and your medical history, but they will tell you when you need to see them.

Maternity Photo Shoot Ideas 1
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Consider Legal Issues

This isn’t something that people think about as much but when you have a baby on the way, there are certain legal issues to deal with, so it’s a good idea to hire a family lawyer right away. You will need to update your will to include your new baby and some couples like to put a parenting agreement in place to decide what happens should the relationship break down. It’s not a nice thought but you have to put the needs of your child first, so it’s worth considering.

Tell Family And Friends

Lastly, it’s time to tell your family and friends the good news. A lot of people prefer to wait until around 10 or 12 weeks because the chance of miscarriage drops drastically after that. This is one of the most exciting parts about the early pregnancy stages because you get to share your amazing news with those closest to you and they can get started with planning the baby shower. If you’re going to put an announcement on social media, make sure that you tell family and close friends in person beforehand, otherwise, they might feel that they were missed out.

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You’ve got a long road ahead of you and there are so many other things to arrange, but these are some of the first things that you need to do when you first find out that you are pregnant.  Once these things are taken care of, you can focus on some of the more fun stuff, like designing the nursery, and choosing baby clothes and equipment.  Most importantly, educate yourself on what to expect after baby arrives, especially on maintaining your own mental health.


P.S. Thinking about the baby shower?

A baby is always a reason to celebrate and a fun time to gather all your loved ones together to take part in welcoming your bundle of joy. But, between baby shower invites, food, decor, gifts and preparing all the final details for your baby shower, you may be forgetting the most important part, baby shower games

Free Printable Baby Shower Bingo
Free Printable Baby Shower Bingo

Keeping the guests entertained is not always an easy task, especially if they don’t all know each other. That’s why games are just the perfect ice breakers. To make life a little easier, feel free to assign the task to someone who will take care of handing out printables, reading the rules to your guests and choosing the prizes for the winners. 

This list has plenty of games to enjoy: Baby’s First Book, Baby Bingo, Mommy Trivia, Nursery Rhyme lyrics and 20 additional family-friendly games for everyone. Keeping the party filled with joy and laughter is the perfect beginning to a baby’s life.  Download some of these free printable games for your baby shower! 


 

Pregnancy Self Care Tips That Will Benefit Mom and Baby

Practicing self care during pregnancy can benefit moms as well as their growing babies.

Expectant mothers have a lot on their minds, in addition to making it through the discomforts and excitement of pregnancy.  These pregnancy self care tips are something all moms can try in order to ease symptoms of prenatal depression, anxiety, stress and to ensure a healthy 9 months for both mom and baby. 

Pregnancy Self Care Tips That Will Benefit Mom and Baby
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice.  Always speak to your doctor before implementing any changes to your normal routine during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a time of massive change in a woman’s life, and becoming a mom brings the most significant life transformation ever. Society tells us that pregnancy is a magical time, and while this is true, it is also a time of many other emotions too.

Many women can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of their impending arrival and may feel anxious about what they will experience as life as a parent. With such a life-changing moment just around the corner, it can help to put some self-care habits into place to help you feel as prepared as possible for your new baby’s arrival, and to make the rest of your pregnancy as relaxed as it can be.  As soon as you find out that you are expecting, subscribe for monthly Bump Boxes to make your pregnancy go smoothly.

Nutrition

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is of course always important, but doing so in pregnancy can feel like a challenge if you are suffering from morning sickness, or worse still, hyperemesis gravidarum. Trying to eat a diet which is as healthy as it can be is not only a great way to keep yourself feeling good but could also keep your baby healthier in the future too. 

According to the Early Life Nutrition Coalition, the First 1000 Days are a crucial time, where your diet can impact on the chances of your child becoming obese in the future, and can also affect them having allergies. What you eat at the preconception stage and throughout pregnancy is worth considering carefully to get your child off to the best start in life.

The Hyperemesis Gravidarum Diet
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Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to use in life in general but can come in especially handy during pregnancy and your life as a parent. Mindfulness is all about bringing your attention to the present moment and letting your thoughts come and go. With regular practice, mindfulness becomes second nature for use at times of anxiety and stress.

Keeping calm, and practicing mindfulness should help you from worrying about future scenarios, and past events, enabling you to focus on the here and now, and yourself and your baby.

Maternity Photo Shoot Ideas 1
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Gentle Exercise

During pregnancy, you will probably need to change your existing exercise routine if it could be unsafe to follow during your pregnancy. Although you may have to put your usual routine on hold for a little while, you can try out some completely different activities instead, which will provide you with some gentle exercise.

Pregnancy yoga is a popular choice of exercise, which is no surprise as it offers many reputed benefits. Pregnancy yoga enables you to focus on your growing baby without all the interruptions of everyday life to disturb you. Your yoga session should fit well with your mindfulness practice, meaning that you can relax and exercise all at the same time, which should leave you feeling much calmer after the session. Joining a pregnancy yoga class is also great for making friends with other local expectant moms, and if you keep in touch, your baby will have a ready-made friendship group as soon as they are born!

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles with Perifit
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All women experience pregnancy differently but one thing remains the same.  It’s a time to prepare for the changes ahead.  Once baby arrives, life will become significantly different.  Taking the time to focus on yourself now, means that baby will also benefit from your peaceful state.  Using some of these pregnancy self care tips will give you a head start for maintaining your self care routine once you’re juggling the demands of a newborn baby.