Family * Travel * Food

8 Romantic Babymoon Stays for A Getaway Before the Family Grows

Hillsboro Beach Resort 

Beautifully nestled on an intimately peaceful peninsula known as “Millionaire’s Mile”, Hillsboro Beach Resort is excited to welcome expecting couples with a complimentary baby rattle and beach tote, as well as a “special cravings” menu for in-room deliveries to satisfy random cravings, including a pickle platter, french fries, ice cream, freshly made cookies, or even a romantic plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries. Future moms will enter the suite to discover a comfortable, breathable maternity beach cover-up from Cotton Natural (perfect for a baby bump photoshoot on the secluded shoreline), bottles of champagne and sparkling cider on ice, and the makings for a rose-scented bath–including soaking salts, a floral bubbling bath bomb, a Pink Himalayan salt scrub, and a whipped body butter–to rejuvenate after a day in the sunshine. Address: 1159 Hillsboro Mile, Hillsboro Beach, Florida 33062  

Hotel Effie

The glamorous Hotel Effie is home to several culinary concepts by acclaimed Chef Hugh Acheson, a luxurious on-site spa, and the only rooftop pool on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Grab a complimentary Grapefruit Lime Mockgarita with an immunity-boosting dose of vitamin C from the Ara Rooftop Bar and get the star treatment right in your hotel with a free Side-By-Side Massage for future parents at Spa Lilliana, and head to Ovide for a nutritious mommy-friendly, three-course meal of kale salad, free range chicken, and a decadent chocolate dessert (with a special to-go box of Effie’s signature biscuits and house-made potato chips for late-night snacking). Finally, the hotel partners with Coconut Kidz in the Baytowne Wharf so you can pick out a free onesie and toy for your future bundle of joy! Address: 1 Grand Sandestin Blvd, Miramar Beach, FL 32550 

The Gabriel South Beach 

The view of gentle waves from The Gabriel South Beach is a gorgeous backdrop for quality time before the baby comes. Expecting parents are welcomed by an in-suite bouquet of fresh flowers, balloons, and a plush toy for your future bundle of joy from Fleurs De La Mer. Get comfy with a plush prenatal body pillow and stay in for a baby-themed movie night. The hotel will stream Baby Mama, Nine Months, and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Best of all, couples receive decadent ice cream carts à la Dalia delivered to their room with flavors like banana dragon fruit, coconut, and pistachio. The restaurant will include personalized favorite toppings upon request, from iron-rich dark chocolate and protein-packed peanut butter and other pregnancy cravings. Address: 640 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 

The Balfour Hotel

The Balfour Hotel is a boutique stay on Ocean Drive steps away from some of South Beach’s best shopping, dining, and entertaining destinations. Along with complimentary beach chairs and plush beach towels, expecting couples receive a picnic basket with all of mom’s pregnancy cravings in tow - this includes, pickles, chocolate and salty potato chips. The culinary team at the hotel’s restaurant Mehzcla will work with the mom-to-be to include craveable foods specific to the mother’s needs.  This package also includes a copy of Growing You: Keepsake Pregnancy Journal and Memory Book for Mom and Baby, to document the journey into parenthood. Address: 350 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 

The Gabriel Miami

At The Gabriel Miami, those who are expecting a child can focus on getting prepared for their new bundle of joy. The hotel, which is located in Downtown Miami among many of the city’s cultural attractions, partners with local children’s boutiques to bring the shopping experience directly to your hotel room. The hotel collaborates with local shops like Nini and Loli and Babycottons for parents to choose newborn essentials, including light onesies and sleepers that are made from Pima, Peruvian cotton. After the shopping session, couples can enjoy a private meal by a chef on their hotel balcony while enjoying the panoramic views of Biscayne Bay. Address: 1100 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132 

The Marker Key West Harbor Resort 

The Marker Key West is a postcard-perfect stay for future mommies seeking a peaceful resort that’s steps away from Key West’s best attractions. Waiting in the guest room is a maternity bikini by Pink Blush as the hotel has three crystal clear pools that are great for lounging and swimming a few laps for low-intensity exercise. To capture this special time the Marker provides mom-to-be with a private maternity portrait session on the Key West Harbor. This package also includes a curated collection of must-reads during pregnancy, including Bumpin', Expecting Better, Nurture, and What to Eat When You're Pregnant for poolside reading. Address: 200 William St, Key West, FL 33040 

THesis Hotel Miami

THesis Hotel Miami, located in the heart of Coral Gables, is a refined tropical escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Expectant mothers will receive  a private prenatal yoga class with calming meditation and breathwork in collaboration with Wellness @ THesis, and self-care kit by The Honest Company, which includes soaking salts, glow-on body oil, Sweet Curves body lotion and a skin-reviving face mask. To ensure that mom-to-be stays healthy, the team at Orno and Mamey will create a vitamin-rich menu which will boost immunity, milk production and overall wellness. With fresh produce sourced from Niven Patel’s Rancho Patel, moms to be will dine on the ultimate prenatal dinner that is meant to nourish and enjoy. Address: 1350 S Dixie Hwy, Coral Gables, FL 33146 

Gale South Beach 

Gale South Beach is perfect for future moms seeking a fun day out-and-about in sunny Miami. The hotel partners with Jack and Jill Yoga for a prenatal yoga class included with your stay. Return from a day of scenic South Beach photo-ops and baby shopping to a guest room catered to mom’s comfort with special amenities in-room, including The Snoogle pregnancy pillow, which was designed by a Registered Nurse and Mom to follow the natural contour and shape of your body from head to toe. Use to make sleeping and relaxing more cozy without the extra body heat. Address: 1690 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 


8 Things to Prepare For When Choosing a Surrogate

Deciding to start a family is not a decision that one makes overnight. If you are not able to conceive a child naturally, some other avenues are well worth exploring. Adoption and surrogacy are two ideal alternatives to falling pregnant naturally and are often just as fulfilling as having a baby more traditionally.

Choosing the ideal surrogate is not a simple process, and the more control you have over the external variables, the better. There are some vital aspects that you need to consider when you start your journey to finding your perfect surrogate or carrier.

Make a list of what you ideally want in a surrogate - the below eight points will give you something to consider and spend time thinking about. Having a baby is a mammoth decision, and it is not one to be made on a whim.

1. Age

When choosing a surrogate, you must first look at her age. According to the experts, the ideal childbearing age is around 30 years old. The best time to get pregnant is between 20 and 35 years old.
While it is not impossible to fall pregnant when older, the passing years often make it more challenging. Women who fall pregnant past the age of 35 risk their health and the health of the baby.
When consulting a surrogacy agency, be sure to let them know what your exact requirements are in terms of what you are looking for in a surrogate. A gestational surrogate will not use eggs of her own, so age is more of just a general indication of overall health and wellness.

2. Health

Finding a willing carrier is only half of the battle. You must look at her health history; that way you can do your best to ensure that your baby is healthy and that the delivery process is free from any issues or complications.

Ideally, a surrogate should have given birth before and currently live a healthy and stable life. Your surrogate should be sober and a non-smoker, with no history of drug or substance abuse. Remember to check with your surrogate to ensure that she is not on any chronic medications or ensure that her condition can be safely managed throughout her pregnancy - without putting your baby at risk.

3. Family Health

To be well prepared, you should take your surrogate’s family's health into account. Certain diseases and conditions are hereditary. Just because your surrogate has given birth in the past without issues, does not guarantee that the pregnancy and delivery of your baby will be equally as uncomplicated.

Take a look at the delivery history of your surrogate’s mother and grandmother - this will give you the best indication of what you can expect during the birth of your baby.

4. Understand Willingness

Surrogacy should ideally be a cut and dry process. You want a baby, and then you find a carrier willing to have your baby. Sounds simple, right? As much as this is how things should happen, sometimes the hormones and parental instincts kick in, and, the surrogate, unfortunately, changes her mind.

By using a California surrogacy agency, they will do their best to ensure that your surrogate remains willing during the entire pregnancy. Make sure that you clear up any concerns before insemination. That way no one is left in the dark, and everyone knows what to expect as the pregnancy progresses.

Your surrogate or carrier needs to demonstrate complete willingness during the entire process. Be sure to discuss these matters in-depth beforehand so that no one is left disappointed or surprised. She needs to make concessions and commit to all the appointments and check-ups.

That is the only way to keep an eye on your baby’s development and health throughout the pregnancy.

5.  Pregnancy History

When choosing the perfect surrogate, you need to check their pregnancy history. Make sure that they haven’t had any issues during past pregnancies. The smaller, more expected, things are normal – such as heartburn or fatigue. Be on the lookout for bigger issues like gestational diabetes or hypertension.
Those can be red flags for future pregnancies, especially if the carrier is older now.

6. BMI

Having a high BMI can significantly reduce the chances of falling pregnant. Ensure that your surrogate’s BMI falls between the ideal range of 18.5 and 25, which is the healthiest range for having an uncomplicated pregnancy.

A higher BMI puts her at risk of developing problems during her pregnancy. Don’t let her start a diet while pregnant, is not recommended. If your surrogate wants to watch her weight during pregnancy, she needs to consult an experienced dietician.

The BMI cannot be too low either; a lower BMI increases the risk of delivery and post-delivery complications such as preterm delivery. 

7. Availability

When choosing a surrogate, be sure to check her and make sure that her schedule aligns with yours. If you want a winter baby, your surrogate needs to be available and willing to fall pregnant at the right time.

While you cannot guarantee that your surrogate will fall pregnant, you can increase her chances by ensuring that she lives in a calm and relaxing environment and takes her pregnancy supplements.

8. Involvement

Before going ahead with a pregnancy, make sure that both parties know what is expected of them, both during and after the pregnancy. Most surrogates are not involved in the baby’s life after the birth or breastfeeding, particularly ones who come from surrogacy agencies.

To End
Finding a surrogate should be an easy and fulfilling experience. Finding your perfect match is just like falling in love with someone – when it is the right person, you will know. For the duration of this journey with your surrogate, it is your responsibility to ensure that she has access to the best medical care available. If you’re ready to begin your journey to parenthood, contact a surrogacy agency today. Good luck on your journey; it will no doubt be an unforgettable one.


4 Tips for Dealing With Your Emotions After a Traumatic Birth

Traumatic births come in all shapes and sizes, but they do all have one thing in common: They leave lingering feelings of guilt, sadness, and anxiety in their wake.

While having a baby should be a wonderful and happy time, it’s simply not always that. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, birth can be painful and deeply distressing. Things go wrong, and there’s often no way to make them right.

Even if you and your baby come out of the experience healthy — or at least on the mend — the experience can leave you in a terrible state. Here are some suggestions and tips for helping yourself deal with that pain and struggle.  

1. Face the pain. Don’t hide from it.

There’s often a tendency among women who have experienced traumatic births to try to push the pain down and hide away from it. When it pops up in your mind, you may try to shake it away and not think about it.

Certainly, understanding how to handle memories of your traumatic birth is like walking a fine line. On one hand, it's true that you shouldn't linger on bad thoughts. In any situation where there is trauma, we can spin ourselves up so much that we actually make a simple problem much worse.

On the other hand, it's good to face the pain you have to struggle with. Everyone will experience pain and trauma during their lives, and accepting it for exactly what it is is actually part of moving on. Moreover, if you can learn to use a bad experience to improve your life moving forward, that's always the best possible outcome. We’ll discuss this more in tip #4.

2. Don’t listen to bad advice

Very often, traumatic birth experiences actually end with a healthy mom and a healthy baby. In a way, these are the hardest scenarios to deal with, however, because your friends and family won’t understand if you still feel the need to grieve and if you continue to struggle even after returning home from the hospital.

“Why would you be sad right now!? You have a healthy baby, and you’re fine! You're going to heal!"
Any woman in this situation knows that it’s simply not as easy as that. Whether you had to have an emergency C-section or your labor was prolonged for many days, this trauma can linger. If anyone tries to tell you that it's unfounded or that you should simply be grateful for what you have, don't feel you have to listen to them. Chances are, they’re speaking without experience and simply don’t understand.
Follow your own intuition because in almost all situations, it will be right. You deserve to devote attention to fixing the struggle you're having internally and to move toward a more positive state at your own pace.

3. Find out how best to comfort yourself

As you begin to grapple with the emotional and mental sides of recovery, remember that there are physical things you can do to calm your anxiety as well. Small acts of kindness toward yourself can make a huge difference to your mental state.

Here are some ideas:
  • Get some alone time. Ask for help from your partner, your family, or close friends. Let them watch your baby while you shop, get a manicure, or just go for a walk.
  • Take a relaxing CBD bath. Go to your local Denver dispensary and grab some bath CBD oils or salts. Dissolving these in your bath can have a positive anti-inflammatory effect and will help calm your body and spirit.
  • See professionals. If your back is bothering you, see a chiropractor. If you’re having pelvic floor problems, see your doctor. If you want to start working through your emotions, see a therapist. It’s worth it to seek professional help sooner rather than later.

4. Learn from your experience

Lastly, figure out how you can learn from the experience you had. When anything goes wrong in life, there are always lessons to learn, and the smartest people in the room will learn them. Everyone else will wallow in despair or pretend like it never happened.

So, what can you take away from the traumatic birth you experienced? If, for example, you feel that you were not assertive enough in the birthing room or did not plan enough for unlikely outcomes, maybe these are things you can plan to focus on more if you have another child. Perhaps you were surrounded by unsupportive people who didn’t understand your needs.

Even if you're done having children, there are lessons you can learn from a difficult birth. In the end, it is you who gets to decide your attitude and the next steps you will take to reclaim your life and your outlook as your own.

5 Tips For Exercising While Pregnant

Undoubtedly, routine exercise performed during pregnancy may lessen the chances of weight gain, make childbirth more manageable, and enhance the baby and mother's overall health. Working out may do good for a woman's physical and mental well-being and provide the baby an excellent start as well.  
In addition to this, women may experience various changes in their bodies. Hence, it's vital to be extra careful when exercising. To know more about the topic, this article will cover helpful tips for exercising while pregnant. 

What are the Advantages of Exercising While Pregnant?

Before discussing exercising tips, it’s best to know the benefits of exercising while pregnant. Medical experts explain that physical activities or exercise may result in a lower occurrence of the following cases during pregnancy:
  • Poor birth weight
  • Caesarean birth
  • Constipation
  • Preterm childbirth
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Hypertensive conditions like preeclampsia
  • Unnecessary weight gain
Also, exercise is an ideal means to: 
  • Lessen back pain
  • Minimize distress
  • Retain physical fitness
  • Handle signs of anxiety and depression
  • Help drop off the extra weight gained during pregnancy
Furthermore, physicians suggest some exercises may be good to execute for every trimester of the pregnancy to sustain the body throughout its changes. Having said that, here are exercise tips you may consider while pregnant.

1, Remember to Warm-Up & Cool Down

To ensure your blood circulation and heart is ready for exercise, plus lessen the risk of injury, it's optimal you perform warming-up activities. Also, cooling down, like relaxing for a few minutes or taking a walk to complete your exercise set, will help reduce instances of blood trapped in the muscle area.

Please note as well that some ligaments assisting your joints may soften during pregnancy. Hence, be careful when stretching. You may perform stretching; however, avoid exceeding your usual scope of motion. 

2. Refrain from Overheating When Exercising

Are you living in an area with warm weather? If working out outside is impossible because of the heat, consider exercising indoors. Look for gyms near your place so that you can work out comfortably with air conditioning. 

You can likewise opt for prenatal yoga classes or discover here exercise programs you can perform at home. Refrain from using steam rooms, hot tubs, saunas, or any amenities that can elevate your temperature. If you prefer long exercise sessions, it's best to do it in a room with air conditioning.

3. Don’t Forget to Hydrate

As you’ll be sweating during exercise, every half hour of your workout, drink, at least, a full cup of water to avoid dehydration. You can begin drinking water 30 to 45 minutes before you exercise and keep hydrating during and after your activity. 

4. Wear Comfortable Clothes
When exercising, remember to wear your most stretchable and breathable outfit. As much as possible, use a sports bra to support your breasts without any pressure from the garment. If your sneakers are uncomfortable to wear, replace them to avoid injuries. Some also prefer to wear compression leggings during a workout to mitigate conditions such as pain and swelling in some parts of the body.

5. Eat a Snack
Workout activities that last for 45 minutes or longer may result in low blood sugar. Thus, to avoid this condition, remember to eat a light snack before and after your exercise session. 

When Should You Stop Exercising?

In case you experience the following symptoms, immediately stop your workout and see your physician:
  • Intensified shortness of breath
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abrupt swelling in body parts such as face, ankles, or hands
  • Exhaustion or weakness
  • Nausea or light-headedness
  • Sudden pain in the pelvic, abdomen, or chest
  • Persistent contractions even after rest
  • Muscle cramps
  • Decrease in baby’s activity
  • Problem with walking
  • Amniotic fluid leak
Which Workouts Should You Avoid While Pregnant?

Finally, the following types of activities or exercises aren’t appropriate for pregnant women:
  • Sports activity that’s above approximately 8,000 feet altitude
  • Contact sports like judo or kickboxing
  • Scuba diving
  • Hot Pilates or hot yoga that may prompt overheating
  • Exercises that involve straining, such as heavy weightlifting
The above activities may induce extra risks like altitude sickness and accidents. Additionally, sports activities that may have higher chances of falling, such as cycling, skiing, and hockey, may not be fitting too.


Women and their babies significantly benefit when they remain physically engaged while pregnant. Adding exercise activities regularly in most of your days will be good for your muscles, core, and cardiovascular system. Not only that, exercise will be rewarding for your mental health.  

For this reason, you must be attentive to what your body is telling you and discontinue exercising if you experience pain or any uneasiness. Consult your healthcare provider if you have issues or questions about how you react to your exercise activity.  

Lastly, don't forget to request clearance from your physician if you haven't done regular exercise for a long time or may have medical conditions that may impact your exercise regimen.  


Documenting Your Pregnancy

Becoming pregnant is normally a cause for celebration, regardless of if this is your first or more. While you may not initially enjoy some aspects of pregnancy, such as the lack of drinking, morning sickness, and changes to your body, you might want to keep track of what happened for you to be able to look back on one day, especially if your child wants to know about their time inside their mom’s tummy. There are many ways that you can document this journey, depending on how creative you are, and how much time you want to put into crafting a physical representation of these memories. 

Photo Canvas

When you see your doctor for check-ups relating to your health and how your baby is developing, you may be given ultrasound images to take home. You may have a number of these, depending on the number of scans you have for the duration of your pregnancy. While these pictures could be framed and hung as they are, you might also want to consider the use of a canvas print from Custtom to give the images more of a modern feel. This also means that you could put the original images into a keepsake box, safe away from any dust or damage, and have a high quality copy decorating the walls in your home. 


Many expectant mothers like to write in a journal, either on a daily or weekly basis, to document how their pregnancy is progressing, as well as any emotions they might be feeling. You could even use this as a means of jotting down any potential names that you and your partner come up with, as well as to make a list of everything you need for both your hospital bag and to have when your baby comes home. This can be something that is interesting for you to look back on as your child grows, as well as for them to read to see what the first starts to their creation was like.

Home Videos

If you have access to a high quality camcorder you could take videos showing daily living as your pregnancy progresses - or you could even record update videos via your smartphone. This will allow you to see how your body changes, and let your child have something to view when they get a little bit older, to see how their parents used to look. Depending on the hospital you use, as well as the circumstances of your labor, you may also be able to get your partner, or another family member, to take a video of the birth itself. This might be something that you only keep for your own viewing, but your child may also express an interest once they reach adulthood.

Keeping notes and pictures in relation to your pregnancy can help you to look back on the time fondly. Creating another life is something that is incredible, and should be celebrated as much as possible. In addition to this, it can be easy to forget a lot of the pregnancy details once your baby arrives, so this way you can keep those memories alive.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises will help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These exercises are common for pregnant women or women who have given birth as these muscles come under a lot of strain. However, all women can benefit from pelvic floor exercises. If your pelvic floor has been negatively impacted due to malpractice during childbirth, then you should speak to a medical malpractice lawyer.
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The pelvic floor is made up of layers of muscles that stretch from the pubic bone to the end of the backbone. When they are weak, you may leak urine, known as stress incontinence. It is very common, especially after childbirth. Luckily you can strengthen these muscles again. You can also perform these exercises before you give birth, as it will aid your healing
process after birth. 

If you have any concerns about your pelvic floor, then you should speak to your doctor.

Top-tips to keep your pelvic floor strong

  • Don't go to the toilet if you don't need to, as this will train your bladder to need to urinate more often. 
  • Try to empty your bladder whenever you do go to the toilet. 
  • Avoid constipation by consuming lots of fiber and drinking water.
  • When going to the toilet, lean forward so that your knees are higher than your hips. You may want a step to put your feet on. 
  • When urinating, relax your pelvic floor and avoid pushing too hard. 

It is good to get in the habit of doing pelvic floor exercises. However, you should take care when doing them as if you do them wrong, you could be doing more harm then good. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. You can also watch this video for more guidance.

  • Take a comfortable seat and lean slightly forward but keep your back straight. 
  • Squeeze and lift your muscles as if you are holding in during urination.
  • Hold the squeeze and count to 8 seconds, then relax for 8 seconds. Don't worry if you can't make it to 8 seconds, just do it for as long as is comfortable. 
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times. 
  • Keep breathing as you exercise and try not to tighten the muscles in your bum. 

Overactive pelvic floor
Some women suffer from an overactive pelvic floor, which means that you are always contracting the muscles and don't realize it. This can be caused by tension after pain or damage. This can make sex, using tampons and going to the toilet painful. It can also cause stress incontinence. If this sounds like you, then you should speak to a doctor.

If you have an overactive pelvic floor, then exercises will still help you. However, you should adjust them slightly to focus on the relaxation part. After tightening, make sure you have relaxed entirely and stay there for longer then you squeezed, around 10 seconds.

Creating a habit
In order to remember to do your pelvic floor exercises, you need to form a habit. The best way to do this is to do it at the same time you do something else. For example:

  • After going to the toilet.
  • After you wash your hands.
  • After feeding your baby.
  • When standing in line at a supermarket.

Should You Wear Compression Leggings During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a challenging period for a woman as her body undergoes changes she may or may not expect. Swelling and pain in the legs and varicose veins are some of the common conditions that pregnant women come across. Wearing compression leggings is a good idea to mitigate these symptoms and enjoy this wonderful period to the fullest. However, whether you are a first-time would-be mommy or have already been pregnant before, you would have a few questions about this popular maternity garment. Obviously, you would want to know whether it is safe to wear them and when you can start wearing them. Let us answer explain the benefits of compression socks during pregnancy.
Photo by from Pexels
Compression leggings keep your legs healthy

Your body changes through the three trimesters of pregnancy, growing gradually as the baby becomes bigger. The pressure on the legs and veins increases as you gain weight with the progression of pregnancy. So the second trimester is the ideal time to start wearing compression stockings as noticeable signs of blood stagnation may start appearing as early as the fourth month into pregnancy. Subsequently, you may experience constant fatigue, visible swelling in the lower legs and ankles and even pulling sensations in the calf area. Regular use of compression socks can prevent these signs from aggravating and leading to varicose veins.

Know when and how to wear compression leggings

Experts recommend that pregnant women should wear this garment first thing in the morning, even before stepping out of the bed and take them off only when they retire for the night. Obviously, you will have to take them off while showering and swimming but wearing them through the day can keep problems such as edema at bay. Avoid taking the leggings off and wearing them back time and again because your legs tend to get swollen once you take them off and you will probably not get a good fit. Why compromise with the comfort with a good fit only, when you can buy Best Maternity Compression Leggings that always fit perfectly and offer ample support for all-day wear during pregnancy? For women approaching the end of pregnancy, it is best to seek the help of your partner or family member to wear the leggings as it may get increasingly difficult to wear them on your own.

Wear them if you have to stand or sit for prolonged periods

Though maternity compression leggings are beneficial for all pregnant women, they are all the more essential for the ones who need to stand or sit for prolonged periods. Whether you lead a sedentary lifestyle or spend most of your time on your feet, you must absolutely invest in this garment. If you plan to travel long distances during pregnancy, don’t miss wearing compression leggings because you will have to sit for hours during the journey. Sitting for long hours increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, which is the last thing you would want to happen during pregnancy.

Now that you probably have answers to all your questions related to wearing maternity compression leggings during pregnancy, it is time to buy a pair or two. Quality leggings will definitely keep you comfortable and your legs healthy as you cruise through this amazing journey.

First Trimester Pregnancy – The Dual Marker Test, Ultrasounds and Blood Screening

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Maternal health during pregnancy is vital to the health of the baby, and there seems to be an endless sea of tests to be undertaken during any pregnancy. If you are an older mother, particularly a first time mother over the age of 35, have any pre-existing health concerns, or have any known health or genetic issues that run in the family, you will likely find that you get poked and prodded by expert maternity healthcare specialists more often that you could ever have imagined.  

There are regular urine tests looking for protein markers and signs of the ever common urinary tract infection, blood tests that monitor your iron levels, the hideous glucose test that generally induces nausea, takes hours, but can tell if you are going to be at risk of developing gestational diabetes, and there is also the double marker test in pregnancy which can alert you early on to whether you run the risk of having a baby with serious chromosomal abnormalities – if you get the right dual marker test you can also be screened for pre-eclampsia.

First Trimester Testing

Generally, the very first test a pregnant woman undertakes is her pregnancy test, but once that comes back positive there is a barrage of tests – all to ensure the health of both mother and baby.

Ultrasound Scans and Testing

In the first trimester (from the first day of your last period through to 12 weeks after this), you will normally have a ‘dating’ scan. This is an ultrasound to confirm how pregnant you are and to give you an estimated delivery date.  This will also tell you how many babies you have growing in your uterus and confirm the position of the baby and placenta. This is not done before 6 weeks, as the fetus is too small to see.
From around 11 weeks you will be able to have a Nuchal Translucency scan (often the two scans done at the same time, but you can have a dating scan earlier). In this scan, the sonographer will measure the fluid-filled space at the back of the baby’s neck, although they will not usually interpret the results for you. The nuchal translucency scan is done as a way of checking the likelihood of the baby having a chromosomal abnormality. These can range from a more common Down syndrome which has a high survival rate, to trisomy 13 or 18 which has a very high mortality rate (and will often be an indicator for likely miscarriage).
You won’t be able to find out the sex of your baby until an anatomy scan in your second trimester (normally after 18 weeks). This will also be able to tell you, and your doctor, if there are any concerns about the way the baby’s organs and body are developing. Because this is technically about the baby’s anatomy, you may need to specifically ask your sonographer to check what the sex is (although it is not at all uncommon for baby’s to position themselves in a way that hides their genitals, denying parents an early indicator).  
An ultrasound is considered to be non-evasive (you have hopefully warm, gel placed on your belly, and the wand is run over your belly creating an x-ray like image from ultrasound waves bouncing back to the wand), and there have been no known negative effects on baby or mother, however it is still should not be used by anyone untrained, and having more than needed is not recommended.

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Blood Testing

You are unlikely to need to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test, but this can be done as part of your routine first trimester blood workup. However, your first routine blood test will confirm your blood type and Rh factor. This is important because if your blood type is Rh negative and the father of the baby has an Rh-positive blood type, your body may develop a condition in this pregnancy or future pregnancies where the mother's body sees the baby as a foreign body to be fought off (see here for more information).
You will also be tested for anemia, as low red blood count is not uncommon in pregnancy, and amongst the serious health concerns can also increase first trimester fatigue and nausea symptoms. A standard blood test will also scan for hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV, as these are all transferable to the baby.
Another testing you may consider can include your immunity to rubella and chickenpox, cystic fibrosis, thyroid conditions, fragile X syndrome, hepatitis C, and a range of other conditions. However, most people will only include these for testing if there is a confirmed risk through exposure or family history.

Dual Marker Testing

This is technically a blood test, however, the results of the double market test (or double marker + PLGF) will often be used in conjunction with the first trimester ultrasound where the mother gets her Nuchal Translucency scan to make any recommendations.
The Dual marker test is looking for the presence and levels of the hormones Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (Beta hCG) and Pregnancy Associated Plasma Protein (PAPP-A) in the mother's blood (research is available here).
If the results of these test indicate that there is a high risk of the baby having a chromosomal abnormality then the mother can weigh up the risks of getting a diagnostic test. Normally these are either the amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, both of which are more invasive than the blood test and to create a level of risk to the baby and the pregnancy.
Additional testing that includes detection of the PLGS is helpful in detecting the risk of pre-eclampsia in the first trimester.  Although there is no cure for pre-eclampsia, early detection can mean that healthcare professionals can assess the risk levels and provide a cause of action that can help keep both mother and baby as safe as possible throughout the pregnancy. This may be as simple as recommending that you sleep only on your left side, or may require medication, bedrest or even hospitalization.
What’s more, additional testing can help doctors detect other health issues in the expecting mother, such as vaginal infections, which can significantly up the risk of serious disability like cerebral palsy in the developing baby. Just like pre-eclampsia, cerebral palsy doesn’t have an official cure, but careful monitoring of the mother and the right medical help during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk in the child.

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Non-Maternity Clothes for Pregnancy

You’ve found out that you are pregnant, and you can’t wait to show off your belly proudly. But, what to do when most of your clothes don’t fit anymore, and you wanted to wear them so much? Fashion for pregnant women has become very extensive, and that is the reason why it costs so much. However, there are some smart hacks you can use to be able to wear non-maternity clothes during pregnancy.

Pants for a casual day outfit

Your old jeans will probably become too tight and you won’t be able to wear them over your belly because they have zips and buttons. What you can wear are wide leg pants. They are super cozy, and will definitely be comfortable for your belly. You can wear them as a casual day outfit, or even as a work outfit if you are still working during some months of your pregnancy. When choosing high-waisted pants, make sure they go above your belly, so that you can wear shirts tucked in. If you choose low-rise pants, then opt for a loose shirt.

Another good idea of incorporating pants into your maternity clothes is to wear suspender jeans. In recent years they are no longer considered exclusively maternity clothes, and everyone wears them. You can use the trend of loose, mom jeans and wear them with a simple white shirt and white sneakers. You will look cute, while still being comfortable. You can even wear the jeans you already have, and if they don’t fit anymore, do a simple sewing repair and add a few inches of material on the sides.

Leggings for when you have errands to run 

The most comfortable item you can wear during pregnancy are leggings. They don't have to be a fitness outfit; instead, you can wear them when you have a doctor's appointment or some other errands to run. Today, numerous designs are available, so you don’t have to wear classic fitness ones. Basic, mono-colored and a simple loose T-shirt is all that you need. The good thing about leggings is that they can expand as your belly grows, so maybe you can even use the ones that you already have. Some casual day time leggings you can even wear with a tunic which goes down to your knees. Another interesting option to try is jeans leggings that you can style like any other regular jeans.

Dresses as formal wear during pregnancy

A lot of the times, you have a special occasion you need to attend during pregnancy. Whether it is an engagement, birthday, or a wedding, here are some tips on what to wear. There is no point, of course, in hiding your belly, which is why it is a good idea to do the exact opposite. Bodycon dresses made from a cotton-spandex blend or polyester are a perfect choice. For a wedding, you can wear a long bodycon dress that goes below your knees. You will look elegant, trendy and also be able to move since the material is stretchy.

A good idea to wear non-maternity clothes for pregnancy is to get empire waist dresses, either maxi or midi. They will not feel tight on your belly, instead, they will allow a lot of movement. If you have trouble finding the right style or you need ideas, great online clothes shops offer many cute designs, especially floral for summer. You can also choose a design to fit your style and order it online for those days when you don’t feel like going out. Straps or ruffles, just pick according to the occasion and you will look stunning.

Since maternity clothing can be quite expensive, look into some other options of wearing your regular clothes during pregnancy. Hopefully, these tips will give you an idea of what you can wear for different occasions so that you don't have to give up your favorite items of clothing.

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How to Avoid Postpartum Depression

Having a baby can be one of the best experiences that you will have in life. The problem with pregnancy, however, is that it eventually ends when you have your baby. This shouldn’t be a problem when you are then presented with a baby to look after, but sadly all over the world, mothers experience postpartum depression. This type of depression is a very serious illness, and understanding the signs is very important. In this article, we are going to go through some of the ways that you can help yourself to avoid postpartum depression so keep reading if you’d like to find out more.
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Get Some Exercise

One of the best things that you can do when you are going through your postpartum period is to get some exercise. Although you will be busy with a newborn, you’ll benefit from taking a short walk each day or doing something which requires you to lift your energy levels a little. You’ll find that your mood will slightly improve as you achieve these goals.

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Stay Healthy

We all know that sleeping properly can be very difficult when you have a newborn baby but if you are able to get a reasonable amount of sleep then you’ll likely feel a lot better about yourself. You should also make sure to keep up a healthy diet to avoid spiraling into a depressive state. If you can, take a break and cook yourself or your partner a nice meal while they look after the baby.

Talk to Someone

If you think that you are beginning to show signs of postpartum depression, you need to make sure that you talk to someone. Ignoring the problem can only make it worse so try your best to talk to a friend, a parent or a partner. If none of these things are working, try talking to an online therapist. Websites like AskaCoach offer great therapists that specialize in depression that can help you through this hard time.

Focus on Yourself

You need to focus on your baby and looking after it, but you should also make sure to spend some time focusing on yourself. If you can avoid it, don’t do anything that will take your attention away from recovering from childbirth. This involves making big life decisions such as moving house or getting yourself a new job. Focus on your family and what you need to do, and don’t let yourself get stressed out by other aspects of your life that can wait.


Our final tip for preventing postpartum depression is to do your research. You should make sure that you know everything about this illness so that you can identify when you are starting to feel a bit down or depressed. There are plenty of resources that will help you to identify the signs and might even help you to understand when a friend is going through this illness.

Although these tips might not stop postpartum depression completely, they might be able to help along the way.
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Choosing to Have Hope - Make Frozen Donor Eggs Your Fertility Alternative

Life doesn’t always work out the way we think it will. Sometimes, even the most perfectly laid plans go awry. If you dream about having a big family, maybe with a black lab and leisurely weekend breakfasts on the porch with the little ones running around, you may feel like your dreams have been shattered after several rounds of unsuccessful IVF.
But don’t give up hope-- remember what your grandmother used to say? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. With major advances in donor egg IVF treatment, now you don’t have to give up on your dream of working on the Sunday crossword while nursing your infant, and all the other little pleasures that come from being a Mom.

Moving Forward

Whether you’ve already experienced a successful pregnancy or are trying for your first, some couples never find out the reasons behind their negative pregnancy tests, for others the facts can be cold, hard, and inescapable. Those three little words, “no longer viable,” can be devastating for any woman to hear. For many couples, deciding to use a donor egg is one of the toughest decisions they will ever have to make – but it can also be one of the most rewarding.

You and your partner may find it helpful to speak to a therapist or counsellor when weighing up your fertility alternatives, as the psychological impact of using a donor egg needs to be fully understood by both parties. This can be a testing time in your relationship.

Coming to terms with the fact that your child won’t share your DNA can be hard, but knowing that you’ll experience the joy of carrying your own baby and feeling her kick and hiccup inside of you is still a real possibility.

Using Frozen Donor Eggs

If you and your partner are seriously considering your fertility options, then using frozen donor eggs may be something for you to look into, as there are numerous benefits of this technology. If the high price (typically between $35,000-50,000 per cycle) of using fresh donor eggs is an issue, the good news is that a frozen donor egg cycle generally costs around half as much, and some companies also offer flexible financing plans.

Frozen donor eggs are also much more convenient for women who work or lead demanding lifestyles. With traditional fresh eggs, the donor’s cycle has to be synched to your own, which can mean lengthy delays and high amounts of medication. When using frozen donor eggs, any potential complexities have already been taken care of, and cycle synchronization is no longer an issue. You can start embryo transfer as soon as your schedule is open and your uterus is ready.

You’ll also have access to a national donor pool, which means you’ll have a greater selection of nationwide samples from different ethnicities to choose from, and you won’t be restricted to finding a donor locally available.

But Are Frozen Eggs Successful?

If you’ve done your research, then you’ve probably read that success rates are still slightly higher when using fresh donor eggs; that’s partly because fewer studies have been conducted regarding frozen donor egg fertility treatment. There have been major breakthroughs in vitrification (egg freezing) over the last few years.

Vitrification is a flash freezing process that minimizes the risk of ice crystals forming in the eggs, which was a major problem with previous slow-freeze methods. This latest technology, combined with overall improvements in thawing protocols, means that your chances of success with frozen donor eggs are now higher than ever before. So, now you can choose to have hope by making frozen donor eggs your fertility choice.

This guest post was provided by Heidi Hayes, CEO of Donor Egg Bank, USA

Not Done This Before? Here's What You Need For Your Baby Nursery

Pregnancy can be the most incredible experience of your life. Or it might be your worst! Either way, you will soon have a beautiful little person to adore and nurture. The nesting phase of pregnancy turns up at different times for everyone. But when you feel that urge to get up and knock together some flat-packed furniture, you’ll know you’re there. So what does a newborn baby actually need for their bedroom or nursery? Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider:

A newborn baby can sleep almost anywhere that is same, warm, and enclosed to prevent falling. Some cultures choose a box like a drawer. Others offer their babies the floor with a cushion nest. You may be rushing out to buy a big cot. Perhaps it converts overtime to become a toddler bed. Consider also getting a Moses basket and a rocking frame. These are really portable so you can move your sleeping baby around the house with you. Best of all, they can be placed next to your bed, so you don’t have to get up to give him a feed in the night.
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All you really need is a wipe-down mat to pop the baby on while you clean him up and dress him again. But after a caesarean or a particularly painful birth, getting down on your knees on the floor is no fun. Instead, try a baby changing station. This is a cabinet on lockable casters that can be moved around the nursery as you need. The top of it is the right size and shape for your changing mat to sit upon. Then you can change your baby without needing to kneel or bend over. Inside the cabinet is ample storage for nappies, sacks, wipes, and powder. 
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Breastfeeding is not easy for you and bubba to master. Nor does it feel natural for many women. The important thing to do is to get yourself comfortable. When your tummy has gone, you’ll find you need to lift the baby up to your chest. And if your baby struggles to feed, you could be there for over an hour seven or eight times a day. You can try a baby sling, or a nursing pillow to leave your arms free for caressing your bubba, or changing the channel on the TV! Make sure you have a comfortable seat. You might enjoy a recliner so you can put your feet up. Why not get a rocker so you can soothe little one to sleep?

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All babies, toddlers, and children need plenty of toys. They help your baby to learn more about taste, touch, smell, sound, and everything else in the world around them. Some will be used as comforters. Others will be used as amusing ways to wind you up! But all of them will be of value to your child’s physical, emotional and mental development. You might start with a comforter teddy bear and a cot mobile.

Having a baby will keep you busy for years. It’s important to get the nursery ready ahead of the birth for your own comfort and peace of mind. Get some help with the heavy bits, though!

Belli Skin Care Products Review

I received product samples in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own as always. 
Belli skin and body care products are made especially for pregnant women or those planning pregnancy. This is why Belli is "Picky for a purpose". Doesn't every mom-to-be deserve the absolute best? Although I am not pregnant or plan on having any more children, I still treat my body well. Skin care is very important to me.  
I have been using Belli Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub and Anti-Blemish Facial Wash for two weeks now. The scrub is really gentle on my face and I really like the subtle peppermint scent it has. It's very refreshing. After rinsing the scrub off, I cleanse with the Anti-Blemish Facial Wash. Although the tube says green tea and cucumber, I smelled fresh lemon. I checked out the ingredients list and it contains lemon peel oil. That made me wonder if this facial wash would be drying. It turns out that it cleaned my skin and left it feeling soft and smooth. I swear my skin glows after using it.
I am really very pleased with both products and plan to purchase the moisturizer to complete my skin care regimen. I highly recommend these products to anyone looking for gentle cleansing that is very effective. Whether you are an expectant mother or not, these products are excellent. They would make a great gift too. 

Connect with Belli on their website, Facebook and Twitter to get more information on their products. 

Do you really need money to have kids?

I have been chatting with friends online as well as over the phone lately and there seems to be this one topic that keeps popping up~ Finances and having babies. It appears the majority of people felt that you should be financially stable, have a house, vehicles, credit cards etc... before considering having children. I don't agree with that. I think that the number one thing you can give a child is unconditional love. Once you do that, the rest falls into place.

I am so glad I had the girls while we were young. Although we struggled financially, they never went without all the necessities. Our girls are so appreciative of anything you give them and have become very wise spenders. They are loving and compassionate individuals. William on the other hand has it all and then some. I still make sure to work just as hard to teach him all of the life lessons that we did with the girls. Now I also know some parents (ages 35+) that waited until they bought their house, acquired a cushy bank account and landed the job/career they desired. Guess what? 85% of them wished they had their babies when they were in their 20's. I have heard this from so many people I know!

My point is that babies need minimal "stuff" and a whole lot of love. I am not saying to be irresponsible and just have babies for the heck of it. Life has a way of working out no matter what your financial position might be.

What are your thoughts?
Shelly, Mom Files

PRESENTING- William Anthony Ismail


Baby Journey ...

Early in the morning arriving at the hospital.

Sheliza ready to have her baby

William fresh
into the world!

Hey it's cold
out here !

It's a family affair

Everyone was gathered around the nursery window to get their first glimpse of William

(From left to right) Aunty Saudia, Sister Chardonnay, Grandpa Johnnie, Sister Briahnna, and Grandma Joanna.

Grandma looking at William and Shelly

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