The Second Trimester

The second trimester is just the BEST! And for a number of reasons:

  • That daily dose of nausea that plagued you throughout the first trimester starts to fade (though sadly, not for everyone)
  • Your energy levels should start to rise – hello, old you, welcome back!
  • You can finally let the cat out of the bag (if you haven’t already) and share your happy news in some ridiculously adorable or creative way
  • You get a legit cute bump now – you no longer have to feel and look a little extra chubby.
  • OMG! You can find out the sex of your little bean! (if you want to know that is…)
  • AND you will start to feel little flutters or ‘quickening’ and then full on kicks in T2, – perhaps any day now – AKA, the best and weirdest feeling in the world!

See, there’s a LOT to love in Weeks 13-27 of your pregnancy. It’s no wonder they call it the ‘Honeymoon Period.’

BUT, with the cute comes the new… and by new we mean, even MORE body changes and a whole new batch of symptoms:

Belly & Back Aches – a result of your growing uterus and the extra weight you are carrying around, many women experience abdominal ‘stretching’ aches and back pains in the second trimester. You can help ease the pressure by sleeping with a pillow tucked between your legs, wearing low-heeled and all-too sensible shoes with good arch support, and our favorite – a MASSAGE! Ask your partner to gently rub the sore spots, or better still, treat yourself to a pregnancy massage.

Skin Changes – With your stretching aches can come stretch marks. Though not always, we’ve seen plenty of full term bellies without them. While you definitely start to see and feel that pregnant glow in T2, an increase in melanin can also cause brown marks on the face, known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ as well as a ‘linea nigra’ – a dark line down the middle of the abdomen. If you do get any of these, then don’t worry, wear them with pride (your body is INCREDIBLE!). Most markings will fade after birth. In the meantime, just remember to use a good sunscreen – your skin is more sensitive to the sun while pregnant!

Breathlessness – at this stage of pregnancy, it is not uncommon to feel out of breath when doing everyday tasks. Relax, it is perfectly normal  – it’s just getting a little crowded for your lungs inside! Take it as another reminder to start slowing down!

Strange Dreams – Just as your body is physically processing a lot right now, so is your mind! There is a lot to wrap your head around pre-birth – and more than likely, you have advice and opinions coming at you from all directions. This can lead to a few odd or anxious dreams.

Sex drive – Feeling a little friskier than usual now that your energy levels have returned? Well that’s because your body is in estrogen overdrive! Did you know that ovaries produce as much in a single day as a non-pregnant woman’s ovaries do in three years? WOW! There’s more than a few reports of multiple orgasm ‘firsts’ during this phase too, so ladies and gents, ENJOY!

Shrinking Bladder – or at least that’s how it feels. The more space your little one takes up, the less room and the more pee breaks we’re afraid. Basic math!

Appetite – You will most likely see a growth in your appetite during these weeks, but BORING KILLJOY ALERT, you’ll get reminded by most professionals that ‘eating for two’ is a myth. You only need about an extra 300-500 calories a day during the second trimester. Ironically, now your sickness has faded and you can stomach food again, you may find yourself experiencing heartburn. TYPICAL! This is because your digestion has slowed down and food is staying in your stomach for longer, triggering more acid. Baby then puts pressure on said stomach, increasing the chance of acid being pushed up in to the esophagus. Boooo! If it gets too unbearable, check in with your health care advisor to see what they recommend.

By the end of your second trimester, you’ll have around a 2lb little human in that ever expanding belly of yours. You’ll probably wonder at just how much bigger you are going to get. Well, just wait and see. The next 12 weeks are all completely different again, with new rules, symptoms and changes. But that’s children in a nutshell really, just when you think you are have mastered something, it all changes, there’s a new phase and something completely different to learn. Welcome to the never ending school of parenthood!

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The First Trimester

While you may not even be really showing all that much by the end of your first trimester, it’s absolutely incredible how much happens behind the scenes in those first 12 weeks. This is the time where your little one grows faster than at any other time of your pregnancy – from a little poppy seed at 4 weeks to a whole lime at 12 weeks! By the end of the first trimester, your little lime’s bones, muscles and organs have been formed and is even practicing swallowing. WOW!

With all this magic happening inside at super speed, it’s no wonder that the first trimester is so loaded with side effects and symptoms. It’s a physical and emotional learning curve for any mom – be it her first time or fifth, as every pregnancy is so different. For those planning a baby, or those in the early stages of pregnancy, here’s a quick overview of some of the most common symptoms to expect in that first trimester – starting from as little as six after conception.

Light Bleeding: While any sight of blood can be alarming, it’s thought that around 25% of pregnant women experience slight bleeding or spotting during their first trimester.  The most common cause of this is implantation bleeding – a sign that the fertilized embryo has implanted in the uterus. This usually occurs 6-12 days after conception, around the same time as your cycle, so many often mistake it for a lighter, regular period. Of course, for anything beyond light spotting, or pains in your abdomen, your health care provider should be consulted immediately.

Sore Breasts:  Boobs are extremely hormone sensitive and because of all the progesterone and hCG in your body after fertilization, your blood volume increases which makes your breasts swell. The good news is, this swelling normally fades after the first trimester as your body adapts to the changed hormone levels. Now’s a good time to start thinking about maternity bra shopping though – you’re gonna need a bigger bra!

Discharge: a thin, milk white discharge (or leukorrhea) is pretty common in the first trimester too. It’s annoying, but it’s completely normal. You can use panty liners (tampons are a no-no) to feel a little more comfortable, but if it changes color or becomes foul-smelling, it’s important you trust your mama bear instincts and contact your healthcare provider.

Extreme Fatigue: With so much growth and development in this trimester, your gears are running high. The wealth of progesterone in your body is thought to have a sedative effect and while blood volume is increased up to 50% to provide baby with blood, extra iron is needed to make baby’s blood cells. This iron is often taken from your supply, leaving you low – and therefore low on energy. Your doctor should give you a blood test during your first prenatal visit to check your iron levels – if you are too low, you can get a supplement.

Constipation: While that added iron supplement, might provide more energy, it can also be a cause of constipation in the first trimester.  That and the fact that your intestine muscles are working slower because of those darn progesterone levels. You might have to look in to upping your fiber intake – and don’t forget to drink extra fluids to keep things moving down there.

Morning sickness: Nausea and vomiting is thought to affect up to 85% of moms-to-be. TBH, we aren’t even sure why we still call it morning sickness, as we all know it can strike at any time. Hormones are again to blame – too much human chorionic gonadotropin in your system. Moms-to-be find themselves in the early weeks repelled by certain tastes and smells while hyper-craving others. Whatever it is, it can be rough! Some people swear by eating smaller meals during the day. Some people swear by ginger.  Some swear by B6 while some go completely unaffected. There are no rules here, just trial and error. Take it easy and keep reminding yourself that this will soon pass. For those that can stomach regular meals, remember in trimester one that you only need an extra 150 calories a day – the whole “eating for two thing” is more wishful thinking here!

Acne: Thanks once again to a hormones overload, your skin might also start to produce more oil which can lead to acne break outs. There’s no real way to avoid this unfortunately – just don’t fuel it by piling on oily moisturizers and make up and ALWAYS consult with your health care provider before using any medicated gels or lotions.

Acne? Vomit? Discharge? Constipation? First time mamas might be thinking ‘pregnant glow my big toe!!’ The first trimester is probably not what you imagined. And while it’s beyond exciting, the symptoms are more than likely also making it REALLY difficult to keep the baby news under wraps in those first 12 weeks. We know it’s hard mamas, but try to remember in one of your dark vomit fuelled hours that, YES your body is being put through the hormonal ringer right now, but all these symptoms are a great sign that baby is growing and doing well. Your body is doing an incredible job, just like you will when your little lime fully cooks and finally arrives.

 

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Taking Care of Tiny Teeth

Christmas may only feel like last week, but somehow we find ourselves hurtling towards February 2017.

February brings a lot to smile about however. Quite literally – it is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a month where thousands of dental professionals join together to educate and support both parents and teachers on oral health and hygiene.

The older children get, the more sugary temptations they face, and while there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, this year’s campaign asks parents to be mindful of the impact regular fruit juices and sodas can have on little teeth. The 2017 slogan is: “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile” – you can find lots of fun activities, coloring sheets and 2017 campaign posters for home or school here.

But enough of the bigger littles. Let’s talk about the little littles and how / when to start taking care of their tiny choppers.

While baby teeth aren’t forever teeth, their health, and the health of tiny gums, can impact future permanent teeth as they are important space holders for the ‘big’ teeth that are growing under the gums. A good set of teeth will also help an infant chew, speak and smile, so…..

START EARLY.

You can introduce oral hygiene practises even before the teeth come in. The American Dental Association suggests starting from as early as two days old. You can gently wipe the gums after feeding with a clean, moist gauze or washcloth.

When a tooth, or teeth, do eventually pop through (ouch!), start taking good care of them ASAP. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that: “Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.”

ASK YOUR DENTIST ABOUT FLOURIDE.

The right amount of fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel as teeth are forming. Let your dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your drinking water – he may suggest fluoride supplements. Both the ADA and the AAPD recommends that Baby get his first dental exam at age 1, or when his first tooth appears.

 

MAKE IT FUN.

Not all children will enjoy having their teeth cleaned. Some will despise it –especially if their gums are already sore from teething. Just be patient and be gentle! If old enough, try distracting them with a silly song, or just let them play with the brush to satisfy their curiosity. As they become more familiar with the tool, you might even find them sticking it in their mouths, all by themselves.

Like most things, if you start and support early enough, you will instil good dental habits for years to come!

We always stock a range of teething and dental hygiene products in our Boutique, so please, feel free to pop in for a visit and take a look around. Teething can be hard for both baby and parents – trust us, we’ve been there! We’re here to listen and help where we can.

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Preterm Birth Has Increased in the US

preterm birthNovember 17th is World Prematurity Day.

In fact, March of Dimes is working hard throughout the whole month of November to put premature birth in the spotlight, claiming it as Prematurity Awareness Month. We couldn’t be cheering more loudly for their wonderful work!

In a month that will see many national landmarks turned purple for the cause, March of Dimes kicked off their campaign with the 2016 Premature Birth Report Card, – a simple way of getting people talking about the problems, risk factors and ways in which we can reduce premature birth.

Unfortunately, the 2016 Report Card reveals that the nation’s preterm rate has worsened for the first time in eight years. While the US as a whole earned a “C” grade, California individually got a “B”. Washington, Oregon, Vermont and New Hampshire were the only states with an “A”.

“The March of Dimes research shows an unfair burden of premature birth among specific racial and ethnic groups as well as geographic areas,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes strives for a world where every baby has a fair chance, yet we see this is not the reality for many mothers and babies. Babies in this country have different chances of surviving and thriving simply based on the circumstances of their birth.”

Premature babies (born before 37 weeks) come with an increased chance of health issues, and may face long-term problems that affect the brain, lungs, hearing or vision. Throughout November, March of Dimes draw attention to these challenges, but also the lifesaving research, treatments and support out there for families. Let’s do our part this month and join the global movement – let’s keep the conversation and support going!

This recent Huff Post story of ‘Preemie Prince’, born at 25 weeks had us all ugly crying at Babies in Bloom – what a remarkable little man! Small but mighty. What wonderfully brave and proud parents! And what a little beacon of hope he is!

The fight, the support and the research in to prematurity must go on! Spread the word.

For the full 2016 March of Dimes Report, click here: http://www.marchofdimes.org/materials/premature-birth-report-card-united-states.pdf

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