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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Sex After Baby

sex after babyCue bad (like, really bad!) 90’s dancing.

Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be….

And by this, we mean let’s talk specifically about sex AFTER baby. The good, the bad and the plain ol’ feeling ugly.

How long did you wait? Or for those currently pregnant, how long do you think you will wait after birth to have sex….?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a test. While most healthcare advisors recommend somewhere in the range of four weeks to six months postpartum, it’s not concrete. In truth, it might be earlier, or it might be a lot longer – it all depends on when you feel ready. Both physically and mentally.

When it comes to sex, the majority of us will opt to use humor to talk about it. Because it’s not easy to talk about sex seriously is it? We blush. We avoid. We conceal. We hold back.

Well not today!

We’re going to say what we’ve all thought or have been thinking- and say it out loud. THINKING ABOUT SEX AFTER HAVING A BABY CAN BE SCARY!

Post birth, while you KNOW your body is amazing, you also don’t really KNOW your body anymore. Not only does it feel different and look different, there’s that fear that anything ‘down there’ is reeeeally going to HURT! Let’s be honest, we’re still a little traumatized from the first bowel movement fears after birth, let alone thinking about letting anything in! And for those who experienced tearing and stitches, the anxiety about sex pains can be further heightened. Ladies – we hear you! All of you.

The truth is, it may well feel a little awkward and uncomfortable at first – one of the reasons is your estrogen levels drop right down after birth and remain low while nursing – this can lead to vaginal dryness. So first’s things first, don’t go in expecting perfection – ideally go in after a small glass of wine, loaded with giggles and lots of lubrication! Tell your partner about your fears– let him know that you are worried about discomfort, so that you can set the right pace for you.

Of course all of the above assumes that you are both ready and raring to give it a go. Many take longer to get to this point and that’s ok too. Did you know that the oxytocin that is released when you are nursing suppresses your libido? There’s that, and then there is the lack of sleep, the diapers, the nursing, the stretchmarks you are so paranoid about…. it can all culminate to a very unsexy cocktail called ‘Not tonight Sweetheart!’! This cocktail far from puts you in the mood.

If this is how you feel right now, then big hugs from us. Please believe us, this too shall pass. Just like you feel you may never sleep again, be able to 100% focus again, or get in to those old jeans again – eventually you do! You WILL have good sex again – it just takes time, patience and honesty with your partner. Keep him emotionally and physically updated to ensure he doesn’t just feel plain old rejected.  You WIILL find your confidence again. In fact, to end on a high, many moms actually say that they enjoy sex MORE after kids. Perhaps they feel more empowered by their bodies. Perhaps birth awakened something in their bodies. Perhaps it’s all the fun quickies that you have to weave in to your parenting routine, (because you have to take the moments when you can, and if it’s 1:20 in the afternoon, then so be it!). Whatever it is, know that post birth you will be desirable, you will be desired and you WILL feel your own desires return. Be patient with yourself, and most of all, be kind to yourself!

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Postpartum Depression Awareness Month

lactation-consultant-san-diegoMay is Postpartum Depression Awareness Month. Year after year we are seeing more and more brave mothers come forward to talk about their depression experiences – and long may it continue. Postpartum depression comes in all shapes and sizes, with no age, race or social class bias, and it’s so important for society to truly understand how far and wide this mental issue spreads.

One of the most powerful articles about postpartum depression that we’ve come across  is this one. Katherine Stone, founder and author of Postpartum Progress, asked her community of depression and anxiety survivors, to share a photo of themselves that could be captioned by filling in the following sentence:

“When this picture was taken, I was suffering from ______________. You can’t tell by looking, but I felt / was going through _____________.”

The responses were incredible, revealing just how well postpartum depression can be hidden, and stay undetected by friends and family. One mom said:

“I told no one. And all everyone said was how great I looked.”

The pictures Katherine received showed smiling moms snuggling with their babies – just one of the many types of pictures you see splattered across social media daily. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, and they should also say ‘don’t judge a photo by a smile.’ Behind the biggest of smiles can hide the most heartbreaking of struggles. Another mom posted:

“When this picture was taken, I was suffering severe depression. You can’t tell by looking, but I had to force myself to leave the house, was crying all the time, and hated being a mom.”

Just like there is no one type of sufferer, there is no one type of symptom when it comes to postpartum depression. It’s important for moms, both first timers and seasoned moms, to know this. Having a baby, be it your first or fifth, can involve a difficult and confusing postpartum transition for many women.

A safe, non-judgmental outlet for moms to discuss this issue, whether they are suffering or not, can be so helpful and inspiring. To support postpartum depression month, our Blooming Mamas postpartum group with Rachel Davis, MFT will be free of charge throughout May (Thursdays at 1 pm).

Some believe it takes a village to raise a child. We believe that it can also take a village to help raise a mom up. The village mustn’t ever forget to look after mom, too.

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BabyFest 2017

Our 2017 expo is over and our hearts are full!

The venue this year was on Babies in Bloom’s very own doorstep, with over 50 tents and booths lining our sun drenched street. We can’t tell you what it meant to us to peek out of the window at 9.30 AM and already see a long line of glowing mamas-to-be, their partners and other excited family members waiting to get in.

To all our visitors: thank you for letting us be part of your growing family’s exciting journey.

And to our wonderful exhibitors: thank you for all the support, wisdom, reassurance and encouragement you shared with our guests.

Together, we formed quite a village at BabyFest 2017. A place where no question was too foolish, no fear went unheard and where judgement simply wasn’t tolerated. Because we know that no two families are the same – each will tell their own beautiful story in their own special way.

For those that couldn’t make BabyFest this year, you can still visit some of our booths virtually!  Check out our BabyFest 2017 Facebook event page. A roaming camera at the event filmed live action at booths to give those at home a sneak peak of some of the wonderful products and services showcasing at the event.

We also dare you not to smile when you see the Groovaroo impromptu flashmob dance that took place on the street. It’s AWESOME! Check out the baby snuggling dance moves here  – plus take a look at the new Baby TULA ‘Free to Grow’ carriers being used (usable from 0+ – 4 years!). Groovaroo classes are hosted regularly at the boutique – check out our events calendar for more info.

For many, the expert talks are always an expo highlight. This year, we had certified babywearing educators showcasing the different types of baby carriers out there in the market, as well as Jennifer Aprea from Spray Pal answering all sorts of questions about cloth diapering. Our car seat safety expert Katie, was also on hand to explain the latest laws to parents and help them choose the right seat for their family.

‘Meet the Midwives’ is also an annual favorite. These local midwives couldn’t love their job any more and have delivered thousands of beautiful babies between them. They know more than anyone that how you birth matters and are committed to delivering a personalized experience to each and every family to help them have the birth they have always dreamed of.

If you missed the talks, don’t worry! The boutique regularly hosts classes and workshops on these topics and much, much more – from lactation and hypnobirthing to first aid and sleep coaching. You can also book car one-on-one seat safety checks with Katie via the boutique – free if you purchase a seat from Babies in Bloom. Again, just visit our events calendar page for more details.

So, while we’re sorry you couldn’t all make it down to BabyFest 2017, it’s never too late to join the Babies in Bloom family. Our doors are always open – hope to see you soon!

 

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