Tag Archives: expecting moms

Health During Pregnancy - SmartMom

Health During Pregnancy: 9 Tips for Expectant Moms

Photo by Abi Porter from Babble

If you’re reading this, most likely you’re already or soon to be pregnant.  And if that’s the case, I’m pretty confident this isn’t the first post you’ve read about how to maintain optimal health during pregnancy.

Beyond that, I would imagine that you have had conversations with your medical professionals about how to maintain health during pregnancy for you and your unborn child.  Here we have a few “less traditional” pieces of advice for staying in great health during pregnancy.

Tune Out the Advice

Obviously, listen to your medical professional’s advice about how to keep your healthy during pregnancy strong, but beyond that, try to turn down the volume from outside observers.  These people do have the best intentions, but you are going through a significant event in your life and should therefore be treated as such: sacred.

Take a break from the parenting blogs (I realize the irony here), put down the pregnancy books and tell your mother-in-law that you have another call coming in.  No matter what, there will always be things you look back on and wish you had known, and that’s all part of the process. Just breathe.

Tune up Your Intuition

When I was pregnant with my son, I really tried to connect with my own inner sense of what felt good and what did not.  If I was feeling tired, I slept.  If I was feeling energetic, I went to the gym.  If I was hungry for a second bowl of cereal, I went for it.  Our bodies know how to do this, and if we listen, they will tell us what we need.

Walk

I exercised throughout my pregnancy, but the only physical activity that I would come to with joy on a daily basis was walking.  My husband and I took long walks with our dog every day and I have to admit these walks were not only great for our relationship, but also prepared me for the insane amount of walking I would do during labor as well as following the birth of our son (walking was one of the only reliable ways to get him to fall asleep).

Eat Nourishing Food

I definitely indulged when I was pregnant, but I never felt more convicted to eat for healthy during pregnancy. I was keenly aware that every bite I took would nourish my son, so I wanted to make sure it was worthy.   Eat fruits, and vegetables, and grains, and healthy fats.   Consider your eating habits during pregnancy your first opportunity to show your child what a healthy diet looks like.

Prioritize the Health of Your Relationship

I know the constant advice of “Go on a date because you will NEVER BE ALONE AGAIN” gets old, but putting some extra effort into your relationship prior to the addition of a child is important.   The most stressful and trying moments of my relationship with my husband came about at 3:00 in the morning over the screams of our son.   Had we not had the foundation of a healthy relationship to fall back on, I’m not sure we would have been able to weather that storm.

Stretch

I purchased a prenatal yoga video within minutes of finding out I was pregnant.   Now granted, prenatal yoga is VERY different when you are four weeks pregnant instead of 40 weeks, but there was nothing more blissful than gentle stretching towards the end of pregnancy.  Once again, listen to your intuition and only do the poses that feel good, but when they do, stick with them.   Spend hours in them if you like.

Rest

This is easier said than done, but whenever you can, grab some shut eye.   So much generative growth happens during sleep (I mean, babies sleep 90% of the day when they are newborns, and you see how fast they grow??), so allowing your body to sleep when it can not only helps you, but helps your baby’s growth and health during pregnancy.

If you can’t sleep in long stretches due to discomfort, do it in spurts.  Invest in a pregnancy pillow.   Create a space completely designated for restorative rest and spend as much time there as you can.  And if you fall asleep while watching movies, that’s okay too.

Hydrate

Once again, you probably already know this, but your body needs water.  Beyond the fact that it’s crucially important to keep hydrated for health during pregnancy, this sets the stage for healthy habits after the birth of your child.

If you choose to breastfeed after the baby is born, you need to doubly hydrate because your body is literally losing a large amount of liquid each feeding.  My doctor told me that with each feeding, I should drink 10 oz. of water to replace what I was losing and that this would help me have more patience with my husband/dog/cable guy etc.  It seriously worked.  I had no idea being dehydrated could have such an impact on my patience, but that was the best advice I’ve ever received.

Love

Love the baby.  Love your partner.  Love the world.  Love yourself.  The world is a scary place and sometimes the thought of bringing a baby into it can be terrifying.  One of the best ways to maintain your sanity and mental health is to practice gratitude and take time to express love to those around you.  It may not create peace in the Middle East (yet), but it will create a happier home for which to welcome your new child.   Above all, love.

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.

7 Superfoods - SmartMom

What are the Best Foods to Eat when Pregnant?

Photo by Louise Buma

During pregnancy, everyone is probably telling you, “you’re eating for two now!” If you find yourself hungry all the time, you want to be sure you’re filling yours and your baby’s tummy with good things — not simply satiating your junk-food cravings and late-night hunger. By your second trimester you should be consuming 300 extra calories each day. But what are the best foods to eat when pregnant?

Here are some ideas of what to keep on hand in your pantry and fridge throughout your pregnancy.  These super-healthy superfoods will keep you energetic and healthy while your baby grows and develops.

Beans

Inexpensive and easy to add to many different dishes, beans can become your best friend.  Before pregnancy you may have avoided eating meat for every meal, but you’ll quickly learn your body needs the extra protein.  Navy, pinto, black, and garbanzo beans (not to mention lentils) can be added to just about any salad, stir fry, soup, or pasta dish to add extra fiber, protein, iron, folate, calcium, and zinc.

Blueberries

Blueberries are delicious and available year round in any grocery’s frozen food section.  In fact, even while in season, freezing blueberries does not decrease their vitamin content and will ensure they don’t go bad before you can eat them all.  Add blueberries to your morning cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.  They provide healthy carbohydrates and are rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber, and phytonutriets – ‘plant’ or naturally occurring nutrients.

Eggs

One egg contains about 90 calories and contains more than 12 vitamins and minerals, not to mention their richness in protein.  And don’t get rid of the yolks – though they have a reputation for being high in cholesterol, they also contain vitamin D!

Sweet Potatoes

Another super-versatile super-food, sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and fiber.  They can be prepared in many different ways: eat them baked as a healthy french fry alternative, eat them mashed with a little brown sugar, or blend them into an autumn soup. See? Superfoods can be delicious!

Plain Greek Yogurt

Versatile and delicious, Greek yogurt is also high in protein, calcium, vitamin B, and Zinc.  Add non-fat Greek yogurt to just about everything.  Substitute it for sour cream in many dishes, such as soups, casseroles, sauces, or tacos.  Or, add to your cereal in the morning instead of milk.

Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, and swiss chard are all great sources of vitamin B, which can help prevent birth defects as well as vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and iron.  If you don’t eat salads regularly, try blending a handful of leafy greens into a smoothie.  With enough delicious frozen fruit mixed in, you won’t even be able to taste the healthy greens.

Lean Beef

When you’re pregnant, you want to get plenty of iron and protein.  Look for beef that is 95% fat free or higher.  Sirloin steak can also be a good choice, as it is high in protein, zinc and iron.

Even if you’re not pregnant – keeping your pantry and fridge stocked with these superfoods will guarantee a healthy, nutritious meal is always close at hand.

 

Check out our post on other ways to stay healthy while pregnant!

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.

New Mom Support Group - SmartMom

9 Ways SmartMom is the Best New Mom Support Group

Photo by Jenny Lewis

Community is the concept that came to mind over and over again while we were developing our SmartMom app. How could we build a community of moms that could help and support each other? Well, we think we’ve done it. Here are nine reasons that SmartMom is the best new mom support group. 

New Mom Support Group 0a

1. Ask questions. It’s easy. Just download the app, create a profile and start asking your mommy questions. Trouble breast feeding? Your child is a biter? You don’t know what that rash is on your little one’s foot? Everyone has them and now you can connect with other moms that have the answers.New Mom Support Group 1a

2. Answer questions. Maybe you are a wizard at getting your child to sleep at night, but solid foods are giving your little one fits. After you ask about eating, be sure to help out those who are sleepless. Your trick might solve someone else’s problem, and someone out there might know how to make strained peas yummy.

3. Form local play groups. Hey, there are moms online day and night to chat with, but sometimes you need to get out to the nearest park and get some sunshine. Live in Monroe, Michigan or Placerville, California? Reach out on SmartMom and see who might live in your town.

4. Form support groups. Does your child have a specific diagnosis? ADHD or acid reflux? Tethered spinal cord or William’s Syndrome? Having trouble finding others who are going through the same thing? Come on over. SmartMom can help you find others who know how you feel. Sometimes that can make all the difference – chatting with someone (online or offline) who understands your daily challenges.New Mom Support Group 2

5. Activity. There are over 500 questions and answers posted to SmartMom every day. You can see who liked your answers on the Activity tab and you can follow certain questions or just see whose question hasn’t been answered yet. There are all sorts of ways to interact with individuals on SmartMom.

6. Followers/Likes. Your questions and answers really count. Not only do they help other moms, but you can develop followers and earn points for other moms liking your questions or answers. These points can go toward contests or other promotions.New Mom Support Group 4

7. Contests. New moms (all moms) need stuff! Come see our contests and win a diaper bag or a shopping spree at Old Navy. Things change quickly, so check back often and win some clothes or baby gear.

8. Blog. Still need some advice? Our SmartMom blog regularly tackles topics like play date etiquette, table manners and great holiday foods for toddlers, among many other things. Our group of experienced moms could answer a question you didn’t even know you had yet.

9. Twitter. Need more SmartMom? Join us on Twitter. Our community manager welcomes all followers and tweets out new blog posts, interesting links and generally great information for new moms. Did you read the latest article in the New York Times about importance of reading to babies? We did, and now you can, too.

So download SmartMom and start sharing your wisdom, get answers for the things that drive you crazy, post your triumphs and let us all “ooh and ahh” over pictures of your little ones. We are waiting for you.

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.

What to Pack for the Hospital - SmartMom

What to Pack for the Hospital

Photo by Eden Frangipane

One of the first things that you’ll learn as a mom is that you need to be prepared for everything. Along with planning your baby registry, organizing and stocking your nursery and baby proofing your home, one more thing you need to prepare if you plan on a hospital or birth center birth is thinking through what to pack for the hospital.

To stay ultra-organized, have your bag packed before you hit full-term, which for most moms is 37 weeks. Before you stock up on nursing pads and newborn diapers, ask your hospital or birth center what supplies they provide — you might be able to save a few dollars!

Hospital Bag Must-Haves

Paperwork: Most hospitals and birth centers require you to have all of your insurance information and hospital forms filed prior to your delivery. Some will offer you the opportunity to preregister, while others will give you the forms to fill out at home. The last thing you’ll want to do when your water breaks is fill out your medical history!

Comfortable Clothing: Even though you’ll likely be issued an ever-so-stylish hospital gown, some moms prefer to labor in their own t-shirt or nightclothes. You’ll also want to have a warm robe or sweater on hand, as well as two or three pairs of warm, non-skid socks in case you need to walk the halls during labor.

A supportive maternity bra and nursing pads. If you plan to breastfeed, come prepared. Though many hospitals and birth centers have lactation consultants who will help you navigate those early days of nursing, it’s better you come equipped with the proper gear than have to send your partner on a last-minute store run.

Toiletries and personal items. Though your hospital stay might feel a bit like a weekend getaway, your bathroom won’t be equipped with hotel-sized shampoos and lotions. Pack your lip balm, hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution. You might not care what you look like during labor, but afterwards, you’ll want to feel human again!

Headband or ponytail holder. If you have longer hair, you’ll want to bring something to keep it away from your face. Avoid clips or anything metal, as you won’t want any additional pain or distraction with a baby on the way.

Cell phone and charger. Hospitals aren’t known for having the best cell phone service, so be sure to bring your charger. You might want your smart phone to time your contractions — and to send your baby’s first photos to friends and family after the birth.

Camera, battery or charger. Even in the midst of your post-birth bliss, you’ll want a few snapshots of the special moment. If your partner is your labor coach, delegate the photographic responsibilities to a nurse.

Clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner. Even though the focus will be on mom and baby today, dad might want to take a shower and freshen up for the onslaught of visitors who want to meet your newest addition.

Clothes for your baby. Bring a few outfits for your baby, even though they’ll probably be fine in a diaper for the first 24-36 hours. Bring at least one “going home outfit” and then one or two more changes of clothes. If you’re planning on using cloth diapers, bring those along too, as most hospitals will provide disposables.

Hospital Bag Nice-to-Haves

Extra pillow. Hospital bedding isn’t the most luxurious, so if you’re in for a multi-night stay, you might want a few comforts of home. Outfit your pillow with a case that you don’t mind ruining or leaving behind.

Comfortable going-home clothes. Contrary to what you read about celebrities amazing post-baby bodies, it can take some time to get back into svelte shape. Bring maternity clothes to wear home, in six to nine month maternity size. Even if they’re too big, you’ll want to feel comfortable.

Birth tools or supplies. If you’re planning a natural childbirth, bring along anything that will help you focus, like a labor playlist loaded onto your iPod or an exercise ball for bouncing. Your labor room may be equipped with these, but if they’re essential to your birth plan, better that you come prepared.

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.