Tag Archives: pregnancy

How to prepare to be a first time mom before looking into your baby's eyes.

How To Prepare To Be a First Time Mom

In the months before becoming a first time mom, you’ll hear dozens of opinions on what you need to buy and what you can do without. Most often, the advice will be conflicting and for good reason. No two babies are the same, nor are the needs of the parents. In my experience, you don’t need to spend a ton on your first child, but there are a few staples you’ll want to splurge on.

Whether you’re in a walk-friendly city or a rural “driving is the only option” neighborhood, a safe car seat is a must. As a first time mom you’ll need one to take your newborn home, especially if you are birthing at a hospital. The car seat is one thing you’ll want to buy new. Even my carless cycling friends have a car seat for their Bakfiets Cargo Bike to keep their daughter safe on the roads.

A safe place to sleep is important whether you’re planning to put your newborn in their own room right away or keep them near your side for several months. Buying a new crib that is up to current safety standards is a must, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Cribs come in all sizes and styles, as well as budgets. In addition, if you plan to keep your baby nearby, invest in a quality bassinet, rock-n-play sleeper, or co-sleeper.

If you plan to breastfeed as a first time mom, you won’t need a ton of feeding supplies right away. If you want to splurge, look into a high quality breast pump that is comfortable to use. If you aren’t planning to breastfeed, invest in a few different types of BPA free bottles. Newborns may be picky with how they feed. Instead of buying one kit, pick-up a few individual bottles until you find what works best.

You can save on pretty much on everything else! What you should think about is how your family operates. Will you be walking a lot? Then maybe a higher quality long lasting stroller may be a good investment. If you’ll be traveling, you might want to look at items that support simple travel, such as formula dispensers. These can save a lot of headaches when you are out for hours each day.

Second-hand items that work for most babies include strollers, swings, high-chairs, booster seats, and toys for older babies and toddlers. Luckily, children’s clothing is less expensive than it used to be, so if you don’t have a friend who can give you hand-me-downs, you can hit the sales racks and make out pretty well.

In the first few months, you really don’t need as much as the ads and magazines will tell you. Keep it simple and save your funds until your newborn is a few months old and you’ve gotten to know their needs a little bit better.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.

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Preemie Mom - SmartMom

How To Support a Preemie Mom

Without a doubt, being a mom has been the toughest thing I’ve ever done. From the self-doubt of the toddler years to the rough patches of adolescence to the complete bewilderment of letting them go off on their own… it’s one roller coaster of emotion that no one can truly imagine when they first find out that they’re pregnant. It’s hard from the start, but imagine that your first experience as a parent is as a preemie mom, watching your child be hooked up to machines, lying in a plastic bed and unable to hold your baby as they fight to gain every ounce that they can. And that’s probably on a good day.

 This doesn’t even begin to describe the scene that faces most mothers of preemies. The utter feeling of helplessness that washes over them as they can only pray that they’re baby is ok is enough to crush parents under normal circumstances. Factor in the reality that she just got done having a baby and has all the physical aftermath to go with it.

My heart breaks just thinking about it.

If you’ve never been in that situation, it’s hard to understand let alone empathize. But many people know women who are going through it and need support. Some will ask how they can help but there’s a good chance that the mother herself couldn’t tell you what she needs because her entire focus is on her baby.

If you know a mother of a preemie who is having a hard time and you want to help, here are a few things you can do to offer your help.

Be Ready to Support Her Along With The Baby. 

It is really easy to focus in on the baby at times like this, but remember that mom will need to hear that she’s doing ok and that she’s supported to. Reminding her that just being there makes her a good mom can go a long way.

Prepare and Drop Off Meals 

In times of stress, nutrition is one of the first things to go out the window. Without good food in her system, the mother can crash faster and harder and she probably has a long road ahead. Help coordinate a series of home cooked, healthy meals and give her one less thing to think about.

Help Take Care of Things At Home 

Does your friend have a pet that needs to be walked? Laundry piling up that needs to be sorted? What about just a quick clean up of the kitchen or bathroom? With all her attention being at the hospital, it’s easy for life at home to get more than a little hectic. Find out what you can do to help out.

Be The Information Contact Person – Stressful situations like this can wear you out but add in all the people you need to contact and the updates that loved ones no doubt want and it’s downright exhausting. Offer to be the person who makes information available so that they only need to say things once and then you can be the buffer between them and everyone else.

Gather Things That Help Them Pass the Time

Spending hours in a hospital can get very lonely and monotonous. Consider collecting things like magazines, puzzle books, portable crafts that she’d enjoy, playing cards, jigsaw puzzles or other ways to pass the time.

Think Before You Speak 

It’s hard to know what to say to your friend when they’re hurting like this, but remember that it’s really easy to say something that can hurt the mom of a preemie unintentionally. While you can’t predict everything that can possibly offend someone, take some time to think about how you’ll handle a situation before you’re in it.

Talking about how “tiny” the baby is, how “creepy” the NICU is, or asking when you’ll get to hold the baby are probably not good ideas. Carefully consider what you’re going to say and if you can, talk to other preemie parents to get a good list of pet peeves that you can avoid.

Be Available

Above all else, just be there. This is a tough time to say the least and the biggest thing that your friend is going to need is support. Let her know that you’re available for her to vent, cry, laugh, or just sit in silence, because that’s what friends do.


Moms of children with autism also need support – here’s how you can help them out.

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Natural Methods to Induce Labor - SmartMom

Natural Methods to Induce Labor: Nine Tips for New Moms

Photo by The Blog is Found

The end of a pregnancy can sometimes feel like it drags on forever. You’re bloated, tired, achy and you just want to meet that little person who has been kicking you for nine months. Luckily, there are many natural methods to induce labor that can help speed things along.

Although none of these methods are medically proven to kick start your labor, they are all safe and harmless. Whether they’re old wives tales or they prove to be effective, why not give them a go?

Take a Walk

The most simple way to induce labor naturally is to go for a walk. Taking a relaxing walk around your neighborhood or even walking around the house can help the baby’s head to drop against your cervix, thus releasing oxytocin, a hormone which helps induce labor.

Walking every day in the weeks leading up to your due date is not only one of many natural methods to induce labor, but a good way to condition yourself for labor and delivery. Not sure where to start? Check out this article on How to Walk to Induce Labor.

Eat Spicy Food

While it may be an old wive’s tale, many mothers swear that eating spicy food sent them right into labor! Why could this be? Spicy food stimulates the digestive system, helping move the bowels, which in turn could possibly help the uterus start to contract. Go for some delicious curry recipes, Chinese take-out, or Thai food.

Have Some “Alone Time” with Your Partner

If you’re up for it (and with your doctor’s approval), shut the bedroom door and go for it with your partner. Semen has natural prostaglandins, a hormone produced by a woman’s body to help induce labor. After sex, lay horizontal for a bit and relax with your hips elevated to try to thin and soften your cervix. Plus, the uterus contracts during orgasm, a great way to jump-start labor.

Try Acupressure

An age-old Asian practice, acupressure is the act of using finger pressure over certain places of the body to help the body relax and relieve pain. There are certain pressure points on the body which have been known to not only help induce labor, but also to help with the pain associated with childbirth. For some tips and safety measures of acupressure, check out this article.

Eat Pineapple

Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme from the stems of pineapples which is said to stimulate muscle contains and soften the cervix. The proteins in bromelain are known to stimulate chemical activity within the body, therefore, hopefully helping the body kick into high gear for labor.

Pineapple is also an anti-inflammatory and therefore a digestive aid, bringing about bowel movements, and hopefully inducing labor. Can’t stomach pineapple straight up? Sip on one of pineapple smoothie recipes and wait for that baby.

Go Dancing

Shake your groove thing, mama! Not only is dancing one of the perfectly natural methods to induce labor, you can have fun while doing it.  Swaying your hips while dancing can help the baby descend into the pelvis. Just like with walking, gravity will help the baby down, so that the head is up against the cervix, thus releasing the oxytocin that can induce labor.

Bounce on a Ball

Many women use an exercise ball during labor to help ease the baby down the birth canal, but did you know you could also use it to induce labor? Squatting and bouncing on a large ball will open up the pelvis and help the baby’s head down near the cervix. By bouncing, you are allowing your pelvis to engage the baby. Again, let gravity do it’s thing!

Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

While red raspberry leaf tea, an old Native American pregnancy tonic, may not actually naturally induce labor, many women drink it throughout their pregnancy because it helps tone the uterus.

It also helps strengthen the contractions, so once actual contractions begin, red raspberry leaf tea is thought to help the process along.  If the uterus is toned, it is prone to be more ready to go at the right time. Furthermore, many women continue to drink the tea after delivery because it helps tone the uterus back into shape.

Try Swinging

Find your local playground and go for “a swing.” The small G-force which results from swinging could possibly encourage your little one to come out. Further, a ride on a swing will help the baby’s head down into the cervix, thus stimulating the oxytocin as it does during walking and dancing.



How many of you mamas have been induced and had it lead to having a c section?

I would much rather have my baby naturally but..wondering how many of you got induced & how was the experience?

Any moms out there have any successful ways to naturally induce labor?

Wondering how you all feel about being induced..Is it dangerous for it not to happen naturally?

Any natural ways to induce labor? I’m scheduled to be induced..don’t want to resort to that..

Do you think induced labors are more intense/painful than natural?

39 weeks and doc scheduled me to be induced..my mom told me being induced hurts way more than having naturally.

Any tips on how to naturally induce labor? I’m so done being pregnant!

Tips on how to get labor started naturally (besides castor oil)?

Shouldn’t I wait for natural labor to occur or should I consider having the induction?


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How to Prepare for a Newborn - SmartMom

How to Prepare for a Newborn: Month By Month

Photo from Barefoot Blonde

Nothing can prepare you for the shock of bringing home a newborn.   Whether it’s your first or your fourth, each child has a different personality and therefore a different set of realities are needed for their arrival home. Regardless, there are some basic tips about how to prepare for a newborn that can help ease the transition from hospital to home. Tackle these steps month-by-month during your pregnancy.

First Trimester: Prepare Yourself

Month 1: Get Through the Month

Sleep (when you can), eat (when you can), and begin to wrap your head around the fact that you will be adding a newborn to your family in less than a year.   Once you are able to acknowledge that all of this is happening, you can get on to the planning stage.

Month 2: Get Healthy

One key piece of advice about how to prepare for a newborn is not for the baby, but for you.  You cannot provide for a child if you are unhealthy, so getting in the habit of eating well, sleeping well and exercising are crucial for making it easy to maintain these habits after the baby comes home. Learn about the best foods to eat while pregnant and load up on leafy greens and whole grains.  Prenatal yoga is also a positive way to stay fit and toned and help prepare your body for labor and delivery.

Month 3: Start Telling People

Once the world knows, things seem to happen.   Second hand items arrive at your home, advice on what items you need (or don’t need) to prepare for a newborn start flowing in. It all becomes real. When it comes time to reveal the gender of your new little one, we have some tips on your party too!

Second Trimester: Prepare Your Life

Month 4: Educate Your Family

Now is the time to start educating your family about how to prepare for a newborn.  If you have other children, invest in books or games that talk about new babies.  Start talking about where the baby will sleep and how things will change.  Make sure the child knows that nothing bad is going to happen when the baby comes home. If you have a pet, start planning a smooth transition for them.   Have a doll that you carry around and treat like a baby.  Expose the pet to other children.  Keep certain areas off limits to the pet.

Month 5: Start Talking About Maternity Leave

Have conversations with your partner about childcare scenarios following your leave.  Sit down and budget so that you can see what needs to change.   If you are thinking of making any career moves (i.e. shifting to staying at home or going to part-time), now is the time to have the conversations with your family and then your employer about how to prepare for a newborn and balance your career.

Month 6 – Take Stock of What Your Need for the Newborn

If this is your first child, create a registry.   If this isn’t your first time around the block, see what you need and reach out to friends to see if you can borrow or use secondhand.  Otherwise, head to the stores to pick up necessary items.

Third Trimester: Prepare for Baby

Month 7: Prepare Your Home

Wash baby clothes and stock up on lotion, wipes and diapers. Disinfect baby toys that may have been in storage for a few years.   Baby proof your home so you don’t have to do it when the baby is mobile.   Channel your urge to nest into dealing with all of the details needed to prepare a space for the newborn in your home. Now is also a good time to pack your hospital bag, too.

Month 8: Install the Car Seat

It’s important to have this done prior to being full-term since you never know when the baby will arrive.   Put together any gear or toys that have directions and could be considered time-consuming.   Start cooking meals to keep in the freezer for easy preparation once the baby is here.

Month 9: Clean Your House

We never said learning how to prepare for a newborn would be all fun and games. This may be one of the last times you will be able to really clean your house (now, granted, you will be huge, so this may not qualify as the most thorough cleanings possible).   Scrub the floors.  Wash the sheets.  Complete any tasks in the house that you’ve been putting off (framing pictures, hanging curtains, etc.).

Not only will attacking these projects help keep your mind off of the pending arrival of your child, it will help you tie up loose ends before the newborn arrives and all focus shifts to the task at hand.



Hello! I’m a first time soon to be mommy! I’m 35 weeks and starting to prepare for my baby boys arrival. What laundry detergent is good to wash newborn and infant clothes? Thanks!

So I’m due in March.. Any tips on how to budget for a newborn? What are must haves for the baby and what can wait until later on ?

I’m being induced on Thursday. Anyone have tips? Schedule for a newborn?

Anyone start getting extra nervous in the weeks before their due date? I’m mostly prepared but so afraid of being a new parent! I’ve honestly only held a newborn a couple of times and worry that I’ll accidentally hurt him. When he cries I know it’s gonna break my heart as well. Becoming a new parent is just soooo much to take in and I don’t know what to expect. But it makes me happy to know my son depends on me too. I love him so much.

Hi moms. I’m going to having my second baby here within two weeks or less depending on when my doc plans to induce me. And it just hit me how scary it’s going to be with a newborn and a two year old. I’ve been overwhelmed with how hard it is now being pregnant and raising my daughter. So I was just looking for advise and tips to make this less scary for all of us and a little less hard. I don’t want my daughter to feel left out or forgotten


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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.


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 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.


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!

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C-Section Cost - SmartMom

C-Section Cost May Be More Than More than You Bargained For

Photo by Stephanie Sunderland

When you are anticipating childbirth, especially for the first time, it can be daunting. It’s important to have a doctor you trust and to talk to them about your birth plan. Most women expect to give birth vaginally, but according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of all births in the U.S. are by Cesarean section (c-section).

Although sometimes c-sections can sound better than giving birth (avoiding contractions and pushing), and scheduling your time of birth seems attractive, c-sections do cost substantially more. Unless medically necessary, you should aim to give birth vaginally when your baby is ready to come out. It will help you save on out-of-pocket medical costs and you will bounce back more quickly physically.

The cost of having a baby

In the U.S., we are billed the most for physician and hospital costs for childbirth of any country in the world. Many other countries charge a flat fee for prenatal care and delivery, but the U.S. health care system charges for each service individually, which drives up the total amount. The cost of vaginal deliveries has increased from $4,918 to $9,294 over the last fifteen years and the average cost of c-sections has risen 70 percent from $8,268 to $14,055, according to Truven Health Analytics.

According to the 2013 report, The Cost of Having a Baby in the United States, the cost of a c-section could vary widely depending on where you live, and if you are uninsured, the news isn’t good. You could be charged as much as $50,000 for a c-section and $30,000 for a vaginal birth.

If you are on Medicaid, there is hope. The program covers over 40% of births nationwide and that number could go up with the advent of the Affordable Care Act. However, in 2013, Medicaid began to try to save money by encouraging hospitals to eliminate elective C-sections due to excessive costs. Now, both Texas and South Carolina deny Medicaid payouts for elective C-sections.

Why have an elective c-section?

If you are thinking of scheduling an elective c-section simply because it seems easier, you should certainly talk to your health care provider about how much you will be expected to pay for it. Even if you think it might be medically necessary, it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. During my first pregnancy, I had placenta previa, where the placenta blocks the cervix making it dangerous to give birth vaginally, so I had to have a c-section.

My health care plan required that I pay a percentage of my bill up to a capped amount, so having a c-section certainly increased the total and the likelihood that I would have to pay the top fee.

C-section considerations

Be aware that a c-section can cause you to have more c-sections in the future. If you have already had a baby by c-section, giving birth to subsequent children vaginally could be problematic, the issues growing with each c-section. I was encouraged to have another c-section during my second pregnancy because I was having twins and my doctor said it would be safer. Some doctors prefer to play it safe, both to avoid harming the mother or baby and also due to potential legal issues if something were to go wrong.

A 2010 poll reported that 29% of obstetrician college members admitted they were performing additional c-sections in an attempt to avoid being sued. Therefore, it is really important to make sure that your doctor is a good fit for you and you trust their judgment on the best way for you to give birth. Luckily, I did trust my doctor and had good physical outcomes both times, but our bill for both births was high.

Is there anything you can do to avoid paying these high costs? Most of these are associated with your hospital stay, where 59% of vaginal birth costs and 66% of c-section costs are reported to be facility fees. You shouldn’t suddenly decide to have home birth to save money, but you can start by talking to your doctor and other health care professionals early to see what your options are (cheaper facilities or other potential savings), any payment schedules you can work out with your insurance company and anything else you can do to minimize your final bill.

When the time comes, whether you give birth vaginally, at home or through c-section becomes necessary, planning ahead will help you feel more prepared and perhaps reduce your financial burden.

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How expensive was your labor and delivery with insurance?

Starting to think about hospital costs for labor and delivery and curious what it cost everyone

I have had an awful pregnancy and suffer from severe mental illness. My psych thinks I should have a c-section but I’m wondering if my insurance will cover it

Moms who have experience with a c-section with no insurance, how much did you pay?

My doc says I can opt for another c-section or I can try a VBAC. If I opt for the c-section will my insurance cover it?


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My Hospital Bag - SmartMom

My Hospital Bag: What do I Really Need?

When it comes to what to pack for hospital or birth center where you deliver your baby, it’s easy to get carried away, filling your bag with the adorable baby clothes that you received at your shower and from your new baby registry.

What most new moms forget is that a newborn baby really needs very little for those first few days. To help you pack lighter, we’ve outlined what your baby will really wear from birth through that first car ride home. This is what I packed for my hospital bag. 

You don’t need baby clothes during your hospital stay.  After your baby is born, the nurse or midwife will dress the baby in a little onesie – or if you live in a warmer climate, just a diaper – and will most likely keep him swaddled in a thin “receiving blanket.” They’ll also put a little hat on your baby’s head to keep it warm, as babies lose a lot of heat through their heads as newborns – they’re not yet able to regulate their own body temperature.

Some hospitals offer little hats knit by local volunteers, while others offer simple stretch fabric caps. If you’re really feeling fashion-forward, feel free to bring your own, but it’s unlikely that your little one will wear anything else until you get home.

Bring layers for the trip home, just in case. As a general rule, infants need to wear one more layer of clothing than an adult  would wear, unless it’s very hot outside. Consider the season it will be when you deliver your baby and plan the type of outfit accordingly. If you’ll be outside in the cold, bring a comfortable sweater or a fleece coat for your baby.  If the weather is warm, but not scorching, bring a long-sleeved onesie, a sweater or a light coat to protect your baby from the elements.  If it is exceptionally hot, you’ll be fine with a single layer of clothing and a receiving blanket, but you may still want to buy a sun hat or a light shade blanket to protect from UV rays.

Keep it simple. We all want to find the perfect outfit for bringing home baby, but remember that for the majority of the time, your baby will be wrapped in blankets and his clothing probably won’t be visible.  If you have to put your baby into a car seat, that means a buckle between the legs and over the shoulders. A simple layette set is practical — and let’s be honest here, your baby will look adorable no matter what he wears.

Bring a backup outfit. If you’ve been stocking up on newborn clothing, you might want to think twice. Some babies are born too big for newborn sizes and immediately require size 0-3 months. Since there’s no way to predict exactly how big or small your baby will be, bring two or three clothing changes just in case your little peanut isn’t so little.

Bring extra blankets. The hospital will usually provide a thin cotton receiving blanket, but if you’re planning to swaddle your baby, most first-time parents prefer something a little more user-friendly. Look for muslin, cotton or soft bamboo swaddling blankets to keep your baby wrapped up tight, especially if he likes to wriggle around during those first few days. 


Any suggestions on what to pack in your hospital bag. What made you comfortable?

I’m preparing my hospital bag – any tips on what I should add?

What are some things you ladies didn’t put in your hospital bag but wish that you did. Also when did you pack the bag?

Must haves for hospital bags? Opinions?

What are you things you actually found useful in your hospital bag?

What do I need to pack in my hospital bag and what did you wear after delivery?

When should I pack my hospital bag and what should I bring for the baby?

When packing a hospital bag did you pack maternity clothes?

When I pack my son’s hospital bag for delivery do I need to take diapers or does the hospital provide those?

I’m 32 weeks and getting my hospital bag together and I have no idea what to pack

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Why Expecting Moms Should Try Prenatal Yoga Classes

Why Expecting Moms Should Try Prenatal Yoga Classes

Even if you’ve never tried yoga before, now is a great time to start. Here are some of the top reasons you should try prenatal yoga classes during your pregnancy.

Yoga can help you prepare for labor.

Arguably the most important health benefit of prenatal yoga is that it can help you prepare for labor.

“Labor is one of the most physical things you’ll ever do.  You would not run a marathon without preparation, why would you go into labor without preparing for it?” Prenatal Instructor Angela Gallagher told Yoga Journal.

A typical yoga practice emphasizes concentration on breathing.  This deep, focused breathing, called ujaii, or textured  breathing, is an organic component to any yoga practice, and can help pregnant women prepare for the patterned breathing used during labor.

Practicing yoga can help lower your stress levels. 

Yoga is all about aligning mind and body.  In fact, the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which literally means “to yolk” or “to unite”.  During a time when your body is going through tremendous changes, this balance and alignment is incredibly important.

Hilaria Baldwin, a yoga instructor, and wife of actor Alec Baldwin, told Pregnancy Magazine that, “the number one thing in taking care of yourself during pregnancy is having low stress.  It’s really about being more in touch with your body, and yoga teaches you that.”

The concentration on slow, steady breathing can also help relieve stress.  And what more stressful time is there in life than the anticipation of your first child?  According to a 2009 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, there has been scientific proof that yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing heart and breathing rates, and lowering blood pressure.

Yoga can help decrease muscle pains associated with pregnancy. 

The extra weight aquired during pregnancy can cause back, leg, ankle, and shoulder pains.  Stretching out these areas of your body can help relieve pressure and reduce pain.  A regular practice can also help reduce nausea associated with early stages of pregnancy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a 2012 study published in “Preventative Medicine” found that practicing yoga for 1 hour 3 times/week during pregnancy can help prevent complications.  It can decrease the risk of having low birthweight babies, pregnancy related diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Other health benefits include improved sleep, decreased lower back pain, carpel tunnel, headaches, and shortness of breath.  Yoga has also proven to decrease the risk of preterm labor.

Modifications in yoga are always accessible.  

Most yoga classes (both prenatal and regular) are accustomed to offering modifications for each pose.  So, whether you’re in your first or third trimester, an experienced yogi or a beginner, there are many options and variations available for your practice.

Its important to note that there are certain postures it’s best to avoid.  For example, bend from your hips, not your back, to maintain a normal spine curvature.  Avoid lying on your belly, deep forward or backward bends, and inversions.

A good rule of thumb is to not work to the point of feeling strained — you should be able to hold a normal conversation.  If you find yourself short of breath, slowly sink into child’s pose and focus on deep breathing.

Finally, try to find a class taught by an instructor who has experience teaching prenatal classes.  Regardless of their experience, make sure that your instructor knows you’re pregnant, so he/she can offer adjustments and modifications when necessary.

Yoga classes are a great way to connect with other moms. 

Your first pregnancy can be the scariest 9 months of your life, especially if you feel alone.  Attending pre-natal yoga classes can be a great way to connect with other women who are in the same stage of life.

A yoga studio that specializes in pre-natal classes might be a bit further away, as they are less common, but its a great place to connect with other expecting moms.

Trying yoga doesn’t have to be expensive.  

One of the most common things that keeps women from trying yoga is the price tag.  Some small boutique studios charge up to $20 for a single class.

While studio classes can be pricy, yoga doesn’t have to be expensive.  Search daily deal sites like Groupon and LIving Social to find deals at lesser known (but still quality!) studios near you.  Many studios offer at least one class a week at a (free or discounted) “community” rate.  Your local YMCA or gym may offer prenatal yoga classes at a much lower cost.

Finally, there is the option of practicing from home.  Sure, its nice to have the in-class experience, but having the freedom and flexibility to practice from home can be a great option.

Yoga at home requires little more than a yoga mat and a laptop.  Check out our series of SmartMom prenatal yoga videos here.


Anyone in their first trimester? I really want to continue to work out and sign up for prenatal yoga…

Prenatal yoga? Yay or nay?

I’m 6 months pregnant with #2 and I’ve been going to the gym lately (8 days in a row!). I want to go to a yoga class, I obviously would skip any poses that would require me to be flat on my back or stomach, but my question is do you think it’s weird to go to a regular yoga class when you’re that pregnant?

My son is 1 month and a few days old, I usually breastfed him during the daytime and sometime pump to give him a bottle at night. I’m wondering if it is to early for me to take him to a 30 min mommy and baby yoga class? I’m afraid he’d fuss and cry the whole time and ruin other moms experience. Anybody attended one with a child that young?

Serious question…any one know good prenatal yoga/Pilates? I don’t have money to purchase the apps on my phone and don’t really enjoy YouTube, all the classes in gym are expensive…

Anyone know of any free websites/apps with yoga poses and prenatal exercises? Thanks!

Looking for a prenatal yoga DVD to do at home. Any recommendations welcome for the best ones out there!

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ideas for a gender reveal party

Ideas for a Gender Reveal Party

One of the most exciting things about a pregnancy can be finding out if you are having a boy or a girl. We were able to find out with all three of our children before they were born. We did not have a party for them, but I really wish that we had. Gender reveal parties look like so much fun.

A gender reveal party is a way for the couple to share the gender of their baby with family and friends. In some cases they also decide to wait to know what they are having until the day of the party.  Here are some ideas for a gender reveal party.

Some people like to make a cake and put either blue or pink frosting in the middle of it. When their guests take a bite, they find out what they the couple is having. You can also make cookies and put in little candies to share the news. Another way to have a reveal party is to have a box filled with either pink or blue balloons. The future parents open the box and everyone gets to see if it will be a little boy or a little girl. Couples can get really creative with their parties. They can also include the baker or a photographer in the festivities.

It can be fun to play some games during the party. These games can incorporate everyone’s guess of what the baby’s gender will be, and those who guess correctly could win a prize.

Some couples might not want to do a gender reveal party because they want to keep the announcement more private. Others won’t even share until the baby is born or they do not want to find out for themselves ahead of time. Then, of course, there are babies that just won’t let you find out.  In those cases you could still have a party and simply use a neutral color such as green for the surprise.

If you have a lot of friends and family that cannot attend the actual party, you can do the revealing in a video and post it online. This is a fun way to have a similar experience if you cannot do it in person. It can still be exciting for others to find out if you are having a boy or a girl online.  Here and here  are examples of really cute ones I found online.

I love the idea of a gender reveal party because it creates a fun atmosphere for the parents to tell everyone what they are having. Most likely by this point in the pregnancy, many of their friends and family are already taking bets on what the baby will be. It is a great way to include others in the announcement and to share this day with those who also care about you and your baby.

When you are getting ready to have a new child, you want all the support you can get. A gender reveal party is the perfect way to include everyone and have a great time sharing the news about who you will be adding to your family.


If you’re having a boy, you may be thinking about circumcision. Here’s a little more information.


We’re finding out the sex of the baby in a couple if weeks. Can anyone suggest cute gender reveal ideas that don’t require an expensive photo shoot or throwing a big party? Thanks!

Hey moms! I want to do a gender reveal event/party for my second baby. So I was wondering if any of you have gender reveal ideas that are fun and affordable?

I’m going to a gender reveal party tomorrow. Am I supposed to bring a gift?

I need gender reveal ideas! I looked on Pinterest and am thinking silly string or bumble gum! Anyone have any ideas?

Would love some advice! We are expecting our 2nd baby and I would love to have a gender reveal party for friends and family…

I think I want to have a gender reveal party when I find out what I’m having. Does anyone have any ideas as to things I should do for it? I’ve seen a lot of things on Pinterest but none that I ” just have to have ” at my reveal.

Gender reveal parties? Yay or nay? Also, what exactly do you do at one? I know you reveal the gender but is it like a baby shower too or is that separate?

My best friend is having her gender reveal tonight and I am just too excited to find out what she’s having! It makes me miss all the excitement of being pregnant!

Any ideas on how to do a fun gender reveal if all our close friends and family live far away?

I keep hearing people talk about gender reveal parties. We wanted to do a reveal at our baby shower but our families got furious with us for not telling them…

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