Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

Valentine’s Day: Fun Facts

Happy Valentine's DayIt’s almost Valentine’s Day so we thought it would be fun to explore some of the neat traditions, stories and facts surrounding this most loving holiday.  Valentine’s Day is a super exciting holiday to celebrate with the entire family.  But do you know how it started?  Or why chocolates are a valued gift?  Check out these fun facts about Valentine’s Day before the celebration begins:

The Origin of Valentine’s Day

While there is some debate about the true origins of Valentine’s Day, many people believe it stems from ancient Rome when Emperor Claudius II forbade marriage during wartime.  He felt single men made better soldiers since they were not distracted by matters of the heart.  Bishop Valentine disobeyed the emperor and married lovers anyways, which landed him in jail.  He sent a letter to the jailor’s daughter from “your Valentine,” thereby adorning the holiday with his name.  He was executed on February 14, the modern day Valentine’s date.

An Official Holiday

Valentine’s Day became official in 1537 when King Henry VII declared February 14 the holiday of St. Valentine.

Wear your Heart on your Sleeve

This famous expression began in the Middle Ages.  Men would draw the name of their Valentine from a bowl and would wear it on their sleeve for a week.  Now the expression means that you show your true feelings, just like these men showed off the names of their chosen beloved.

Signed with a Kiss

In medieval times people who were unable to write their own names would use an “X” instead and kiss it to prove they would keep their word.  That is why the “X” now symbolizes a kiss.

A Rose by any other Name

Roses are said to be the favorite flower of Venus, the goddess of love.  Red has become a symbol of romance.  Nearly 200 million roses are sold in the United States around Valentine’s Day.

Cheers Chocolateers

Valentine’s Day chocolate is over a billion dollar industry.  It is believed that the world’s greatest lover, Casanova, ate chocolate to increase his sex drive.  It was also once prescribed as a remedy for a broken heart.  Over 35 million candy heart boxes are exchanged on Valentine’s Day in the U.S.

Valentine’s Babies

Babies born in November are often known as “Valentine’s Babies” because they were likely conceived around Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Inspired Baby Names

Baby names inspired by Valentine’s Day include Valentina/Valentino, Val, Rose, Lily, Ruby, Candy, Lacey, Desiree, Teddy, Romeo, Juliette, Honey and Belle.

Gifts of Love

The biggest tangible gift of love ever given was the Taj Mahal.  The Indian Emperor Shahjahan erected it as a love memorial for his wife.

Valentine’s Proposals

It is estimated that 220,000 men propose marriage on Valentine’s Day.  This is second to only Christmas Eve.

We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Valentine’s Day and share them with all those you love.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Adorable Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your Kids

cute little boy with a red heart in the handsValentine’s Day is one of those wonderful holidays to can incorporate the entire family.  Sharing your love with your family happens year-round but it’s fun to designate a special day to express your feelings, remind kids what love is really about and talk about kindness and caring.  To get in the festive spirit, we’ve come up with adorable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids:

Funny Fruit Snacks:  While Valentine’s Day is usually marked with lots of not-so-healthy treats, serve up some wholesome foods with funny sayings to go with them.  Examples:  Bananas – “I’m head over peels for you!”  Oranges – “Orange you glad you’re my Valentine.”  Nuts – “I’m nuts about you, Valentine.”  Cheesy, absolutely.  But your kids will love it!

Handprint Artwork:  Nothing could be more fun than dipping your entire hand in pant to create a masterpiece.  There are tons of ways to use handprints for Valentine’s decorations.  Some include:  making hearts using your child’s thumb and pointer fingers; using handprints as wings for love birds, butterflies or cupids; or printing the sign for “I love you” on a piece of paper.  It’s messy but super fun for your kids.

Heart Wreath:  This keepsake is fairly simple to make.  Fold colorful strips of paper into 3-dementional hearts and glue, staple or tape them together.  Then line up the tips of the hearts into a circle and fasten them together.  Finally, tie a string at the top and hang it on a door as a beautiful Valentine’s Day decoration.

Have a Tea Party:  Gather up friends – real or stuffed – and host a tea party for Valentine’s Day.  Let your children set the menu and prepare the snacks.  You can use real items or pretend food, whatever suits your kids.  Then sit down for a formal tea party with lots of lively and loving conversation.

Vegetable Stamps:  Use veggies to create stamps for art projects.  You can cut potatoes into just about any shape, from a heart to a teddy bear.  Celery stalks make gorgeous roses when you cut off most of the stalks and use just the ends that are closely clustered together like the petals of a rose.  Once you have your design, dip the stamp into ink or paint and print away.  You can also use “x” and “o” potato stamps to play games of tic-tac-toe.

Friendship Bracelets:  Using pasta, cereal or beads, string friendship bracelets for your family members and friends.  They’ll love this home-made gift of love.  It’s also great for developing fine motor skills and learning patterns.

Bake and Share:  Head to the kitchen for fun cooking projects.  Try a new recipe or stick to old favorites.  Be sure to have heart-shaped cookie cutters, lots of red or pink icing and sprinkles to decorate your culinary concoctions.  When you’re done, take a few treats to friends and neighbors to spread the love.

Love Notes:  Leave your kids love notes around the house for them to discover throughout the day.  Even if they cannot read, they will be thrilled to stumble upon more and more secret messages from you.  This will brighten their day and help solidify the true meaning of Valentine’s Day – LOVE!

It’s a Baby Bash in your Womb!

Pregnant woman holding ultrasound imageIf you feel like there is a party happening inside your body and your baby is the number 1 participant, you are probably right.  Oh what fun your baby is having in your uterus as he grows and develops.  He’s learning and practicing amazing skills that he’ll need to survive on the outside world.  But for now, he’s enjoying being the life of the party in your womb.

Here are the skills your baby is working on to prepare him for life outside the womb:

Movement:  Your baby’s mobility increases daily between 15 weeks and towards the end of your third trimester when quarters get a bit tight for break-dancing.  Your baby stretches, kicks, punches, flips, wiggles, rolls and does many more acrobatics that may feel like complete shenanigans to you.  But your baby is having a blast floating and getting his exercise in your womb so enjoy the contained movement while you can.

Taste:  Amazingly, your baby can taste the food you are eating through amniotic fluid.  Certain spices and especially sweet tastes are pungent in amniotic fluid.  Your baby becomes familiar with these flavors before birth and will continue to snack on them through your breast milk once he is born.  Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is the first step to palette training your baby.

Expression:  Somewhat like a mime, your baby is working on facial expressions in utero.  He can curl his lips into a smile and may furrow his brow as if he were angry.  Also, sonograms indicate that babies actually cry in the womb, usually when they get startled by a sound or movement.  This may make you sad, but remember, your baby’s cries are an important part of his early communication with you.  So learning to cry early is actually a good thing.

Breathe:  Another important life skill is breathing.  Your baby is practicing it now in the womb, although the umbilical cord is providing all of the oxygen he needs.  As soon as he is born, the temperature change from your body to the outside world will trigger his first real breath.  And he’ll be ready because practice makes perfect.

Listen:  By around the midpoint of your pregnancy your baby can hear your voice and those around you.  He is becoming distinctly aware of your sounds versus others, which makes him favor you after birth.  Also, exposure to certain songs or nursery rhymes in utero may be familiar to him after birth as well.

Stress:  Studies show that babies in the womb react to stress felt by their mothers.  Stress releases certain hormones in mothers that can also cause the baby to react.  Babies typically cover their faces with their left hand when they feel stressed.  So when your doctor says you need to relax, heed the advice and take a chill pill for the sake of your baby.

Suck:  Your baby is learning to suck in the womb as well.  You may even catch a glimpse of your baby sucking his thumb during an ultrasound.  This self-soothing motion is vital to your baby’s growth and independence.  It will help him suck milk from your breast and calm himself when he gets upset.  He may not be able to suck his fingers immediately after birth, but he will soon rediscover this passion.

Hiccup:  If you feel you’ve swallowed a jumping bean, chances are, your baby is just hiccupping.  Hiccups are marked by a regularly timing beat and may make you feel your entire body is bouncing.  It is completely normal for babies to get hiccups in the womb and they will continue throughout infancy.

We hope you and your baby enjoy the party that is happening in your womb.  It’s only a short 9-month bash before life completely changes for both of you.

Sweet and Sexy Nursing Bra Guide for Valentine’s Day

New moms, we have great news:  You can look and feel sexy on Valentine’s Day!  Forget the baby weight you’re working on dropping.  So what if your breasts are super-duper milk-making machines.  Who cares if you haven’t showered this week?  You can still be the sassy hot mama you were before having your baby when you wear nursing bras that give you a boost of confidence, support and sexy style.  Luckily Leading Lady has it all.  Here’s a look at our Sweet and Sexy Nursing Bra Guide for Valentine’s Day:

sexy and sweet_lace_cup_wirefree_nursing_bra_407_Naughty and Nice in Lacey Nursing Bras

Soft, sensual lace is more than appropriate on the holiday of love.  Whether you’re going for sugar or spice, naughty or nice, lace is a great choice for Valentine’s Day.  Leading Lady has the perfect selection of lace nursing bras that will make your lover’s jaw drop without even missing a feeding.  Our lace nursing bras are delicate on you and your baby’s sensitive skin without the itchiness or irritation of many lace bra fabrics.  With choices like our Lace-Cup Nursing Bra in underwire or wirefree, Underwire Allover Lace Nursing Bra or Molded Seamless Lace Frame Nursing Bra, you have a range of options to meet your laciest desires.  And we bet these stunning nursing bras will be reminiscent of your favorite pre-baby Valentine’s Bras.

 

Sexy and sweet_black underwire nursing braSeductive Black Nursing Bra

Classically sexy, black bras never go out of style.  Black is the color of seduction, mystery and intrigue, everything you want to portray to your lover this Valentine’s Day.  With a black nursing bra, you can feed your baby before and after your hot Valentine’s date with your husband without needing to change your clothes.  Leading Lady offers many versatile black nursing bras including our most popular Molded Seamless Nursing Bra in underwire or wirefree.  For a twist on the classic black bra, check out our Nursing Bralette, that can be worn as a lace-trimmed mock cami beneath any Valentine’s Day top or dress.  Or try our Hybrid Padded Seamless Nursing Bra, a black Nursing Cami or our Modal Wirefree Nursing Bra Cami.  Keep the black magic alive this Valentine’s Day with a tempting black nursing bra.

sexy and sweet_cotton_wirefree_nursing_bra_2_pack_4001_

 

Peek-a-Boo Romance in Red

Red is the color of romance and we’ve got just the right red surprise for you, your baby and your Valentine.  Leading Lady’s Cotton Wirefree Nursing Bra and Modern Square Neck Nursing Cami both offer drop down nursing cups that feature a luscious red inner lining.  The stimulating shade is festive for Valentine’s Day and adds a pop of color to the striped design of these super comfortable nursing items.  The nursing bra version also features an adorable rosette for an added Valentine’s treat.  Both of these styles are fun and flirty for your Valentine’s Day attire and beyond.

sexy and sweet_silky_lace_nursing_bra_style_4006_

 

Sweet as an Angel

If you’re going for a sweeter look this Valentine’s Day, Leading Lady still has you covered.  Our soft white, nude and light pink hues are pure and sweet, while remaining comfortable and supportive for your breastfeeding needs.  Our Silky Lace Nursing Bra in Nude, Wirefree Cotton Nursing Bra in white and white with black dots and several of our Sport Nursing Bras are available in muted tones for a more subtly sexy Valentine’s appeal.  These colors are versatile for your year round nursing wardrobe while keeping you looking and feeling as sweet as an angel on this special holiday of love.

We hope our nursing bras help you lift, support, nourish, entice and engage all that you love this Valentine’s Day!

How to Select a Pediatrician

Paediatrics medical conceptBefore your baby arrives, it’s a good idea to select a pediatrician who can start helping you care for your baby immediately after birth.  Choosing the right pediatrician for your family is an important childcare decision and should be based on several critical factors.  Today we’re reviewing things you’ll want to consider when you select a pediatrician.

Start Early

It’s wise to start your pediatrician search at some point in your second trimester.  This will give you plenty of time to scope out the best choice for you before your little one arrives, even if the baby is a tad early.

Do Your Research

Ask friends and family in the area which practices and pediatricians they use and ask their personal opinions including any drawbacks or negative experiences they may have had.  You can also get referrals from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website.  You’ll want to make sure the practices you are targeting take your insurance too.

Interview

Most pediatrician practices offer informational sessions to new parents.  This is a time when they meet with prospective newbies like you to discuss the philosophies and procedures of their practice as we well as answer any questions you may have about how they care for their little patients.  Usually one or two doctors from the practice will be at each informational session.  If you have a certain doctor in mind, be sure to find out when that doctor will be facilitating a session.

Ask Questions

When you meet with doctors, come prepared with questions so you can really compare practices apples-to-apples.  Common questions for potential pediatricians include their vaccination schedule and policies, where they have hospital privileges (including the one where you deliver and the closest children’s hospital to you), certifications, and what their standard recommendations and support for breastfeeding, sleep schedules and other infant care issues are.  You can usually get a sense of how you will click with a doctor by getting the answers to these questions.

Appointment, Office and Call-in Procedures

It may seem trivial, but office hours are important when it comes to your pediatrician.  If you need to schedule well check-ups in the morning before heading to work, you’ll need a practice that opens early.  Also, find out what their nurse line and call-in procedures are for questions as it’s very common for first-time parents to have lots of those!  And be sure that if your child does have a problem that requires a medical referral, your pediatrician is well-connected within the medical community to make such recommendations and values coordinated care between multiple specialists.

Location

You’ll probably want to select a pediatrician that is not terribly far from where you live, work or where your child will be in daycare, if that applies.  While location should not be the make-or-break factor, getting to your doctor quickly for unexpected sick visits is something you should consider for convenience and safety purposes.

Switching Pediatricians

If you find that you are unhappy with the pediatrician you initially selected, try to pinpoint what it is about the doctor that is bothering you.  Before switching practices completely, talk to a few nurses to get their recommendations of doctors within the practice that might be a better fit.  Larger practices offer many options and it might be easier to simply see a different doctor within the same practice, if that is allowed.  Otherwise, ask for your records to be transferred to a new practice and move forward with a new doctor.  There is usually no need to confront your old pediatrician if you just didn’t click.

We wish you the best of luck as you select a pediatrician and welcome your new baby!

How to Donate Breast Milk

Breastfeeding your baby may be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.  Did you know you can also help nurture other babies by donating your breast milk?  This selfless donation is often a life-saving measure for babies who would not otherwise receive the wholesome and healing nourishment of breast milk.  Today we’re exploring how to donate breast milk.

breast pump and bags of frozen breastmilkBabies across the globe are in desperate need of breast milk.  What seems so natural and simple to you – breastfeeding your baby – is not possible in many cases.  Some mothers are unable to produce milk or enough milk to sustain their babies, especially if their babies were born prematurely or with severe complications.  Other than extreme illness or due to the medical circumstances of the mother, babies who were adopted or born via surrogacy are in need of breast milk too.  As you probably already know, breast milk is one of the best preventative healthcare measures a baby can receive, especially those who begin their lives with critical health conditions.  When you donate breast milk, you can give these babies a chance at the best start to life, just like you are giving your own baby.

Becoming a breast milk donor is fairly simple if you are committed to the process.  Essentially you will pump excess milk and store it in your freezer until you have enough to ship to a breast milk bank where it can be distributed to babies in need.  Breast milk banks are all adamant that the needs of your own baby should come first, and any excess milk your baby will not use can be donated.

There are some basic medical background requests of mothers that most breast milk banks require before approving moms as breast milk donors.  The expenses for these procedures are usually covered by the breast milk bank.  Mothers will need to:

  • Retrieve written consent from her own physician confirming that she is in good health.
  • Retrieve written consent from her pediatrician that she is meeting the nutritional needs of her baby before donating breast milk.
  • Take a blood test to check for diseases.
  • Offer a cheek cell sample to check for disease and record DNA.

Most breast milk banks also have requirements for collecting and storing milk:

  • Breast milk should be pumped using a sanitized breast pump.
  • Milk should be collected and immediately placed into human milk storage containers only housing milk from one single pumping session.
  • Milk should be frozen immediately after collection.
  • Milk cannot be thawed and refrozen.
  • All milk should be labeled with the date/time of collection.
  • Freezers must be kept at an appropriate temperature as gauged by a thermometer.
  • Breast milk should be sent to milk banks within a set period of time after collection (usually not older than 10 months).

Breast milk banks offer sanitation guidelines similar to those you would use with milk you serve to your own baby.  These include:

  • Always washing your hands before handling your pump or breast milk containers.
  • Frequently washing the parts of your pump that touch your body or your breast milk.
  • Using sponges and brushes only designed and designated to clean bottles and breast milk storage containers.  Run them through the dishwasher if appropriate.
  • Allow your cleaning supplies to fully dry and replace them often.
  • Keep your breasts clean by showering daily.

There are many online resources to help you find a local or national breast milk bank.  Typically, mothers will select a breast milk bank and qualify as an exclusive donor for that facility.  Once approved, breast milk banks often offer free storage containers and shipping supplies and reimbursement to transport donated breast milk.  Local breast milk banks likely supply your breast milk to babies at hospitals around your community, whereas national breast milk banks may ship milk to wherever it is needed most.

Giving the gift of breast milk is an act of kindness that can save the lives of countless innocent babies.  Many mothers feel extremely rewarded by offering this anonymous gift to babies in need.  After meeting the nutritional needs of your own baby, consider becoming a breast milk donor.

First Birthday Party Ideas

Portrait of happy mom and baby eating birthday cake

It may seem like just yesterday you were headed to the hospital to give birth.  Now here you are with an almost one-year-old!  My how time flies!  A first birthday party is a monumental and memorable occasion to celebrate your baby and congratulate yourself on making it through the first year in one piece.

A first birthday party is a special time for your entire family, but do remember that it is for your one-year-old.  Keep things short, sweet and simple by not planning too many activities, limiting the party to 90 minutes or less and not inviting too many guests.  Food options should be appropriate for the guest of honor, such as fruit, crackers and a smashable birthday dessert, of course.  Here are some first birthday party ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Circus Party:  Having a one-year-old may feel a bit like a 3-ring circus.  Make a party out of this happy chaos by creating different activity stations for your baby and guests to enjoy.  At one station fill a blow-up pool with water for the kids to splash around or fill it with plastic balls to create a ball pit.  Another station can have dress up items such as masks, wigs, hats and glasses.  Be sure to include a clown wig and nose.  Set up an obstacle course for a third station.  Use hula-hoops, tunnels, balls, tents and whatever else you have on hand that will make a fun set-up for tots.

Racecar Party:  Babies, start your engines!  This party idea will be a wild ride for all the kiddos.  Scatter various large vehicular toys along your driveway or throughout your basement or playroom.  Let the babes take turns riding or pushing the toys to their heart’s content.  Because your baby’s one-year-old guests may be at different skill levels between walking, pulling up and crawling, offer options where they can be pushed by parents, walk themselves or scoot along merrily.  If necessary, borrow toys from friends to ensure lots of options.

Music Party:  Babies love to boogie.  Invite a music teacher or local musician to lead or play live music for the little ones.  Or, you can create your own dance party with a great baby classics mix.  Be sure to have lots of small instruments on hand for babies to shake, rattle and roll.

Scavenger Hunt Party:  You may have noticed by now that your baby likes to put things in buckets, baskets and other containers.  It is fascinating for babies to take everything out of a container and then put it back in again.  Use this preoccupation as a scavenger hunt party theme.  Hide objects throughout your yard or house and have all of your baby guests crawl or walk around collecting them in a bag or basket.  Plastic eggs, rubber duckies or palm-sized balls all make good items for babies to discover.

Book-Inspired Party:  If your baby has a favorite book – such as Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar or Curious George – use this as a theme for your party.  Plan activities and food selections that match your child’s literary fantasy and spend about 10-15 minutes reading some of your baby’s favorite books to your guests.

Animal Lover Party:  Many babies are fond of animals.  If seasonably appropriate, throw your party at a barn that has a petting zoo component.  Otherwise, hire a small petting zoo to come to your home with easily portable animals like chicks, bunnies and small pigs.  The babies will enjoy petting and imitating the animals throughout the party.

Nautical Party:  Babies love soothing motions so set sail on a magical boat ride at a nearby lake or river.  Hire a boat for a short adventure ride for your party guests and then spend time along the bank splashing about.  Serve snacks and cake at a nearly picnic pavilion.

Happy first birthday to your little tot and your entire family!

Rh Factor and Pregnancy

At your early OB appointments during pregnancy, you may have heard mumblings about your Rh factor or Rh status.  Rh (short for Rhesus) is a protein that is usually present in red blood cells.  Most women have it and are considered Rh positive.  However, if you are Rh negative, you’ll need to take some extra steps during your pregnancy for the safety of your baby and future children.

Pregnant woman and doctor.Early in your pregnancy you will likely take a blood test to verify your blood type and determine if you are Rh positive or Rh negative.  There are four human blood types – A, B, AB and O – which are determined by antigens or proteins found in your blood.  Rh factor is yet another type of antigen or protein.  The majority of women are Rh positive.  Asian and African-American women as groups are 90% Rh positive or higher, while around 85% of Caucasian women are Rh positive.

Complications due to Rh factor only arise during pregnancy and childbirth if a mother and baby have opposite Rh factors.  It is unlikely that you will know your baby’s Rh factor prior to birth so it is safest to assume that your baby is Rh positive.  Therefore, if you test Rh negative, you will need to take precautions during pregnancy.

During a first pregnancy, incompatible Rh factors may not make a difference during pregnancy; however it can cause problems in future pregnancies.  In the unlikely event that your first baby’s Rh positive blood seeps into your Rh negative blood stream during pregnancy, your immune system may build up antibodies against it.  The next time you become pregnant with a Rh positive baby, your body could attack your baby’s blood and cause major problems.

The most likely time for your blood to mix with your babies is during childbirth.  Because this is such a short time, your body may not even have a chance to develop antibodies, but it is important to know your status and take precautions in advance anyways.  If you are Rh negative, you will be given a shot of Rh immune globulin at some point during your second trimester.  This will prevent your body from creating antibodies against your baby’s Rh positive blood and combat any contamination that your baby’s blood may cause in your system.

If your first or subsequent babies are exposed to the antibodies that your immune system produces against their blood, it could lead to Rh disease or hemolytic disease.  This disease causes your baby to have anemia and your baby may be jaundice or have other birth defects.  In some cases if it happens during pregnancy, it can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.

You will probably know your Rh factor from your first pregnancy.  If you are unsure, you can have a simple blood test to re-check your status.  Also, blood work can show if your body ever developed antibodies to a previous baby’s incompatible blood.  Additionally, you can determine the likelihood of your baby’s Rh factor by knowing the father’s Rh factor.  If you and the father are negative, your baby will surely be Rh negative as well and then no shot or risk of complications are present.

Fortunately, with proper and consistent prenatal care, not knowing and acting on incompatible Rh factors is highly unlikely.  The most important step is being aware and take proper precautions to keep you and your baby safe.

Fun Ways to Predict Girl Baby vs. Boy Baby

Roll the Dice - Deliver Boy or Girl Baby in PregnancyOther than through blood tests, ultrasounds and amniotic testing, there is no way to predict with certainty whether you are having a girl baby vs. boy baby.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to try!  For centuries people have developed methods and theories to predict babies’ genders.  They may not be accurate, but they sure are fun to indulge.  Today we’re taking a look at some of the more popular amateur predictors of whether you are having a girl baby vs. boy baby.

How You Carry:  When it comes to wives’ tales, the way you carry your baby is a common indicator of a girl baby vs. boy baby.  Many people believe girl babies sit higher in the womb and boy babies sit lower.  Others think that boys cause their mother’s bump to stick straight out while girls make their mother’s bump grow wider from side-to-side.

Morning Sickness:  Another widespread pregnancy lore is that morning sickness is worse with girl babies than boy babies.  The truth is that doctors still don’t fully understand what causes morning sickness and why some women experience it while others do not.  However, many women who have been through pregnancy claim they were sicker with girl babies than boys.

Cravings:  Here’s a fun one:  if you’re having a girl, you crave sugar and spice and everything sweet, including fruit.  If you’re having a boy, you crave meat, protein and hearty meals.  Although a little stereotypical, it is fascinating to dissect your cravings as a predictor of your baby’s gender.

Face Forward:  Acne and other skin and facial changes are common during pregnancy.  Some people believe if your face gets rounder during pregnancy, you’re having a girl and if your face stays slim, a boy is on the way.  Similarly, clear skin is believed to be a sign of a boy while pimples sometimes indicate a girl.

Breast Changes:  Yes, your breasts are changing to get ready for milk production and breastfeeding.  But what can your breasts tell you about the gender of your baby?  Well, legend says a larger left breast means you’re having a boy and a larger right breast means its pink all the way.  Also, some believe that darker nipples are a sign of a boy.

Urine Sample:  Urine samples can certainly tell you that you ARE pregnant, but perhaps it holds a clue to what you’re pregnant with.  This theory implicates bright yellow urine for boys and dull, cloudy urine for girls.  If only your urine could come out blue or pink, it would be so simple.

Ring Test:  This one seems strange but perhaps there is something to the mysterious test.  Put your wedding ring on a string and dangle it over your baby bump.  A side-to-side motion means you’ll be welcoming a girl while a circular motion indicates a boy.  Weird, but worth a shot, right?

Key Test:  Does this one hold the “key” to baby girl vs. baby boy?  Hand a mom-to-be a key and take note of where she holds it.  If she grabs the wider top part, a girl is on the way.  But if she takes the skinner long part, it’s a boy for her.

Sleep Test:  Hopefully you are getting some zzz’s during pregnancy.  Ancient wisdom purports that left side sleepers are having boys and right side sleepers are having girls.  If you sleep propped on your back, it’s all a gamble!

We hope you enjoy these whimsical ways to predict whether your baby will be a girl baby vs. boy baby.  While none are proven to be tried and true, they sure are fun to play.

Pregnancy Edema or Pregnancy Swelling

Moms-to-be expect, and often embrace, their growing baby bumps.  But when other areas start to grow or swell too, it may be less than pleasant.

Pregnancy edema or pregnancy swelling occurs in up to 75% of pregnant women.  For most women it appears around the midway point of pregnancy and lasts until shortly after childbirth.  It is caused by an increase in bodily fluids, especially blood.  In fact, your body produces approximately 50% more blood and fluid during pregnancy than when not pregnant.  This extra blood is necessary to help sustain your baby during pregnancy.  After all, you are pumping blood for two during this precious period of constant growth and development.

Young pregnant woman relaxingHere’s what is happening:  The weight of the uterus puts pressure on pelvic veins as well as the vena cava, a vein that carries blood from the lower half of your body to your heart.  Swelling is a result of this pressure from extra fluids.  Additionally, your body may be retaining water throughout pregnancy, which contributes to pregnancy edema.  Extra fluids help keep joints and tissues mobile and ready for delivery, and soften the body to nurture your baby.

Typically, pregnancy edema is most prevalent in the feet and ankles.  These areas can swell quite a bit and may swell worse at nighttime or in hot weather.  Lower extremities tend to swell worse due to gravity.  Hands can also swell, which is why you may find it difficult to take off or put on rings that typically fit perfectly.  Don’t have them resized just yet!  This symptom usually goes away within days or a few short weeks after your baby arrives.

Because pregnancy edema is so common, it is usually not a cause for concern.  Mild swelling is normal, however severe, sudden or prolonged swelling can be a sign of a bigger problem.  Obstetricians become concerned that pregnancy swelling is a sign of preeclampsia if it is paired with high blood pressure and rapid weight gain.  But swelling alone usually does not predict preeclampsia.

Pregnancy edema can become worse if you are consuming excessive salt or caffeine.  Also, swelling is a sign of low potassium in your diet.  Standing or sitting for too long may cause your feet and legs to swell too.

Although some level of edema may not be avoidable, you can try a few ways to reduce swelling.  First, don’t sit or stand for too long and don’t spend too much time outdoors in the heat.  If you find your feet are swelling, lean back and prop your legs to allow blood to flow smoothly.  Don’t wear restrictive socks that may reduce circulation to your feet and ensure you’re always wearing comfortable shoes that will allow your feet to breathe.

Soaking in a pool or bath may relieve swelling or try cool compresses in the areas that are most affected.  Drink plenty of water to help flush your system and encourage the release of water retention through urination.  Also, watch that your diet is not contributing to the condition.

Swelling in unexpected areas beyond your belly is a normal part of pregnancy.  Do what you can to reduce pregnancy edema and relieve your discomfort.  If the problem is persistent or unbearable, contact your OB for consultation.

 

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4th of July
5 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s with Kids
a friend with breast cancer
academy awards
activities
activities for kids
activities for kids this fall
activities with babies
actress
alcohol and pregnancy
Alyssa Milano
America
American Heart Association
amputation
anaphylactic shock
Anne Geddes
apple crumble
apple picking
apples
apps
Are you Ready for a Second Child
Ashton Kutcher
autumn
avoid raising entitled children
babies
babies and playgrounds
babies and poison
babies and sleep
Babies and Type 1 Diabetes
babies in pumpkins
babies love music
baby
baby as a pumpkin
baby bash
baby belly button
baby boy names
baby brains
baby bump
Baby bumps
baby car seats
Baby Care
baby cough
baby ears
baby eye color
baby gates
Baby Gender
baby gender test
Baby Gifts
baby girl names
Baby Halloween Costumes
baby handedness
baby in womb
baby name
Baby Names
baby news
baby photography
baby pictures
baby proofing
baby safety
baby schedule
Baby Selfies
Baby Shower
Baby Skin Care
baby sleep schedule
baby sleep training
baby talk
baby traits
baby wearing
baby-friendly hospitals
baby's development
baby's first birthday
baby's first cold
baby's first time swimming
baby's gender
baby's runny nose
baby's senses
baby’s ears
Babymoon Destinations
Babymooning
babysitters
babywearing
back sleeping during pregnancy
back to school
back to sick germs
bath time routine
bedtime routine for baby
being a good patient
benefit of breastfeeding for moms
benefits of babywearing
benefits of breast milk
benefits of breastfeeding
best breast pump
best breastfeeding positions
best discipline techniques
best exam plan
best foods for breastfeeding
best Mothers Day gifts
best music for babies
Best Teacher Gifts for the Holidays
best things to eat and drink while breastfeeding
best toys for babies
best way to sleep while pregnant
big sister
birth
birth order
birth order traits
birth plan
birthday party ideas for one year old
Birthing Professionals
Biting
bleeding gums
blistering skin
blisters
Body Acceptance
booster car seats
Bottle Feeding
bottles
boy names
boy or girl baby
Bra Fit Tips
bratty kids
breast
breast cancer
Breast Cancer Awareness
breast cancer awareness month
breast feeding
breast is best
breast milk
breast milk donation
breast milk donor
breast milk movies
Breast Milk Production
breast milk storage
breast pump
breast pump flange
breast pump flanges
breast pumps
Breast Reduction and Breastfeeding
breastfeed
Breastfeeding
breastfeeding a baby with a cold
Breastfeeding Advice
breastfeeding after c-section
Breastfeeding and Baby's Brain
breastfeeding and babywearing
Breastfeeding and Bonding with Baby
breastfeeding and burning calories
breastfeeding and co-sleeping
Breastfeeding and Earth Day
Breastfeeding and Exercise
Breastfeeding and Health Care
breastfeeding and medications
Breastfeeding and Ovulating
Breastfeeding and Pregnancy
breastfeeding and pumping
breastfeeding and smell
breastfeeding and the working mom
breastfeeding and touch
breastfeeding and Valentine's Day
Breastfeeding Benefits
breastfeeding benefits for mothers
Breastfeeding Classes
breastfeeding diet
breastfeeding diet restrictions
Breastfeeding During the Holidays
Breastfeeding Education
breastfeeding good for moms
breastfeeding help
Breastfeeding in Public
breastfeeding in sling
breastfeeding issues
breastfeeding latch
breastfeeding latch tips
breastfeeding laws
breastfeeding news
breastfeeding on Valentine's Day
Breastfeeding Policy
breastfeeding positions
breastfeeding positions lying down
breastfeeding pumping
Breastfeeding Registry
breastfeeding supplies
Breastfeeding Support
Breastfeeding Support Groups
Breastfeeding Tips
breastfeeding tops
breasts
breathing techniques during pregnancy
bump style
c-section
caesarean section
Caffeine
can dads have postpartum depression
can pregnant women eat shrimp
cancer
Car Seats for Every Age
cdc
Celebrate Mother's Day
celebrate Valentine's Day with your kids
Celebrating New Years with Kids
Celebrity
Celebrity Babies
celebrity pregnancies
characteristics of children based on birth order
child development
child proofing
child.
childbirth
childhood obesity
children
children and dry drowning
Children's Play
Chris Hemsworth
Christian Bale
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve activities
Christopher Nolan
chubby babies
cleaning car
clothing
Cluster Feeding
co-sleeping
cold weather activities
colic
colostrum
colostrum benefits
Comfortable Bras
common pregnancy questions
communication
compression tights
confident children
confident kids
cooking with kids this Thanksgiving
Coping with Sleep Deprivation
cord blood banking
corn maze
cosmetics during pregnancy
crafts
crafts for kids
Creativity
cuddle
cuddling
Cute Babies
cute maternity clothes
dads
dads and babies
dads with depression
Danah Bordner
dangers of smoking during pregnancy
dangers of smoking while breastfeeding
deciding to have a second child
delivery
dental health
dentist
depression and weaning
developing baby's senses
dietary restrictions
different ways to praise a child
Dinovember
discipline tactics that work
does my baby need therapy
donate breast milk
donating toys
doula
Doutzen Kroes
Drew Barrymore
drinking while pregnant
dropping naps
dry drowning
dry skin
ear infection
ear wax buildup
early childhood
early detection and breast cancer
ears
earwax
easy Thanksgiving crafts
eating fish during pregnancy
Eating Fish During Pregnancy and While Breastfeeding
eating fish while breastfeeding
eating healthy during Halloween
edema
Elie Saab
Elsa Pataky
Emily blunt
emotions behind weaning
endorphins
entitled children
establishing a bedtime routine
exercise with baby
Extended Breastfeeding
Facebook
facts about breast cancer
facts about Valentine's Day
fall
fall activities
fall nursing bras
fall treats
fall wardrobe
family
family bed
family escape plan
family Halloween costumes
family photos
family physician
Family Planning
family planning trends
family size
fashion
Father's Day
Father's Day gift ideas
fda
fertility
Fertility Calendar
fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
fetal alcohol syndrome
finger foods
finger foods for babies
finger foods for toddlers
fire safety for babies
fire safety for toddlers
fire safety in your home
fire safety tips
first birthday party
First Birthday Party Ideas
fish
fish oil
fish recommendations for breastfeeding
flanges breast pump
flu shot during pregnancy
Flying While Pregnant
food allergies
food and drug administration
foods to avoid during pregnancy
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
football
formal maternity dresses
formula
fostering sibling relationships
free family activities
free family fun
Fun family activities on Christmas Eve
funny facts about breastfeeding
funny moments in parenting
Fussy Baby
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones HBO
gender neutral colors
gender neutral names
gender neutral nursery
gender neutral parenting
Gender Prediction
Getting Pregnant
getting rid of toys
Gift Ideas
gifts for mom
girl baby vs. boy baby
girl names
girl or boy baby
give thanks for kids
giving back
giving back during holidays
golf
good luck in the New Year
hair
hair during pregnancy
hair loss after pregnancy
hair loss during pregnancy
hair tourniquet
hair tourniquet syndrome
hairbrush
Halloween
Halloween activities
Halloween activities for babies
Halloween costume ideas
Halloween costumes
Halloween eating tips
Halloween masks
Halloween tips
hand foot and mouth
hand foot and mouth disease
handprint crafts
hands on pumping
happy baby
happy family
happy kids
harness car seats
Healing Powers of Breast Milk
health
health benefits of breastfeeding
healthy
healthy babies
Healthy Breakfasts
healthy diet
Healthy Eating
healthy families
healthy family habits
healthy Halloween
healthy lifestyle
healthy parenting
healthy snack tricks for kids
healthy snacks
healthy snacks for kids
hearing loss
Heart disease
heart health
heart health and your baby
heart healthy diet
heart healthy family
heart healthy lifestyle
HFMD
history of Valentine's Day
holiday crafts for kids
holiday crats
holiday gifts for caregivers
holiday gifts for teachers
holiday handprint crafts
holiday schedule
holiday spirit
holiday traditions
Holidays
Hollywood
home remedies for babies
homemade gifts
homemade Mothers Day gift ideas
homemade Mothers Day gifts
hospital
Hospital Bag Checklist
hospitals and breastfeeding
How Baby Traits Influence Personality
how different animals breastfeed
how to avoid dry drowning
how to avoid poisoning
How to Avoid Raising Entitled Children
how to avoid reflux
how to baby proof
how to be a good patient
how to be sexy while breastfeeding
how to breastfeed
how to clean baby ears
how to clean up play room
how to clean your baby’s ears
how to discipline a baby
how to discipline a child
How to Donate Breast Milk
how to ease baby into swimming
how to engage your baby with toys
how to establish a bedtime routine
how to fall asleep
how to fall asleep fast
how to get help while breastfeeding
how to get kids to drink water
how to get kids to eat healthy
how to get rid of stretch marks
how to go to sleep
how to handle thumb sucking
how to have good luck
how to have healthy family habits
how to hold baby while nursing
how to keep car clean
How to Keep Your Babysitter Happy
how to manage pain during labor
how to potty train
how to prevent baby from getting sick
how to raise happy kids
How to Select a Pediatrician
how to sleep better
how to sleep train a baby
how to stop breastfeeding
how to stop breastfeeding at night
how to support a friend with breast cancer
how to take great family pictures
how to tell if baby is overweight
how to tell if your baby is a boy or girl
how to tell older kids mom is pregnant
humor in parenting
I am Totally Pregnant App
Illness
Imagination
immune system
In the Media
Indians
indoor activities for babies
infant
infant safety
infants
items to avoid used
Jason Goldberg
Jason Wu
john krasinski
juggling a newborn and a toddler
Just for Fun
juvenile diabetes
juvenile diabetes and babies
keep my car clean
keeping baby well
Kerry Washington
kid-friendly Thanksgiving
Kids
kids activities for the weekend
kids and dehydration
kids can help make Thanksgiving dinner
kids drink water
Kids New Year
Kraft Nabisco tournament
Kristen Cavallari
Labor Day
labor pain
Labor Pain Management Techniques
lack of sleep
lactation
Lactation Consultant
language
last minute Thanksgiving crafts
Latching On
latte
laura silverman
Leading Lady nursing bras
leaf rubbing
leaking breast milk
leaking breasts
leaking nipples
leaves
leaving your job
liquid gold
little one
Losing Baby Weight
Losing Weight After Pregnancy
LPGA
LPGA tour
macys
make breastfeeding easier
makeup during pregnancy
making mom friends
mammals and breastfeeding
mammals and lactation
mammograms
maternity
maternity bras
maternity clothes
maternity dress
maternity dresses
maternity fashion
medication
men and babies
men with babies are sexier
mental health during pregnancy
mercury in fish
mercury levels in fish
midwife
midwife vs. doula
midwives
Mila Kunis
milk movie
Milk Supply
mom
mom friends
mom is pregnant
mom judging
moms
moms judging moms
mother
Mother's Day
motherhood
mothers
Mothers Day gift ideas
Mothers Day gifts
Mothers Day ideas
Motivational Breastfeeding Thoughts
music and babies
nameberry baby names
nameberry unusual names
National Breastfeeding Month
National Heart Month
natural home remedies
Natural Home Remedies for Babies
navigating sleep transitions
Neonatal
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Nesting
new baby
new mom
new mom sleep deprivation
new parents
New Year's superstitions
New Year's traditions
New Years
New Years Resolutions
New Years with Kids
newborn
newborn photography
newborns
NICU
night weaning
nighttime breastfeeding
Nipple Confusion
nipple pain
nipple pumping
Nipple Soreness
nipples
no carve pumpkin
no carve pumpkin ideas
number of kids per family
nursery
nursing
nursing attire
nursing bra
Nursing Bras
nursing cami
Nursing Fashion
Nursing Mom's Lifestyle
Nursing Positions
Nursing Supplies
nursing tank top
Nursing Tank Tops
nursing wardrobe
nutrition
OBGYN
occupational therapy
Old Wives Tale Gender Prediction
Olivia Wilde
omega 3
omega 3 fatty acids
oral bacteria during pregnancy
oral thrush
Organizations that Support Mothers
organizing car
origin of Valentine's Day
Oscar awards
Oscars
Outdoor safety
Ovarian Cancer Awareness
overweight baby
Parental Guidance
parenthood
parenting
parenting and exercise
parenting and health
parenting to your child
parents
Paula Garces
peanut allergies
peanut allergy
peanut allergy symptoms
pediatrician
pediatrician for newborn
peeling skin
perinatal mental health
photography
physical therapy
physician
pilgrims
Plan Your Own Mother’s Day
play room
playground recommendations for babies
PMS
PMS during pregnancy
poison prevention
polka dot maternity clothes
positive discipline
positive effect of smiling
post-partum depression
postpartum care
postpartum depression
Postpartum Depression in Dads
postpartum hair loss
postpartum smoking
potty training
praise for children
pre potty training tips
precautions for babies while playing outside
Pregnancy
pregnancy and older siblings
pregnancy announcement
pregnancy apps
Pregnancy Calendar
pregnancy changes
pregnancy concerns
pregnancy cravings
pregnancy diet
Pregnancy Discrimination
pregnancy edema
Pregnancy Edema or Pregnancy Swelling
pregnancy exercise
pregnancy fashion
pregnancy gingivitis
pregnancy health
pregnancy hormones
Pregnancy in the work place
Pregnancy Myths
pregnancy nipples
pregnancy PMS
pregnancy rules
Pregnancy Stretch Marks
pregnancy swelling
pregnancy symptoms
pregnancy tips
pregnancy workouts
pregnant
Pregnant Belly
pregnant celebrities
pregnant women
Prenatal Dental Care
prenatal yoga
preparing for a second baby
preparing for childbirth
preparing older children for the arrival of a new baby
Preparing to be a Stay at Home Mom
Preparing to Breastfeed
progesterone
proper latch
protect your baby
public breastfeeding
Pumping
pumping at work
pumping breast milk
pumpkin
pumpkin activities for babies
pumpkin dishes
pumpkin latte
pumpkin lattes
pumpkin pie
pumpkin rolls
pumpkin seeds
pumpkins
purpose of umbilical cord
raising children
Raising Confident Kids
Raising Happy Kids
reading and smart babies
ready for a second child
reasons to be thankful
reasons to be thankful for your kids
red carpet
red carpet dresses
refresh your play room
reproductive health
Returning to Work
Rh disease
Rh factor
Rh Factor and Pregnancy
Rh negative
Rh positive
Rh status
risk factors for breast cancer
role of a doula
role of a midwife
Rules for Cleaning out Toys
Rules of Babysitters
rules of pregnancy
sadness and weaning
safe drugs while breastfeeding
safe medications for breastfeeding
scarecrow
Scarlett Johansson
science behind happy kids
seafood
select a pediatrician
Selfie
sensory experiences for babies
sexy new moms
Sexy Nursing Bras
sexy nursing bras for Valentine's Day
Shakespeare
Sheryl Sandberg
siblings
siblings and baby
side sleeping during pregnancy
signs of labor
simon cowell
skin
sleep
sleep deprivation with baby
sleep during pregnancy
sleep schedule
sleep tips
sleep training methods
sleep transitions
sleep while your baby sleeps
sleeping
sleeping in bed with baby
smart babies
smile
smiles
smiling
smoking during pregnancy
snobby kids
soleil moon frye
sound machine
special gifts for dad
speech therapy
spicy foods
spider veins
spirit of giving
spokesmom
Spring Fashion
stay at home mom
stop mom judging
Storing Breaskmilk
stretch marks
style
sucking your thumb
Sugar
Sugar substitutes
summer maternity clothes
support a friend with breast cancer
support for moms
support mothers
supporting moms supporting babies
sweet nursing bras
swelling during pregnancy
swimming with baby
swimming with baby in bath
swimsuits
swollen feet during pregnancy
symptoms of common cold in baby
symptoms of dry drowning
symptoms of pregnancy
taking pictures of baby
talking to your baby
Tdap during pregnancy
Teach babies about heart health
teacher gifts
teaching children about giving back
teeth during pregnancy
thankfulness
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Activities
Thanksgiving cooking with kids
Thanksgiving crafts
thanksgiving day parade
Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving table decor
thanksgiving trivia
that 70s show
The Benefits of Music for Babies
The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
The Cost of Breastfeeding
the dangers of hair tourniquet
The First Response Tracker
the golden rule
The History of Breastfeeding
the Milky Way documentary
the Milky Way movie
the Milky Way: every mother has a story
the positive effects of smiling at your baby
The Pregnancy Companion App
therapy in early childhood
Things to do on Christmas Eve
thrush
thrush in adults
thrush in babies
thrush symptoms
thrush treatment
thumb suckers
thumb sucking
tips for breastfeeding
tips for cleaning out toys
tips for sleep training
toddler
toddler and newborn
top things to do during pregnancy
toxins in cosmetics
toxins in makeup
toxins that are bad for babies
traits that influence personality
transitioning to solids
Traveling
treat your babysitter like family
trends in family size
trivia
turkey
Twins
twitter
type 1 diabetes
umbilical cord
umbilical cord care
unique baby boy names
unique baby girl names
unique baby names
united states
update your play space
used baby items
used car seats
used cribs
uterus transplant
Vacations
Vaccines
vaccines during pregnancy
Valentine's activities for kids
Valentine's crafts
Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day nursing bras
Valentine's Day while breastfeeding
Valentine's Day with kids
Valentine’s Day Fun Facts
Valentino
varicose veins
varicose veins treatment
visiting the doctor
volunteer
volunteering
Ways to Burn Calories with a Baby
ways to find other new moms
Ways to Get Kids to Drink Water
ways to praise your child
ways to relieve congestion in babies
ways to sweeten Valentine's Day
WBW2015
weaning
weaning breastfeeding
weaning from breastfeeding
weather
WebMD
what is colostrum
what is the umbilical cord
what is thrush
what medicines can I take while breastfeeding
what not to buy used
what not to do during pregnancy
what not to eat during pregnancy
what to avoid during pregnancy
what to do before potty training
what to do on Christmas Eve
what to do on Mother's Day
what to do to relieve pain during labor
what to do with a toddler while breastfeeding a baby
What to do with kids on New Years
what to eat during pregnancy
what to get for Father's Day
what to look for in pediatrician
what type of car seat do I need
what your baby does in womb
where to donate breast milk
where to find a pediatrician
which foods to serve a baby
which vaccines are ok during pregnancy
white noise machine
why children need praise
why do moms judge each other
why kids suck thumbs
why men with babies are sexy
winter vacation activities
wintertime activities
wirefree nursing bras
women
women’s breast milk
womens hair
World Breastfeeding Week
yeast diaper rash
yoga with baby