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Flaunt that Bump

Forget the oversized shirts and dresses and buy clothes that are made to fit your pregnant body. Look for tops made of pregnancy-friendly fabrics that will gently hug your growing bump while allowing plenty of room for growth. Features such as tie backs or side shirring also help ensure your top will flatter you throughout your pregnancy.

Tops or dresses that include a gathered hem below your belly bump are always flattering to pregnant women. This type of dress or top will give your body some form and show off your curves, while also being comfortable.

One look we love that is comfortable and stylish is pairing a bump-hugging top with a long skirt made of soft fabric, like jersey material. You can also pair a bump-hugging wrap top with your favorite pair of jeans and knee-high boots for an always-trendy look.


Maternity Fashion Checklist: What You Need and What You'll Want

Even for the most experienced shopaholics, buying maternity clothing isn't necessarily straightforward. Instead of trying to fit one body, you're stocking up on things that will work for the next five to six to eight months, while your figure is constantly changing. There will be surprises -- even your ankles could change and your cleavage might morph from A-cup to pin-up. On top of that, comfort is a priority.

So we asked our mommy friends what they really wore and loved during their pregnancies. We came up with two lists -- the clothes you have to have (you'll want to wear them all the time) and those you want to have (they may not be essential, but you’ll be so glad you’ve got them).Try these on for size.


Maternity jeans

So-forgiving stretchy fabric panels make a good pair of maternity jeans a comfy lifesaver. If you wear jeans all the time in regular life, you don’t want to have to give them up like you did your rosé. “I spent serious money on a pair of designer maternity jeans... I don't think I've ever spent that much on regular jeans," says Virginia S. "You really, really cannot fake it with jeans when you're pregnant, and these were so super comfortable but also cute -- they made a huge difference. Those elastic waist panels are the best.”

Go ahead and think outside the denim box – black or patterned jeans could add much-needed variety to your closet.


During pregnancy, our mom friends say their dresses did double-duty for work and lounging. Some loved their loose tunic-y shifts, while others swore by long, flow-y maxi styles -- you'll have to try on a few to see what works best for you. Asymmetrical hems are a fun and stylish detail that distracts the eye, while the Empire waist is definitely flattering to your baby bod. A key component: a bit of stretch for comfort. Doll this up for date night with some sparkly accessories and fun flats.

Black tee

This multifuctional piece (that coordinates with everything) is a crucial building block for your maternity wardrobe, which will continue to work after the baby arrives. “I lived in a pair of maternity jeans and a black, stretchy, long sleeve crossover v-neck t-shirt," says Jen. L. "I liked that outfit so much, I got married in it (at 7 months and in Vegas!).”

Wear your black tee solo or under a cardigan or jacket. Whether it’s V-neck or crossover, short sleeve or long, pick a made-for-maternity style to avoid the front inching up toward your expanding waistline.

Long tank top

Before you had a bump, this was probably already a style staple. Pop your long tank under a sweater and wear it with a skirt or jeans. Pick colors you wear already, but we like black because, with black pants or skirt, it creates a slim line, and it’s easily dressed up or down. 

Loose, flowing drape-y cardigan

Whether it has long front panels or a pretty cascade of pleats, your cardi works best if it’s made of a three-season cotton or poly blend. It’s going to take you from those first few “Is that a baby bump?” months well into your due date zone...and beyond.

Accessories such as scarves and jewelry

You’re probably going to end up re-using items of clothing more frequently than you did before pregnancy. Bright scarves, statement necklaces, dangling earrings, bold cuffs -- these can work wonders in camouflaging the fact that you’re wearing the same top as you did on Monday. And you'll wear this long after you deliver.

Maternity undies

Chances are you can get away with your regular go-to panties and bra, at least for a few months. But once things are really starting to grow, they’re not going to cut it. Go under-tummy for boy shorts or thongs, or get full-on granny panties for extra comfort. We like boy shorts with fold-over tops because they provide coverage in back without cutting across the belly.

And, consider getting a bra fitting, since your breast size is changing. On top, we like stretchy-but-supportive sports bras that don’t crowd too close to the neck in front or back. Get some without an underwire for ultracomfort.


Knit tunic

A dark color makes this office-friendly, while sailor stripes make it weekend-fun. Look for split sides that will keep this fitting for months.


Throw them on under a skirt and slide on a pair of cute ankle boots, because who can stand to wear tights when they're pregnant? They may become your uniform, since you can also lounge around in them at home with a tee or wear them under a big shirt while you run errands.

Yoga pants

Yoga pants are for those days when you want to leave the house but can’t really imagine getting dressed. Oh, and, of course, you’re still exercising, right?

Maternity hoodie

Pair those yoga pants with a matching hoodie -- you deserve to feel put-together even on a super casual day! Instead of grabbing an XXL one from a guy’s closet, pick a hoodie designed for a growing belly with cute details like contrasting seams, piping, or pockets.

Oversize button-down shirt

Wear a classic, menswear-style shirt with leggings and you won’t feel like you’re always swallowed up in your old school tee shirts. (Go Tigers!) We love crisp shirting stripes, chambray, or even denim. Rule of thumb: A hint of stretch in the fabric won’t hurt.

Stretchy pencil skirt

This is where a maternity style will so be your friend, as opposed to leaving a regular skirt unzipped and hoping no one will notice under your voluminous topper. This is for all the ladies who miss wearing fitted clothing since they started to show.

Look for a skirt that hits below the knee, and wear it a tunic or tee and loose cardigan for a cute work look. This could even be a fun baby shower outfit, with a loose blouse in a print or solid color.


If your pregnancy coincides at all with cool weather, consider a poncho: It’s loose on everybody. It’s also something you can wear before, during, and after baby. And, luckily for today’s pregnant ladies, ponchos are very on-trend right now. For a bold stateent, go with a rich color (burgundy, cobalt blue) or try a pattern like (flatteringly) angled wide stripes. A loose cowl or v-neck looks great, and is not at all confining.

Kimono-style top

Whether it’s a blown-up floral print or a busy Fair Isle knit pattern, this is one piece that makes an outfit. If it’s dressy, throw a silky kimono over sleek black pants and a tank/tee. With the right shoes and jewelry, it’ll be spot-on for a wedding or party. If it’s a little more sweater-y and casual, you can wear it with boots and jeans to work or to brunch. Pick one you love (don’t be afraid of brights or patterns!) and you’ll be able to keep wearing it forever.

This article was written by MARIA RICAPITO from CafeMom and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty


14 Baby Shower Games with a Disney Twist!

We know that the baby shower is all about the baby gifts and honoring the parent-to-be, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun along the way, right?

Treat your guests to a little Disney magic with these new and traditional baby shower games—all with a Disney twist, of course! And then, don’t forget to check out Disney Baby baby shower supplies and registry ideas.

Find The Hidden Minnie Bows

Disney World is famous for its hidden Mickeys throughout the parks, so recreate the magic at your Disney baby shower by hiding Minnie Mouse bows around the shower. The guest to collect the most bows can win a prize! Print free Minnie Mouse bows (blue for a baby boy or pink for a baby girl!) here.

Disney Price is Right

Set up a display of Disney-themed baby products, and have guests guess how much each item is. The one who has the most correct wins.

Guess What’s In My Diaper Bag?

Pick up a Disney diaper bag for your guest of honor here and have fun stuffing it full of goodies! (Don’t forget to throw a few fun items in there to challenge your shower guests—we promise not to tell!). Browse Disney bags here.

Write a Diaper Message

Set out a basket of Huggies diapers with markers and have guests write funny or encouraging messages to the future parents-to-be. They will get a giggle when they most need it!

Blindfolded Diaper Changing

Keep those Huggies handy—and have your guests move to a blindfolded diaper changing station game to recreate those middle-of-the-night changes. Ready, set, and go!

Who Said It?

Print out your favorite Disney quotes and have guests match the character to the quote.

Give Your Best Advice

Have each guest pen in her best advice on life in a Winnie the Pooh journal for baby—fill it with pictures later. This is such a meaningful gift and activity all in one!

Mickey Mouse “Hands Down” Game

Print out these Mickey glove game cards and pass them out face down. On cue, have everybody flip over the cards. The goal is to be the first to unscramble the five words, each of which spells an object that a baby holds in his/her hand.

Sign a Favorite Disney Book

Set out a table with your favorite Disney books for kids and have guests sign them as a way to remember everyone who celebrated on the special day.

Mouse Up Your Pins

The clothespin game is pretty popular at baby showers—add clothespins every time you say the word “baby” or even the baby’s name, if it’s been chosen already. Ramp up the fun, Disney style, by adding Mickey or Minnie mouse ears to the clothespins before passing out to guests.

Make Pretzel Wands

For a game that is its own tasty reward, encourage your guests to make a wish with their own magic wands. Set out pretzel sticks, dipping stations with melted chocolate, and fun toppings like sprinkles for garnish. Yum!

Count The Candies in the Bottle

Set out Mickey or Minnie bottles at every table with varying amounts of small candies, like M&Ms, and have guests submit their guesses to how many candies are in each bottle. One winner per table! (Also, don’t forget to remove the candies before giving to the guest of honor to use for her baby!)

Remember What Was On The Tray

Set out a tray of essential baby items (think small items, such as diapers, bibs, bottles, teethers, or pacifiers), leave the tray out for a designated amount of time, then put it away and have guests try to write down everything they can remember. The most correct items wins!

Guess The Disney Baby Picture

Print out pictures of Disney characters as kids or babies and have your guests match the picture to the adult character. This is also fun to do with the guest as well, if you ask everyone to bring their own baby picture to contribute!

Image: Getty


Surviving the Symptoms: Tips for Every Trimester

When you’re pregnant, crazy things like having the volume of blood in your body increase by a whopping 50 percent and experiencing your organs shift around to accommodate a growing baby become routine.

Your body undergoes drastic changes while you’re preggers, so side effects are guaranteed. Here’s a roundup of some of the most common pregnancy symptoms and how you can cope.


Your hormones are going totally crazy right now, so you could experience one or several of the following symptoms between weeks 1 through 12.

What to do when:

Everything makes you feel nauseous

Avoid an empty stomach. Eat small meals and snacks and avoid fried, spicy or high-fat foods. Keep your body temperature nice and cool; feeling too warm could bring on nausea.

You constantly have to pee

Cut back on caffeine to benefit both you and your baby. Drinking caffeinated beverages will make you have to go more often. Keep in mind, you may occasionally leak urine when sneezing or laughing, so stash some panty liners in your purse just in case.

You’re tired all the time

The rising progesterone levels in your body are to blame for the sleepiness. Get lots of rest, daily exercise and be sure to include enough protein and iron in your diet.

You feel lightheaded

Mild dizziness can happen. You can prevent it by not standing for long periods of time and getting up slowly after lying down or being seated. If the dizziness is severe, and you have abdominal pain or bleeding, get immediate medical care.


During weeks 13 -28 of your pregnancy, your morning sickness symptoms will probably go away (hurray!) and you should feel more energetic.

How to deal with:

The changes in your breasts

Your breasts are going to get larger as they prep for milk production and you could have some discharge from your nipples (it’s totally normal). Get through the discomfort with a support bra that has wide shoulder straps and an adjustable closure that fastens in the back.

Those dark patches on your skin

They could show up on your face or down the middle of your belly, either way it’s the hormones that increase skin pigmentation that are to blame. These patches usually fade, but sun exposure makes them worse—pack your hat and sunscreen!

That pain in your legs

Prevent leg cramps by staying hydrated and getting regular exercise. Since they often strike at night, doing calf stretches before bed can help. Got a cramp? Massage your leg and apply a warm towel or hot water bottle to relax that achy muscle.

A burning feeling when you pee

You’re at increased risk of getting a bladder infection now. This infection could cause pregnancy complications if it’s left untreated, so call the doc if you have symptoms.


You’re so close! Things may be getting a bit uncomfortable during weeks 27-40, but that beautiful baby of yours will be arriving soon.

Getting through:

Those annoying back pains

Since baby is growing heavier every day, your back is going to need some love. Make time for a massage from your partner or a pro and use heating pads or ice packs to soothe pain. Ditch the platforms and wear low-heeled shoes for now.

That breathless feeling

Your lungs are pretty much getting squashed by your growing uterus, which means you may have difficulty breathing. Try sleeping with your head and shoulders propped up on pillows. Lifting your arms over your head can also help you breathe easier.

The heartburn

>Because of your expanding uterus, your stomach is under pressure too. That can cause stomach acids to seep up into places they shouldn’t. Drink liquids in between meals instead of with them and try to avoid lying down (or even bending) after you eat.

All that puffiness

There is now so much extra fluid in your body that your legs, ankles and feet are likely to swell up. Even your hands and face could be affected. Prop up your legs and sit without crossing them to help reduce swelling. You can also bring swelling down and improve circulation by lying down on your left side.

Image: Getty


How To Create a Stylish, Budget Friendly Maternity Wardrobe

Pregnancy brings many changes to your body.Even before your bump becomes visible, you will find that buttons aren’t fastening as easily, and waistbands are getting a bit too snug. But don't go on a massive maternity shopping spree without following these simple tips for building a pregnancy wardrobe that won’t bust your budget.

Focus on basics.

Leggings, camis and t-shirts can grow and stretch with you throughout your pregnancy and will inevitably become staples of your maternity wardrobe. While it may be tempting to simply go up a size or two, true maternity clothes may be more flattering in the long run. They provide the extra fabric to expand where necessary without adding bulk all over. Stock up on neutral colors that you can mix and match through every trimester.

Don’t forget what you already own.

Cardigans, drawstring lounge pants, tunics and empire-waist dresses can help fill out your maternity closet for most of your pregnancy. Layering maternity basics under your regular clothes can stretch your wardrobe options for work and weekends.

Invest in high-quality maternity bras.

It’s tempting to skimp on bras since you may go through many sizes during and after your pregnancy – but don’t! Good pregnancy bras are made of fabrics that breathe and stretch while offering more support for your changing breasts. Get measured by a professional and find a couple of bras that feel comfortable since you may even want to sleep in them!

Accessorize to add style.

Jewelry can go a long way in styling a maternity look. Spice up your outfits with trendy, affordable pieces, like statement necklaces and bangles. Fun accessories can especially come in handy at the end of your pregnancy when shopping for new clothing becomes difficult.

Ditch the stilettos.

Unless you’re a reality TV star, it’s practically impossible – and completely impractical ­– to balance your growing bump atop four-inch heels on a daily basis. Opt for flats, low square-heeled boots or low wedges that provide cushioned support for your feet and body. Your legs and lower back will thank you at the end of the day. Your feet may also expand during pregnancy, so be sure to buy shoes with some give or try open-toed shoes to let your feet spread out.

Maternity clothes can be fashionable, fun and within budget – so enjoy this time and show off that bump!

Image: Getty


Pregnancy Cravings: I Can’t Believe I Ate That!

“I used to get a sugar craving in the early afternoons, but I kept sweets in my house to a minimum. Out of desperation, I’d mix hot chocolate powder, peanut butter, and a bit of water in a bowl. It looked like icing and tasted just like cake batter. My husband was completely grossed out, so I’d eat it when he wasn't home. It honestly tasted much better than it sounds!”

—Pam M., mom of one, Atlanta, Georgia

“I bought gummy bears in bulk and ate all the clear ones first. I haven’t eaten them since.”

—Meredith E., mom of two, Glen Ridge, New Jersey

“For my first pregnancy, I was obsessed with crushed ice. I drank a ton of water, but still had my husband smash ice for me and put it in a huge mug, and I’d scoop it out with my fingers.

—Michele P., mom of two, Frederick, Maryland

“I ate hot-pepper sandwiches—bread, butter, hot-pepper rings, and hot sauce. With a huge glass of cold milk. Mmm, mmm good.”

—Jennifer M., mom of two, Ontario, Canada

“I craved garlic French fries dipped in vanilla ice cream. I can still taste it!”

—Patty H., mom of one, Buffalo, New York

“When I was pregnant I had many cravings, but the weirdest was the canned corn phase. Not fresh. Not frozen. It had to be canned. I ate a bowl of it for dinner almost every night for about two weeks.”

—Dani J., mom of two, Monroe, Ohio

"I was compelled to make and eat fruit pies—strawberry, apple, cherry, a combo of strawberry and blueberry, you name it. My husband said 'Yes, dear' to everything and just helped to eat a lot of pie!"

—Julia F., mom of two, Baltimore, Maryland

“I was a pregnant cliché. I seriously craved lots of ice cream—vanilla with chocolate sauce—and pickles too. But I managed to keep them separate.”

—Sarah L., mom of one, Indianapolis, Indiana

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

pregnant lady outside yoga pose

Headaches During Pregnancy: What's the Best Treatment?

What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I'd rather not take medication.

There's much you can do to prevent or relieve headaches during pregnancy without taking medication.

Start with simple prevention tips:

  • Avoid headache triggers. 
    Keep track of your meals, activities and headaches for several days to help pinpoint your headache triggers — then do your best to avoid your triggers.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.
    Try a daily walk or other moderate aerobic exercise.
  • Manage stress.
    Find healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life, such as delegating tasks on your to-do list and spending time with people who lift your spirits.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.
    Try calming activities such as deep breathing, yoga and visualization.
  • Eat smaller, more-frequent meals throughout the day.
    Regular meals will keep your blood sugar on an even keel, which can help prevent headaches.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
    Staying hydrated can keep you feeling your best.
  • Follow a regular sleep schedule.
    Fatigue and lack of sleep can contribute to headaches during pregnancy. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Consider biofeedback.
    With this mind-body technique, you learn to control certain bodily functions — such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure — to prevent headaches or reduce headache pain. If you'd like to try biofeedback to treat headaches during pregnancy, ask your health care provider for a referral to a biofeedback therapist.

When a headache strikes:

  • Rest.
    Lie down in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed.
  • Use a compress.
    Apply a warm compress (such as a hot towel) to your face, eyes and temples — or try a cold compress on the back of your neck.
  • Try massage.
    Ask someone to massage your shoulders and neck to relieve tension. You might rub your temples, too.

If these steps don't help, check with your health care provider about other treatment options for headaches during pregnancy.

Most pregnant women can safely take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to treat occasional headaches. Your health care provider might recommend other medications as well. As with any medication, though, make sure you have the OK from your health care provider first.

Herbal headache remedies, such as feverfew and butterbur, aren't generally recommended during pregnancy.

©1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of Use.


This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty

Back Labor

Back labor: Childbirth myth or reality?

Does back labor really happen?

"Back labor," a term used to describe labor in which the most discomfort is felt in the lower back, does happen. Back labor sometimes occurs when the baby enters the birth canal faceup instead of facedown. However, that isn't always the case. Some women simply feel more tension in their backs during labor and delivery than others do.

Although you can't prevent back labor, you can ease back pain during labor. Consider these suggestions:

  • Try a back rub.
    Ask your partner or labor coach to rub your lower back. Counter pressure against your lower back with a closed fist or tennis ball might help. Having one or two people provide pressure against your hips during contractions while you lean forward onto something might help, too. This is known as the double hip squeeze.
  • Change positions.
    Take a walk. Straddle a chair and lean forward or kneel against a pile of pillows or a birthing ball. Take the pressure off of your spine by getting on your hands and knees. To give your arms a break, lower your shoulders to the bed or a floor mat and place your head on a pillow. When you're lying down, lie on your side rather than on your back.
  • Apply heat.
    Soothe your lower back with a heating pad.
  • Consider medication.
    Epidural and spinal anesthesia can temporarily block pain in your lower body. Although not widely used, some research suggests that shallow injections of sterile water to the lower back can provide temporary — but potentially significant — relief from back pain during labor.

Work with your health care team to evaluate your options for pain relief during labor. Whether you experience back labor or feel labor pain elsewhere, being familiar with pain management techniques can give you a greater sense of control.

This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty


Pregnancy Weight Gain: What's Healthy?

From Mayo Clinic

Like it or not, pregnancy weight gain is inevitable. Your baby's growth and development depend on it. Eating for two isn't a license to eat twice as much as usual, however. Use healthy lifestyle habits to control your pregnancy weight gain, support your baby's health and make it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery.

Pregnancy weight gain guidelines

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy weight gain. How much weight you need to gain depends on various factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). Your health and your baby's health also play a role. Work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.

Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain:

Pre-pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain
Underweight (BMI less than 18.5) 28 to 40 pounds (about 13 to 18 kilograms)
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) 25 to 35 pounds (about 11 to 16 kilograms)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) 15 to 25 pounds (about 7 to 11 kilograms)
Obese (BMI 30 or more) 11 to 20 pounds (about 5 to 9 kilograms)

When you're carrying twins or other multiples

If you're carrying twins or other multiples, you'll likely need to gain more weight. Again, work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.

Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain if you're carrying twins:

Pre-pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) 37 to 54 pounds (about 17 to 25 kilograms)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) 31 to 50 pounds (about 14 to 23 kilograms)
Obese (BMI 30 or more) 25 to 42 pounds (about 11 to 19 kilograms)

When you're overweight

Being overweight before pregnancy increases the risk of various pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Although a certain amount of pregnancy weight gain is recommended for women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy, some research suggests that women who are obese can safely gain less weight than the guidelines recommend. Work with your health care provider to determine what's best in your case and to manage your weight throughout pregnancy.

In addition, remember that if you gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy and you don't lose the weight after the baby is born, the excess pounds increase your lifelong health risks. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also increase your baby's risk of health problems at birth and childhood obesity.

When you're underweight

If you're underweight, it's essential to gain a reasonable amount of weight while you're pregnant. Without the extra weight, your baby might be born earlier or smaller than expected.

Where does pregnancy weight gain go?

Let's say your baby weighs in at 7 or 8 pounds (about 3 to 3.6 kilograms). That accounts for some of your pregnancy weight gain. What about the rest? Here's a sample breakdown:

  • Baby: 7 to 8 pounds (about 3 to 3.6 kilograms)
  • Larger breasts: 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram)
  • Larger uterus: 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram)
  • Placenta: 1 1/2 pounds (about 0.7 kilogram)
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram)
  • Increased blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms)
  • Increased fluid volume: 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms)
  • Fat stores: 6 to 8 pounds (about 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms)

Putting on the pounds

In the first trimester, most women don't need to gain much weight - which is good news if you're struggling with morning sickness.

If you start out at a healthy or normal weight, you need to gain only a few pounds (less than 2 kilograms) in the first few months of pregnancy. You can do this with an extra 150 to 200 calories a day, about the amount in 6 ounces (170 grams) of low-fat fruit yogurt.

Steady weight gain is more important in the second and third trimesters - especially if you start out at a healthy weight or you're underweight. This often means gaining 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms) a month until delivery. An extra 300 calories a day - half of a sandwich and a glass of skim milk - might be enough to help you meet this goal. If you began your pregnancy underweight, your health care provider might review your diet and physical activity level and suggest boosting your calories more.

The menu

It would be easy to add calories to your diet with junk food, but this won't give your baby the nutrients he or she needs. It's more important to avoid overeating and make nutrient-rich choices. Consider these suggestions:

  • Trade white bread and pasta for the whole-grain variety.
  • Choose a salad with low-fat dressing or black beans instead of a burger and fries.
  • Eat sliced fruit instead of a cookie.
  • Choose juices fortified with calcium and other nutrients.

Working with your health care provider

Your health care provider will keep a close eye on your weight. Do your part by eating a healthy diet and keeping your prenatal appointments. To keep your pregnancy weight gain on target, your health care provider might offer suggestions for boosting calories or scaling back as needed.

1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of Use.

Image: Getty Images


Doula: Do You Need a Doula?

Holding senior hand in the hospital

What are the benefits of having a doula?

A doula, or a professional labor assistant, provides physical and emotional support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

For instance, a doula might offer:

  • Suggestions on pain relief techniques, such as breathing, labor positioning and massage
  • Emotional reassurance, comfort and encouragement
  • Information about what's happening during labor and the postpartum period
  • Assistance with breast-feeding
  • Guidance and support for loved ones

Often, however, a doula's most important role is to provide continuous support during labor and delivery. Although research is limited, some studies have shown that continuous support from doulas during childbirth might be associated with:

  • A decreased use of pain relief medication during labor
  • A decreased incidence of C-sections and forceps deliveries
  • A less difficult childbirth experience

Keep in mind that while a doula might add another opinion to the mix when decisions need to be made about labor and delivery — a doula doesn't provide medical advice as a midwife or health care provider would do or replace the role of your health care team. Also, most insurance plans don't cover doula fees.

If you're interested in hiring a doula, ask your health care provider, childbirth instructor, family or friends for recommendations. You might also contact your local hospital or health department for a referral.

When interviewing a potential doula, ask about his or her training, how many births he or she has attended, his or her philosophy about childbirth, what services he or she provides and the cost. Also, discuss your preferences and concerns about pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Once you hire a doula, typically you'll meet with him or her during your third trimester to plan for childbirth.

This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty

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