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The Forbidden Foods of Pregnancy

By: Andrea Howe

Pregnancy is such a strange time for a lot of us women. No matter if it’s our first or our fifth pregnancy, there’s always new ground to cover, uncharted territory to cross, new fears and new delights to be discovered. As I write this out, it sounds silly even to me, but the subject I always have the hardest time navigating through with each pregnancy is the ever dreaded and evolving list of foods to eat and stay away from. At each doctor’s appointment, when the nurse asks if I have any questions for the doctor, I inevitably always have a question about food. Here are some of the foods I eat with wild abandon, and the ones that I suspiciously stay away from.

Now this list in no way should be considered medical advice and a proven safe diet for a pregnant woman. Essentially, this is the list of foods that over the course of the years I have developed and feel comfortable with (for my own strange reasons) eating and avoiding. It’s interesting that as the years have passed, there are certain categories where I’ve relaxed, and certain categories where I have drawn the line in the sand and vowed to not touch.

Deli Meats and Hot Dogs

With my first pregnancy, I avoided these items as much as possible, but by the second and now the third, days have gone by where the only thing I have survived on were deli meats and hot dogs, no joke. During week 13-20, I had a ham, cheese and egg bagel every single morning. And at least 5 nights a week I had to have a hot dog, as if my life depended on it. I posted a picture of a hot dog on Instagram one night saying “Again with the nitrates.” I made sure to have a conversation with my doctor about my obscene consumption of deli meats and dogs and she assured me I’d be okay, and so would Baby. But the first time around I would have never eaten these items so much.

Soft Cheeses 

I could eat brie and crackers with salami and consider it dinner, so when I heard that you were supposed to stay away from soft cheeses when pregnant I felt like the rug had been ripped out from under me. By the time I found out that it was really only unpasteurized soft cheeses you should avoid, I felt like I had been jipped out of months of avoiding one of my favorite foods. I now eat feta, goat cheese, gorgonzola and brie as usual, but always confirm it’s pasteurized, especially at restaurants.

Caffeine 

I’ve always felt it was okay for me to drink one caffeinated beverage per day, on the okay from my doctor. I had one friend that was so paranoid of caffeine she didn’t even eat chocolate during her pregnancy. I was never this way, but I do admit that I have strange ideas about caffeine that I’m sure hold no factual evidence. For instance, I think dark roast coffee must have more caffeine than your standard hazelnut, so I always avoid dark roast. Or that certain teas have less caffeine than coffee beans, so I order a chai tea latte rather than a regular latte. I think it’s just my way of feeling okay with drinking some caffeine each day.

Fish

So this category is where I’m the most strict. Don’t ask me why, as I’m sure some will say that drinking caffeine almost daily is worse than eating fish, but there’s just something about avoiding fish that helps me feel like I’m doing the right thing for me and Baby. Even items that are on the safe list like salmon and tuna every once in a while are foods I avoid. I looked it up and found that oysters were safe to eat, so I ordered a few the other night and felt such guilt after eating them that it wasn’t even worth it. Someone questioned me on this the other night as I was avoiding a smoked swordfish appetizer like it was the plague, and they said “Do you really think there’s enough mercury in this tiny appetizer to harm the baby?” And I said, “Probably not, but I just feel better not chancing it.” It’s where I draw the line in the sand and don’t cross it.

I’m sure my food list doesn’t make the most sense, but for me it helps me feel a bit more in control during a time where you feel like so much is out of your control. So are you super strict with your diet and avoid certain foods when pregnant, or do you hold a relaxed view and eat almost anything?


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The Ultimate Library Checklist

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Consejos para futuras mamás | Gustitos para las embarazadas| Huggies.com

Los 12 gustitos que toda embarazada merece darse

...aparte de un masaje a pedido o el derecho a escoger el restaurante preferido… ¡obviamente!

1. La cantidad de sirope de chocolate que quieras en tu café moca.

2. Un regalo para el día de las madres… sin lugar a dudas.

3. Unos cuantos lindos sostenes, aunque solo los necesites por unos pocos meses.

4. El coctel (sin alcohol) más exótico del bar. ¿Quieres la sombrillita? Sí. ¿Una cereza? ¡Sí! ¿Capas y capas de sirope? Por supuesto.

5. Un asiento en el bus cuando esté lleno. Ojo: Esto no es un lujo, es un derecho.

6. Palomitas de maíz y dulces en el cine.


7. Un vale por ‘olvido justificado’ para cualquier cosa que se te pase sin querer en el día… para cada día. ¡Las hormonas no están para aguantar ‘culpabilidades’!

8. Un par de vaqueros muy elegantes. Gastarás un poco más pero piensa en todo el uso que les vas a dar. Prácticamente representarán sólo $1 por día. ¡Qué ganga!

9. Soñar que tienes la barriga de antes.

10. Esa manta afelpada con mangas, cursi pero súper cómoda. ¡Sea lo que sea…si te gusta, adelante!

11. ¡Desayunos dobles!

12. Fotos de la preciosa panza para poder verlas dentro de unos años con esa sensación de asombro que nunca desaparecerá.

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10 Things to Love About Your Growing Bump

1. Catches crumbs before they hit the floor. Also handy for laundry-folding.

2. Gets you to the front of the line faster than you can say, “I reallly have to go to the bath—”

3. Makes maternity clothes look good (seriously, imagine the sacks they’d be without it).

4. Very entertaining on the dance floor at weddings.

5. When your arms are full, it’s an excellent door closer/grocery cart pusher/chair scooter-inner.

6. Yay: No x-rays at the dentist’s office!

7. It’s every bit as sexy as a celeb’s bump. Maybe even sexier.

8. Makes you The Most Awesome Woman at the gym, hands down. Even if all you’re doing is walking on the treadmill at 2 mph. Or just standing there, holding a towel.

9. Convenient perch for a good book, the remote, a cup of tea, an iPad, a box of chocolates—pick your pleasure.

10. As it grows, so does your husband’s awe and respect for what you’re doing in there.

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To Indulge or Not To Indulge: Let's Talk about Cravings

Depending on what foods you crave during your pregnancy, you can indulge a little — or a lot. Certainly if you're craving yogurt and fruit shakes, or bowls of oatmeal, you can probably eat to your heart's content! But what if all you can think of is that premium, high-fat strawberry ice cream? Experts say concentrate on what it is about this snack that's making you feel satisfied.

Try a substitution

Is it the sweet taste, the creamy consistency, the strawberry flavor? Or maybe it's just the idea of eating something cold that satisfies those cravings. Once you lock in on the nature of what you crave, substituting a low-calorie, somewhat healthier food may be easy — like exchanging that bowl of ice cream for low-fat strawberry yogurt or fresh strawberries with a low-fat dessert topping.

Healthy food fixes

Craving: Ice cream
Try: Nonfat frozen yogurt, sorbet or sherbet

Craving: Cola/sodas
Try: Flavored carbonated mineral water

Craving: Doughnuts/pastry
Try: Whole grain bagel with fresh fruit jam

Craving: Cake
Try: Low-fat banana or zucchini bread

Craving: Sugar-coated cereal
Try: Whole grain cereal or oatmeal with brown sugar

Craving: Potato chips
Try: Low-sodium, low-fat chips, popcorn, pretzels or veggie chips

Craving: Sour cream
Try: Nonfat sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt flavored with herbs

Craving: Sundae toppings
Try: Fresh berries or bananas

Craving: Canned fruits in heavy syrup
Try: Fresh fruit, frozen unsweetened fruit packed in water or fruit juice

Craving: Lunch meats
Try: Low-fat or fat-free versions; substitute turkey bologna or hot dogs for beef variety or try soy dogs

Craving: Whipped cream
Try: Ice cold nonfat milk whipped with a hand-held immersion blender

An article from

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5 Key Things To Know About Prenatal Vitamins

1. Prenatal vitamins pack serious Good Stuff. Think folic acid; taking that at least one month prior to conception and during the first trimester can reduce the risk of certain birth defects by up to 70 percent. You also need more iron during those nine months, since pregnant women are more susceptible to anemia.

2. Don’t worry if you have horse-pill phobia. “I take my prenatal with chocolate milk in the morning,” says Heidi Krauss, a mom of two in Dobbs Ferry, New York. “That way, I have an enjoyable way to swallow it and get extra calcium.” You can also crush yours and sprinkle it over food, like a cup of yogurt or cereal. Prenatal vitamins don’t have to be taken whole to work.

3. Yes, you can beat the pill nausea some women get. Taking the vitamin before bedtime can help a lot. “I just slept right through that nauseous feeling,” says Emily Richeda, a mom of one from St. Louis, Minnesota. Ask your ob/gyn about your iron levels; if you aren’t at risk for anemia, she may prescribe a vitamin with slightly less iron, the mineral that typically triggers stomach upset.

4. Most doctors recommend prescription prenatals. “They contain more folic acid than over-the-counter ones and some also have omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows can deliver cognitive benefits in babies up to age 18 months,” says Judith Brown, R.D., author of What to Eat Before, During and After Pregnancy. “Women who don’t eat a lot of fish (a food high in omega-3 fatty acids) might especially want to consider this.”

5. Prenatal vitamins are no substitute for a healthy diet (but you knew that). Get your fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins. Add a prenatal vitamin, and you can feel confident that you’re eating your way to a healthy pregnancy.

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5 Things Mom Needs in the Closet

If you are newly pregnant, you can feel a little overwhelmed by everything you need for baby and for yourself.

  1. Jeans: Look for an adjustable waistband, stretch material and a flattering cut, such as a bootleg. This would be a good item to splurge on because you will probably wear these for a bit after the baby is born.
  2. Cargo Pants: Pull on these lightweight, fashionable pants for everything from shopping to lounging. These pants look great with a fitted tee or an empire-waist top.
  3. Skirt: Look for a skirt in a basic color (black or brown) with a lightweight material and a stretchy waistband.
  4. Dress: A wrap jersey dress will look great on your pregnant body, and is a perfect look for a date night with your honey.
  5. Tops: Pick up a figure-hugging top with a cute neckline to accentuate your bump. A flirty and feminine empire-waist shirt is also a great look, and you can never go wrong with a fitted tee.

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7 Tips for Documenting Your Pregnancy

By: Jen Lula

When I was pregnant for the first time, I wanted to document every part of it! It was new, exciting and I really wanted to remember how I looked and felt each week. There are lots of different ways you can go about doing that but here are some tips that worked for me…

40 Weeks

Easy tips for documenting your pregnancy.

Photograph Each Week

Take a special picture in the same place each week. That way you can easily see your progression as the weeks go by.

Add Text Or A Fun Graphic

By using photo editing programs like Photoshop, you can add text to your pictures to make them a little more special. Create a graphic to show how far along you are.

Write A Weekly Letter

Write a weekly letter to your growing little babe. Share your thoughts and excitement about their upcoming arrival. It will be something they will cherish when they get older.

Try A Chalkboard

Not a whiz on the computer? Get a chalkboard and create unique weekly signs to take your picture in front of. No computer skills necessary!

Start A Scrapbook

The journey through pregnancy can be a long one. Try getting creative by starting a little scrapbook for your baby. Include things like sonogram pictures, inspiration for their nursery, quotes, and silly pictures of Mommy and Daddy.

Start A Family Blog

It doesn’t have to be public if you don’t want, but create an online space that you can share with close family and friends. Share daily pictures and adventures of your 40 week journey. It will be a great place after the baby is born to keep out of town family up to date on the baby.

Make Videos

Each week make a simple video (even just using your phone). Interview each other about how you are feeling that week. Talk about what you are most excited about and what you can’t wait to do with the baby when they arrive. Make them silly and fun. You will love looking back on them as time passes.


We can all agree that pregnancy is an adventure! Have fun figuring out what works best for you as you document your 40 week journey.

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9 Months of Maternity Style

By: Jen Lula

I am 6 months into my second pregnancy and I am pretty sure I’ve hit the pregnancy style rut. It’s hard to dress your constantly growing belly. Things that fit one day, seem to be to tight the next. What’s a gal supposed to do? Here are my tips to help along the way (and to steer clear of the maternity section)…

9 Months of Style

Stylish outfits through each month of pregnancy

2 Months

Loose tops and Vintage dresses still work wonders.

3 Months

Longer tanks are the perfect fit over a growing belly.

4 Months

Cotton dresses and shirts make for a comfortable transition.

5 Months

Elastic waist skirts are great for pulling up and over your belly!

6 Months

Empire waist dresses let you wear non maternity items well into pregnancy.

7 Months

Longer lengths work perfect to cover your belly without becoming too short.

8 Months

Cute accessories can make even a plain outfit seem special.

9 Months

Get creative! Try things on you expect won’t fit. You may be surprised.

Stay Positive!

It gets tough at the end but try to have fun with it all!

1. Get Creative! Don’t assume you have to jump right into maternity wear. That stuff is ugly, frumpy and will not make you feel good about yourself. There does come a time when it is a must, but first try things on in your closet. Then try non-maternity items on in stores. You will be surprised at what will still fit (maybe just in a larger size).

2. Look for Elastic Waist Skirts! Then pull it up over your bump, tuck in a cute shirt, add a few accessories and you will be good to go. You will be surpirsed how many combinations of new outfits you can make with a few skirts and tops. The thrift stores are perfect for looking for skirts like this!

3. Mid Length, Empire Waist Dresses! You can wear these throughout your entire pregnancy! You can find them at almost any store, in all sorts of beautiful fabrics.

4. Longer Length Tops: Tunics and longer length tops are all the rage now a days. They are the perfect length to cover your belly. You may have to invest in some maternity bottoms, but you shouldn’t have so much trouble with tops

5. Don’t Get Discouraged! Stay positive and try to have fun with it.

Here was a great blog post about the ease of wearing a maxi skirt during pregnancy!

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Traveling with the New Bump

Whether you're planning one last fling for just the two of you, have a business trip or are just taking a little weekend getaway, it's all a bit different now that you're pregnant. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you travel during pregnancy.

For the pregnant traveler

  • The second trimester is the best time to travel. You're probably over the sick or queasy feelings of the first trimester as well as the main miscarriage risk, and not yet to the bulky third trimester and when labor is growing increasingly imminent.
  • Try to plan relaxing vacations, not major tours. During pregnancy, blood volume is up, your center of gravity has changed and your joints are loosening...so take it easy.
  • On the road or in the air, avoid sitting for extended periods of time — try to walk around at least every hour or two. On a plane or train, even a trip up and down the aisles can help get your circulation going. Also make frequent trips to the restroom.
  • Eat and drink regularly. Especially when you're traveling and sitting for longer periods of time than usual, eat plenty of fiber and drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, constipation and other digestive problems.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before leaving if you'll be traveling more than an hour or two from home, or to anywhere with extreme conditions (heat, cold, high altitude). If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are close to term, you might be advised not to travel.
  • Many airlines will not allow women past 34 weeks of pregnancy as passengers, at least not without a physician's approval. The high altitude will not send you into labor — their concern is that the odds of you going into labor spontaneously is greater the closer you are to term. If you go into labor in the air, they have to land soon and get you to a hospital. (Never fly on a plane with an unpressurized cabin.)
  • Consider taking your medical records with you and find out the name of the nearest hospital to your destination that handles births — this is particularly important if you're not yet term.
  • If you're traveling outside of the country, check to see if there are immunizations you need (yellow fever, typhoid fever, cholera, meningococcal meningitis), and whether or not you may receive such immunizations safely during pregnancy. Also be aware of medications you may need to take to prevent parasitic infections such as malaria.
  • Finally, always wear your seat belt, fastened low and snug across your pelvis.

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