Pregnancy

Seven different ways to record your pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with amazing moments which leave you in awe of the little life growing inside you.

What’s more awesome is that you can record your growing bump, the first time you heard your baby’s heart beat or your weird cravings in different ways making for a collection of memories that you can share with your child when they are older and with close family and friends.

We’ve come up with seven cool ways you can document your pregnancy journey.

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Collect precious moments in a scrap book
Your first sonograph, image of the pregnancy test and pregnancy shoot can go into your scrapbook. Make your scrapbook more colourful by choosing a theme according to the sex of your baby. If you are having a girl you can go with a ballerina theme and decorate your scrapbook with an image of your first baby outfit which could be a tutu. Go one step further and use ribbons and tutu material to give your scrapbook a classic ballerina feel.

Capture it all on video
Invest in a good, quality video camera or use your cellphone, just make sure that it captures video in HD. Record each month and the milestones on camera such as your doctor’s appointment to find out if you are having a boy or girl, when you pick out colours and furniture for your nursery and also a special message you have for your baby.

Timeline tools
This is a great way to chronicle each step of your pregnancy journey. Create a timeline online by collecting all your monumental memories and using Shoebox timeline. The app is easy to use and allows you to share your timeline with loved one.

A selfie a day
A fan of selfies? Take your selfie obsession further and create a selfie series. In each selfie, wear the same outfit and put your baby bump in full view as you record the growth.

Cast your belly in stone
Put an artistic twist on recording your pregnancy and cast your belly in clay. You can keep this in your nursery or in a special place in your home to show your little one day. Decorate your cast belly by painting it or writing inspirational words or a message on it.

Journal it
A simple yet touching way to remember your pregnancy is through writing out your experience. Write about how you felt when you found out you were expecting a baby, your first doctor’s visit, what your partner said when you told him he was about to become a dad and how you chose to tell family and friends. Record your baby shower experience and the feelings of joy of having your loved ones celebrate your you and your child.

Voice it out with an audio recording
Like a journal, making voice recordings are a great way to chronicle your pregnancy experience. Add background music or share your favourite tracks which made your baby kick in these audio recordings. Record the music that you played your child as he grew in your belly or record your partner talking to your baby.

Embarrassing things that can happen during pregnancy

You might feel like the earth could swallow you whole at that moment but trust us, you are not the only one who has had pregnancy oopsies. Embarrassing moments actually come part and parcel of the pregnancy experience, it’s those moments that you can look back at and laugh which make pregnancy an endearing experience.

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So to help you feel better if you’ve already had a few pregnancy oopsies and if you haven’t then you’ll know exactly what to expect with our guide on embarrassing pregnancy moments.

Expect to pee on yourself now and again. During pregnancy your bladder is pressurised by the growing baby so this may result in you laughing or sneezing and letting out some urine. Dikeledi Mfecanse of Randburg says that happened to her all the time.

“I would laugh it off and smile to myself though I couldn’t wait to reach the bathroom to clean myself up.”

This is perfectly normal and usually minute amounts of urine may come out. You can wear a panty liner if you are fearful of messing on yourself.

You could vomit all over the place and it’s not unlikely that it could be on your own clothes or even worse on your partner or in a public place. Morning sickness and nausea are normal experiences of pregnancy, just stay ready by keeping a ‘barf bag’ in your car, in your desk at work or even in your handbag as it can happen at anytime.

Your body can retain a lot of gas during pregnancy so it may happen that you fart more often and this can happen at anytime. There isn’t really anything you can do to prepare your partner for this so just tell him that it’s a normal part of bring a life into the world.

Refilwe Moagi of Germiston shares that right after giving birth to her son, he urinated in the nurse’s mouth. “I was so embarrassed but we all laughed at it, I guess he thought he was still in my tummy and mistook the nurse’s mouth for my womb.”

Mbali Gushu of Midrand says she was surprised to wake up all shaved down under.

“The nurses prepared me for the birth by giving me a shave. I was too embarrassed to ask which one, let alone thank them so I just kept quiet and pretended not to notice. I could barely do it myself so I appreciated the help.”

How to choose the best maternity hospital

During your journey to becoming a mother you have likely made many precious memories with finding out about your pregnancy, telling the father of your child you were pregnant and picking out colours for your nursery being some of the most outstanding ones.

The day you give birth to your bundle of joy will undoubtedly be one of the best memories you will ever have so picking out the right hospital which caters to your needs is essential. According to Babymed.com, searching for a hospital should never be left to the last minute as you will probably be stressing about other important details related to your pregnancy.

So finding a maternity hospital should be top of your list when planning for the birth of your child as it can affect the whole birthing experience.

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Comfort

Prioritise how comfortable you will be before the birth if you are having a and post birth. If creating a sense of ambiance is important to you then make sure that you have enough time to find a hospital which will enable you to bring your own belongings to maximise your comfort levels.

Nurse to patient ratio
Attention is pivotal after giving birth and making inquiries on how many nurses are available will give you ease of mind as you plan your stay.

Reputation

Once you have narrowed down the list of hospitals you want to stay at, call each one and ask if there have been any complaints. You can also search the internet to see if there have been any stories written about them to allay any fears you may have. Ideally, the hospital you decide on should have a stellar reputation to give you peace of mind.

Service

Schedule a visit to the maternity ward to see how patients are treated as this will give you a better understanding of what service you can expect during your stay at the hospital.

Duration of your stay

Some hospitals have an average duration while others do not. Find out what the length of stay is and if you may extend it according to your level of comfort.

Nutrition

If you enjoy variety or are on a special diet then it is essential to look at menu options offered at hospitals.

Proximity to your home

The distance between the hospital where you will give birth and your home should be on your priority list to help you prepare as your due date nears. If you are having a natural birth then you would want a quality hospital close to where you stay to minimise travel time when you go into labour.

Specialised care
In the case of any complications, specialised care will ensure that your baby is well taken care of and receives all the medical attention he needs. A neonatal unit specifically for babies is imperative so that your child will be adequately attended to.

Essential questions to consider when choosing a hospital

What are the visiting hours?
Will your partner have the option of staying over?
How many beds are there in the ward?
What are the menu options?
Will I be able to have showers or baths?
How far or near will my baby’s nursery be?
Can I choose who will experience my labour with me?
What are the hospital’s baby feeding and sleeping practises?
What options for post-delivery pain relief are available?
How much freedom do I have I choosing labour positions?

The do’s and don’ts of exercising while pregnant

By: Bernice Maune

Keeping fit while pregnant has multiple benefits which not only affect you but the precious cargo you are carrying as well. While getting medical advice is important before getting into any rigorous physical activity, you may find that staying fit during your pregnancy is a great way to prepare your body for labour and the birth itself. We’ve listed what you must take note of before opting to start exercising during your pregnancy.

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Do’s

Start off with some light exercise before attempting any strenuous activity. Walking a few blocks around your suburb or neighbourhood or taking the stairs instead of the lift is a simple way of beginning your pregnancy fitness journey.
If you have an active gym membership, explore classes such as yoga and pilates where the focus is on stretching, breathing and light cardio. Water sports are also a fun and interactive way to keep your fitness levels up. These classes are also safe if you are far along in your pregnancy.
Exercising does not have to be limited to the gym, you can also turn your home into your own fitness haven by using your carpet as a base on which to stretch, when seated – your chair can support your legs as you lift them up and down, bearing in mind that slow, controlled movements are better while squats and lunges can be done in a spare bedroom or in your garden. These exercises are also safe for both you and the baby.
Don’ts

Avoid exercises which may require you to stand for long periods of time. This may strain your back and cause you to tire easily.
Heavyweight training can put stress on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system.
Any exercises which involve lying on your stomach must be completely left out including high intensity activities such as horse riding, tennis, netball and soccer. All these exercises can result in abdominal trauma and excessive joint trauma.
Watch: Six safe pregnancy exercises to do while pregnant

Sources: Virtual Medical Centre

Why eating for two is really a myth

This myth has been around for ages and some mothers have fallen for it, believing that doubling their portions will result in healthier babies.

Well that is not true and not only is this myth unhealthy it could also lead to excessive weight gain for mom.

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According to the Institute of Medicine if your Body Mass Index is normal for your age and your weight healthy then there is no need to consume more calories during your first semester.

In the second trimester however, you can increase your calorie intake by 340 extra calories and 45 extra calories. Depending on if you are under or over weight, you will need more or less. It is best to consult your dietician for the exact calorie intake.

If you are pregnant with twins or more babies than you will need to eat more, however the exact portions should be calculated by your dietician.

Dikeledi Mfecanse, a business and development manager from Northgate is a mom to 18-month old Lilitha and five-year old Owethu. With both her pregnancies she found it easy to not buy into the myth of eating for two as she read up extensively on diet and managed her portions.

“No one really knows what portion of their food is going to their baby and because of this I stuck to my normal eating routine. I just made sure to indulge all my cravings of burgers and ice-cream.”

Lorraine Sithole, a data analyst from Pretoria and mom to two-year old Steph says she believed eating for two was necessary for her baby’s growth and development.

“I believed this myth and ate double of everything believing that my baby needed to be nourished separately. I was concerned that my baby wasn’t getting enough food and by eating for two, I thought that she would be full separately from me. My weight ballooned and I gained close to 30 kgs from eating for two. Looking back I wish I had done things differently, I now know that eating for two is a myth and that my baby will get sufficient nutrients from my normal diet.”

Registered dietician Frances Largeman-Roth of Baby Centre gives meal options on which nutritious food to add to your diet during pregnancy which will make you feel full for longer.

Include nutrient filled foods such as avocados which are rich in potassium, mangos which are a good supply of vitamin A and C and walnuts which contain omega 3s and protein.
Greek yoghurt is a healthy snack that will fill you while providing calcium and healthy live cultures.
An apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter will take care of your protein needs and make you feel fuller for longer.

Why these three natural oils are the best way to minimise stretch marks during pregnancy

By: Bernice Maune

Natural oils can offer an uncomplicated remedy for developing stretch marks which tend to appear along the stomach, thigh, back and arms. Although they may become more prominent during pregnancy, stretch marks the medical term which is striae distensae or striae gravidarum, can look like indented streaks in your skin.

They may be red, purple, or silver in appearance. Anyone can gain stretch marks although they have been found to occur more in pregnancy when the skin expands due to your growing belly and weight gain.

According to Healthline.com, it’s estimated that 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women will develop stretch marks before delivery.

Natural oils are an inexpensive way to minimise the appearance of stretch marks and when used consistently they can lighten stretch marks.

According to a study by the University of Michigan, natural oils may be more effective in minimising stretch marks then creams as they are a nourishing way to feed your skin.

“We are finding a lot of changes in the second layer of the skin, which is called the dermis, including changes in elastic fibers, which is what this recent study was about,” Dr. Frank Wang, of Michigan University told Fit Pregnancy.

“What we haven’t published yet is that there are other changes occurring. The problem with a lot of the current creams and other modalities available is that they don’t seem to be able to effectively prevent those changes—or, for that matter, repair those changes once they’ve occurred. Very few products seem to be effective.”

Natural oils are also safe to use during pregnancy as they contain no fragrance, parabens, mineral oils and other ingredients that could be harmful for the human body.

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Coconut oil

This oil is a natural remedy for many skin ailments. Some of its benefits are that it keeps the skin supple, smooth and reduces the appearance of scars and marks. It also has a nourishing effect which brings a glow. Apply it generously and immediately after taking a bath or shower about two times a day to see results.

Vitamin E

Combine this oil with orange oil or castor oil for a multi-oil blend which will doubly fight the presence of stretch marks on the skin. These combinations keep the skin moisturised with Vitamin E being a natural skin booster.

Olive oil

This multi-use oil is rich in anti-oxidants which is able to reverse damage from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. Olive oil is also a moisturiser which has the ability to keep skin radiant and glowing which will aid in the reduction of stretch marks.

Other ways to prevent and reduce stretch marks

Eat foods rich in protein, vitamin C, D and E to increase elasticity in your skin.
Exercise to keep your skin supple. Exercise can also cause you to sweat leading to the release of toxins from your skin.
Take Vitamin C supplements or eat fruit that contains high amounts of Vitamin C such as citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, naartjies). Vitamin C is they key component of collagen which helps to keep skin free of wrinkles and unsightly marks.
Include zinc containing foods in your dies. Nuts and fish have high traces of zinc which aids your skin in healing.
During pregnancy, go for body massages to boost the circulation of blood throughout your body and in your skin. This can help to brings toxins to the fore, helping you to maintain elasticity in the skin.
Drink two litres of water a day to keep your system hydrated. Soft skin doesn’t tend to develop stretch marks as much as dry skin does.

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