Category: Maternity

Shakira Shows Off Baby Bump for UNICEF

Posted on Jan 23, 2015 by 1 Comment

Last August, Shakira announced she was pregnant with her second child. She happened to mention it in an interview with Spain’s Europa Press as she talked about going back to work on her next album once she gave birth.

“Next year, I think after the baby is born, I’ll start producing my new album. A Spanish album, which is what has me most excited right now.”

I don’t know about you, but other people’s pregnancies always seem to go faster than mine did. Shakira posted pics of herself and her soccer player boyfriend, Gerard Pique, and others that included their two-year-old son, Milan, to Facebook and Instagram. She looks great, but it made me realize that her due date is already drawing near.

The pictures were part of UNICEF’s World Baby Shower campaign where people can purchase “inspired gifts” from life-saving items for babies. These items are donated to new families who live in extreme poverty.

The 37-year-old star and her 27-year-old boyfriend are encouraging parents around the world to host World Baby Showers as a way to provide all kinds of vital supplies to families in need, including medicine, food, vaccines.

In a statement published by E! they said, “In 2013, we welcomed Milan, our first child into the world. Thanks to your generosity, our first World Baby Shower for UNICEF was an incredible success!”

They went on to invite other expecting parents to join them with their own World Baby Shower. “You don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference—the birth of your child can be a blessing that also saves thousands of children’s lives around the world!”

They invite everyone to either buy a gift or hold a shower. In this way everyone can help in their own small way and make a big difference.

Photo credits: Instagram

What We Can Learn From Kate Middleton’s Maternity Fashion

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 by 1 Comment

Pictures of Kate Middleton are popping up everywhere since she has passed her bout with severe morning sickness, and when it comes to maternity fashion the pictures don’t disappoint.

Somehow the princess pulls off looking elegant and sexy even when she’s pregnant. I confess, that is not a trick I learned when donning my maternity outfits. I choose maternity clothes to “make do” since pregnancy is a temporary condition, but that wasn’t necessarily the best decision I could have made.

So what can we learn from the Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity fashion choices?

Not that we can all look like Kate Middleton, but the thing we can learn from her is that she understands her assets and body type.

She has nice legs, so that sky blue double breasted coat she wears these days is cut just above the knee. The double breasted cut lays smoothly across her midsection, and she can wear it with a stylish pair of boots.

I recently spotted a picture of her wearing a black floor-length dress with lace sleeves which gives her a long lean look. Her hair was in an updo, which showed off her long neck. She accessorized with a single pair of dangly earrings that contributed to her elegant profile.

Kate Middleton Maternity
Another black, knee-length dress worn with heels and her hair down included an edgy pattern and a fitted waist. Again, she knows her body type, and her waist, even when pregnant is an asset.

The waistline was cut a little higher, but between the pattern in the dress moving the eye away from the belly, her slender legs accentuated with heels, a neckline that highlighted her collarbone, and a simple pair of earrings, she looked stunning.

So what can we learn from Kate Middleton’s fashion choices? It’s that it is much like fashion any time. You choose clothing that complements your new enhanced body type. She also reminds us that just because we are pregnant, doesn’t mean we have to give up on fashion.

Photo credits: Buzz60

Study Shows Nail Polish Can Lower IQ in Unborn

Posted on Jan 15, 2015 by No Comments

Many of us enjoy pampering ourselves with a manicure. It’s fun just to relax and have someone else take care of us, and when we walk out with those shiny, colorful nails we feel pretty.

Now a study shows that the chemicals found in nail polish as well as other cosmetics, called phthalates, may potentially be hazardous to the unborn.

The study which was conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and published in the online journal PLOS ONE linked use of nail polish during pregnancy to lower IQ in children.

Preliminary results showed the unborn children exposed to elevated levels of two common chemicals used around the home, di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), had IQ scores more than six points lower, at age 7, than other kids who were exposed to lower levels.

When I read the results I wondered exactly how much exposure was required to reach “elevated levels.”

For this study, researchers studied the mothers-to-be’s urine to measure levels of four phthalates. Then when the children were born and reached age 7, the researches tested their IQs. Results “showed significant decrements in IQ associated with two specific phthalates.”

The moms with levels in the top 25 percent had children with IQs up to 6-8 times lower than children born to women who were in the lowest 25 percent of exposure to phthalates. That’s a big difference. In fact it was substantial enough that it even took the researchers by surprise.

While these chemicals are found in nail polishes, they are not the only culprit. These chemical compounds are used to keep products flexible.

Along with nail polish they are used in making cosmetics like soap, shampoo, perfume, hair spray, as well as plastic toys, shower curtains, wallpaper, plastic wrap, etc. They are listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

More research is needed to understand exactly how the phthalates are connected to the impact on IQ. Speculation is that phthalates may function like endocrine disrupters to the mother’s thyroid hormone which is necessary in the development of a child’s brain.

At this time, the authors of the study say, “These findings are important to inform policy makers of the potentially harmful effects of this class of chemicals.”

Photo credits: LaFemme5278

Woman Breaks News She’s Pregnant in Photo Booth

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 by 1 Comment

When I was younger and photo booths were more prevalent, I would regularly drag unsuspecting victims in there and get them to do goofy things and captured it all in those few snapshots.

For instance, I’d say, “For the first picture I’ll bend down, so it’s just you. On the second one, you bend down and it will be just me. Then we’ll both be up.” I wouldn’t give them time to think about it.

Along with various friends, I’ve got some with my mother, mother-in-law and even my grandmother. The photos show us laughing together during those moments in time when memories are created. They make for precious keepsakes for sure.

In December I read about a guy by the name of Kevin Morran who proposed to his girlfriend, Molly McGinnis, in a photo booth. I thought, “What a great idea.” The two of them were high school sweethearts and had known each other for seven years. He practiced his one-hand presentation of the ring beforehand so he wouldn’t mess up.

Not only did they get pictures that captured the exact moment, the company that makes the photo booth even gave Kevin a code so he could access video of the entire proposal! It captures his nervousness, her surprise, and their genuine happiness. It couldn’t have been better if it had been staged by a professional photographer.

Now the two of them frequent photo booths regularly. Jessica even tapes her phone to the front of the booth so she can capture video, too.

This worked to Jessica’s advantage when she decided to capture another milestone on film. She brought her fiancé back to the photo booth, but this time it was her turn to add the element of surprise. They started out with the standard smile at the camera pose. Just before the flash, she held up a little cap that said “baby” into the frame.

The footage is priceless. It captures all the surprise, disbelief, and tears of happiness. I can’t help but think how much this will mean to their son or daughter some day in the future, too.

Photo credits: Jessica Devins

What Not to Say to a Mom-to-Be

Posted on Jan 12, 2015 by 1 Comment

With my first pregnancy, I didn’t gain a lot of weight. Even so, my face grew rounder, my breasts were fuller, and of course my stomach grew bigger. I carried my daughter high, which led to heartburn in the later months.

Even though I wasn’t “big” by some standards, I sure felt big. But what can you expect when you have another life growing inside you?

With that pregnancy, I didn’t get a lot of comments on my size, but when someone said it could be “worse” it irked me. My self-image struggled to remember that eventually the baby would be born and I’d go back to normal.

Or so I thought.

When my daughter was born I was thrilled, but I wasn’t one of the lucky ones whose body snapped back into shape without a telltale mark. I learned firsthand what stretch marks were.

With my second pregnancy, I didn’t gain too much weight but I was much bigger. Part of it was that the baby was a little more than two pounds bigger, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, when you add it to a pregnant belly it does make a big difference.

And I did gain more weight. The last couple of months I felt like I needed a crane to get out of a chair, so when people said things like, “You’re huge!” it didn’t help. I promise you, no woman wants to hear that she’s huge…ever.

I carried my second baby low, and even commented to the doctor about it. It was a little more uncomfortable at the end, but I didn’t have heartburn. However, when someone suggested the baby carried low because I lost my muscle tone with the first pregnancy, I didn’t find that helpful.

In short, I’d suggest you don’t talk about a pregnant woman’s size, or even how they’re carrying the baby. And no, they don’t want to hear they look like they could pop at any moment. Even if it is an innocent comment, it can hurt.

Don’t forget, pregnant woman are experiencing all kinds of hormonal changes that are contributing to their mental state. Telling them they will have a boy because their thighs have gotten big will not be looked at as exciting news.

No one, pregnant or not wants to be told they look like they could pop or that their thighs are big. Instead, approach a pregnant woman by asking how they are feeling, or remind them that they are beautiful or glowing. Positive words work wonders.

Lastly, keep your birth horror stories to yourself. Moms-to-be don’t need to hear about how you were in labor for three days or had the baby in the car along the side of the road.

Photo credits: Meagan

What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

Posted on Jan 9, 2015 by 1 Comment

When it comes to breast cancer, our biggest risk factor is being a woman. We can’t do anything about that risk factor, but some risk factors are preventable.

One of those that some people aren’t aware of is related to how old we are when we become a mom for the first time. Those of advanced maternal age have an increased risk for breast cancer because there’s a greater chance cancer cells are present and the increased risk is because there’s a chance such cells will respond to the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy.

So what is advanced maternal age for a first time mom? You probably won’t believe it. It’s 30 or older. Research has shown that having your first child by age 24 or younger can actually reduce your lifetime breast cancer risk.

The reason behind this is that two-thirds of breast cancers are estrogen positive which means they grow during pregnancy. The longer we wait to have our first baby, the higher chance we run of having cancer cells present that will respond to the existing gestational estrogen boost present during pregnancy.

It’s not that pregnancy after 30 causes cancer, it’s more like it excites cancer cells already present…if they are present.

With that said, it is important to note that breast cancer during pregnancy is rare. And while breast cancer during pregnancy may grow quickly, it is treatable if detected early. The thing that makes this a little tricky is that our breasts change so much during pregnancy that it is easy to dismiss a lump as part of that change.

Treatment options will depend on varying factors from the size of the tumor, its location, whether or not the cancer has spread, and how far along you are in the pregnancy.

Even during pregnancy you should continue your breast self-exam to stay tuned in to the changes your body is going through. The breasts become denser, but if you are concerned with something you find it is important to talk to your doctor about it.

Photo credits: mahalie stackpole

New Year’s Baby Shares Birthday with Parents

Posted on Jan 7, 2015 by No Comments

When I was growing up, we had neighbors that had two kids who shared the same birthday. That birthday happened to also be the couple’s anniversary.

Back then, I wasn’t sure what to think about it. I grew up in a family of eight kids and we all had our own birthdays…no sharing. I kind of liked it like that.

Makes me wonder what the odds are for family members to share birthdays. One little New Year’s baby really beat the odds when she arrived ten days early.

Little Autumn Rain Stover not only arrived as the first baby on New Year’s Day, she also shares her birthday with both of her parents. According to USA Today, the parents had no idea of the odds of the three of them sharing the same day, but according to Fox News the odds are 1 in 48 million.

Autumn Rain was born at the University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital in Cleveland. She’s the first child to Qiana and Raheem Stover who are happy to share their special day with their new arrival. Her mother said, “I knew she was coming today,” and called her new daughter a blessing.

The baby has made headlines as the first baby to be born at the hospital on New Year’s Day, but once news got out that she shared the same birthday as her parents the popularity of her story skyrocketed. After all 1 in 48 million aren’t unbelievable odds.

At first I wondered if the labor had been induced to make it all happen, but it turns out the it was all coincidental. Mrs. Stover was due on January 10, and little Autumn Rain decided to come early all on her own, without any extra help from the medical staff.

When Raheem was asked how he felt about his daughter being born on the birthday that he and his wife share, he said, “I think we are all special.”.

Photo credits: GhettoALB

Guardians of the Galaxy’s Zoe Saldana Gives Birth to Twins

Posted on Jan 6, 2015 by No Comments

Back when the ALS ice bucket challenge was hot on the Internet, Zoe Saldana, famous for playing the green skinned alien woman in Guardians of the Galaxy, posted a challenge video.

It started out with a close up of her face, and then as the camera panned out, she announced she wouldn’t actually be doing the challenge herself because she was pregnant.

Instead, she dumped the icy cold water on her husband Marco Perego. That’s when I learned she was expecting. Her baby bump was a definite bump that looked like she was probably six months along at least.

Zoe Saldana Instagram post

Turns out that her babies were born at the end of November. That’s right, babies. She gave birth to twin boys, but it wasn’t until her Instagram post on January 2 that the boys names were revealed to the public.

She posted, “Our boys CY and BOWIE are finally here. #marcoperego and I wanted to thank you for your beautiful wishes and for your patience.”

The twins are the first children for 36-year-old Saldana and her husband, who were married in a secret ceremony in 2013, in London.

She had talked about baby names back in October when she appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She talked about how her Puerto Rican and Dominican parents and her husband’s Italian parents kept leaving voicemails with potential baby names including: Rocco, Giovanni, Luigi, Antonio, Ramon, and Jose. Saldana went on to say, “We’re kind of hippie. We want it to be like, Lavender. I’m joking!”

Being a new mom takes patience, and having twins takes a double dose.

Maybe the 2-3 hours Saldana had to sit in the makeup chair just to apply her prosthetic pieces for her part in Guardians of Galaxy, was preparing her for her real life role. Because it wasn’t only 2-3 hours, it was all the time getting airbrushed with green and then the rest of her makeup. Even her scalp was green.

All total, she was in the chair for 5 hours, and it took another 45 minutes just to get it all off. And then there was the unexpected development of a topical eczema.

Yes, I think her role in Guardians of the Galaxy gave her some practical experience to be a mom of two. I send out congratulations to her and her husband and wish them all the best.

Photo credits: Instagram

Favorite Names for Royal Baby Number Two

Posted on Jan 5, 2015 by 1 Comment

In three more months, royal baby number two is due to arrive. The royal couple is busy getting the second nursery in order, and like all parents-to-be, trying to narrow the list of possible names.

The difference between them and most of us is that there are a lot of people interested in the name they choose. You see, in the UK the people are allowed to bet on such things.

While we don’t really have insight into the names at the top of Kate and Prince William’s list, we can see which names are the top runners according to the masses at paddypower.com.

For instance, if the baby happens to be a girl, top favorites as of the time of this article include “Eliazbeth” with 7/2 odds, and “Charlotte” with 6/1 odds.

The top boy names are “Philip” at 10/1 odds, and “Arthur” at 12/1 odds. For those who think the baby will be named after his father, “William” is next on the list with 14/1 odds. Names at the high odds end of the list include Macbeth and Ringo at 500/1 odds.

Betting isn’t limited to just the name Kate and William might choose for their second child. Bets are also being taken on the sex of the baby. As of right now the odds are running even at 5/6 no matter which way you vote.

Bookmaking is totally legal in Britain, and when the Royals are good for business. Not just the royal babies, but they also take bets on who the next Monarch will be, when Prince Harry will get married, and whether or not Camilla will be queen.

While we won’t know whether the baby is a boy or a girl or what name Kate and Prince William decided on until the little bundle arrives, it sure is good for the economy when a royal baby is on the way.

Photo credits: WochitEntertainment