Dad’s Pregnancy Symptoms

What the heck is happening to my partner? (And your partner may be wondering what the heck is happening to himself!) Truth is you are the one that is supposed to be pregnant, but your spouse seems to be having the same symptoms as you do. Is he just trying to steal some of the attention back, feeling a little left out – or are dad’s pregnancy symptoms something that is REAL?

According to experts, around 90% of all men have some pregnancy symptom of their own while their partner is pregnant. This is so prevalent that experts have called this ‘couvade syndrome,’ which translated means “WE ARE PREGNANT!” This phenomenon, where your partner seems to be sharing in your increased appetite, morning sickness, and may even be gaining weight at a rapid pace, is heralded by sympathy pains and anxiety.

For many men, this is their way of dealing with the anxiety that coincides with their partner’s pregnancy. Experts believe that many men have a hard time sharing their pregnancy fears, and pre-parenting worries with their partner, so the stress manifests in physical symptoms that often mimic their pregnant partners. Additionally, this anxiety can cause nausea, or ‘morning sickness,’ and may even have your partner reaching for the donuts and potato chips more often than not.

It can also be a way that your partner sympathizes with you. After all, they certainly don’t want you to have all the fun! So when your back hurts, you feel sick – or you have an insatiable midnight appetite, so does he!

If your partner is gaining weight along side of you, it may be because of rising cortisol levels that are triggered by stress more than the fact that they are grabbing for seconds alongside of you. Increases in cortisol can also make your partner feel sleepy and sluggish, have a reduced sex drive and be prone to mood swings. Just. Like. You!

While it is fun (and sort of liberating) that men, too, are prone to pregnancy symptoms – the reality is that they aren’t also carrying the cumbersome weight of the baby. But they may be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders as they prepare to become parents. Pregnancy changes everything. It changes relationships and it changes the future in many ways. It is only normal and natural for your partner to have a symptomatic reaction of sorts to the changes that are coming. As you progress through your pregnancy – getting larger and closer to your due date – your partner may have increased pregnancy symptoms triggered by stress.

The best thing to do is to keep the lines of communication OPEN! Make sure that you and your partner talk to one another and discuss the future together. Often, his opinions become overshadowed by the needs of the pregnant partner, and in their attempts to make sure you are happy and satisfied and stress free, their own needs get looked over. So talk to one another. Laugh together. Be optimistic about the future.

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Having a Baby on a Budget

One of the greatest worries for parents-to-be, is the family finances. How will you afford to feed another mouth? How will you cope financially while on maternity leave? How will you afford to buy all of the baby paraphernalia available in the shops? Before you get yourself worked up into a credit card frenzy, it’s important to remember that it is possible to have a baby on a budget. In fact, you could make that your mantra for the next few months and you could save yourself a small fortune. Here are six easy tips for having a baby on a budget:

  • Beg, borrow and steal – ok, well don’t actually steal, but borrowing is always a good idea. If you have friends and family offering to lend you cots, strollers and toys, accept their kindness. Babies don’t need brand new, they’ll be more than happy using preloved items. Thrift, charity and second-hand stores are great places to find bargain baby gear. If you are using heirloom hand-me-downs, though, be sure to judge them by today’s safety standards.
  • Breastfeed – formula milk can end up costing quite a lot, and you can bypass the cost completely by making the most of what nature gave you. Breastfeeding is free – totally and completely free – and will keep your baby completely nourished until he’s ready to be weaned onto solid foods. Of course, you can buy a breast pump and bottles to express milk if you like, but you may not need to. For some women, breastfeeding allows them to feed their baby for free for the first six months of life.
  • Cloth bum – disposable nappies can cost a lot, too, but by opting for cloth diapers you can bypass this ongoing expense. You will have a larger outlay at the beginning, but then the diapers will last your baby until he’s potty trained. They’ll even be fine to use for any future babies too. If you add them to your baby registry, you may even get the cloth nappies as gifts!
  • Only buy what you need – a lot of the items you see in baby stores don’t really qualify as necessities. They’re things you can spend money on, but by no means need to. You don’t really need to buy a brand new baby bath, you could wash your baby in your bath or sink. Your baby doesn’t really need an expensive musical mobile to go above the crib. He doesn’t really need brand new matching nursery furniture. He doesn’t need the tiny pair of expensive shoes you’ve been eyeing up, even though they are very cute. Food, shelter, clothing and love – aside from that, everything else may be nice to have but not a necessity.
  • Be realistic – draw up a realistic budget and stick to it. Give yourself room for the occasional splurge so that you don’t feel guilty about little purchases.
  • Shop around – once you’ve decided what you want to buy, do your research and shop around to make sure you get the best deal. It may take a while, but you could save a lot of money.

Remember, money isn’t love – of course it feels good to spend money on your baby, and to feel that you’re ready for his arrival. But don’t feel bad if you can’t afford to buy everything new. Your baby won’t know whether a pram is new or second hand. Your baby won’t care whether he has matching outfits, a cute cot bumper, or a personalised teddy, all he will care about is being close to you.

Are you sticking to a tight budget for the baby, do you have any tips to share with other budgeting mums?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Feeling Mixed Emotions About Pregnancy

Finding out you are pregnant is one of those lump-in-your-throat moments. Whether you’ve spent years trying, or are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may find yourself feeling mixed emotions. That’s normal, most women find themselves on a roller coaster ride of emotions during those first few weeks of pregnancy, or longer.

Mixed emotions aren’t just for women facing unplanned pregnancies, even if you were crossing your fingers and toes for a little blue line, you may now find yourself feeling a little deflated. After all, your pipe dream has suddenly become very real, it’s normal to feel a little apprehensive. Some of the emotions commonly experienced in those first few weeks after a positive pregnancy test include:

Happy – if this pregnancy was long awaited, you are likely to feel incredibly happy that you are pregnant. Even if this pregnancy was a complete shock, you are still likely to feel happy about the prospect of being pregnant. During moments of happiness, focus on yourself and your developing baby, and try to remember all the reasons you have to feel happy about the pregnancy.

Upset – it’s normal to grieve the loss of an old life. After all, you’ve just discovered that for the next nine months, alcohol, your favourite cheese and pate are off the menu. You may be worried about growing out of your clothes, and morphing into a pregnant woman.

Scared – pretty much all pregnant women feel scared at some point. You may be scared about the pregnancy, worried about the birth, or terrified that you won’t be a good mother. A little bit of fear is a normal part of pregnancy, especially during the first few weeks as you adjust to the news. If it is keeping you awake at night, affecting your appetite or leaving you unable to concentrate, speak to your healthcare provider for advice.

Guilty – chances are, if you’re feeling upset and scared, you may also be feeling guilty. Motherhood guilt will last you a lifetime, and sadly it starts as early as that little blue line on your pregnancy test. Try not to feel guilty for having mixed emotions about the pregnancy. Remember that it’s ok to not be 100% happy all of the time. Not only are you at the start of a life-changing journey, but you’re also experiencing the emotional roller coaster associated with the hormone increases of early pregnancy.

Unprepared – this emotion is particularly strong for women facing unplanned pregnancies. You may be worried this is the wrong time, or that you’re not ready to be a mother. But, as your planned pregnancy counterparts will tell you, they are thinking all the same things. Having a baby is a huge step, and self-doubt is a normal part of this. Whenever you feel worried and unprepared, do something proactive to help you get ready for motherhood.

Angry – if the pregnancy came as a surprise, you may be feeling angry that this has happened. Perhaps you are angry with yourself, or angry with the father, or simply angry at the situation. There’s nothing wrong with feeling angry when life throws you a curveball, but it’s not a particularly helpful emotion. Try to channel your energy into something more productive, like planning the nursery or working out how you will cope as a new mum.

Isolated – during the first trimester, as you battle with mixed emotions, you may also be keeping your pregnancy secret. This can lead to feelings of isolation. If you don’t want to tell all of your friends and family just yet, why not tell just one person so that you can talk about your feelings. Some people cherish the secret during those first three months, but if you are finding yourself struggling without the advice and support of your best friend, it might be time to break the news.

Coping with mixed emotions
It may not be something that many women talk about publicly, but feeling mixed emotions about pregnancy is pretty common. The best thing to do is talk about it. Find someone you trust, and tell them exactly how you feel. This could be your partner, best friend, a counsellor, your healthcare professional or a total strange on an online forum. Talking about how you feel should help you to start making sense of your mixed emotions about pregnancy.

How did you feel when you discovered you were pregnant?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Help! I’m Overdue

You’ve been waiting 9 months for it – and now your due date has come and gone. Only around five percent of babies are born on their due date, most are born after this point. Knowing you are in the majority is unlikely to make you feel much better if you’re feeling sorry for yourself, and waiting for labour to start.

Your due date is simply an estimation of when your baby will be born. There are various reasons why your due date may be incorrect. For example, if you have an irregular cycle, or are unsure when conception occurred, your due date may be out by a few days or more. Even if you had a dating scan, it’s still possible that your confirmed due date could be inaccurate.

Another thing to remember is that your due date is just an estimation, and is based on the average length of pregnancies. In fact, there is not a one length fits all gestation periods, some pregnancies are slightly longer or shorter than others.

Pregnancy is categorized as follows:

  • babies born before 37 weeks are considered preterm
  • babies born between 37 and 39 weeks are considered late-preterm
  • babies born between 39 and 42 weeks are considered term
  • babies born after 42 weeks are considered post-dates, or overdue

What should I do?

Going past term can be frustrating. You may be desperate to meet your baby, in a hurry to stop being pregnant, or just ready to get labour out of the way. If you still have loose ends to tie up, now is the time to do that. Buying last minute items, tidying the house or stockpiling frozen dinners for after the birth are all useful ways to use this extra time.

If you are wondering what to do with your still pregnant self, take a look at these suggestions:

  • Sleep – make sure you get enough rest. You will need your strength for labour, so try to get as much sleep as you can. If you are struggling to sleep, at least be sure to rest.
  • Stay active – if you’re feeling demoralised about going overdue, it’s easy to waste your days on the sofa. Try to stay active, by going for daily walks or continuing with your pregnancy exercise routine if you have one.
  • Talk – if you are feeling frustrated, tired or low, talk to your partner, friends and family for support.
  • Ask a professional – talk to your healthcare provider if you are worried about being overdue. They will be able to reassure you and talk you through your options as the days go by.

Trust in your body, and have faith that your baby will come when he or she is ready. While you may be fed up with being overdue, your baby might be going through the final stages of development to be ready for life outside the womb.

Don’t worry, it won’t be long until you meet your baby.

Why not start reading up on what to expect when your baby is there? Whilst you wait for your baby’s arrival, download our new Baby App for iPhone / iPad or Android. Click Baby+ iOS or Baby+ Android to install the App, and prepare for the arrival of your little one(s).

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

The Best Time For Another Baby

You’ve made it through the early months, the breastfeeding struggles, the challenges of starting solids and teething. You’re nearing your baby’s first birthday in the coming weeks or months, and you’re starting to wonder if maybe it’s time to start trying to conceive again.

Everyone will have an opinion for you, but while people mean well and all have their own experiences to share, considerations to keep in mind include:

  • Your recovery from your first pregnancy: your body needs time to recover, especially essential nutrients like iron. The best way to recuperate is by eating a healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods, and by exercising regularly.
  • Breastfeeding: If you’re still breastfeeding baby #1, you can safely continue to breastfeed throughout pregnancy. However, not all women want to do so, some women have medical issues that mean baby should be weaned with a new pregnancy, and some babies may not like the changes to the milk that happen mid-pregnancy.
  • Finances: Is another baby economically feasible right now? Will having a new child now actually save money in the long run (after all, you’ve already got all the baby gear)?

Other parents will tell you that there are pros and cons to each scenario …

When pregnancies occur close together, you’re still in baby mode so you’ve got the diapers, wipes and changing table still in the nursery and all the baby supplies are still likely out or easily accessible. Your children may share the same interests, activities and toys throughout much of their childhood. Your home will be pretty chaotic, because everyone will need your attention and supervision at the same time. Your time out of the workforce may not be as long, though closely spaced maternity leaves will cause some interruption.

When babies are born 2-4 years apart, you may have more patience and more knowledge (and a more defined parenting philosophy). Your children may share many of the same interests; though, if they attend different schools eventually, you may have twice the work. If your older child is attending preschool, you may have some baby-only time built in. Naps and diapering / potty training are probably not going to be in sync, making some additional work for you.

Waiting more than 5 years between births is almost like having two only children. You have given your older child years of your undivided attention, and you can now focus on your baby. Your older child is more independent but may resent having to share your attention after having you all to himself for so long. You may have had more time to develop your career between births, so your maternity leaves may not be as disruptive.

Researchers have some insight for you, too …

When pregnancies are too close, health risks are more pronounced. If it will be less than 12 months since you last gave birth, you have a greater risk of placental abruption and placenta previa with this pregnancy, and your child has a greater risk of autism. You have an increased risk of uterine rupture with a VBAC if your previous birth was less than 18 months from the when the next birth will be. Additionally, if the space between the births will be less than 18 months, the risks of preterm birth, low birth weight and having a baby who is small for gestational age are all increased. There are also risks to pregnancies spaced 5+ years apart, though researchers don’t know why: preeclampsia, preterm birth, low birth weight, and small for gestational age are all risk factors.

Experts believe that two to three years (but not more than 5) between births is the optimal spacing for siblings. This is true not only in the developed world, but also in traditional societies. (In fact, the average age between siblings in the US is about 30 months.) Some researchers have found that these children do better in math and reading as they grow. Experts seem to agree that health outcomes are better for moms and for babies with this spacing.

It’s up to you.

What it boils down to, though, is personal choice. When are you and your partner ready to expand your family? Sometimes it’s not a rational choice – it’s much more emotional. No matter what, if you love your children, they will thrive, regardless of how many months apart they are in age.

Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.