Sunday, April 9, 2017

MATERNITY HELP, RESOURCES & STYLING TIPS

In case you're wondering,
this mama is....
cough,
 cough,
40 and having her fourth child!

I know, I know, it's hard for me to say haha
WHEN did this aging thing happen?!




Did I plan to be this "aged" and start growing the family? 
Not necessarily but our marriage was rocky early on, 
life took its course,
 and that delayed the family growth.

1.20.17 with my mama and kiddos
Had it been different, then maybe yes, the dynamic of our family would be too.
(backstoryprego story #1, and prego story #2 for some explanation)


Still, no regrets.


This post is primarily to share/update you on things I've used, am using
or found extremely helpful throughout my pregnancies.
It'll vary from supplements, ailments, liquids/foods, clothing tipsfitness, 
postpartum plans/help
and anything else that's made this journey easier.


I am in no way suggesting you do the same
or promoting certain companies/sellers to you.
Just sharing what has worked for me.


<<ACHES, PAINS, CONSTIPATION 
OR SLEEPLESS NIGHTS?>>
1 pack plexus, 2 Bio Cleanse(2x between meals)
& 4 Pro Bio at bedtime

I suffered with ALL those and pain throughout the days with each pregnancy. 
I got desperate during this pregnancy
and started taking Tylenol for the aches at night, though I really didn't want to.
Honestly, relief only lasted 4 hours max
and didn't address the rest of my issues.
 I wanted something natural based so this is where Plexus comes in.

*I had been using Plexus products faithfully for 2.5 years or from about the time little M 
was 6 months old (different friends recommended them). 
The products were still new to me then and I didn't want to take a chance on using them during my pumping months. 
I've researched so much since that time and now wish I HAD. 
I stopped taking the products when my home test for this pregnancy came back positive 
as I wanted to run it by my Dr 1st.
Well, appointments got rescheduled, I forgot to take the products in when I finally could
and that delayed me taking the drink/supplements.

WITH Dr. approval I got back on Plexus Pink, Plexus Bio Cleanse 
& Plexus Pro Bio5, during my 11th week of pregnancy.
  (They help regulate blood sugars, oxygenate body,
 provide probiotic balance & fight constipation!)
DID THEY WORK? DO THEY WORK?
A big resounding YES!!! 
The only way to test it was to NOT take any Tylenol. 
The first day of Plexus products, I went to bed as usual, minus the Tylenol
 and I SLEPT like a baby! 
No achy shoulders, knees, hips, ect. And I STILL sleep so well.
It was a complete game changer!!!!
Constipation? NOPE, just on the days I don't drink enough H2O
BUT to make sure I stay regular no matter what,
I've also included prune juice daily. Yuck!
(prenatal pills are a huge factor in constipation)
I also drink a veggie/fruit smoothie most days to get extra
nutrients/fiber/protein, etc. (sharing below)

Full disclosure-
Plexus pink is marketed as a weight loss/management drink but was never intended for that. Its formulated to help diabetic people regulate their blood sugar, which resets your internal system and can cause weight loss in some. 
Have I lost weight? NO, but it HAS helped me gain at a steady/healthy rate 
unlike my previous pregnancies!
THAT is HUGE!
Because unfortunately, 
I DID get huge my first 2 full-term pregnancies.
My last pregnancy was decent, weight wise, until the last month(Dec) 
in which I REALLY indulged :(
How about my urine tests/ labs?
They've been normal, EVERY TIME.

<<NAUSEA and HEARTBURN>>
They have been by constant companions each and every pregnancy!
Regardless of the differences between them all (5 total),
these two aspects continue to be the same.

Previous nausea triggers? 
Meat- turn your stomach, actually puked in my kitchen sink while cooking dinner, trigger. I'd have to cook with long spatulas and turn my face away lol
Perfumes/colognes- I couldn't be around them or wear it myself. I had to settle for a light body spray that didn't affect me too much. 
Coffee- My beloved coffee was off limits! Smelling it & drinking it were prohibited.

Current nausea triggers?
Water- Yep, water! So, unfortunately I didn't drink as much in the beginning.
I had to flavor it for a few months before I could enjoy it plain again.
tip: lemons can aid with nausea!
juice from 1/2 - 1 lemon per 320z H2O flavors it enough to get it down.
Also, it has a nice salty aspect to it.
Limes work well too but I preferred the flavor/saltiness of lemons. 

 Coffee again- Just now in my 5th-6th month can I enjoy the smell and drinking it iced. Thinking about it hot still turns my stomach.

Heartburn triggers?
Previously/currently- Everything and nothing.
I could drink milk and get heartburn or have nothing in my stomach.
Spicy food are obvious and my instant connection to the burn.
Does it stop me? NO haha.
I just pop Tums or a Tum alternative, I'm not picky.
Could I have tried natural remedies? Sure, but I was about instant relief.
Sleeping with my head elevated is a bunch of baloney!
Give me Tums, fast.

Does heartburn = full haired babies?
I'm no expert but just maybe



<<LIQUIDS OF CHOICE>>
Water cloudy from the lemon I use to add,
Plexus & prune juice
Water - I drink lots of it daily but during my 2nd+ months,
I was hideously nauseous.
I could hardly drink my water which didn't aid in the constipation situation.
Thankfully about my 18th week that finally passed 
and I could drink it plain. 
 Orange juice - I love it but had to watch myself early on
because I would grab that 1st over my water.
I haven't had sodas since the fall of 2010,
so those aren't a problem.
Iced coffee- I can finally drink it!
If I don't drink most of the water I need for the day- 
No coffee. 
Veggie/fruit smoothies- Something I've been incorporating for months. 
I even asked for a Magic Bullet for my birthday in January lol
I love my bullet and my smoothies!
Sample smoothie
(subtly sweet imo)
-1-1.5 cups coconut milk (or choice milk/liquid)
-small handful almonds or walnuts
-TBSP Adam's PB 
(most oil removed before 1st time use, reduces fat content)
-handful of frozen spinach, kale or broccoli
(Buy fresh, rinse if necessary, shake off excess water and store in freezer bags,
 eliminate as much air as possible before sealing.
 Much less waste happens this way)
-2 TBSP organic ground flax seed
-1cup - 1.25 cup frozen fruit(varies on my mood)
(berries, bananas, mangoes, pineapple, ect )
blend & serve.
(add extra milk if need be)

Plexus- I drink 1 pack in 160z of H20 daily
Prune juiceUGGGH I CAN NOT stand the stuff.
While I love prunes, they take a while to break down and do their job.
So as I drank my water, Plexus & veggie/fruit smoothies,
 I also I suffered through 1 cup of prune juice daily.
😝
I've recently started "killing 2 birds with 1 stone"
I now blend my smoothies WITH prune juice & coconut milk to mask the flavor.
Same as above except I use 1/2 cup prune juice + 1/2 - 1cup coconut milk.
Not as tasty BUT no more straight prune juice!

<<DRY/ITCHY SKIN>>
UGGGGH!!!
I have used different things and still can't find the one true cure.
I've used coconut oil for over a year and love it,
so much that I quit buying lotion for my whole family.
They each have their own containers.
I initially just used coconut oil but it didn't help much with the itchiness.
Then I tried it in conjunction with the tummy butter...
still no relief.
I tried olive oil....
 still nothing
Most recently started using the Mama Bee body oil and the coconut oil
and have gotten better results.
I've scratched my self raw, both sides of belly and chest.
Not a pretty sight.
Dry skin can lead to stretch marks and scaring from scratching,
 so it's important to stay hydrated both inside and out.
My first 2 pregnancies caused a few light stretch marks.
I made sure to watch myself the last pregnancy
and have REALLY tried with this one but I've failed with the no-scratching rule.
Thankfully no new stretch marks.


<<ANY POSITIVES/PERKS?>>
The linea nigra hasn't appeared yet!
My first 2 appeared much sooner and were a medium tan color.
My last pregnancy a subtle tan color but still visible.
Slowed hair growth! I noticed it last pregnancy too.
I shave my legs & underarms maybe 1 time a week, sometimes just a tiny spot.

Smooth armsThese last 2 pregnancies have really helped with
the arm bumps I had on my triceps.
The coconut oil was already helping but I currently have the smoothest arms I've ever had!
I'm sure some will return after the pregnancy,
 until then I'm just enjoying normal arms lol


<<MATERNITY WORKOUTS>>
Cute workout shirt!
PLEASE hear me when I say, get regular activity or workouts.
I have done it wrong too many times.
And even if you're thin by nature,
which I am not;
(I actually have to watch what I eat and workout)
You'll be stronger and healthier in body during pregnancy,
 feel better and better about yourself.
There's not much we can control with our prego bodies
 but we do have control of our activity if the Dr. has cleared you.
And when it comes to delivery, it can go smoother
and you're better able to handle the demands of a little one or littles.


I mentioned in my 2nd trimester "Dress the Bump" post
that I had started working out with Glow Body PT on You Tube
and streamed on my TV.
The workouts are short and customizable to your needs.
LOVE THEM!
Ashley is awesome, really motivates you,
has plenty of experience and wants you to be at your prego best.
And your healthiest before/after pregnancy.
Her website is FULL of help for women.

could get intimidated by the hardcore athletic mama,
but I DON'T, she inspires and encourages me.

If Ashley or her workouts are too much,
then chose different ones.
You'll find other free ones on You Tube,
you may even be able to check some out at the library.
Because our bodies need all the support they can get.

Here a few others on Youtube I use as well:
Chest workout with Kathleen Tesori 
Chest and Triceps with Doctor Cathy 
She has plenty more maternity ones, I just prefer Glow Body PT.



<<MATERNITY OR NON-MATERNITY?>>
maternity and non maternity during pregnancy, prego dressing tips
mat. dress/jeans & non-mat. shirt/jeans

BOTH!
There's no need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe,
at least not yet; using your own non-mat. clothes will still work.
As you near the end of your 1st trimester, 
you can start incorporating some maternity items, based on your needs.
Wearing maternity too soon will make you look larger and ill proportioned.

For practicality, frugality and ease, 
I prefer double duty/multi-use items.

I  did *buy a few non-maternity and maternity items which I share here 
because I wanted something different to work with this time around.
*mostly clearanced, sale and thrifted items*
You'll find tips on how to style your non-maternity below.


<<STYLING NON-MATERNITY FOR PREGNANCY>>
non maternity for pregnancy, prego dresessing tips
2.26.17 (21 weeks)
The above photo is a perfect example of maximizing
 my pre-prego clothes during pregnancy.
Nothing I am wearing is maternity.
-The tank underneath is standard sizing
-The gingham button up is old/thrifted and tied under my belly to give me a waist
-The pants were clearanced at Old Navy a few years back,
have elastic and a draw string to accommodate my belly. 

---------

Dressing Tips
*SUPER important- make sure maternity items have a proportionate fit
to your body.
 Cute but ill fitting clothes will make you look frumpy no matter what!
That applies to prego's or non-prego's.
*Layer button ups, cardigans, vests, shawls, kimonos, scarves 
over maternity shirts or longer non-maternity ones (as above). 
If you can still button up great, if you can't leave open.
Sometimes just a button or two under your bust is enough.
*Borrow shirts/sweaters from hubby.
To create a visible waist use belts, ribbons or sashes.
*Non-maternity shirts which cover belly nicely- Walmart(herehere), Target (here, here, here), Old Navy (herehere)     

non maternity and maternity for pregnancy, prego dressing tips, layering blouses/shirts over dresses
4.1.17 (25 weeks+5d)
This dress was originally too wide at the legs,
 I'll share how I fixed it soon!
*Maxi dresses/skirts are great. The skirts can be worn low under belly
or higher at the small of your waist, then layer shirt/blouse.
<<Tie shirts/t-shirts in a side or center knot and wear over dresses>>
<<Blouses that fit your chest but not your belly can be tucked under bust
and worn over dresses too.>>
*Short stretchy dresses/skirts can be worn with leggings or tights to extend their
use when your belly grows.
*Low waisted pants or elastic ones can still work with your belly bump.
*For pants that still fit everywhere but the belly, use the rubber band trick. Insert rubber band through the button hole, feed it into itself, pull to tighten and then loop the opposite side over button. Lower zipper a bit if needed.
Or use an elastic belt to keep lowered zipper & opened sides covered.



<<TANKS or BELLY BANDS?>>
non maternity and maternity for pregnancy, long tanks instead of belly bands, prego dressing tips
This is complete preference thing
but I have always chosen LONG TANKS!
I used/use affordable, long, tank tops under everything!
You'll see them peeking through v-necks or under other shirts. 
You can layer a longer tank over a shorter one 
and still get tummy coverage.
Walmart (here, hereTarget (here, here)  
and Old Navy (hereherehereare all great for these. 

You can opt for maternity tanks or  go up 1-2 sizes in non-maternity sizing. 
 Old Navy offers "tall" versions and Target does the Long and Lean tanks.
 They cover beautifully and will still be useful long after baby. 


<<MINIMIZING A LARGE CHEST 
or MAXIMIZING A SMALL ONE>>

Maybe that isn't a concern for you
or it's not at the top of your list
but, it can make a HUGE difference when dressing yourself.
WHY?
Just like poor fitting clothes or ill proportioned styling,
your chest can appear much larger, making your silhouette larger as well.
Certain styles can also minimize an area that needs balance.
So this is definitely about balance.
I'm not normally a large chested woman in my opinion
but pregnancy changes that!
FULL cup change 😩
I WANT to minimize what's going on up there lol
Some women desire the opposite, 
they want volume where it might be lacking.
These tips will help you too!

-----Large chested?-----
(small chest? check below)
1. Darker colors on top work best.
 You CAN still wear light colors
if you can balance them with some of the tips below.
2. Bigger prints/stripes minimize your chest 
because there's less pattern per inch.
minimizing large chest, how collar & pockets affect chest size
3. Deeper v-necks & deeper round cut-outs help to draw the eye down.
With less material, it detracts from the appearance of a large chest.

It also exposes a little more skin which balances the skin/chest ratio.

*Depending if you like showing cleavage or not (I do NOT)
you could layer a tank under your deep v-neck or round cut-out shirt.
*Square openings could work but they spread the eye horizontally,
making your chest appear wider

4. Along with deeper neck openings, placement of pocket, size of pocket
or placement/size of a design can also make a difference.
* If choosing pocketed shirts, opt for a larger pocket 
and preferably centered on either breast.
Same goes for a pocket placed design.

If it's a centered logo/design: larger is better
and centered over your breasts, not above.


-----Small chested?-----
1. Lighter colors on top work best.
 You CAN still wear dark colors
if you can balance them with some of the tips below.
2. Smaller prints/stripes maximize your chest because there is
visually more per inch.

3. Smaller/higher v-necks & round cut-outs help to draw the eye up.
With more material and less skin visible, 
it makes the area appear fuller.
 (top, left & center photos   for you)

4. Along with smaller/higher neck openings, placement of pocket, size of pocket
or placement/size of a design can also make a difference.
(top, right photo      for you)
* If choosing pocketed shirts, opt for a smaller pocket 
and preferably above the breast.
Same goes for a pocket placed design.

If it's a centered logo/design: smaller is better
and above your breasts.


<<POSTPARTUM PLANS>>
I've always worn a belly wrap of some sort right after delivery
and as soon as they allow it.

After my first pregnancy I wore a wrap like on the left
and tried using it for my 2nd one too but it was stretched out.
I then purchased one like on the right.
Did/do they work?
I've always had great results.
A flat tummy?
Heavens no but everything jiggly and in excess goes back into
a somewhat pre-prego state.
I STILL need to work out to tighten the area.

After my last pregnancy I used the Shrinkx belly wrap with the Shrinkx Hips-hip wrap
 because my hips had gotten pretty wide.
It was my first time wrapping my hips as well.
Most belly wraps don't cover that area tightly so I invested in the hip wrap.



I didn't want to take chances with my hips either
and wanted to work WITH my body as it got back to where it belonged.

Wrap pros:  I'm better supported,
my posture is upright, it helps keep stomach tucked in,
 I'm less self conscious of my midsection because it's strapped,
it's an investment in your recovery.
They help with C-section recovery and some from diastasis recti-
the tummy muscle separation.
It's helped restore stomach imo.
If wearing with hip wrap: hips compressed for faster recovery

Wrap cons: With the ones I've already worn...
You have to wear it most of the day, can feel restrictive,
has to be repositioned when sitting down,
potty breaks require removal of wrap, extra cost.
I don't know what NOT wearing a wrap looks like nor do I want to.
If wearing with hip wrap: not as comfortable
 and all of the above


*This time I'll be purchasing from Belly Bandit as soon as I'm in my 8th month
(when recommended)
I DO suggest you buy a new belly wrap each time
because you want the best fit/results.
So far my hips are good but if they expand much more,
I'll definitely be wearing both the belly & hip wraps.

Just a reminder for us all....
There shouldn't be any rush to be pre-prego size
you need time to heal, rest, and recover.
BUT, the worst thing you could do for yourself 
at the end of that time is nothing at all.

Value the one body & mind you have for the amazing things it can do,
whether it be to grow & birth a child,
 the physical & emotional ability to love them
 or the ones you have adopted into your family,
 energy & stamina to care for a family/household,
return to a previous job, responsibilities and interests 
or keep your sanity & health at its optimum, through it all, and at ANY AGE
😉


Along with the wraps, 
I plan on investing in the 12 week post pregnancy plan Ashley offers 
because honestly I want to be a fit/healthy mama.
I don't got time to worry about being tired, weak in body
or self conscious.
Especially at this age, everything is slowing down 
and I need to be at my best for me and my growing family.

<<<<<>>>>>

Here's to your own healthy maternity journey!


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