6 Tips on Choosing the Best Surrogate Pregnancy Pillow

6 Tips on Choosing the Best Surrogate Pregnancy Pillow

Because it’s so essential to be comfortable during your surrogate pregnancy, a pregnancy pillow is an important prenatal accessory.

Healthcare professionals recommend that women sleep on their left side with knees bent slightly, but many surrogate mothers find this sleep position uncomfortable. While a head pillow can support certain parts of the body, one specifically designed to support the whole body can be more comfortable during your surrogate pregnancy.

Here are six helpful tips on choosing the best pregnancy pillow:

1. Pinpoint the areas that are most stressful to you. Every surrogate mother’s pregnancy is different, with different aches and discomforts. Pregnancy pillows are specifically designed to alleviate all different types of stress, from hip pressure to back support. Figure out exactly what stresses are most bothersome and find the pillow designed for your needs.

2. Know the different types of pregnancy pillows. Maternity body pillows are available in a variety of options: full body memory foam pillows that adjust to the contours of your body; smaller pillows made to soothe and prevent specific problems like back, hip and upper shoulder pain; simple wedges that slide under your growing belly; and bean-shaped pillows that wrap around your mid-section.

3. Research the best type of maternity pillow. Ask friends and relatives; it’s best to ask someone who has been recently pregnant and use their comments as a guide on your choice of maternity pillows. There are also websites and magazines with reviews on specific products. Remember that personal reviews are the most honest opinion and a great guide for helping you narrow down your search.

4. Try and test your choices. A maternity pillow may feel differently when held snug against your body than it feels when you push it in with your hand. Most home and maternity stores allow you to touch, caress and even try their products. This will be one of the most important purchases you’ll make during your pregnancy, so it is best to take your time, try a few different options and decide which one is right for you.

5. Try a new sleeping position. If you’re used to sleeping on your back or front, then you’ll probably have a difficult time adjusting to the lump forming on your stomach, but you can get used to it. You can start by trying to fall asleep on your side in the early weeks and months of your pregnancy to give yourself a leg up in the adjustment phase. You should also start to use your maternity pillow before you feel like you need it, as your body will need some time to get used to this new product.

6. Don’t be cheap when comfort is concerned. Body pillows can be relatively expensive, especially when you get to the types that provide pinpoint relief to very specific problem areas. Remember that a durable pillow can be used again and many maternity pillows can be used post-pregnancy for nursing and cradling your new baby.

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Common Mistakes in Buying Maternity Clothes

Common Mistakes in Buying Maternity Clothes

When it comes to shopping for maternity clothes during your surrogate pregnancy, you need to consider comfort, practicality and affordability – after all, you don’t want to spend a fortune on something you’ll only wear for a few months.

Even if you’re only planning to buy a few items, you should be aware of the common mistakes many surrogate mothers make when buying maternity clothes. Here are a few of them:

Mistake One: Not Considering the Fabric.

When pregnant, your overall body shape and size will change; that’s what makes it so important to choose the right type of fabric for your clothes. Consider breathability, stretchniess, durability and softness – look for natural fabrics like cotton, modal and bamboo. Avoid clothing made from synthetic materials such as polyester; they retain heat, which can be uncomfortable when pregnant.

Also avoid clothes listed as wrinkle-free or permanent press; studies show that these materials are treated with chemicals like formaldehyde, which can be dangerous to pregnant women and their growing babies.

Mistake Two: Focusing on Price.

Maternity clothing can be expensive, but they’re an area where you definitely get what you pay for. Some pregnant women don’t consider this a problem – after all, they’ll only be wearing the clothes for at most nine months, right?

Unfortunately, most cheap maternity clothing doesn’t even last that long. They begin to tear and unravel after the first or second wash, and certainly won’t carry you through the entire pregnancy.

One way to save money is to only buy a few essential items, but make sure those items are good. Also consider second-hand items at resale shops, rummage sales or on eBay; while they may have been worn before, they’re still likely to have a lot of life for their low price.

Mistake Three: Not Planning Ahead

Most pregnant women don’t plan ahead – they don’t consider that during pregnancy, their body shape and size will gradually change. Buying everything in a single spree is usually a bad idea – think ahead and invest in quality pieces that’ll work for the duration of your pregnancy.

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Other Skin Conditions During Pregnancy

Other Skin Conditions During Pregnancy

While the most common skin conditions a surrogate mother might encounter during pregnancy are pregnancy glow, stretch marks, acne and chloasma, there are other ones that a surrogate should be aware of. Most aren’t permanent – they usually go away after childbirth.

Some of them are:

1. Red palms and soles. As early as the second month of pregnancy, the insides of your hands, and the bottoms of your feet may itch and take on a reddish hue, called palmar erythema. This increased color is no more than a curiosity of pregnancy, which usually ends with childbirth.

2. Spider veins. Those much-discussed pregnancy hormones, along with increased blood volume, cause the tiny, squiggly red or purple capillaries just below the surface of the skin to branch out and become more visible during pregnancy. It’s also common for spider veins to pop out on the face or on the sclera or white part of the eyeballs during delivery; intense, red-in-the-face pushing can break tiny blood vessels. Known as nevi, these burst vessels can be camouflaged by the appropriate use of make-up. Nevi takes longer to disappear than many of the other skin problems of pregnancy; some spider veins on the legs or torso may not go away on their own. A dermatologist can remove these spider veins using injections if you feel that’s necessary.

3. Itching. Many women enjoy a good “scratch down” at the end of the day. Some areas of your skin may itch because they are dry and flaky; others can itch due to a prickly rash. Many women find the itching to be most bothersome in the skin that stretches – mainly over the abdomen, but also on hips and thighs. To help you avoid itching, try applying baby powder to the troubled areas.

4. Skin tags. Some pregnant women develop tiny polyps, called skin tags, in areas where skin rubs against clothing or other skin. Commonly found under the arms, between neck folds, or under bra lines on the chest, skin tags are caused by hyperactive growth of a superficial layer of skin. They disappear a few months following delivery, but can be easily excised if they bother you.

5. Heat rash. You may think that only babies get prickly heat rash, but pregnant women also can. Caused by the combination of an already overheated pregnant body, dampness from excessive perspiration and the friction of skin rubbing against itself or against clothing, prickly heat rash is pimply and slightly irritating. It’s most common in the crease between and beneath the breasts, in the crease where the bulge of the lower abdomen rubs against the top of the pubic area, and on the inner thighs. To help prevent heat rash, try keeping yourself cool by taking regular baths or showers.

Most of these skin conditions usually vanish after childbirth. Although they’re quite normal, they can easily be aggravated at times. The best way to prevent them is to keep yourself fresh, cool and clean at all times.

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Skin Care Tips During Pregnancy

Skin Care Tips During Pregnancy

Pregnancy has a clear effect on a surrogate mother’s appearance – alongside the gradual weight gain, there are hormonal changes that affect the skin. To help prevent some of the most common skin problems associated with pregnancy, here are some skin care tips:

1. Moisturize and use sun protection
The single most important addition you should make to your skin-care routine during your pregnancy is a moisturizer with at least SPF 15. Studies show that, during pregnancy, elevated hormone levels trigger the multiplication of pigment cells, which can cause facial blotchiness or ‘the mask of pregnancy.’

Using sunscreen daily is the best way to avoid this discoloration. If you know you’re going to be out in the midday sun or at the beach, it’s best to protect yourself with a sunblock of SPF 30 or higher. Try to look for lotions and creams that list Parsol 1789 or Avobenzone as ingredients.

2. Cleansing
It’s best to start your day with a good shower and a gentle facial cleanser. Use a non-residue or glycerin-based one. If your skin is ultra-dry, then it’s best to wash with a soapless rinse-off cleanser that’s mild and moisturizing. It’s a good idea to wash your face no more than twice a day, to prevent over-drying of the skin.

3. Acne protection
A pregnant woman’s skin can become oily during the first trimester of pregnancy, leading to acne breakouts. The safest way to treat these breakouts is with a product that contains glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, topical erythromycin (which is prescription-only), or witch hazel.

Most dermatologists and skin experts recommend against the use of topical retinoids like Retin-A or Differin and salicylic acid. Although these ingredients haven’t been linked to birth defects and there’s no conclusive evidence of negative side-effects, it’s still best to be cautious during pregnancy.

4. Easy makeup
When it comes to wearing makeup during pregnancy, use the ‘less is more’ philosophy – it’s faster and easier. All you really need is a few multipurpose products:

A foundation stick that doubles as concealer is great for covering under-eye circles and blemishes, and for evening out skin tone. Chubby pencils are foolproof for smudging on eyes, lips and cheeks, and won’t take much space in your bag. If you’re the kind of person who won’t leave the house without lipstick, make sure it’s moisturizing and contains sun protection. For a polished look, finish up with a coat of washable, waterproof mascara and you’re ready for the day.

During your surrogate pregnancy, it’s best to avoid heavy makeup that may contain harsh and toxic chemicals. Remember, the natural pregnancy glow can make a woman look most ravishing during pregnancy without any makeup whatsoever.

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Maternity Clothes for Surrogates to Avoid

Maternity Clothes for Surrogates to Avoid

There’s no reason for a woman not to look good during her surrogate pregnancy. Lately, the range of options available in maternity clothing has grown drastically – but not every choice is a good one, and there are a lot of clothes styles you should completely avoid if you want to look your best while being comfortable.

Here are some tips on what to avoid:

1. Don’t buy over-sized maternity clothes. When you get pregnant, you’ll definitely get bigger – but still, don’t buy maternity clothes that make you look bigger than you actually are! Don’t compromise on the size of your clothes just to save a few bucks.

2. Don’t buy short dresses – these are not at all recommended during pregnancy for a couple of reasons. Not only will they make you feel uncomfortable physically, but also while sitting and walking in public. Additionally, as your stomach expands, the length of the dress will shorten further. Instead, try long maxis, which slim your figure and can even be worn post-pregnancy.

3. Don’t buy tight maternity clothes. It’s very important to choose the appropriate size, for comfort and well as appearance. It’s best to avoid tight tops that aren’t just uncomfortable, but aggravate sweating issues.

4. Don’t wear your regular undergarments; there are specialized ones designed for better comfort and ease during pregnancy. A number of maternity bras offer better support to your bust and give it a firmer look.

5. Don’t buy low-waist or underbelly pants. In the second and third trimesters, you’ll have a large belly, and you’ll really need comfort then. Avoid low-waist jeans and pants that not only create discomfort but may also hurt the stomach. The perfect option for that situation is full-belly bands.

6. Don’t spend too much – remember, your surrogate pregnancy will only last nine months. After giving birth, your normal figure will return, and the maternity clothes will no longer fit.

The most important considerations when buying maternity clothes are comfort and appearance. Your pregnancy can open up a whole new world when it comes to shopping for clothing, so keep the above tips in mind so that you can make your best choices.

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Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep During Your Surrogate Pregnancy

Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep During Your Surrogate Pregnancy

During your surrogate pregnancy, you may encounter all kinds of sleep disturbances – nausea, heartburn, leg cramps, snoring. Bad sleeping habits from before your pregnancy may accentuate them.

Common sleep problems during pregnancy can start in the first semester, a period when you’ll experience frequent bathroom trips during the night, to urinate or vomit.

Sleep deprivation is not helpful for you or your baby; during your surrogate pregnancy, it’s important to get as much rest as possible so that the baby can develop healthily. Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

1. Avoid caffeine. When you get pregnant, it is important to watch your caffeine intake – stay away from caffeinated substances like coffee, tea, soda and even chocolate during the afternoon and evening to help you sleep better at night.

2. Don’t smoke or drink. Studies show that the effects of nicotine and alcohol are harmful to you and your baby. They can also make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant, and it’s been determined that smokers get less deep and restful sleep and would normally feel less rested than non-smokers. Even though alcohol can make you sleepy, it tends to disrupt deep and restful sleep at night.

3. Exercise regularly. It is best to follow a light program of exercise during the day or early evening. Remember to first consult your doctor for the specific best exercise program. Exercising at the proper times can help you burn energy and get a better night’s sleep.

4. Take a warm bath before going to bed. The soothing and relaxing effects of a warm bath can help you get a good night’s sleep. Aromatherapy while taking your bath can also help you feel more relaxed.

5. Drink less during the late afternoon and early evening, and more earlier in the day. This helps reduce your need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

6. Avoid heavy meals and spicy foods before bedtime. Spicy foods such as chili, and acidic foods such as tomatoes, can cause heartburn and indigestion, which can keep you up at night. So can eating a big meal too close to bedtime. If heartburn is a problem, eat lighter meals and eat them earlier. Give yourself two to three hours to digest your food before you head to bed.

7. Use enough pillows when you sleep. Remember, there’s no such thing as too many pillows. Use them to prop you up, rest body parts on, place between your knees, whatever you need them for to help sleep better at night.

By following these simple yet effective tips, you can sleep better at night during your pregnancy. A lot of surrogates complain of fatigue in the day; this is partially because they don’t sleep well. When you take naps during the day, it is best to take them during the morning or early afternoon, so that you will still feel sleepy when it’s time to go to bed.

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Best Sleep Position During Your Surrogate Pregnancy

Best Sleep Position During Your Surrogate Pregnancy

During your surrogate pregnancy, it’s normal to find yourself wrestling in bed, uncomfortably trying to get to sleep. Unfortunately, regular sleep positions may no longer be comfortable – they won’t necessarily work for you during pregnancy.

Several factors are behind this new discomfort in pregnancy. Your body goes through several changes – an increase in the size of your abdomen, muscle pains, back pains, heartburn and shortness of breath. But there are some recommended positions that may help you sleep more comfortable.

It’s best, during your surrogate pregnancy, to sleep on your side. In particular, sleeping on your left side may benefit the baby, by improving blood flow and circulation. As the baby grows, the abdomen has to harbor an ever-increasing uterus; this rests flat on the inferior vena cava, the main vein located on the right side of your spine – it drains the entire lower half of the body.

Sleeping on your left side will avoid compressing this vein, thus increasing your blood flow and circulation, and resulting in more nutrients to your placenta and baby.

The same sleeping position also helps your kidneys to efficiently eliminate waste products and fluids from your body, which in turn may reduce swelling in your ankles, feet and hands. So it’s a good idea to start training yourself early in pregnancy to sleep on your left whenever possible.

Of course, staying in one position all night is not likely to be comfortable, so changing between sides – while favoring your left – may be the best sleep strategy.

It can also be a good idea to keep your legs and knees bent, and a pillow between your legs, while you sleep on your left side.

As for sleeping on your back – that’s a position you need to avoid during your surrogate pregnancy, especially in its later months. This is because when you’re sleeping on your back, the weight of your uterus presses down on your spine, back muscles, intestines, and a number of major blood vessels.

This results in muscle aches and pains, hemorrhoids, digestive problems and impaired circulation – things that are uncomfortable for you, and can reduce circulation to your baby.

Back-sleeping can also lower your blood pressure, causing some expectant mothers to experience dizziness. (Although on the other hand, it can actually raise the blood pressure of other pregnant surrogates.)

It can also cause snoring and, as the baby grows and gains weight, could lead to sleep apnea or problems in breathing while asleep.

Remember, lying on your left is better than lying on your back, but lying on your left side is by far the best of all, because this position will put the least amount of weight on critical veins and organs.

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10 Things for Surrogates to Avoid Eating While Pregnant

10 Things for Surrogates to Avoid Eating While Pregnant

For the health and development of their baby, it is absolutely critical that pregnant surrogates remain healthy, and an important part of that is to maintain a healthy diet.

But it’s not enough simply to know the best foods to eat during your pregnancy as a surrogate mother – some foods need to be avoided, too.

1. Completely avoid alcohol, which has been linked to premature delivery, mental retardation, birth defects and low birth-weight babies. Once you have been positively checked for pregnancy, avoid alcohol intake at all times.

2. Limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg per day. This amounts to about two eight-ounce cups of coffee (150 mg each), while a 12-ounce glass of caffeinated soda contains anywhere from 30 to 60 mg of caffeine. Don’t forget that chocolate contains caffeine – the amount in a typical chocolate bar is equal to about a ¼-cup of coffee.

3. The use of saccharin is strongly discouraged during pregnancy because it can cross the placenta and may remain in fetal tissues. But other non-nutritive, or artificial, sweeteners approved by the FDA are acceptable during pregnancy. These include aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet), acesulfame-K (Sunett), and sucralose (Splenda). These sweeteners are considered safe in moderation, so talk with your doctor about how much sweetener is acceptable during your pregnancy.

4. Fat intake should be limited – your daily intake should be decreased to no more than 30% of your total daily calories. For a woman eating 2,000 calories a day, this would be at most 65 grams of fat.

5. Cholesterol intake should be limited during pregnancy, to 300 mg or less per day. Research shows that excessive cholesterol levels in pregnant women can lead to premature births.

6. Mercury should be avoided while pregnant – avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish (aka white snapper), because they contain high levels of mercury. The small doses of mercury found on these fish can be toxic for your fetus, and may cause serious health problems.

7. Don’t eat unpasteurized cheeses. Soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style are often unpasteurized and may cause Listeria infection. There’s no need to avoid hard cheese, processed cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt.

8. Avoid raw fish, especially shellfish like oysters, mussels, scallops and clams. Raw fish, including sushi and sashimi, and undercooked fin fish are more likely to contain parasites or bacteria than cooked fish. Parasites and bacteria are also very dangerous for the health of the baby.

9. Don’t eat raw or undercooked eggs and avoid foods that contain them, such as homemade mayonnaise. Make sure that any eggs you eat are thoroughly cooked, until the whites and yolks are solid. This prevents the risk of salmonella.

10. Don’t drink raw or unpasteurized milk, including unpasteurized goat’s or sheep’s milk. Avoid eating foods made from them, such as soft goat’s cheese. If only raw or green-top milk are available, you need to boil it first before drinking.

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5 Unique Health Benefits of Being Pregnant

5 Unique Health Benefits of Being Pregnant

Believe it or not, a baby isn’t the only good thing you get out of childbearing – even if you’re a surrogate mother who doesn’t keep the baby, there are other significant health benefits to the experience. They include:

1. Many women have reported that they feel healthier than ever when they are expecting a baby because of the additional hormones surging through their bodies. These extra hormones not only encourage fetal development, but also have an effect on your well-being – they can actually improve your health during and after pregnancy. Many women say they feel meaningfully better as a result of these increased hormones.

2. Research shows that childbirth and breastfeeding offer their own healthy benefits. Women who have given birth, and breastfed, are less prone to cervical and breast cancer. Ovarian and cervical cancer risks are also reduced in women who have given birth.

3. A very substantial number of pregnant women have noticed a boost to their immune system, relative to before their pregnancy. Many women have reported fewer asthma attacks during pregnancy, and some women with multiple sclerosis experience a decline in symptoms during the last three months of pregnancy. There is no clear medical explanation for the decline in these symptoms, but research is currently under way to examine this relationship between pregnancy and the immune system.

4. Pregnancy can provide a glowing “moisturizer” for dry skin, or a stimulant that causes thin hair to take on glossy volume. A lot of women have noticed a certain “glow” on their skin, and stronger formation of hair and nails. Some pregnant women even report an improvement in their skin-related disease symptoms – for example, a temporary break from symptoms of psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

5. Many women have reported an increase in their psychological well-being during their pregnancy. Working mothers especially reported that despite their fatigue, their pregnancy was one the calmest and healthiest times of their lives. The excitement of looking forward to a new baby increased their overall mood.

These benefits are a large part of why most surrogate mothers consider pregnancy a very positive experience in itself. The boost to their immune systems, the reduced symptoms to certain diseases and the ‘pregnancy glow’ are unique and very, very enjoyable benefits to pregnancy.

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6 Healthy Eating Tips For Surrogates To Eliminate Pregnancy Side-Effects

6 Healthy Eating Tips For Surrogates To Eliminate Pregnancy Side-Effects

Digestion-related side-effects are very common during the first trimester of your surrogate pregnancy. During this period, it’s especially important for surrogate mothers to eat healthy. You may experience a loss of appetite, find it hard to keep food down, or possibly feel too sick and tired to eat at all – but you need to anyway.

To help cope with some of this discomfort, some useful tips are:

1. When you have morning sickness, it is advisable to eat crackers, cereal, or pretzels before getting out of bed. Remember to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and avoid fatty, fried, and greasy foods. You can also try a wet/dry diet – this means taking your food and your drink separately, usually about 30 minutes apart. Cold foods are also advisable, since the strong smell of foods cooking can sometimes trigger unpleasant feelings.

2. If you feel constipated, more fresh fruit and vegetables are a good idea. It’s also highly advisable to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to help with the constipation.

Fiber is also important; when pregnant, you need about 28 grams a day of it. Good sources include whole grains, fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.

3. When you have diarrhea, it is best to eat more foods that contain pectin and gums, two types of fiber. This will help absorb excess water. Some good foods in this regard are applesauce, bananas, white rice, oatmeal, and refined wheat bread.

4. When you get heartburn, it’s better to eat more small meals throughout the day, as opposed to a few large ones. Some doctors recommend drinking pasteurized milk before eating and limiting caffeinated foods and beverages, citric beverages and spicy foods. You also need to avoid mint, peppermint, spearmint and chocolate because these foods can trigger heartburn. Taking a short walk after each meal can also help to ward off heartburn.

5. When you feel tired and fatigued, you may want to prepare meals when you have more energy; store them for later use when your energy levels are low. It’s important to get plenty of sleep, and naps during the day if necessary, to help cope with the fatigue. Prenatal vitamins, and mineral supplements containing iron, can also help. Remember to ask your doctor first before taking any medications or vitamins.

6. When you have no appetite, eating smaller, more frequent meals can help you avoid feeling too full or bloated. It is also a good idea to drink your calories; milk or yogurt smoothies can be a good idea, with bananas or frozen berries added in for extra protein. Calorie-dense foods can also help – you don’t need to eat a lot to get your nutrients. Snack on unsalted nuts and seeds, cheese, dried fruits, avocado, nut butters and omega-3 rich fish like salmon.

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