Should Pregnant Surrogates Eat Organic Foods?

Should Pregnant Surrogates Eat Organic Foods?

The goal shared by all intended parents and surrogate mothers is to produce a healthy baby. To ensure that the baby develops properly, it’s very important for the surrogate to eat healthily while she is pregnant. More and more, intended parents are going a step further by asking their surrogates to eat only organic foods. While some surrogates are reluctant to do this, others are entirely willing – after all, it may improve their own health.

As with any significant decision, though, there are pros and cons to be considered.

The downsides include that organic foods can be much more expensive than the same type of non-organically-produced foods. This is due to their higher cost of production. A surrogate may be more willing to eat organic foods if the intended parents offered to pay for the organic foods she eats.

A related issue to that is the fact that organic foods can also be harder to obtain; not every grocery store or supermarket has such a wide selection of organics. They’re a specialty item, after all, and surrogates with fewer options for food-shopping (in rural areas or small towns, for instance) may have trouble shopping for organic foods.

And of course, not every food is available organically. There’s a real possibility that a surrogate eating only organically may have to miss out on some of her favorite foods for the duration of her pregnancy.

There are convenience issues, too. Organics, due to their lack of preservatives, can spoil more easily – shorter shelf-lives, which require more regular shopping.

But there are a lot of good reasons that intended parents ask their surrogates to eat organic foods. Insecticides and additives are potentially harmful if they are passed though to the baby during pregnancy. Organic foods lack insecticides and additives – those things won’t be carried through into the baby.

Health concerns have, from time to time, been raised over genetically modified crops, or meat from animals that have been fed those crops. Organic food, by definition, is not genetically modified, which removes those concerns.

Research has shown, additionally, that organic foods contain more healthy vitamins and minerals, possibly due to the lack of preservatives involved.

And as a side-benefit, if you’re concerned about how animals are treated, organic food is a much better idea. Organic farming requires that animals be fed a natural diet, and are kept (unlike mass-produced ‘factory farm’ meat) in much more humane free-range conditions.

So while organic food can be inconvenient at times and more expensive, it also does provide a much healthier choice for the surrogate and the baby. It’s a big decision that should be weighed seriously from both sides, but there are solid reasons behind why a lot of intended parents do want their surrogate mothers to eat organically during their pregnancy.

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Important Things You Need to Know After IVF

Important Things You Need to Know After IVF

After an embryo transfer, a lot of tension and anxiety can happen. For first-time surrogates and intended parents, questions begin to linger in their minds – “Should I be on bed rest for the first two or three days?”, “What foods should I eat?”, “How active can I be during the two-week wait, and “Will our surrogate get pregnant?”

These questions are all important to comprehend, and advice can vary from doctor to doctor. The really important thing to remember is that there’s no guarantee of pregnancy through IVF – there are a lot of factors involved in the process.

Some common suggestions recommended by doctors are:

1. No heavy lifting for the first 48 hours after IVF transfer.

2. No strenuous physical activities like running or aerobics.

3. No alcohol, drugs or smoking.

4. No intercourse until a fetal heartbeat is determined.

5. Bed rest for the first two days after the IVF transfer.

It’s very important to remember that these instructions do differ between doctors.

As intended parents, if you want to be more sure that these instructions are followed, it might be helpful to assist – or have someone assist – your surrogate during the first two days after the IVF transfer. Run the errands that the surrogate needs done, prepare meals for her and her family, help with laundry and so forth.
The surrogate is likely to really appreciate your help while she’s on bed-rest, while you yourself would have peace of mind that the surrogate is following her doctor’s instructions.

In most cases, the transfer’s success is known after ten days. On the tenth day after the transfer, the surrogate goes back to the IVF clinic to see if the embryo has implanted into the uterus.

On Day 12 after the embryo transfer, the fertility clinic checks to see if the HcG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) level has doubled – if it has, then the embryo is properly growing.

The In Vitro Fertilization procedure is not 100% successful; not every embryo transfer will result in a pregnancy. In the event that it doesn’t, it’s important not to make any rash decisions until the intended parents have had an opportunity to discuss the outcome with the doctor.

The doctor may have some insight about why the transfer was a failure – poor embryo quality, poor uterine lining or genetic problems are all possibilities.

Surrogacy is never a certain process, and the better you understand it, the better you’ll be able to plan your next steps. Proper medical advice will help the intended parents understand the best way to move forward.

There are a lot of important aspects of surrogacy that need to be properly understood. Knowing them will help intended parents better comprehend the process of surrogacy.

The issue of bed rest after an IVF transfer is still under debate; so far, nothing has been proven. Remember, it’s at the discretion of your doctor to give all the necessary instructions to your surrogate – first and foremost, pay attention to your doctor’s advice.

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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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