Five First-Trimester Discomforts And How To Remedy Them

Five First-Trimester Discomforts And How To Remedy Them

Surrogate pregnancy is thrilling and amazing, whether it’s your first or not. But as you know, it can also be seriously uncomfortable – especially in the later stages, serious preparation and major lifestyle changes may be necessary.

But discomforts begin as soon as the pregnancy does, in the first trimester. Fortunately, none of them are without a solution. Here’s some advice for what to do when they arise:

1. Nausea and Vomiting.

About half of all pregnant women have experienced nausea – and sometimes vomiting – in the first trimester. This is called ‘morning sickness’ and for some unfortunate women it may persist throughout their pregnancy.

Most experts believe that morning sickness is caused by pregnancy-driven changes in hormonal levels. It seems to be aggravated by stress, travel, and certain high-protein and high-fat foods.

To lessen these symptoms, it helps to eat several small meals a day, rather than a few large ones.

A diet high in complex carbohydrates – foods like whole-wheat bread, pasta, bananas and leafy green vegetables – may also help to reduce the severity of this nausea.

2. Fatigue.

During the first trimester, you’re more likely to feel tired as your body works overtime to nourish the baby. Simple chores will be harder than usual, and you may be surprised at the effort it takes just to get out of bed.

You’ll simply need to accept that your body needs to rest more than it otherwise would. Take as many breaks or naps as you can.

3. Backache

As the baby grows, your weight will increase and your balance will change, causing backaches. Also, in preparation for childbirth, your pelvic joints will begin to loosen – this also contributes to the back strain.

To reduce the strain on your back, learn proper posture and lifting techniques.

4. Frequent Urination

Your uterus, as it grows, will press directly on the bladder. This leads to frequent urination – and can be very uncomfortable when you’re at work or in the middle of something important.

To deal with this, avoid caffeine – drink as little tea, coffee and soda as you can, since these diuretics cause you to urinate more frequently.

It also helps to completely empty your bladder every time. Never try to hold it, when you feel the urge to urinate.

Although these first-trimester discomforts do vary between individual women, it’s important for every surrogate mother to be aware of them – so that you’ll know what to do when they arise.


Five Gifts To Delight Your Intended Parents

Five Gifts To Delight Your Intended Parents

Going the extra mile for your intended parents may form a lasting bond between you. A healthy baby, of course, is the best gift you can give them – but if you want to be extra-nice, personal gifts can go a long way. They need not be expensive; in fact, it’s better for them to be more personal and symbolic.

To help you get started, here are some suggestions:

1. A photo journal of yourself during your pregnancy is an inexpensive gift that would definitely make a good keepsake for the intended parents. Be sure to write little notes along with each picture – “My third week and craving for fruits”, for instance.

Ultrasound images of the baby also make fantastic photos for the intended parents.

2. Home-made videos are another great gift suggestion. All you need is a good camera and some video editing software – the software is readily available for free on the internet, and allows you to personalize the videos.

Many doctors’ offices can give you ultrasounds of the baby, which you could also include in your video.

3. Baby products. These are inexpensive and not particularly sentimental, but very practical – the intended parents are going to need them! Things like diapers, baby powder, wipes and soaps – one way to present them would be in a gift basket.

4. Baby books. Especially for first-time intended parents, these can come in very handy. Having had your own children, perhaps you can give them something that has helped with previous pregnancies.

There’s also the option of giving something they could read to their baby – possibly a book that explains surrogacy to the child!

5. Relaxing candles/aromatherapy. Remember that taking care of a baby isn’t easy, and – as you know from your own experience – the parents do need to unwind every so-often. Gifts like this can come in very handy to assist with that.

Think less about the cost of the gift, and more about what the intended parents would need or treasure – some very thoughtful gifts can be very inexpensive.

The important thing to remember when giving to your intended parents is, ‘what would mean the most to them?’ And by going the extra mile in this way, they may give you extra consideration should they need a surrogate in the future.


Five Pregnancy Cravings and How to Safely Deal With Them

Five Pregnancy Cravings and How to Safely Deal With Them

Many surrogate mothers have experienced cravings during pregnancy for foods that they couldn’t have cared less about before. Some of these cravings are healthy for you and good for the baby, but not all of them – sometimes they can be actively dangerous.

To deal with the cravings, you need to remember to choose healthy options that resemble any unhealthy food you might be craving – you need to integrate some of those cravings for salty, sweet, sour and spicy foods into a nutritionally-balanced diet.

Here are some suggestions for healthier alternatives to commonly-craved food.

1. When you want ice-cream, go instead for non-fat frozen yogurt. This meets your calcium needs while containing far fewer calories.

2. Instead of chocolate, try drizzling some non-fat chocolate syrup onto fresh fruits.

3. Instead of candy, take dried fruits like apricots, or fresh tropical fruit such as mangoes or pineapple.

4. Instead of salty snacks, opt for popcorn sprinkled with herb blends. Sesame breadsticks with spicy mustard dip are also a good substitute.

5. When you’re craving something sour, try squeezing some lemon on your fish, or into a salad. This ensures regular but moderated intake without empty calories. Sugary lemonade can also help meet this need.

Occasionally, pregnant women crave non-food items such as paper, laundry starch and chalk. This is known as ‘pica eating’, and these desires are always best to resist – they can be harmful to you and your baby’s health.

Do your best to keep these pica cravings out of your mind – reward yourself with other treats for resisting them, possibly even unhealthier treats like chocolate.

Occasionally, these cravings can be a sign of other problems – if they persist and become bothersome, see your doctor.

Remember, food cravings are normal during pregnancy. It’s entirely possible to satisfy them while still providing your baby with the nutrients they need to grow. But don’t give in too much to your desire for high-calorie foods – they may translate into excessive weight gain, which in turn increases the risk of gestational diabetes and unhealthy blood pressure.

Instead, make sure your diet is balanced – it should include lean sources of protein, reduced-fat dairy foods, whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes. If your diet is generally good, a little bit of unhealthy food won’t crowd out the nutrition you and your baby need.

Keep these simple substitution tips in mind, and you can be sure that your surrogate baby will get all the nutrients it needs to properly develop.


Food Cravings During Pregnancy Explained

Food Cravings During Pregnancy Explained

While food cravings are a well-known symptom of pregnancy, surrogate and otherwise, it’s still not quite understood what causes them. Some experts believe they’re meant to indicate nutritional deficiencies in a woman’s diet, while others believe that the types of food being craved are indicative of the baby’s gender.

In a recent survey, 80% of pregnant women said they’d experienced food cravings. 40% of them craved something sweet, 33% wanted salty foods, 17% craved spicy foods, and 10% craved sour and citrus fruits.

Based on these results, the top ten foods included ice cream, pickles, tomatoes and tomato sauce, lemon, cheese and chocolate. It seems relatively common for women to want animal fats – steak and pork fat, for instance.

Some women want strange combinations – black olives on cheesecake, pickles wrapped in cheese, and eggplant on pizza have all been reported. Exclusively craving a single food is also common – pickled onions, salsa and peaches seem especially popular in that regard.

Following the birth of their baby, many women for some reason experience an aversion to those same craved-for foods.

As stated, experts are divided on the explanation for these cravings – there are several theories. The more popular ones are:

1. Hormonal changes may alter a woman’s senses of taste and smell, making her want food she normally wouldn’t have enjoyed. This theory could also explain why menopausal women often experience food cravings/aversions.

2. They’re a reaction to nutritional deficiencies. For instance, a craving for pickles may indicate low sodium levels in the blood, while a vitamin B deficiency may drive a craving for chocolate. Desire for red meat could indicate a need for protein, while cravings for peaches could be a result of low beta carotene levels.

3. Emotional changes are known to be connected with food intake – a pregnant woman may crave certain foods, consciously or subconsciously, as a response to emotional needs. Often pregnant women want foods that remind them nostalgically of their childhoods, or perhaps their cultural/religious backgrounds, particularly if they haven’t eaten those foods in a while.

Remember that there’s no scientific consensus on this – no data to prove that cravings are related to biological needs, and none to prove that they (generally) are harmful.

But it’s important regardless to watch your diet while pregnant. Find healthy substitutes for the tastes your body is craving, and never deprive yourself of food in general. If problems do arise that prevent you from eating balanced meals and gaining weight as you should, check with your doctor – it may be indicative of something more serious. As a surrogate mother, your intended parents will most definitely appreciate your taking care of yourself.


Ideal Gifts for Your Surrogate Mother

Ideal Gifts for Your Surrogate Mother

A successful surrogacy journey is, in itself, a gift for everyone involved. But traditionally, gift-giving is a very common custom – many surrogate mothers and intended parents have the desire anyway to give something to the other. It might be a symbol of their friendship, a memento of the experience, or just a thank-you.

The gifts don’t have to be expensive – after all, it’s the thought that counts. Here are some suggestions.

First meeting gifts

One of the ideal gifts to give to a surrogate mother on the first meeting is something personal and home-made – baked goods, for instance.

Another good gift is something for your surrogate’s children; coloring books or small toys might be a good idea.

The really important rule for gifts at the first meeting is that it should be something thoughtful, as opposed to something expensive – really, an expensive gift is only going to make the surrogate uncomfortable.

During the transfer

This is another good time to gift your surrogate. It’s important to remember that the gift should be symbolic of the embryo transfer, or the future pregnancy. Some ideas might include fertility charms, surrogacy T-shirts, maybe pregnancy test kits bundled with pregnancy-related items.

Another angle to take could be paperback novels, DVDs, or a gift certificate to a local delivery restaurant – something to keep the surrogate mother happily occupied while she’s on bed-rest after the embryo transfer.

During pregnancy

Gifts during pregnancy are often a good idea – regularly, on some occasions, or just once.

This is an area where it’s especially important to consider the surrogate’s own personality and needs – some suggestions might be gift certificates at a local restaurant, gift baskets with bath products, or a certificate for a spa treatment.

At birth

This is the best time to give something to your surrogate mother. The gift doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive – it’s more important to celebrate the occasion.

Sentimental gifts – mementos – are the best kind; ‘name a star’, bonsai trees, perhaps an album as a keepsake. Other gifts might include something for her children,or gift certificates that she could use post-pregnancy.


What Causes Heartburn In Pregnancy – And How To Avoid It

One of the most common discomforts associated with pregnancy is acid reflux, or heartburn. Several factors associate this with pregnancy, but they boil down to hormonally-driven bodily changes.

It’s relevant that even women who had never previously suffered from acid reflux, may experience this during pregnancy. The problem usually manifests in pregnancy’s later stages, especially once the fetus has developed into full-term.

The severity does vary between women – some surrogate mothers receive very mild, tolerable and controllable symptoms, while others unfortunately experience much worse bouts. But it may help to understand just why this discomfort occurs.

One of the factors linking heartburn to pregnancy is the hormonal change that happens then – an increase in hormonal levels can drive certain changes in how the body functions.

For instance, the lower esophageal sphincter – LES – may loosen up, causing gastric acid to flow up, or ‘reflux’, into the esophagus. The main function of the LES is to prevent stomach acid from doing this, but it’s loosened by hormonal changes.

Another factor is the simple change that occurs to a woman’s body. As the baby develops and grows, the woman’s belly expands to accommodate its increasing size and the associated increase in amniotic fluid.

This can cause some amount of pressure to the esophagus and stomach, disrupting normal digestive processes and thereby causing acid reflux.

There are several ways to avoid the problem. One is to avoid foods that tend to trigger or aggravate the system – citrus fruits/juices, spicy foods, oily or fried foods, and processed food products especially. It may also be a good idea to cut down on chocolate and caffeine.

Another tip is to eat small but frequent meals throughout the day; this helps to achieve efficient digestion. Light snacks between meals will keep you from experiencing hunger pains – the point is to avoid heavy meals that put pressure on the digestive system and trigger heartburn.

Acid reflux is definitely preventable, if you observe the proper measures. Learn what to do and make changes in your eating habits to control it – and therefore enjoy a healthier and more comfortable surrogate pregnancy.