Information on Pregnancy For Special needs People

Pregnancy& Child Birth
for Special Needs People

My life from the last four decades was all about inclusion of special needs kids in art and recreation. I was really shocked that there is very little written about pregnancy and child birth for special moms. 

I wanted information on so many things. However, it was hard to find. So I decided to make a collection of what I found so far.  

Young Disabled Women Want Kids Too

Pregnancy and mothering is sold to many young girls as a destiny, a naturally occurring phenomenon, a rite of passage. Although society has moved forward in many respects, attitudes towards who can and who can't have children are proving slower to evolve. The message seems to be that as pregnancy might be complicated in disabled bodies, it’s probably best you don’t try at all.  Dr Lafina Diamandis, a GP and lifestyle medicine doctor at Deia Health, acknowledges that societal views of disability can impact the care we receive. "There is stigma or discrimination around people with disabilities starting a family (both perceived and real) and this is a barrier to accessing care/specialist advice."

Conceiving a child is complex for many bodies. Different genders and sexual orientations mean that financial planning for IVF, adoption or surrogacy is a consideration for many couples, particularly LGBTQ+ ones, as well as disabled people. However, most of them are concerned that if they had children that they would be deemed unfit and that would break their hearts. Instead of fearing that someone would take away their parents’ rights, we need to make sure disabled parents have access to the resources they need to parent effectively.

Disabled parents frequently rely on their own expertise on access and accommodations. For instance, Lisa Goldstein installed her own video monitors when her kids were younger with flashing lights to indicate when they cried, and taught her children from the beginning to face her when they speak. My mom walked me to and from school when I was too young to walk alone or with friends, and she and I would take breaks when we went on long walks for fun or with a purpose. It would be great if parents were given access to resources to make parenting even easier, though.  

Disabled parents shouldn’t be shamed or worried about losing their parental rights when they ask for help. My mom didn’t have money for frequent taxi rides when she was raising me, but it would have been great if an educator or a disability organization could have connected her with information about paratransit options or public transportation discounts for people with disabilities.

Heather Watkins suggests that disabled parents should have adequate support systems that include other disabled parents. These kind of groups would allow disabled parents to swap stories, share best practices and tips, offer advice and recommendations, and share frustrations the way non-disabled parents do with one another.

Disabled parents have just as much love to offer their children as non-disabled parents do, and we need to create societal support for accessibility and accommodations so that all parents have access to the necessary resources for their children.

However, they need to ask themselves if they are able to financially support and physcically care for a child up until their college years.
Do they have enough medical support and family support in case the child is also special needs?
Are there genetic risks involved?
Will they be able to carry a baby full term and is that a risk to their life?
They just have more things to think about before deciding whether or not to have a child. 


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High-risk pregnancy:
Know what to expect

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you might have questions. Will you need special prenatal care? Will your baby be OK? Get the facts about promoting a healthy pregnancy.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you or your baby might be at increased risk of health problems before, during or after delivery. Typically, special monitoring or care throughout pregnancy is needed. Understand the risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy, and what you can do to take care of yourself and your baby.

What are the risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy?

Sometimes a high-risk pregnancy is the result of a medical condition present before pregnancy. In other cases, a medical condition that develops during pregnancy for either you or your baby causes a pregnancy to become high risk.

Specific factors that might contribute to a high-risk pregnancy include:

  • Advanced maternal age. Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers older than age 35.

  • Lifestyle choices. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

  • Maternal health problems. High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disease, heart or blood disorders, poorly controlled asthma, and infections can increase pregnancy risks.

  • Pregnancy complications. Various complications that develop during pregnancy can pose risks. Examples include an unusual placenta position, fetal growth less than the 10th percentile for gestational age (fetal growth restriction) and rhesus (Rh) sensitization — a potentially serious condition that can occur when your blood group is Rh negative and your baby's blood group is Rh positive.

  • Multiple pregnancy. Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying more than one fetus.

  • Pregnancy history. A history of pregnancy-related hypertension disorders, such as preeclampsia, increases the risk of having this diagnosis during the next pregnancy. If you gave birth prematurely in your last pregnancy or you've had multiple premature births, you're at increased risk of an early delivery in your next pregnancy. Talk to your health care provider about your complete obstetric history.

What steps can I take to promote a healthy pregnancy?

Whether you know ahead of time that you'll have a high-risk pregnancy or you simply want to do whatever you can to prevent a high-risk pregnancy, stick to the basics. For example:

  • Schedule a preconception appointment. If you're thinking about becoming pregnant, consult your health care provider. Your provider might counsel you to start taking a daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid and reach a healthy weight before you become pregnant. If you have a medical condition, your treatment might be adjusted in preparation for pregnancy. Your health care provider might also discuss your risk of having a baby with a genetic condition.

  • Seek regular prenatal care. Prenatal visits can help your health care provider monitor your health and your baby's health. You might be referred to a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, genetics, pediatrics or other areas.

  • Avoid risky substances. If you smoke, quit. Alcohol and illegal drugs are off-limits, too. Talk to your health care provider about any medications or supplements you're taking.

Do I need special tests?

Depending on the circumstances, your health care provider might recommend:

  • Specialized or targeted ultrasound. This type of fetal ultrasound — an imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of a baby in the uterus — targets a suspected problem, such as development that's not typical.

  • Prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening. During this procedure, DNA from the mother and fetus is extracted from a maternal blood sample and the fetal DNA is screened for the increased chance of specific chromosome problems.

  • Invasive genetic screening. Your health care provider might recommend amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS). During amniocentesis, a sample of the fluid that surrounds and protects a baby during pregnancy (amniotic fluid) is withdrawn from the uterus. Typically done after week 15 of pregnancy, amniocentesis can identify certain genetic conditions as well as serious problems of the brain or spinal cord (neural tube defects).During CVS, a sample of cells is removed from the placenta. Typically done between weeks 10 and 12 of pregnancy, CVS can identify certain genetic conditions.

  • Ultrasound for cervical length. Your health care provider might use an ultrasound to measure the length of your cervix at prenatal appointments to determine if you're at risk of preterm labor.

  • Lab tests. Your health care provider will test your urine for urinary tract infections and screen you for infectious diseases such as HIV and syphilis.

  • Biophysical profile. This prenatal ultrasound is used to check on a baby's well-being. It might involve only an ultrasound to evaluate fetal well-being or, depending on the results of the ultrasound, also fetal heart rate monitoring (nonstress test).

Some prenatal diagnostic tests — such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling — carry a small risk of pregnancy loss. The decision to pursue these tests is up to you and your partner. Discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider.

What else do I need to know about high-risk pregnancy?

Talk to your health care provider about how to manage any medical conditions you have during pregnancy and how your health might affect labor and delivery. Contact your health care provider if you have:

  • Vaginal bleeding or watery vaginal discharge

  • Severe headaches

  • Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen

  • Decreased fetal activity

  • Pain or burning with urination

  • Changes in vision, including blurred vision

  • Sudden or severe swelling in the face, hands or fingers

  • Fever or chills

  • Vomiting or persistent nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

A high-risk pregnancy might have ups and downs. Do your best to stay positive as you take steps to promote a healthy pregnancy

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Creating Incredible Possibilities


Expecting a Special Baby?

When Hope told me that she was pregnant I was thrilled. With parents on the autism spectrum, it just seems likely their child will be a special baby with at least autism tendancies. So my plan is to prepare for a special needs baby. No biggie, both sets of grandparents have been through it once.
On Easter my sister had just commented on how much Hope has had to overcome to be as functional as she is as an adult. I rememember realizing how tenacious she was trying to walk and the fact that today she has no problem with speech (but the bio-medical markers of Autism are still there). 

I can't wait to see her as a mama bear, knowing what challenges she has already conquered in her own childhood.

It’s OK to feel scared

Often times as moms, we feel pressured to have all the answers—to anticipate our children’s needs and put them ahead of our own. When our doctor started talking about spectrum disorders, diagnoses, specialists, therapies, and developmental trajectories, I knew I had a lot to learn. It was overwhelming at times.

Knowing that I would have alll the nervousness of a first baby and have to simultaneously find my tribe for raising a special needs child seemed challenging even at my best moments. I didn’t have all the answers, and I wasn’t sure I had the bandwidth to parent each of her special needs as the come along as she grew. Each new day came and went as I researched and learned more and more. It seemed like everything thing in my life before this point was going to be benificial to me.

The unknown was scary, and there’s nothing you can do to predict the future. Having a child with needs beyond normal at the outset of motherhood is a challenge that you will wonder if your prepared for. Adding another person to your family brings up a lot of questions and maybe even some anxieties and fears. Though moms are expected to be superhuman, you’re still human. And it’s OK to feel scared. 

I had the heads up that Hope was going to have special needs.  But I was as prepared as I could be educationally and professionally. So that was two things that I had. The third thing I had was that I knew that my husband was going to be the sweetest dad ever. Truthfully, as I look back on it, that was my very bestand most important asset.

Don’t focus just on the negatives

My worry  would spiral down fast when I thought about juggling a newborn while navigating the new-to-me world of disability. All my stress boiled down to one thing: I was afraid of not being enough.

Is there any mother out there who has never had a shred of self-doubt? Is there anyone who was sure that they were making the right decision every step of the way? There are many ways that we can tell ourselves we aren’t enough. When we lie down to sleep at night, most of us have a familiar voice in our minds telling us that there was something we could have done differently or better.

Trying to achieve perfection in motherhood is a never-ending cycle. But each day begins with a new sunrise and you will have everything that learned the day before, to lean on for that new day. 

When Hope arrived, seeing the way her father adored her, watching those innocent little smiles, and marveling at her tiny little fingers and toes were all magical moments. I expected her to add to the overwhelm, but instead, she took my mind off of it because when you look at your baby, your mother’s love will strengthens, just as it does with every child.

Lean on others

They will be honored that you did. They are probably waiting for you to bring up the subject. 
The friends and family that adore you, will adore your baby. And they want you to rely on them and they will be more than glad to help in any way that you need. They might just have a copy of "Welcome to Holland"....  

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Welcome To Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy.

You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands.

The flight attendant comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." 
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of fabulous people that you would never have met in Italy. It's just a different place.

It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. It must be grieved and let go.

Because if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

One Duck Stuck in the Muck story turned into an art project with brown finger paint, paper grass and a white duck.

Now when I look back on my journey in "Holland", I realise that I would have been bored with a typical child. I wouldn't trade one minute of raising Hope for any moment of parenting a typical baby girl. We had our rough days - but she filled our lives with joy beyond what anyone else experienced. The path became more difficult after I became a single parent in 2009.

But at every turn or hard situation, there was an answer as a reminder that Hope was right where she belonged.

Did I make mistakes? Yes I did. We will be prepared with a bigger tribe during adolescence with Hopes children. 
Tribe of one wasn't enough. 

Every life has it's messy spots. But life can also be cleaned up and full of happiness too.

Remember, no matter how challenging it is, the sun will shine in the morning and you will have a fresh day.  

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10 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is full of emotional highs and lows. Here is a few suggestions to put some pep in your pregnant step.

profile picture of Aparna Iyer, MD

By Aparna Iyer, MD,  Reproductive Psychiatrist

You’re super excited about pregnancy and becoming a parent, and then—out of nowhere—you suddenly start feeling a bit low. Don’t worry, Mama, this is totally normal. Pregnancy can be tough on your mood.

As a reproductive psychiatrist (yes, that’s a thing!), I have the privilege of supporting many women during their pregnancies. A lot of factors, like hormonal shiftssleep disturbances, transitioning to a new identity as a mom, relationship challenges and past depressive episodes, can really impact a woman’s mood during those rollercoaster nine+ months. Fortunately, there are many ways you can boost your mental health during pregnancy.

Please remember that any serious mental health or safety concerns should be brought to the attention of your personal physician immediately. But if you’re just looking for a little mood lift, these 10 tips can help.

1. Try Prenatal Yoga

We know that yoga is a really powerful tool in managing depression, but some studies have shown that prenatal yoga can help elevate your mood during pregnancy too! Once your doctor gives you the clearance to start prenatal yoga, you may find a regular practice with a more meditative or relaxation-focused approach has a robustly positive impact on your mood. Bonus: Prenatal yoga has also been shown to be beneficial in many cases for improving sleep and anxiety.

2. Practice Positive Self Talk

When my pregnant patients start to feel down, I encourage them to approach themselves with words of positivity, encouragement and compassion. Start the day with the words “I am amazing,” “I am beautiful” or “I am powerful.” How would doing this change the way you look at yourself throughout the day? Pregnancy can be hard at times, but talking yourself through it by using kind words (“You’ve got this, Mama!”) can be so powerful and help to shift your mindset. Tip: Sometimes the best way to start this practice is by writing a few positive affirmations on sticky notes, putting them on a wall and just reading them aloud once or twice a day until your brain gets used to hearing these words come out of your mouth.

3. Consider Therapy

Talk therapy is a powerful tool to help maintain your mood during pregnancy. It helps create a safe, confidential space where you can process any emotions you have about your shifting identity, changing body or other concerns. It can also help you work through any unresolved conflicts from your own childhood or face issues about your relationship with your parents. Also, couples or family therapy can be really crucial for supporting your loved ones during the transition to welcoming a new baby. Note: You don’t need to have a mental health diagnosis in order for therapy to be helpful or effective for you.

4. Embrace Body Positivity

Intellectually, we know that our bodies are so amazing to be carrying and nurturing a baby! But emotionally, we might feel something entirely different at times. Gaining weight, developing stretch marks and feeling less energetic are normal and healthy changes that typically occur during pregnancy, but some women struggle when they see these changes in the mirror. I often suggest that my pregnant moms choose their words about their bodies carefully and even practice saying them out loud. For example, looking in the mirror in the morning and saying: “My body feels strong. My body is amazing for housing this little human. I am beautiful just as I am,” can be an exercise in self-compassion and body-positivity. If that feels too difficult, sometimes saying a simple “thank you” to our bodies can be just as powerful.

5. Stay Connected

Pregnancy can be overwhelming and busy, but don’t let that stop you from staying connected to the important people in your life. Our relationships with friends and family are essential to helping us feel supported and maintaining a sense of identity and normalcy during the transition into motherhood. Studies have shown that strong social support during pregnancy is protective against postpartum depression. Although face-to-face time with key people is really wonderful, a quick phone check-in with loved ones can also help boost your mood. Reaching out to other people in your network, like your neighbors, coworkers or religious community, can be really uplifting too—even if it’s just for a quick “hello.”

6. Check in With Your Partner Regularly

If you’re partnered during your pregnancy, it’s likely that your other half is also experiencing many emotions about this new life chapter. Checking in with your partner and allowing yourself to have open, honest conversations about how you’re adjusting is important in helping both of you manage your emotions. It could also help create a deeper level of closeness and connection through this transition. Another reason to check in with your partner? Depression doesn’t just impact moms; we have found that at least 10 percent of dads will develop postpartum depression after baby is born. Being able to have real conversations can help you both identify when one of you is struggling and might need additional support.

7. Get Physical Exercise

Although studies have been mixed, there is data that supports the notion that exercise enhances your mood during your pregnancy—once your physician gives you the go ahead, of course. There is no consensus on the exact level of exercise intensity or frequency needed for a mood boost during pregnancy, but we do know that getting some exercise will generally help elevate your mood, protect against depression and instill a greater sense of overall well-being. A lot of my pregnant patients who get the all-clear to exercise find that adapted versions of their prior gym routines (or even a walk in nature!) can kick those endorphins into gear and improve their mood.

8. Take Your Prenatal Vitamins

If you haven’t already, ask your doctor about starting prenatal vitamins. Data shows that consistently taking folic acid even prior to conception (and, of course, during pregnancy) can be protective of your mood. The good news is that folic acid is typically found in most prenatal vitamins anyway, because it’s known to protect baby’s healthy development. Other important vitamins frequently found within your prenatal vitamin that may support your mood and energy levels while protecting baby’s development include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and iron.

9. Relax and Get More Rest

It can be so challenging to get good rest, especially as your pregnancy progresses, and you might find yourself feeling frustrated that you’re not as energetic as you were before. While rest is essential to ensuring the well-being of both Mom and baby, it’s hard to get comfortable in your bed, and you may be waking up repeatedly to use the bathroom. Research shows that your sleep pattern (such as the amount of time you spend in REM sleep) may shift as part of the physiological changes that happen in pregnancy. But we know that adequate sleep and feeling well rested are key to a healthy mood, so I often encourage my pregnant moms to get rest when they can, even if they have to squeeze in the occasional daytime nap.

10. Consider Medication if Needed

This is a very personal decision and one that definitely requires a discussion with your physician. Together, you and your doctor may determine that there is a medical need to start or continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy. This decision involves weighing the risks of undertreated depression against the risks of an antidepressant; many doctors approve of patients continuing with an antidepressant if it helps to maintain a mother’s healthy mood. Increasingly, research shows that antidepressants in pregnancy may be safer than uncontrolled prenatal depression and anxiety.

Although many people imagine that pregnancy will be the happiest time of their lives, there can be low periods mixed in with the bliss—and that is absolutely normal. Having a self-care strategy in place to nurture your mental health during pregnancy is key in many ways, but professional help is also there if you need it. Remember, taking good care of yourself is also taking good care of baby!

Plus, more about Pregnancy & Mental Health:

How to Cope With Depression During Pregnancy

How to Deal With Stress During Pregnancy

The Truth About Postpartum Depression

Pregnancy and The Listening Program

One of the first things I did when Hope said she pregnant was to notify Advanced Brain Technologies that their first second generational baby was on the way and we needed a pregancy program.
TLP is the one thing that we were sure of wanting to use from the very moment that we found out she was pregnant. 
Hope was one of the first toddlers on The Listening Program. Now her baby would be the first of second generation of users for The Listening Program. Mandy told me that Alex wrote a special chapter in his book on this, when she was pregnant. That is Healing at the Speed of Sound that can be found on Amazon as well as some music with that was also made with that title. So check that out.

As we know from all recent neuro science research, the uterine experience is such a crucial one for both developing baby and mother, about to enter a new phase of her life. The first researcher of this was Dr. Alfred Tomatis who championed the idea of babys hearing sound in the womb and that it was amplified by the water of the amniotic sac. He was a french man that I highlighted in my masters thesis. 

For Dr Tomatis, the mother’s voice and fetus’ early listening played a significant role in inviting the fetus to communicate for early language development and a desire to learn. The perception of the mother’s voice is the very first bond of communication with the world. The quality of this bond will deeply influence the child's attitude toward life.

Filtered Sound Therapy for Mothers-To-Be

The baby in utero is very sensitive to the stress levels of its mother. So if a mother is working very hard or has emotional stresses placed on her during her pregnancy, her baby is indirectly exposed to what she is feeling and will sense it's mother's distress. Some researches believe that this child would then be predisposed to sleeping difficulties, as well as eating and settling problems. Your most important task as a mother-to-be is to try and remain calm, peaceful and happy.

Understanding the special link and bond mother-baby, the Listening Program be used to given to help expectant mothers during pregnancy. The objective is to relax and work on the anxiety, the energy of the mother and to stimulate the emotional link with the baby.

The Listening Program can assist pregnant mothers her in regaining her serenity. By using their filtered music by Mozart, the program helps to stimulate the vestibular system, thereby helping the mother to cope better with stress. But the benefits don't end here.

The baby's ears are developed at 20 weeks so she/he too can benefit from the soothing sound of Mozart. Music helps to establish the development of the neural pathways and it stimulates the growth of myelin, the sheath which covers nerves in the body, thereby ensuring normal development of the baby's neural network.

The mother wears a really good headset during her program. This enables the baby to hear the music through the vibrations in the mother's body.

The quality of the mother's voice is also very important. The program helps to enrich mom's voice, so that she can transmit a much calmer, richer voice to her baby. So reading to your unborn baby can be productive as well..

The objective of using the Listening Program is to relax and reduce the mother’s anxiety, improve her energy levels and stimulate her emotional bond with the baby.

More than 1000 pregnant women took part in a research study in France at Vesoul and Foch Hospitals, outside Paris, where the impact of the program was compared to a control group. In the programs group, it demonstrated a maternal reduction in anxiety, greater awareness of the baby, improved bonding with baby, resulting in reduced labor time and delivering babies that were calmer and more content.

This demonstrates that the The Listening Program benefits the health of the mothers, as well as. the immediate family and it has a positive impact on the health and well-being of their new-borns. Further more the programs “babies” are born quite calm and alert, open to the world around them, ready to interact and communicate even before they can talk.

Pregnant Womens Extraordinary
Reaction to Music

🕑 2 minutes read

Posted May 22, 2014

pregnant woman

Music affects humans on a fundamental level. It is more than just love or hate—music can change your blood pressure, up your heart rate, and even affect your temperature. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig conducted an experiment to determine how music affects pregnant women. They found that pregnant women experience music more intensely than non-pregnant women.

For the study, female volunteers listened to 10 or 30 second instrumental music sequences while the researchers monitored their physiological state. Then, the women listened to altered versions of music sequences that were made less pleasant through disordering or the use dissonance.

The pregnant women perceived pleasant music as more pleasant and unpleasant music as more unpleasant than the non-pregnant women did. The pregnant women’s blood pressure response to music was stronger as well. In response to forward-dissonant music, pregnant women had an immediate and significant blood pressure decrease. In response to backwards-dissonant music, they had higher blood pressure after 10 seconds, but lower blood pressure after 30 seconds, indicating that unpleasant music does not cause across-the-board blood pressure increases like many stressors do.

Why music elicits such an intense physiological response from pregnant women is unknown. The researchers originally hypothesized that estrogen was the key factor, but after comparing the physiological reactions of pregnant women and non-pregnant women at various points in their contraceptive cycle, they concluded that estrogen was not the culprit.

Music may affect pregnant women as a way to condition her fetus to music. By 28 weeks, fetuses respond to familiar songs with changes in heart rate. By 35 weeks, fetuses change their movement patterns in response to familiar music.

“Every acoustic manipulation of music affects blood pressure in pregnant women far more intensely than in non-pregnant women,” said Tom Fritz of the Max Plank Institute. “The body’s response is just as dynamic as the music itself.”

This research is published in the journal Psychophysiology.

Previous news in music:

My Collection of Helpful Information

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) before, during and after pregnancy

If you have ADHD it’s important to tell your doctor before you get pregnant or as soon as possible during pregnancy. Your doctor and midwife will make sure you get the treatment and support you need.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects behaviour and can be diagnosed in childhood or adulthood. Up to 1 in every 20 adults (men and women) has ADHD.

Symptoms can improve as you get older but adults may:

  • find it hard to concentrate

  • be forgetful

  • put off finishing tasks 

  • feel restless

  • interrupt other people

  • have mood swings

  • find it hard to deal with stress

  • take risks without thinking about their or other people’s safety, for example by driving dangerously.

Your symptoms may not change during pregnancy. You may also have other health problems such as anxiety, depression or an autism spectrum disorder.

Planning a pregnancy with ADHD

It’s important to use a reliable form of contraception until you have spoken to your doctor.

Planning your pregnancy will give you time to make sure you’re on the right type and dose of mental health medication. This will help to reduce any risk to you and your baby.

If you take medication for your ADHD, your doctor may advise you to stop taking it or change to another type. This is because we don’t fully understand how ADHD medication could affect a developing baby.

Do not stop taking your ADHD medication before talking to your doctor. This can make your symptoms come back or get worse.

If you need to continue taking ADHD medication during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend methylphenidate or amphetamines. There has been more research into the effect of these medicines during pregnancy so doctors know more about their safety than other medicines.

If you are already pregnant, tell your midwife or healthcare team straight away and before you stop taking your medication.

During pregnancy

If you let your midwife and health visitor know you have ADHD they can give you extra support. For example, they can give you written information to help you remember what has been said during your antenatal (pregnancy care) appointments. They may also send you text messages to remind you of your next appointment.

You may find it helpful to write a list of questions and take this to your appointments.

If you take ADHD medication in the last few weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be closely monitored for a few days after the birth. This is because there’s a risk your baby could be dependent on the medication, so their body needs time to get used to not getting it.

Preparing for the birth

You may find it helpful to prepare for the birth a few weeks before your baby is due. For example, you could write a list of things you need to get for your babypack an overnight bag for the hospital and save the phone numbers for the labour ward and midwives in your mobile phone. You might also like to do a birth plan with your midwife.

After your baby is born

The midwifery team will monitor your baby after the birth and give them any extra care they may need. You will usually be able to stay with your baby on the postnatal ward but your baby may be looked after in a specialist newborn (neonatal) unit if they need further monitoring or treatment.

Your GP or health visitor will continue to support you after your baby is born and can help you with any worries or questions you may have. If you’re a first time young mum, you may also see a family nurse who can offer support.

Read more about thinking ahead to after the birth here


Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of taking ADHD medication if you choose to breastfeed. You can ask them to write this information down so you can read it at home.

Many ADHD medicines pass into breastmilk but it isn’t always clear whether they affect the baby.

You may need to change the dose or type of your medication or you may take it once a day straight after you’ve fed your baby.

Some medicines, such as modafinil or bupropion, are known to cause health problems in babies. If you’re taking these, your doctor will advise changing the medicine.

Your health visitor or doctor will check your baby to make sure the medication isn’t causing them any health problems.

If you choose not to breastfeed, your midwife and health visitor will support you with formula feeding. Or you may decide to mix breast and bottle feeding. Your healthcare team will support you whatever you decide is best for you and your baby.

More information and support


Royal College of Psychiatrists

Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD or autism) before, during and after pregnancy

If you have autism it’s important to tell your GP and midwife so they can support you before, during and after pregnancy.

What is autism?

Autism is a condition that you’re born with. It’s a spectrum, so it is different for everyone but if you have autism you may:

  • find it hard to communicate and interact with other people or understand how they think or feel

  • be over-sensitive or under-sensitive to your environment, for example to sounds, smells, touch, light or temperature

  • worry about unfamiliar and unexpected situations and social events

  • find routine and rules reassuring.

You may also have other health problems, such as epilepsyanxietydepression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or difficulties with eating or sleeping.

Some people with autism need daily help from a family member or carer whereas others need little or no support.

Planning a pregnancy with autism

If you take any medication, for example for other mental or physical illnesses, it’s important to use a reliable form of contraception until you have spoken to your doctor. They can tell you whether your medication is safe to take in pregnancy. They may advise you to stop taking your medication or change to another type of medicine to help prevent any possible harm to your baby.

Do not stop taking any medication before talking to your doctor. This can make your symptoms come back or get worse.

Many pregnancies are not planned. If you are already pregnant, tell your midwife or healthcare team straight away. Don’t stop taking any prescription medication without talking to them.

During pregnancy

You will have routine antenatal (before birth) appointments with your midwifery team. If you are worried about these, you may find it helps to tell the midwife about your autism and how it affects you. This can help them make it easier for you to get the most from your appointments. For example, you could ask if you can have appointments on a certain day or at the same time of day. You can ask them to explain in advance what will happen at your appointments and for written information to take home after each appointment.

You can also make a health passport to help you tell health professionals what your needs are.

At your first appointment, ask if you can have one named midwife for your care – this is called 'contunuity of care' and many areas are working towards this.

Remember that your midwife and doctor want to help you and your baby and will not judge you.

There isn’t much evidence to show how autism may affect pregnancy and birth but there is some suggestion that pregnant women on the autistic spectrum have a higher than average risk of:

Having your baby

Some autistic women say they would have liked to feel more in control during labour. Some have found it helpful to write a birth plan. If you have strong sensory likes or dislikes, or unusual pain response, it may be useful to note these in your birth plan.

You may find it helpful to go on a tour of the maternity unit so you’re more familiar with the environment before you go into labour.

Some women worry about whether they will bond with their baby, whether or not they’re autistic. You may bond with your baby straight away or it may take more time. There are some things you can do to help you build a strong relationship with your baby.

[Potential video for inclusion]

Feeding your baby

Whether you choose to bottle feed or breastfeed your baby, there is support available to help you. Your midwife will help you start to feed your baby after the birth. Your health visitor is a good source of support and can tell you about breastfeeding support services in your area.

If you take medication for other health problems, ask your doctor if they are safe to take while you’re breastfeeding. Some medicines can pass into breastmilk but you may be able to change the type or dose. Don’t stop taking any medication suddenly without speaking to your doctor as this may make your symptoms worse.

Will my baby be autistic?

Autism sometimes runs in families but this doesn’t always mean that your baby will be autistic. Unless your autism is linked to a genetic condition, such as Fragile X syndrome, there’s no way of knowing how likely it is that your baby will be autistic.

We don’t know what causes autism but it’s likely that different causes affect different families. There may be several causes, including genetic and environmental factors. In some families, children may inherit the increased chance of developing autism, rather than inheriting autism itself. You can ask to speak to a genetic counsellor if you are concerned or would like more information.

If your child is autistic, you may notice their symptoms in early childhood or not until they’re older.

If you’re worried that your baby or child may be autistic, you can speak to your GP, health visitor or any other health professional that your child sees.

Where can I get support?

A new baby changes your routine a lot, and that can be hard to deal with. Your health visitor will visit you at home after your baby is born to offer you support. Some women find it hard to put into practice the information they read in books and leaflets, whether or not they’re autistic. You could ask your health visitor to show you what to do instead of giving you printed information.

For example, they could show you how to bath your baby, if you haven’t been shown in hospital, or how to soothe your crying baby. Family members and friends can also help with this. It’s always good to ask for advice and tell someone if you feel you would like help.

Your GP and health visitor will continue to support you after your baby is born and can help you with any worries or questions you may have. If you’re a first time young mum, you may also see a family nurse who can offer support.

More information and support

NHS Autism Guide

National Autistic Society

Ambitious about Autism

Mums on the spectrum facebook group

What Is A Geriatric Pregnancy?


By Charissa West

The 21st century has seen many changes in the way we live AND reproduce! The average age of first births in the United States HAS RISEN FOR DECADES. Nowadays, women are having children later, if at all. That’s leading to more women having a geriatric pregnancy, or pregnancy in a woman over the age of 35.

(record scratch)

Excuse me, what? Since when do we consider 35 geriatric?!


What is a geriatric pregnancy?

A geriatric pregnancy is a pregnancy in which the woman is 35 years of age or older.

Now, please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just repeating what the experts have said.

As someone who had her last baby juuuuust under the geriatric pregnancy wire, I can understand why women bristle at the term.

“Geriatric” is a word usually reserved for the elderly. No matter HOW OLD YOU MAY BE AT DELIVERY, IF YOU’RE CARRYING AND BIRTHING A HUMAN, I’d hardly consider you elderly!

Why do we still use the term geriatric pregnancy?

That’s a fair question. Many women and medical professionals believe this term is outdated and should be changed. When approximately one in six pregnancies in the United States is in women 35 and older, it seems a little odd to “other” those pregnancies in this way. Pregnancy at or over 35 is hardly unusual.

As a result, the AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS (ACOG) has adopted the slightly friendlier term “advanced maternal age.” Of course, some providers still continue to use the term geriatric pregnancy — and even advanced maternal age rubs some women the wrong way.

On the other hand, other experts argue the terms exist for a reason. The risks of certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or GESTATIONAL DIABETES, increase in likelihood with age.

The same is true for some chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, such as Down Syndrome. Using age 35 as a marker can help guide medical professionals as they watch for elevated risks in these pregnancies.

geriatric pregnancy pregnant mom and two daughters standing in nature

Even at an advanced maternal age – your odds of a healthy pregnancy are still very good

It’s easy to get freaked out by all the talk of increased risks with a geriatric pregnancy or advanced maternal age. (Ooof, even writing these terms out, I feel like I’m betraying my fellow women.)

Try not to panic. If you’re over 35 and pregnant — or even thinking about becoming pregnant — the odds are still on your side. MOST WOMEN OVER 35 go on to have healthy pregnancies and DELIVER HEALTHY BABIES.

Plus, while risks do increase with age, it’s not as if a switch suddenly goes off at age 35. The increase in risk is more gradual than that. Using myself as an example, I wasn’t notably safer delivering my youngest at 34.5 than I would have been delivering at 35.  

The best thing you can do to have A SAFE AND HEALTHY PREGNANCY if you’re over 35 is to make regular prenatal appointments and do your best to STAY PHYSICALLY FIT.

Come to think of it, those are the best things to do when you’re pregnant at any age. Cheers!

Pregnancy&Bed Rest:

10 Reasons Why Your Doctor Could Prescribe It!

Pregnancy Bed Rest: 10 Reasons Why Your Doctor Could Prescribe It!

Bed rest seems like a great idea – until you're actually put on bed rest. After a few days, you may find that you quickly run out of things to do. What are some reasons why a doctor would recommend bed rest? There are multiple reasons:

  1. preterm labor

  2. high blood pressure

  3. placenta problems

  4. vaginal bleeding

  5. growth problems

  6. multiples

  7. threatened miscarriage

  8. previous miscarriage

  9. preterm baby

  10. incompetent cervix

If you're ordered on bed rest, get specific restrictions for what you're able to do and not do. Be patient. This too shall pass!

Notice that the only one that you can prevent is high blood pressure.  So here's some tips:

How to Lower Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

woman using a zero gravity chair to lower blood pressure during pregnancy

High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, is a very common health ailment. According to the CDC, high blood pressure will be experienced by 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies in the United States for women ages 20 to 44 and can lead to a variety of dangerous pregnancy complications.

While it’s important to always consult a medical professional while pregnant before making any lifestyle adjustments, we’re taking a look at 5 potential ways for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy to keep you and baby healthy and safe.


High blood pressure during pregnancy brings with it a variety of risks to both you and baby. Unfortunately, not all symptoms of high blood pressure while pregnant are immediately obvious, which means it's important to have your healthcare professional monitoring you throughout your entire journey.

Some of the risks of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:

  • Potential to develop preeclampsia

  • Negatively impact the growth of your baby

  • Higher risk of breathing problems before and during labor

  • Increased risk of placental abruption


With so many women experiencing gestational hypertension, it’s crucial to learn how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy. Since taking medications while pregnant is typically avoided as much as possible, finding potential ways to reduce blood pressure naturally with simple lifestyle changes can be very beneficial.

Take a look at these 5 potential ways on how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy:

  • Learning how to manage stress with daily practices

  • Staying active while pregnant

  • Using zero gravity chairs during pregnancy to lower blood pressure

  • Getting better sleep quality

  • Making healthy food choices

Managing Stress During Pregnancy

Whether you’re pregnant or not, the long-term impacts of stress on the body can include muscle tension, depression, and high blood pressure. Discovering possible ways for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy caused by stress is all about learning methods of relaxing and reducing triggers in your daily life.

Try alleviating daily stress by practicing meditation in a zen space at home, taking up low-impact stress relieving exercises such as yoga or tai chi, or using a zero gravity chair with a relaxing night time routine to unwind before bed. Another way is relieving stress with breathing techniques and exercises. Ultimately, all these possible ways to lower blood pressure during pregnancy caused by stress can also help with managing labor pain, as well.

Staying Active While Pregnant

Being inactive during pregnancy can be a source of high blood pressure. To combat this, try staying active while pregnant by exercising for 20-30 minutes each day. This doesn’t have to be a full workout! Taking a brisk walk or practicing yoga while pregnant are both great ways to get your body moving.

Staying active while pregnant is about getting your heart rate up at a healthy level. This increases circulation throughout your body and also improves heart health naturally. To make this method for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy even more beneficial, better blood circulation can help fight swelling and inflammation.

It’s important to consult your healthcare professional before starting any exercise routine to make sure it’s safe. 

Using Zero Gravity Chairs to Lower Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Next on our list of potential ways for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy is with a zero gravity chair. Using a zero gravity chair while pregnant is not only safe, but it also provides a wealth of health benefits. Some of the health benefits of zero gravity chairs include lowering blood pressure by improving poor blood circulationalleviating lower back pain, and boosting your immune system naturally.

The benefits of the zero gravity position during pregnancy stem from elevating the legs above the heart level and evenly distributing weight along the body, This drastically reduces pressure on the lower back and pelvic regions where many women experience back pain and sciatica pain during pregnancy. Pain can be another trigger of pregnancy hypertension, making your zero gravity chair an invaluable addition during your journey.

The benefits don’t stop at possible ways to reduce blood pressure during pregnancy and alleviating pain, though! Using a zero gravity chair as a nursing chair is the perfect nursery room idea when preparing for baby because it reclines back into a natural nursing position. As you’ll be spending a lot of time in the nursery taking care of your baby, it’s important to be comfortable and look after your own health, as well!

Getting Enough Sleep While Pregnant

First we suggested staying active and now we’re telling you to get more sleep? Of course! Learning tips for better sleep while pregnant is crucial to improving sleep quality, which in turn helps lower your blood pressure. You can easily combine this method with using a zero gravity chair for better sleep quality.

In fact, to combine potential ways for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy, keeping active during the day and releasing stress in the evening are perfect steps towards sleeping better. In order to get better sleep while pregnant, try keeping to a consistent wake/sleep cycle. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day helps get your body into a routine. We know that sometimes you just need a nap when you’re pregnant, though. Go for it! Try to keep pregnancy naps relatively short, though, to not interrupt your normal sleep cycle.

Lower Blood Pressure During Pregnancy with Better Food Choices

Learning what to eat and when to eat it could be effective ways for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy. Try to avoid as much salt as possible and eat potassium-rich foods and whole grains.

Potassium is an extra important mineral when you’re pregnant as it helps regulate your electrolyte balance. It also helps your body extract as much energy as possible from fats, carbs, and proteins while you’re staying active during the day. Some of our favorite potassium-rich foods include tomatoes, raisins (great for healthy snacking while pregnant!), bananas, and melons.

Whole grains are another healthy food choice that can help lower blood pressure during pregnancy. These foods are typically rich in dietary fiber, which can help regulate your blood pressure and avoid pregnancy hypertension.

Learning potential ways for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy is important for the health and safety of you and baby. A few simple lifestyle changes can help effectively regulate your blood pressure and avoid hypertension while pregnant. Staying active, practicing stress management, and choosing a zero gravity chair for all its health benefits during pregnancy can help manage blood pressure levels and keep your journey smooth sailing. Remember to always consult your healthcare professional before making any lifestyle changes during pregnancy to ensure it’s safe.

Many luxury zero gravity chairs come with massage features that increase your comfort and boost health benefits. Learn how using a massage chair while pregnant is safe and the perfect way to practice self-care during your pregnancy journey!

Creating Incredible Possibilities


There is a need for peace in our lives

We have become overstressed and overscheduled doers.  Most of us have forgotten how to relax and feel present in our lives.   We’re always stretching to reach for the next thing we see along our path.    There are simple ways to bring more peace to your life.

We are constantly under a barrage of external aggravations and noise washing over us.   Our stress levels are off the charts.    Our bodies are in constant fight or flight mode.   The stress hormone cortisol is making us strung out and irritable.   Some stress is good in our lives.   It makes hit our deadlines, decide what we want (or don’t want) in our lives, and gives us an edge in the business world.   However, maybe it’s time to take a good look at adding peace to our private worlds.

Bringing Some Peace to Your Life

These are the ten key things that I’ve put into practice in my life since 2012.    I can’t say that I don’t have any stress but these have made my life happy and productive.   I have energy and time for quality experiences in my life.    They’ve made me slow down and realize all the good things that are there for me to enjoy.

1.  Take Time for Yourself

Someone once told me to “take care of you first and everything will follow”.   Women, more so than men, tend to put everyone and everything before themselves.  I was no different.   Once I started taking ‘me’ time every day I became happier and less resentful.

I established some boundaries with friends and family and to my surprise, they understood.  They also appreciated a happier and more well-adjusted me.

Develop rituals that soothe you.   Try heading to bed an hour earlier than normal and having a soak in the tub, doing your nails, or prop yourself up in bed and read.   Do something nice for yourself every single day.

2. Meditate Every Day

Meditate, but keep this separate from your ‘me’ time.  Sometimes the two will overlap because of time restraints, but try to keep this time separate.

I tend to use guided meditations after my ‘me’ time and right before I go to sleep.   On the weekends I take a little extra time during the day.

Keep it simple.   Meditation doesn’t mean you have to twist yourself into a pretzel and try to make your mind blank.  Guided meditations are a great way to focus your attention.  There are apps for that.  Headspace is a great free app for any device.  Libraries are carrying audible books with guided meditations.  One of my favorites is Wayne Dyer’s Meditations for Manifesting.

Repeating a simple mantra or affirmation is another great way to calm your mind.

Make sure you have a quiet space to get comfortable listening to your mind.

3. Practice Appreciation

This is also a very simple thing to add to your life.   You can do it anytime    Just say the words “I appreciate … ” and follow it what you truly do appreciate.    Appreciate the sun for shining, the birds for singing, your mate for being there with you, your house for keeping you warm and dry, or anything that crosses your path.    Appreciate all the great things in your life and you will attract more of what you appreciate.

This contains an image of: 14 Hilarious Texts From Pregnant Women To The Crazy People Who Love Them

4. Stop Worrying and Live in the Present

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles.   It empties today of its strength” – Corrie Ten Boom

A co-worker at my day job, gave me a bookmark with this quote on it.   It perfectly reflects what living in the present does for us.    Most of what we worry about will NEVER come true.  Instead, it just makes us inattentive to all the goodness we have now.    Worrying about events that happened in the past are just drains on our time in the present.   They’re PAST, done with, over, worrying about them now is useless.

Focus on the present moment, it’s all we have, so spend it wisely.

5.  Limit Information Overwhelm

Limiting the amount of information that comes at us is difficult, I get that.   But there are ways to get rid of a lot of it.

Unsubscribe from email lists that send you emails that you never open.   Limit magazine subscriptions to just those few that you love.   Reduce the amount of local, national, world news that you take into a few times a week whether it’s on TV, radio, or online.  Be aware of how much time you spend on the internet and make an effort to cut down on going down rabbit holes chasing information that has little relevance to our lives.

We’re so tuned in and turned on to our electronics that they’ve made life overwhelming.  Try taking one day a week and not connecting with any of your electronic gear.

For a more on this, read Taming The Information Overwhelm Beast.

6.  Create a Sanctuary in Your Home

Sanctuaries are large or small.   They can encompass a whole room, a small corner or even a space outside.    Make it your own, gather your favorite things there and let your family know that this is your space for quiet and peace.

7.  Spend Time In Nature

Find a lovely place to walk, hop on your bike and ride, or just spend time in your yard.   Reconnecting with nature can really create a lasting calm.    Take your shoes off and walk through your grass barefoot.    Go to a beach and wiggle your toes in the sand.  Get away to the mountains and breathe fresh air.   Reconnect with mother Earth.   Listen to what she’s saying.   Open up your heart and mind and find peacefulness and calm.

”‘Be gentle with yourself.  Give yourself room to breathe.  You deserve it.’ 

8.  Learn to Say No

There are multiple distractions all vying for our time and attention.  A lot of us grew up with the notion that you don’t ever want to let people down by telling them no.    I don’t know about you, but I always said yes, I was a people pleaser.  So I said yes to things that ate away my time, and things that weren’t authentic to me or my beliefs, and for too many years I was overscheduled and overstressed because of this.   One little word made my life more calm and happy because I was being true to myself and not stretching myself so thin.  No is an empowering word.

9. Simplify Your Life

My husband and I have started an ongoing project.   We are cleaning out all the nooks and crannies in our house and “unstuffing”.  We’re doing this exercise to prepare for retirement from our day jobs.

Just as there is information overwhelm, there is also “stuff” overwhelm.  He and I joined households in 2009.   In 2014 my older brother came to live with us because of health problems.   In essence, we joined three households with years of accumulated stuff and life started feeling cramped.   The sheer amount of stuff shoved into closets and the basement was really causing some friction.

With each room or area that we declutter and clean up, the house seems more welcoming and peaceful.  There is also a sense of accomplishment that is soothing.

10.  Be Gentle With Yourself

I’m ending with the most important lesson that I learned.   Be gentle with yourself.  Give yourself room to breathe.  You deserve it.


In the end, we are only human with all our human faults and strengths.   Underneath we’re all just trying to make sense out of the world around us.   Peace and happiness are our birthrights.  Staying calm during the storm is our way to get there.


CDC Health Concerns& Pregnancy

Commit to Healthy Choices to Help Prevent Birth Defects Learn more about diabetes and pregnancy. Strive to reach and maintain a healthy weight. A woman who is obese (a body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher) before pregnancy is at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy

.Venous Thromboembolism (Blood Clots) and Pregnancy lDelivery by C-section. Prolonged immobility (not moving a lot), such as during bed rest or recovery after delivery. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Certain long-term medical conditions, such as heart or lung conditions,…

Facts about Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Children with a cleft lip also can have a cleft palate. What is Cleft Palate? The roof of the mouth (palate) is formed between the sixth and ninth weeks of pregnancy. A cleft palate happens if the tissue that makes up the roof…

Having a Healthy Pregnancy with LupusThis way, you can help prevent or control any flares that do happen. How does pregnancy affect lupus? Pregnant women with lupus have a higher risk for certain pregnancy complications than women who do not have lupus.…

Treatment Guidelines during Pregnancy | Treating for Two: Medicine and Pregnancy Almost every pregnant woman will face a decision about taking medicines before and during pregnancy. However, not all medicines are safe to take during pregnancy. Some medicines may cause birth defects, pregnancy

Diabetes During Pregnancy Diabetes in pregnancy varies by race and ethnicity. Asian and Hispanic women have higher rates of gestational diabetes and black and Hispanic women have higher rates of type 1 or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Rubella Women should make sure they are protected from rubella before they get pregnant. Infection with rubella virus causes the most severe damage when the mother is infected early in pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks (first…

Pregnancy and Stroke: Are You at Risk? How does pregnancy increase the risk for stroke? Pregnancy is like a stress test; it can strain the heart and blood vessels. This is partly because the body carries more weight during pregnancy, but changing hormones…

Four in 5 pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable | CDC Online Newsroom  Key Findings: Among pregnancy-related deaths with information on timing, 22% of deaths occurred during pregnancy, 25% occurred on the day of delivery or within 7 days after, and 53% occurred between 7 days to 1 year after…

Syphilis During Pregnancy - STI Treatment Guidelines Any woman who has a fetal death after 20 weeks’ gestation should be tested for syphilis. No mother or neonate should leave the hospital without maternal serologic status having been documented at least once during pregnancy.…

Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and Pregnancy Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and Pregnancy. Problems of Diabetes in Pregnancy. Blood sugar that is not well controlled in a pregnant woman with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes could lead to problems for the woman and the baby:…

Gestational Diabetes Gestational diabetes affects up to 10% of pregnancies every year. Get tested and treated for your health and your baby’s.

Diabetes and Pregnancy Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes. Some women are at greater risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy. Learn more about risk factors associated with diabetes during pregnancy. Related Pages. Diabetes. Before…

Smoking, Pregnancy, and Babies | Overviews of Diseases/Conditions | Tips From Former Smokers But if you’re already pregnant, quitting can still help protect you and your baby from health problems. It’s never too late to quit smoking.2 If you smoked and had a healthy pregnancy in the past, there’s no guarantee that your…

Substance Use During Pregnancy Español | Other Languages. Substance Use During Pregnancy. Learn about substance use during pregnancy and CDC activities to address this important health topic. Opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs used to manage pain,…

Detailed STD Facts - STDs & Pregnancy Syphilis First prenatal visit: Screen all pregnant women. Third trimester (28 weeks and at delivery): Rescreen women who: Are at risk for syphilis during pregnancy (e.g., misuses drugs; has had another STI during pregnancy;…

Binge Drinking Binge drinking is associated with many health problems,7–9 including: Unintentional injuries such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, burns, and alcohol poisoning. Violence including homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence, and sexual…

Smoking During Pregnancy | Smoking and Tobacco Use Learn how smoking reduces a woman’s chances of getting pregnant, smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for pregnancy complications, and tobacco smoke harms babies before and after they are born.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person who was exposed to alcohol before birth. FASDs are preventable if a baby is not exposed to alcohol before birth. Basics. Facts, causes, signs,…

About Opioid Use During Pregnancy Opioid use during pregnancy can affect women and their babies. Women may use opioids as prescribed, may misuse prescription opioids, may use illicit opioids such as heroin, or may use opioids as part of medication-assisted treatment…

Alcohol and Pregnancy Questions and Answers Why shouldn’t I drink again during this pregnancy? A: Every pregnancy is different. Alcohol use during pregnancy might affect one baby more than another. You could have one child who is born healthy and another…

About Teen Pregnancy On a positive note, between 1991 and 2015, the teen birth rate dropped 64%, which resulted in $4.4 billion in public savings in 2015 alone.12. Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs have been identified by the US…

Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is first seen in a pregnant woman who did not have diabetes before she was pregnant. Some women have more than one pregnancy affected…

Pregnancy Complications | Maternal and Infant Health  Pregnancy Complications. Complications of pregnancy are health problems that occur during pregnancy. They can involve the mother’s health, the baby’s health, or both. Some women have health problems that arise…

Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy. If you have type 1 diabetes and you’re thinking about having a baby, planning before you become pregnant is important. Learn how you can stay healthy and help prevent health problems for you and…

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Learn what to do if you have high blood pressure before, during, or after pregnancy. What should I do if I have high blood pressure before, during, or after pregnancy? Before Pregnancy. Make a plan for pregnancy

Alcohol Use During Pregnancy Español | Other Languages. Alcohol Use During Pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time for alcohol use during pregnancy.

Facts about Down Syndrome Diagnosis. There are two basic types of tests available to detect Down syndrome during pregnancy: screening tests and diagnostic tests. A screening test can tell a woman and her healthcare provider whether her pregnancy

Key Findings: The effects of alcohol use during pregnancy and later developmental outcomes:
An analysis of previous studies 
lThe authors found no significant impact of alcohol use during pregnancy on other outcomes of child development that were studied, such as academic performance or language development. Findings of this meta-analysis support previous…

Link Between Depression Treatments and Birth Defects | Key findings Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are medications used to treat depression and other mental health conditions. Previous studies provide conflicting evidence about potential links between the use of SSRIs during pregnancy

Use of Pain Medicine During Early Pregnancy May Be Related To Birth Defects A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that women who took NSAIDs and opioid pain medicines during early pregnancy were more likely to have babies affected with certain birth defects compared…

Polysubstance Use During Pregnancy Español | Other Languages. Polysubstance Use During Pregnancy. Research suggests that the use of more than one substance, also known as polysubstance use, during pregnancy is common. More research is needed to understand…

Pregnancy and HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, & TB Prevention Overview of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB During Pregnancy. Learn More. Infections with HIV, viral hepatitis, STIs, and TB can complicate pregnancy and may have serious consequences for a woman, her pregnancy

Depression During and After Pregnancy Depression During and After Pregnancy. Depression during and after pregnancy is common and treatable. Moms and moms-to-be deserve the best,— including the very best mental health, especially in the context of the COVID-19…

What are Birth Defects? For example, some things might increase the chances of having a baby with a birth defect, such as: Smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking certain drugs during pregnancy. Having certain medical conditions, such as being obese or…

Family Health History and Planning for Pregnancy For example, if you have had a previous pregnancy or child affected by spina bifida or anencephaly, your doctor might recommend that you take a higher than normal dose of the B vitamin, folic acid, before and during pregnancy

Does Autism Begin in the Womb

Can I Find Out if My Unborn Baby Will Have Autism?

  • While the early signs of autism typically appear in the first one to two years of life, emerging research suggests there may be signs of autism during pregnancy. A 2022 study, which examined brain MRI scans of fetuses who were later diagnosed with autism, found certain regions (insula and amygdala) were enlarged. The researchers suggested that such findings during pregnancy may be able to predict the emergence of autism later in life.

  • Genetic testing only tests for anomalies in genes. 

  • Ultra sounds can pick up some traits as well


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Nurturing Your Baby- In-Utero-Reading and Singing To Your Unborn Baby


Reading to Your Unborn Baby

Reading books to your unborn baby is such a great way for them to get familiar with your voice and strengthen the bonding between the two of you. It’s also a great way to relax and release any stress, which can only be good for an expectant parent 🙂

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While most parents like to sing and talk to their baby, they don’t always realize that reading is also a perfect alternative for baby to get familiar with their voices. My wife, for example, loved to sing and play the piano when we were expecting our daughters – reading was more my thing.

And mom doesn’t have to be the only one reading to baby: dad or other relatives can join in too! This will allow for other people who will be important in your child’s life to connect with him/her too, and baby will start to recognize their voices as well. I didn’t carry my first child – my wife did – and I loved reading her stories nonetheless.


If you are wondering when it’s a good time to start reading to your unborn baby, know that by 18 weeks of pregnancy your child will already be able to start hearing some first sounds and they’ll soon be able to recognize voices!

By week 25/26 they will start responding to voices and noises in the womb, and by the beginning of the third trimester, babies will even to respond to the mother’s voice with an increased heart rate that suggests they are more alert when mom is speaking.

So, anytime in the second and third trimester is a good time to start!


Well, there are some studies that have shown that reading stories to your baby in the womb promotes brain activity and can support early language development. It can also compensate for difficulties of genetic nature, such as language impairment or dyslexia.

That said, I wouldn’t say reading to your unborn baby will necessarily make them smart(er). Or, at least, don’t let that thought be the only reason why you read to your baby.

I would do it more so I can deepen my connection with them, and have an enjoyable time sitting down while I do it. Plus it might be a good stepping stone for them to build a life long love of reading.

Best Books to Read to Baby in Womb

With no further ado, here’s a list of the best books to read to your unborn baby I have come across. I really hope you can find at least one that resonates with you and that you can enjoy reading while pregnant 🙂


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I Wish for you, by David Wax and Brett Brumenthal, is definitely my number one book to ready to baby while expecting.

The book explores the characteristics and values we hope our children will adopt, and how they can be learned from the wondrous creatures on this planet. From the courage of a lion to the strength of a bear to the kindness of a panda, the natural world has so much to show and teach us.

It is a very heartfelt and well written, not to forget with beautiful illustrations, book. This is what one of my favorite pages say: “I wish, always, to be as one, our family ties can’t be undone. No matter which path you take, our support will never break. Although one day you may go roaming, our love is always your true home”.

Extra bonus: it is printed on recycled materials and a portion of the proceeds is donated to wildlife conservation.

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Can't Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be, by Jacqueline Boyle and Susan Lupone Stonis, is a book especially written for expectant moms to read to their baby in the womb – it’s even shaped to fit on your growing belly!

It consist of a very rhythmic poem, in which parents can’t wait to show their child many wonderful things in life, such as the light of the sun through the rainbows, suncatchers or even love. The concept is actually incredibly sweet and the pictures are very cute.

According to the authors, because of the rhythmic nature of the book, reading or singing it aloud will help your child relax and find a happy mood, as babies can recognize repeated songs.

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

The wonderful things you will be by Emily Winfield Martin is a New York Times bestseller (for good reasons!) that celebrates the dreams, acceptance, and love that parents have for their children.

It consists of a rhythmic rhyme delivering a very powerful message: not only it states the (almost) obvious fact that parents will love their child whoever they grow up to be, but it also puts a great deal of excitement on all of the possible ways they can become their very own person. It encourages adventure, taking care of others and creativity, and for the child to go be everything they were created to be.

An absolute must-have for new parents with young kids as well as expecting moms.

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! by Barbara Park is definitely one of the best stories to read to baby in the womb!

I love how it is set entirely in the belly and told from the perspective of the growing baby inside. It is so cute and funny at the same time, which is a bit rare for babies’ books. Sure to make you laugh and a perfect book to read with and older sibling as well, so they can imagine their little sister or brother growing inside mom.

One of the verse goes: “I’m all in a heap here, my feet are asleep here, I’m totally bored with this dumb bungee cord. I am not kidding you, Ma! There’s nothing to do!”

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Mama loves you so by Terry Pierce is a beautiful story with such sincere, poetic and sweet lines about how much a mother loves her baby. If you are still pregnant while reading it, I could almost guarantee you will have a little tear on your cheek by the time you reach the last page (blame it on the hormones!).

Definitely one of my favorite stories for babies in the womb. The illustrations are also absolutely stunning and the pages are nice and thick, so you can keep reading it even when baby becomes a toddler and starts ripping all the pages.

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Oh, Baby, the Places You'll Go! by Tish Rabe is possibly the number one book that’s usually recommended to expectant parents to read to their baby in utero, so I could not leave it out! We were also gifted a copy while I was pregnant with our second daughter.

In simple rhymed verse, the author goes through the joys awaiting newborns when they meet the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Yertle the Turtle, the Great Birthday Bird, the Grinch, and twenty-five other beloved Seuss characters. And the reason why it’s not my number one choice is that I find it slightly hard to read all the different names and verses, as English is not my first language. And I don’t particularly love the illustrations …

That said, if English is your first language, you are a Dr. Seuss fan and plan on introducing your little one to all of those beloved books, you will probably love this book too!

One verse that I do love: “You’ll find that this world’s a great place to begin, but it could use some help – which is where you come in”. Followed shortly by: “It’s a scrumptulous world and it’s ready to greet you. And as for myself … well … I can’t wait to meet you!”. 

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

Love you forever by Robert Munsh is another bestseller and ultimate favorite for a lot of moms, so I couldn’t leave it out either.

The story is a gentle affirmation of the love a parent feels for their child, forever, and how that love transcends to the next generation. It goes through some of the “crazy” things a mom would do for their children, and how the love will always be there, though the good times and the you-are-driving-me-crazy times.

It even touches on death and I wouldn’t recommend reading it if you’ve recently lost a parent yourself. So many readers find themselves in tears while reading this book!

Some people, on the other hand, find it too weird and don’t like reading it to their children. I personally agree some parts are a bit weird, but I still think the message is absolutely beautiful and would totally recommend it to a pregnant woman. I have just stopped reading it to my almost 4 years old daughter who’s going through the “why” phase at the moment – I couldn’t bear answer all the questions about why the mom in the book is doing all that stuff.

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

I Prayed for You by Jean Fisher is a book about love and family, and how deep a mother’s love for her child can go.

It’s the story of a mamma bear who tells her baby bear about all the times she’s prayed for him as he grows up. When he was born, the first time he achieved something independently, the first time he got hurt, the day he went off to school… she lets him know that she’s always been praying for him and always will pray for him. And  each page has a short prayer at the bottom that mamma bear says for her baby.

I am not religious, personally, but I still found this story to be incredibly cute, including the illustrations. It is perfect for parents who dreamed of having children, who struggled with infertility, or who became parents through surrogacy, IVF, adoption, fostering, or other means. And that’s probably why I can still connect with the story 🙂

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I'll always love you by Paeoni Lewis is a sweet and gentle story about the unconditional love between a parent and child.

In the book Alex, the little bear, breaks his mom’s favorite honey bowl but, before telling his mum, he runs through all sorts of scenarios of being naughty to check if she will still love him, which she assures him she will. 

This will actually be perfect for when your baby grows up to become a toddler as well, as it will reassure him that mom or dad will always love him no matter what.

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Little you by Richard Van Camp is another great choice for a book to read to your baby in womb. It consists of a beautiful poem that describes the feelings of parenthood, and it can either be read of sang softly to your child.

What I also love is the fact that the illustrations show a family of people with darker skin (the author and illustrator are Canadian aboriginals) which is quite unusual for a baby’s book!

One of the verses goes: “You are life and breath adored, You are us and so much more, Little ember with growing light, Feel our love as we hold you tight.”

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

When I carried you in my belly by Thrity Umrigar is a beautiful book that would be perfect for a pregnant mom to read to her baby girl in the belly. The story specifically represents the love between a mom and her daughter, so you might not relate that much if you are expecting a boy.

In the book, the mother shares many wonderful experiences from her pregnancy that seem to be reflected in her daughter now, implying that the special bond between a mother and her child begins well before the baby is born. And even though the book doesn’t leave much room for nature to shape a child’s personality (which I don’t totally agree with), it really feels like it captures so much of the magic of when I was pregnant and I fell in love with it.

At one point it goes: “When I carried you in my belly, we fed kittens out of saucers, baked bread for our neighbors, and hung bird feeders on the trees and that is why you have the biggest heart in the world.”

I also really like the gender switch between the grandparents, with grandpa baking and grandma building the crib!

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Related: 7 Baby Girl Symptoms during Early Pregnancy (from 1st Trimester!)


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Read to your baby every day by Rachel Williams includes 30 classic nursery rhymes that you can read aloud to your baby in the womb. This could be perfect if you prefer rhymes to short stories.

The reason why I really liked this book is also the fact that English is not my first language, and I never grew up with all these classic nursery rhymes. Reading this book to my babies when pregnant gave me a chance to learn them, so I could then join in when my wife or daycare teachers started teaching them to my daughters.

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

365 Bedtime Stories and Rhymes is another great option if you are looking for either rhymes or stories, and if you are the type of person that gets bored reading the same story over and over again: it’s got 365 of them!

The book is an absolute bargain – it just over $10 – and it contains hips of classic stories (Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, etc.) and rhymes (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Hickory Dickory Dock, etc.), as well as other little stories with animals, fairies, children and many more. 

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

The going to bed book by Sandra Boynton is one of the cutest little books for children I have ever found. It’s the story of a group of animals on a ship that are getting ready for bed, so it goes through all the things that need to be done before going to sleep, such as a bath, brushing teeth, etc,

I think this is a cute and funny short story that an expecting parent could love reading to their unborn baby, and will probably keep reading it for a long time after baby is born! In fact, this book will be very helpful in conditioning an older kid to stick to the bedtime routine!

Just a word of advice: the animals go and exercise after the bath and before going to bed! Now, I don’t know whose kid routine is that, but definitely not mine!

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

God gave us you by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a very cute and heartfelt story of a mama bear explaining to her little baby bear where she comes from, going from pregnancy to finally holding her in her arms. The illustrations are also beautiful.

Would totally recommend it if you believe in God (obviously!) and if you are looking for something that you can also read to your kid when they get older and start asking the question of where they come from!

Note that the little cub is female though, so you might not like it if you are expecting a boy.

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Free Online Books to Read
to Baby in Womb

If you can’t afford to buy new books or prefer to read online books, Monkey Pen has an amazing choice of 50 free downloadable books as pdf. You can either read them online or print them out if you prefer.

These are not specific stories for babies that are still in mama’s belly, but they are beautiful free short stories nonetheless. Here’s some of my favorites:

  1. Hey Mom! What is diversity?: a book to introduce your kid to diversity and how we are all different but beautiful at the same time.

  2. Terrance turtle’ new home: a story of friendship between two swans and a turtle.

  3. Buzz the buzzard: a book about the importance of family, as Buzz the buzzard tells his story of how he flew away from home, but soon realized what he was missing.

Books for Dad to Read to Baby in Womb

Dads should also spend time talking and connecting to their babies in mom’s belly: most research indicates that babies can recognize their father’s voice from 32 weeks gestation already!

So, this section is just for dads that are looking for some books especially for them to read to their baby in womb. I know it must be so hard for dads to find stories that they can also relate to, as most books have only moms in them!


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I love you, daddy by Jilliam Harker is a really cute story about daddy bear spending time with his little bear, letting the little one have more responsibility and encouraging him on the life journey. As they do activities together, daddy bear helps him be stronger, bigger and braver.

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

My dad loves me by Marianne Richmond illustrates all the ways dad shows his love to his children (kissing, tickling, etc.). This book will actually be perfect for when baby gets older as well, and will probably become a favorite for story time with dad!

The only downside is that it’s quite short – it’s only got a sentence per page, so not ideal if you are looking for a story that lasts a while.

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Books for Older Siblings to
Read to Baby in Womb

If you are expecting a second (or third, etc!) child, then it could be a great idea to read a book with your older baby to the other baby in the belly! I absolutely loved doing this with my first daughter – it was such a perfect bonding experience as a soon-to-be family of four and I believe it really helped my older daughter connect with her little sister before she was even born.

One of our favorite books to read together was a book that we were gifted about a baby becoming a big sister, and all the things that older siblings need to learn about a little baby joining the family, such as crying, filling nappies or taking a lot of the parents’ attention. The book also did a good job at reassuring the older sister that mom and dad still love her so much, even when they are busy with the new little one. And made sure to go through some activities that the big sister can help with while caring for and playing with the new sibling.

So, here’s two books I would highly recommend if your older child was to become a big brother or sister! These are probably best if your older sibling is between 2 and 4/5 years old.


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I am a big brother by Joanna Cole is told through the eyes of a new older brother. It’s a cute simple story that lays out all the good things about being an older sibling, and just how exciting welcoming a new member to the family can be.

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Check Latest Prices on Amazon

I am a big sister by Caroline Jayne Church is similar to the one above, but through the eyes of a new older sister. And I absolutely adore the illustrations!

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Best Books to Read to Baby in Womb: Final Thoughts

That’s it! I really hope you enjoyed this round up of best books to read to baby in womb and found at least one that inspires you!

All these books will be great to bond with your unborn baby and will continue to be a perfect addition to your baby’s library as your baby grows older. I find my older one loves to cycle through books and often goes back to those books I used to read to her when she was in my wife’s belly!


The Science of Singing to Bump

Child development > Baby development

You might feel a little bit self-conscious singing to your belly in pregnancy, but there are a lot of reasons to give it a go.

For a start, your baby can hear your voice from only a matter of weeks into pregnancy, which is pretty amazing.

Watch the short video below to find out all about the benefits of singing and talking to your bump.

When can babies hear in the womb?

At just four and a half months in the womb, they can already hear sound. They may hear muted sounds from the outside world and any noises your digestive system makes, as well as the sound of your voice and heart.

By 18 weeks your baby's ears are beginning to send signals to the brain about the sounds that they can hear.

By 23 weeks they can hear the muffled sounds of their mum's voice and by 24 weeks they respond to that voice. Scientific studies show they’ll move around less in the womb and have a slower heartbeat when they hear their mum’s voice.

This is why, from the moment they’re born, babies prefer the sound of their mother’s voice to one they’ve never heard.

Why should you sing and talk to your baby in the womb?

Reading out loud, carrying out conversations and singing songs and rhymes to your baby will help them to get to know your voice and can help with early bonding.

It's not only great for baby but for you as well. Playing music can be a great way to relax and ease stress during pregnancy.

Music that mimics a heartbeat of around 60 beats per minute, such as lullabies, is useful. Wondering what to sing to your baby in the womb? Our selection of top nursery rhymes will inspire you.

After 32 weeks, your baby may start to recognise certain vowel sounds from your language. Some research suggests that very early language development may begin before birth.

A cartoon image of a pregnant woman talking to her bump saying 'Y'know I can't wait to meet you'.

At just 4 1/2 months in the womb, your baby can already hear sounds.


Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Motherhood: A Playlist of Songs for my Unborn Child

Here is a playlist of songs that I made for my unborn baby. These songs are soothing, encouraging and full of love, just for my unborn child.

Read more

A pregnant mum in bed talking to her bump with a graphic suggesting a heart rate monitor.

Cartoon of a mum singing to her baby in her arms.

In case you missed it

Why singing to babies is so worthwhile

Link for: Why singing to babies is so worthwhile

How your baby bump is listening and learning

How your baby bump is listening and learning

Brilliant Brains - How babies listen in the womb

Brilliant Brains - How babies listen in the womb

Nurturing your unborn baby

How A Mother's Voice Shapes Her Baby's Developing Brain

By Maruti Sridhar  •  Oct 5, 2021

Babies spend almost nine months inside a mother’s womb. Would you subsequently be surprised that you preferred your mother’s voice to those of strangers? Old wives’ tales have long said that babies in the womb can make out their mother’s voices and respond to them. Some mothers have attested to this tale with reports that they have stated increased signs of physical activity. This could be, say, kicking, in mothers right after they’ve talked to the baby or sung to them.

As soon as the fetus’ auditory functions start to develop, they begin to recognise their own mother’s voice in terms of its rhythm and speech patterns. Soon after the little one is born, it shall make more of an effort to identify its own mother’s voice than that of strangers 

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A study conducted in 2004 proved that those who were played recordings of their mothers’ voices had a decreased duration of hospital stay and improved their skills at oral feeding (2). When a baby is stressed, it has been known (and studied), that a mother’s voice can have a soothing effect (3). It has been known to regulate two different hormones in the body, cortisol and oxytocin. While cortisol is the stress hormone (which gets decreased by the mother’s voice), oxytocin is a social bonding hormone (which shows a marked increase upon playing the mother’s voice). Oxytocin has been known to create the difference between a person’s ability to form bonds with others and shying away from social interaction altogether.

Studies have gotten advanced enough that the power of the mother’s voice can be mapped to the parts of the brain it directly affects (4). It perks up the anterior prefrontal cortex as well as the left side of the posterior temporal region. This can be remarkably higher than what would have been if they had been stimulated by a stranger’s voice. This sets the child in gear for primary speech processing.

When looking at older children, scientists had a few hypotheses of how their brains would respond. They expected that the part of the brain associated with voice processing would light up under the fMRI, but they were surprised at the results.

Furthermore, the mother’s voice activated a plethora of brain regions wholly unexpected, including parts like the amygdala, an emotional regulation part of the brain. Some scientists have claimed that this is akin to a neural fingerprint, where a mother’s voice enables certain parts of her offspring’s brain. This neural fingerprint seemed to have a direct correlation with the child’s social abilities later in life. The number of connections that light up in these regions, on hearing the mother’s voice have a direct correlation to better social habits.

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This led to a lot of unanswered questions. These questions are yet to be answered by science, but needless to say, we aren’t far away from the truth.

What is abundantly clear is the effect of a mother’s voice on a child’s cognitive development. So whether it’s a lullaby in the womb or a bedtime story to a newborn, keep that voice coming. Even if you don’t have an angelic voice that starlets on television possess, your voice shall always be angelic to your child.

Things To Know About Pregnancy Nutrition

For first-time mothers, pregnancy can be a delightful yet stressful time. There are so many do’s and don’ts that you need to follow. Apart from early pregnancy check-ups, you need to deal with morning sickness and pregnancy fatigue.

You need to ensure that you are eating nutritionally rich foods and exercising right. The list of tips for a healthy pregnancy is quite extensive. However, the most important thing that’ll ensure the good health of both the mother and the baby during pregnancy is eating healthy foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Thus, here is a quick look at the optimal pregnancy nutrition, which includes the foods to eat and avoid.

pregnancy nutrition

Foods To Eat 

During pregnancy, you should eat freshly cooked home-made food at all times. This will ensure that you don’t gain any excess weight. Plus, it will ensure that the fetus is getting the right nutrients which are essential for its growth and development. Some of the foods that you should eat includes:

  • Eggs and Lean Meat: An egg is a wholesome food that offers almost all essential vitamins and minerals. Whereas, lean meat (lamb, chicken, beef) is a rich source of iron that prevents iron-deficiency anemia and provides zinc, vitamin B12, protein and more.

  • Vegetables and Fruits: Dark leafy veggies (kale, spinach) should be a part of your pregnancy diet as they provide you with folate, fiber, iron, potassium and vitamins (A, C, and K). Fresh fruits, on the other hand, are a powerhouse of healthy fats and carbs, antioxidants, vitamin C etc. It helps boost the immune system and energy levels and aids in the baby’s cognitive development and builds healthy skin cells.

  • Legumes: To reduce the risk of birth defects (neural tube defects) and prevent constipation include legumes in your diet as it provides folate, fiber, iron, calcium, and more.

  • Nuts and Dairy products: Nuts are healthy pregnancy snacks offering amino acids, minerals, vitamins and omega 3 fats. So eat a handful of nuts every day such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, dates, etc. Also, include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt in your diet as they provide calcium that helps in the development of the baby’s teeth, bones and muscles.

Related readThe Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition

Foods To Avoid

To prevent any complications during pregnancy, mentioned below are a few foods to avoid during pregnancy.

  • Raw Eggs and Meat

  • Raw and High-level mercury Fish

  • Unwashed and Undercooked sprouts, veggies, and fruits

  • Canned foods and processed junk foods

  • Unpasteurized milk, cheese and fruit juices

  • Street foods

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Information on birth Defects

Detecting Birth Defects Before Birth

About birth defects

A birth defect is a problem that occurs when a baby is developing in utero (in the womb). Approximately 1 out of every 33 babiesTrusted Source in the United States is born with a birth defect.

Birth defects can be minor or severe. They may affect appearance, organ function, and physical and mental development. Most birth defects are present within the first three months of pregnancy, when the organs are still forming. Some birth defects are harmless. Others require long-term medical treatment. Severe birth defects are the leading cause of infant death in the United States, accounting for 20 percentTrusted Source of deaths.

What causes birth defects?

Birth defects can be a result of:

  • genetics

  • lifestyle choices and behaviors

  • exposure to certain medications and chemicals

  • infections during pregnancy

  • a combination of these factors

However, the exact causes of certain birth defects are often unknown.


The mother or father may pass on genetic abnormalities to their baby. Genetic abnormalities occur when a gene becomes flawed due to a mutation, or change. In some cases, a gene or part of a gene might be missing. These defects happen at conception and often can’t be prevented. A particular defect may be present throughout the family history of one or both parents.

Nongenetic causes

The causes of some birth defects can be difficult or impossible to identify. However, certain behaviors greatly increase the risk of birth defects. These include smoking, using illegal drugs, and drinking alcohol while pregnant. Other factors, such as exposure to toxic chemicals or viruses, also increase risk.

What are the risk factors for birth defects?

All pregnant women have some risk of delivering a child with a birth defect. Risk increases under any of the following conditions:

  • family history of birth defects or other genetic disorders

  • drug use, alcohol consumption, or smoking during pregnancy

  • maternal age of 35 years or older

  • inadequate prenatal care

  • untreated viral or bacterial infections, including sexually transmitted infections

  • use of certain high-risk medications, such as isotretinoin and lithium

Women with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, are also at a higher risk of having a child with a birth defect.

Common birth defects

Birth defects are typically classified as structural or functional and developmental.

Structural defects are when a specific body part is missing or malformed. The most common structural defects are:

  • heart defects

  • cleft lip or palate, when there’s an opening or split in the lip or roof of the mouth

  • spina bifida, when the spinal cord doesn’t develop properly

  • clubfoot, when the foot points inward instead of forward

Functional or developmental birth defects cause a body part or system not to work properly. These often cause disabilities of intelligence or development. Functional or developmental birth defects include metabolic defects, sensory problems, and nervous system problems. Metabolic defects cause problems with the baby’s body chemistry.

The most common types of functional or developmental birth defects include:

Some children face physical problems associated with specific birth defects. However, many children show no visible abnormalities. Defects can sometimes go undetected for months or even years after the child is born.

How are birth defects diagnosed?

Many types of birth defects can be diagnosed during pregnancy. A healthcare professional can use prenatal ultrasounds to help them diagnose certain birth defects in utero. More in-depth screening options, such as blood tests and amniocentesis (taking a sample of the amniotic fluid), may also be done. These tests are usually offered to women who have higher-risk pregnancies due to family history, advanced maternal age, or other known factors.

Prenatal tests can help determine whether the mother has an infection or other condition that’s harmful to the baby. A physical examination and hearing test may also help the doctor diagnose birth defects after the baby is born. A blood test called the newborn screen can help doctors diagnose some birth defects shortly after birth, before symptoms occur.

It’s important to know that prenatal screening doesn’t always find defects when they’re present. A screening test can also falsely identify defects. However, most birth defects can be diagnosed with certainty after birth.

How are birth defects treated?

Treatment options vary depending on the condition and level of severity. Some birth defects can be corrected before birth or shortly after. Other defects, however, may affect a child for the rest of their life. Mild defects can be stressful, but they don’t typically affect overall quality of life. Severe birth defects, such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida, can cause long-term disability or even death. Speak with your doctor about the appropriate treatment for your child’s condition.

Medications: Medications may be used to treat some birth defects or to lower the risk of complications from certain defects. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to the mother to help correct an abnormality before birth.

Surgeries: Surgery can fix certain defects or ease harmful symptoms. Some people with physical birth defects, such as cleft lip, may undergo plastic surgery for either health or cosmetic benefits. Many babies with heart defects will need surgery, as well.

Home care: Parents may be instructed to follow specific instructions for feeding, bathing, and monitoring an infant with a birth defect.

How can birth defects be prevented?

Many birth defects can’t be prevented, but there are some ways to lower the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Women who plan to become pregnant should start taking folic acid supplements before conception. These supplements should also be taken throughout the pregnancy. Folic acid can help prevent defects of the spine and brain. Prenatal vitamins are also recommended during pregnancy.

Women should avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco during and after pregnancy. They should also use caution when taking certain medications. Some medications that are normally safe can cause serious birth defects when taken by a pregnant woman. Make sure to tell your doctor about any medications you may be taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

Most vaccines are safe during pregnancy. In fact, some vaccines can help prevent birth defects. There is a theoretical risk of harm to a developing fetus with some live-virus vaccines, so these kinds should not be given during pregnancy. You should ask your doctor which vaccines are necessary and safe.

Maintaining a healthy weight also helps reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy. Women with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, should take special care to manage their health.

It’s extremely important to attend regular prenatal appointments. If your pregnancy is considered high risk, your doctor can do additional prenatal screening to identify defects. Depending on the type of defect, your doctor may be able to treat it before the baby is born.

Genetic counseling

A genetic counselor can advise couples with family histories of a defect or other risks factors for birth defects. A counselor may be helpful when you’re thinking about having children or already expecting. Genetic counselors can determine the likelihood that your baby will be born with defects by evaluating family history and medical records. They may also order tests to analyze the genes of the mother, father, and baby.

Infections in PregnancyCleft Palate and LipCongenital Heart DiseaseEverything You Should Know About Congenital Brain DefectsWhen Baby Comes Early: What Is Your Risk?
Creating Possibilities

Ways to Make Pregnancy More Comfortable

Pregnancy  -Pregnancy & Childbirth -,Second Trimester-,Third Trimester

7 ways you can make pregnancy more comfortable! There's no need to deal with pain and discomfort throughout pregnancy - click the link to learn how to make it better!

Pregnancy…such a happy, glowing time, right?!

It wasn’t for me! I was always looking for ways and things that would make pregnancy more comfortable.

I was never a graceful pregnant woman. Through my first trimester, I felt sick, dizzy, and just bad the whole first trimester. I was OK in the second trimester with my first, and felt awful in my third.

With my second, I was just uncomfortable and miserable from day one! Everything ached and hurt and I felt terrible. 

Don’t get me wrong – there are moments I loved! Feeling the baby move, a growing belly, and knowing I was housing a little blessing were amazing feelings. But the way I felt was not so great.

I know there are other mamas out there like me that didn’t find pregnancy to be magical and lovely! So this post will be about how you can make pregnancy more comfortable.

Pregnancy Pillow

As far as I’m concerned, this is a must-have! Especially if you’re a stomach or back sleeper.

In the later stages of pregnancy, it’s not recommended (or comfortable) to sleep flat on your back or stomach. 

In fact, as a labor nurse, I can tell you that babies do NOT like when you’re totally flat on your back for more than a few minutes. You should put a pillow under one of your hips at the very least if you need to lay on your back. 

I used a C-shaped pillow during both of my pregnancies, but I honestly think I’d like a U-shaped  or oval shaped one better. I found it annoying to switch sides without the belly support on the open side, and think one that had the support on both sides would be better.

The great thing about these pillows is that it prevents you from laying flat on your back or belly. If you roll from your side to your back, the other side will be under your hip to keep you from being totally flat.

As pregnancy progresses, being completely flat may reduce the amount of blood flow to the baby. The pregnancy pillow helps prevent that.

I also had a ton of symphysis pubis pain with my last pregnancy, and having a pillow between my knees was the only thing that was comfy. I even used it a few weeks postpartum as that joint healed.

You may also like:
How to Help During Labor: Advice for Dads and Partners
10 Common Mistakes Women Make in Labor
Labor Inductions: What You Need to Know

Support belt or kinesiology tape

I used a support belt throughout the later part of the second trimester and beginning of my third. After that, it became uncomfortable and wasn’t super useful. 

My physician prescribed me this one, but to be totally honest having a prescription didn’t help me. I later found out that I paid the same price as without a prescription, but I had to drive 30 minutes away to a medical supply store to pick it up. Next time I’ll just order it online. Check with your doctor’s office and insurance to see if they’ll offer you more than I got!

I loved the strap on the top of the belly of this one. It really gave my belly the extra lift and support I needed. It’s optional if you don’t like it, however.

I never tried using kinesiology tape, but it probably would have helped a lot with my symphysis pubis pain. The nice part about this is that it can be used until the very end, whereas the belt I grew out of.

Wearing the belt helped me get through working long days on my feet! I highly recommend it for anyone getting uncomfortable.

Comfortable clothes

While I admire people who get dolled up every day, it just isn’t me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love to do my hair and makeup for a fun night out. But day-to-day you’ll find me in sweatpants or athletic wear. 

It’s no different during pregnancy! I want comfort over style, and comfortable maternity wear is a must. These leggings were a go-to, and they are great postpartum as well!

How you can manage discomforts during your pregnancy and make pregnancy more comfortable! These seven things can help you get through pregnancy with a breeze

Stretch Mark/Itch Cream

UGH. The dreaded stretch marks!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my stripes and what my body did! But a growing belly can be soooo itchy and uncomfortable.

I recommend the Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter or Belly Oil to help with the itching and discomfort of stretching skin. (They also have an amazing nipple butter if you are planning to breastfeed.)

I love Earth Mama Organics so much, they agreed to give me a coupon code for my readers! Use code thesehungrykids for 20% an item until April 30th! That’s coming quickly… so don’t miss your chance to save!

Epsom Salt Baths

I suffered from restless legs in my last pregnancy, and I swear that Epsom salt baths helped me settle down for sleep! 

Epsom salts contain a high concentration of magnesium which can help soothe muscles. It helped me crawl into bed without restless legs or aches and pains each night!

Sit on a ball


Why, you ask?!

It’s a simple, effective way to keep your body loose and relaxed during labor, and a great way to relieve back and hip pains during pregnancy. 

At the end of my pregnancy, I would eat dinner on it, watch TV on it, and just chill on it. Sitting on a birth ball was SO much more comfortable to me than anything else.

I talk about them in my post about managing pain in labor, and in my post about how to manage each phase of labor like a pro.

As a labor nurse, I suggest a birthing ball to all of my patients. I like The Birth Ball brand specifically because it comes with it’s own pump (to make it as firm as you like it), non-skid socks, and a booklet of exercises for before and after pregnancy. It really makes the product worth it when you can use it for longer!

Compression socks

Full disclosure: I never wore compression socks.

I included it only because I have soooo many friends who wear them and love them!

Why didn’t I use them? No idea. I just didn’t. There’s really no good reason.

I did a little digging, and found these compression socks to be the highest rated on Amazon and the best value (6 pairs for $20 USD). Let me know if you like them!

Third Trimester Tips from a Chiropractor


Third Trimester Tips from a Chiropractor

by Alayna Pagnani-Gendron

Pregnancy And Pediatric Chiropractor

The third trimester is an exciting time because you are nearing the end of your pregnancy. You are getting closer to meeting your precious baby. But we know that the third trimester can also be uncomfortable. Your body has changed so much over the past 27+ weeks of your pregnancy. You might be experiencing more swelling, lower back painhemorrhoidsheartburn, etc. And many expecting mamas are over being pregnant and ready to meet their baby.

As a chiropractor specializing in working with expecting moms and babies, I’m sharing my 16 tips for having a healthy third trimester! These tips will help you feel healthy and ready for your birth.

1. Walk, move, exercise!

Labor is a lot of work, so be sure your body is ready and strong! This will also help to reduce swelling.

2. See your chiropractor regularly.

This will improve comfort and balance pelvic joints and ligaments to help the baby get in the best position for birth. In addition, this improves pelvic joint mobility for birthing.

3. Stretch daily and breathe.

Stretching during pregnancy (see 6 hip-opening stretches to do during pregnancy) is a great time to focus on breathing–slowly and deeply. Deep breaths are incredibly important for labor, and slow breathing will help you connect with yourself and your power.

4. Sit upright with knees below hips and a nice arch in your lumbar spine.

Your belly should always be forward and lower than your hips. If you slouch or sit with legs up (as in a recliner), gravity pulls the baby’s heaviest part (back of the head) towards your spine. This leads to more sunnyside-up babies (Occiput Posterior), which is a far more difficult position to deliver in. On the other hand, the Occiput Anterior position (baby facing your spine) is ideal for vaginal delivery—so allow gravity to work in your favor by sitting forward.

5. Sit on an exercise/yoga ball for 20 minutes, 3 times daily.

While sitting there, bounce gently and do pelvic tilts. It also feels nice to do figure 8’s slowly and quickly. This aids in opening the pelvis and mobilizing the joints/ligaments/muscles. This is also a great position to labor in!

6. Get on all 4’s!

Using your belly as a hammock for your baby promotes proper baby positioning and takes baby’s weight off of your spine. Do the “cat/cow” yoga stretch for 20 breaths 5 times per day. Also, lean back on your heels and do a modified child’s pose. If you have small children, spend time on all fours playing with them. Or scrub your floor! 😛

7. Lie on your side at night with a pillow between your knees and your arms.

You can switch sides to decrease pressure on your hips. Read this article about the best sleep positions during pregnancy to learn more.

8. Don’t sit straight up from lying on your back.

Always roll to your side and use your shoulders to help you up. Even if you still feel like you have abdominal strength, sitting straight up can make you vulnerable to a diastasis recti (splitting of your abdominal muscles).

9. Do Kegels daily.

This helps tone your pelvic floor. You will want to continue these after the baby is born.

10. Figure 4 stretch.

Do the figure 4 stretch (see 6 hip-opening stretches to do during pregnancy) seated (modified pigeon pose) or on your back with a helper. This helps keep the hips more flexible. (Three times daily at 15 seconds on each side.)

11. Psoas/Hip flexor stretch.

Do the hip flexor stretch (see 6 hip-opening stretches to do during pregnancy) three times daily at 15 seconds on each side.

12. Forward leaning inversions for 3 slow breaths daily.

Work up to this. See this video for more details about safety and when to do it.

13. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to help strengthen and tone the uterus.

Traditional Medicinals is a great brand of organic tea to try. Drink 3-4 cups daily. Learn 10 ways to enjoy red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy here.

14. Take omega 3 fatty acids.

Studies suggest that these good fats are important for a baby’s fetal brain development and the child’s subsequent neurodevelopment.

15. Drink a LOT of water during pregnancy.

Drink 8 to 12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) of water every day during pregnancy. This will help also reduce swelling.

These tips have helped me during both of my pregnancies and births and hundreds of my clients. They are my go-to third trimester chiropractor tips that make a difference. Let us know what else helped you!

Information on Autism And Pregnacy

Pregnancy For those with Autism: 

Sensory Anomalies

How the experience of pregnancy may differ for women with autism

Autism is defined as a neurologic condition. As such, the characteristics may show a degree of fluctuation based on the physical condition of the body and brain. Pregnancy and autism may be understudied, but we know that some seasons of life may increase sensitivities or feelings of overwhelm for autistic women. Some of these periods include adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause. 

This article specifically focuses on the experience of pregnancy for women with autism.

Because autistic women are a minority group, this article focuses on their experiences. These experiences may be similar in some ways to those of other autistic folks, but are often distinct.)

During pregnancy, autistic women often spend time researching and preparing for the birth of their baby. Individuals with autism often have great researching skills! So when it comes to pregnancy, some women on the autism spectrum spend copious amounts of time and energy researching, learning and planning.

It can be empowering for autistic women to feel knowledgeable and ready for what’s to come. However pregnancy, by its very nature, can be different for every person. Some women with autism may experience feelings of guilt or failure if they perceive themselves to be at fault for getting something “wrong”. It’s important for people to realize that every person can experience pregnancy in a different way.

For example, some women might develop gestational diabetes despite eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. It is really important to remember that we can plan ahead but sometimes the unexpected will happen anyway!

Controlling all factors

Autistic people can find it challenging to cope with uncertainty, and pregnancy can be an uncertain time. Women and couples are generally advised to develop a birth plan. So, how should we plan for something that is so unknown?

Having a birth plan doesn’t mean that everything will go to plan. However, by simply making the plan, you know that you’re are doing your best to prepare for what might happen. It can be helpful to remember that things might not go to plan, but that’s okay.

Access to information and late diagnosis

danielle sullivan pregnancy and autism

Neurodiverging owner Danielle Sullivan at 38 weeks pregnant with child #2. Danielle was diagnosed autistic about 6 months later.

Often, girls and women may not receive their diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder until later in life than their male counterparts. In some cases, women may go through childhood, adolescence and early adulthood without this diagnosis.

This is significant for women because the normal challenges of menstruating, pregnancy and childbirth can be exacerbated by our autistic traits.

Some women may be given their ASD diagnosis after having children. This may be one reason why there isn’t a plethora of information and research readily available specific to the experience of pregnancy in women with autism.

Heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli

Throughout pregnancy, women often experience a heightened sensitivity to different smells and tastes. In the last trimester, women can feel an increased feeling of irritability and physical discomfort.  Pregnant, autistic women may find they have elevated feelings of sensitivity to sensory stimuli in areas that generally concerned them before pregnancy. It is possible that this could eventually lead to feelings of overwhelm. So, it’s important that individuals try to manage these and ask for help when needed.

Comparison to others and feelings of guilt

Becoming a parent can be an exciting and joyous time. But during pregnancy, there are many stressful elements to deal with such as sleep deprivation or feeling unwell. There are many factors that might affect how enjoyable this process could be for an individual. For some women, pregnancy is a wonderful time. For others it can be tiring and overwhelming.

Women with autism may experience feelings of guilt if they have a hard time during pregnancy. It is said that comparison is the thief of joy. Every experience of pregnancy and early parenthood can be different. Some expectant mothers may need more support from others and it’s important not to compare your needs with those of someone else.

Communication challenges

There may be communication challenges that a pregnant woman with autism encounter. When talking with health professionals, it is possible that a patient could feel they haven’t been heard or that their concerns are not being considered. In addition to this, a person with autism may find it difficult to communicate their needs in relation to pain and managing difficult aspects of pregnancy.

A tool that might be helpful for some women could be to use an Autism Health Passport or similar document. This is a document that you create outlining your needs, challenges and things that might be distressing to you. You can take this short document with you to medical appointments and at any point that you may be hospitalized, including when you give birth. It is a personalized document specific to your needs.  

Here is a link to an example of a health passport developed by the National Autistic Society in the U.K. 

Hearing pregnancy stories from women with autism

It can be incredibly valuable to hear people talk directly about their own experiences.

Here is a video created by Youtuber Purple Ella as she explains what her personal experiences have been specific to pregnancy as a woman with autism.

And here is another video by Youtuber Yo Samdy Sam about how she coped during pregnancy. It is interesting to hear how their stories vary in some ways and are similar in others.

Overall, there are so many strengths and abilities that women with autism possess. Along with these advantages and skills, there are challenges too. The experiences of pregnancy for neurodivergent and autistic women can vary. It’s important to have your support team and health professions ready to help you in ways that you need it most. It is okay to feel you need help or need greater support in ways that work for you during pregnancy.


Marcia Gardner and her team (2016) published survey information gathered from a sample of women on the spectrum about their experiences of pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood.

One of the themes was heightened sensory sensitivities, a finding also reported during puberty, menstruation, and menopause. Although it is common for neurotypical women to describe increased sensitivity to smells during pregnancy, ASD women may experience more intense global sensory sensitivities (e.g., touch, lights, noise, sound discrimination). 

A second finding was that many of the autistic women plunged into very intense research about pregnancy, birth, and child development. The intensity of their focus sometimes caused great worry about minor symptoms. Some even described a feeling of failure if their medical exam revealed elevated blood sugar, protein in the urine, or more than expected weight gain.

This contains an image of: Online Anywhere Mom stock photo. Image of communication - 6306170


Many of the women identified a third area of concern related to feelings of lack of control, particularly during labor and delivery. The multiple unknown variables that make up the birth process felt overwhelming to try to anticipate.

Some of the mothers wished they had developed a more specific birth plan so they could experience a sense of control over the process.

Finally, some reported uncertainty about their ability to determine what their infants needed at any given moment.

Others felt guilty for not finding motherhood as "enjoyable" as other women seem to describe.

Attending to the needs of autistic adults includes exploring the variability of autistic characteristics across the lifespan, and identifying individualized supports during specific life seasons.

Exploratory Study of Childbearing Experiences of Women with Asperger Syndrome Gardner, MarciaSuplee, Patricia D.Bloch, JoanLecks, Karen et al. Nursing for Women's Health, Volume 20, Issue 1, 28 - 37, 2016

Sarah Jane Gillman --  ~~~~Pregnant Mom Performs Awesome Cover Of Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk In Sign Language ~~The 33-year-old combined her love of singing and dancing with her newly acquired skill of sign language in the video, which has since racked up nearly two million views.

Supporting pregnant autistic people

Diane Fox is an autistic midwife and researcher. She is Vice Chair of the Maternity Autism Research Group (MARG), working together to improve autistic experiences in maternity care.  Here Diane outlines some of the difficulties autistic people experience during pregnancy, and how best to support them. 

It is important to raise awareness, acceptance and understanding of autistic people in maternity care and child-birth to improve health outcomes and address inequalities. Current research is exploring autistic people’s parenthood and how health professionals can improve provision. Does your maternity provision have an autism policy/guidance or embedded practice? Let’s explore some of the challenges autistic pregnant people can experience, and best practice to provide appropriate support. 

According to research by McCrossin (2022) 80% of autistic women are not diagnosed by the time they turn 18 – they may ‘mask’ or hide their needs during childhood and adulthood. As a result, many in pregnancy may not have a diagnosis or support in place, leading to health inequalities that affect physical and psychological wellbeing. 

Pregnancy can be a time when autistic people need extra support. Therefore, health professionals should understand the possible issues an autistic person may experience, knowing that each individual has different needs. Best practice is for a comprehensive Personal Care Plan (PCP) to be developed in partnership with the individual.

Challenges autistic people might experience

  • Sensory differences – sensitivity to sounds, light, taste, touch, personal space and eye contact.

  • Communication differences – such as a preference for clear, unambiguous language, or broken-down information. 

  • Anxiety – may be very anxious in an unfamiliar environment, or not knowing what to expect over an appointment, pregnancy or parenthood. 

If things become overwhelming this may result in a ‘shutdown’ or a ‘meltdown’. This can be very exhausting and lots of time and space will be needed to recover. Some autistic people may cope by not accessing treatment and care, which might be seen as non-compliance and can lead to health inequalities. 

Using the SPELL Framework


Having a predictable routine and environment can help autistic people feel calm, safe and in control with best practice such as having:

  • a predictable routine and environment

  • continuity of the same care team throughout

  • clear guidelines and processes to help manage expectations 

  • opportunities to meet staff and visit the ward prior to labour. 


Be positive, kind and understanding, without bias or judgement – especially in new and challenging situations – such as labour, and establishing feeding and postnatal routines. Be supportive of the individual’s decisions, and take their lead. 


Be empathic when communicating, and try to reduce anxiety and distress. Use questions such as ‘What do you need to feel ok?’. Also, be accepting of self-soothing behaviours and be accommodating of the individual’s sensory and communication preferences. 

Low energy and arousal

Ensure a low arousal approach to reduce anxiety, for example use low lighting, and reduce sounds, with minimal small talk and interruptions.


Help to create and maintain links to a support network – family, friends and professionals if needed. The individual may need extra support to adjust to parenthood. Ensure clear links and updates are in place with GPs and health visitors prior to discharge from maternity services. 

Other factors to consider

Staff should be aware of co-occurring conditions that autistic people may experience, such as:

  • hypermobility

  • ehlers danlos syndrome

  • fibromyalgia

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD

  • dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia.

The autistic individual may also identify as non-binary or gender-fluid, therefore, staff should be conscious not to make assumptions about someone’s gender. 

Current research is exploring psychological and physiological issues that may affect autistic people in and after pregnancy. Some evidence suggests that autistic individuals may have a higher likelihood of experiencing:

  • health conditions which can affect pregnancy such as heavy menstrual periods and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

  • mental health conditions such as post-natal depression or anxiety.

More research is needed in this area, and findings should inform care provision and influence policy implementation to reflect best practice.

In conclusion, it should be noted that pregnant autistic people may have specific or additional medical and care needs, and comprehensive care planning is required. Linking possible care outcomes to care provision is crucial to understanding the extra support autistic people need. Therefore training, co-produced by autistic people, should be done in healthcare settings and in midwifery pre-registration training.  

The next step towards best practice would be for the development of national guidelines and local protocols in maternity services, alongside the creation of autism leads in maternity care. This will lead to improved health outcomes for autistic parents or parents to be, and their families. 

Further information

Resources for Pregnant Women with Autism

being autistic and pregnant from

For more on how the experience and expression of autistic characteristics may change during and after pregnancy you may wish to read Let's Bust the Myth that Autism Looks the Same Across the Lifespan, Puberty and Autisic Behaviors, 

Mental Health And Pregnancy Section

12 Ways to Relieve Anxiety During Pregnancy


Dealing with anxiety is terrible. Then being anxious about the effects of your anxiety during your pregnancy can make it so much worse! It’s actually a pretty common experience though. In those first few months so many soon to be moms worry about miscarriages, pain during labor and welcoming your new little member into the family.

If this is your first pregnancy, you can be especially worried, particularly because you haven’t experienced pregnancy before and every little ache or pain seems foreign, which to a newly pregnant woman can be a worry that something is wrong with the pregnancy.

A lot of the anxiety can be related to the altered hormones. I personally found my self-worrying constantly over every little pain, not because of the pain itself, but what the pains “could mean.”

By the way, it’s perfectly normal to experience things like round ligament pain and uterine stretching pains. Although, don’t start worrying if you’re NOT experiencing these things either! It does NOT mean something is wrong with you or your baby.

This post contains affiliate links (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here for our full disclosure. Thank you!

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Coping With Anxiety During Pregnancy

While some individuals need medication during pregnancy to alleviate anxiety, it is not a good idea to take medications during pregnancy that you do not absolutely need. Rather than taking addictive benzodiazepines or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor) you can practice healthy, non-addictive, and natural means of reducing anxiety so that you can feel better during your pregnancy and won’t influence the health of your baby because of uncontrolled anxiety while pregnant.

You can do a great deal for yourself and your baby by relieving your anxiety using natural alternatives. Here are a few ways you can naturally begin to cope with your pregnancy worries and have a happier and healthier pregnancy.

 10 Ways To Reduce Anxiety Naturally


Yoga is a fantastic anxiety reducer. It’s all natural, will help you relieve aches and pain and it greatly reduces stress. Several great poses are appropriate for each trimester of pregnancy and there are prenatal yoga classes that allow you to perform poses safely under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

Read: 6 Prenatal Yoga Poses to alleviate back and hip pains


Mediation brings calmness to the mind and allows you to detach yourself from your anxious thoughts. With practice, meditation helps to train your mind to find peace and calm, even during stressful situations. This is a wonderful tool to have in your anxiety tool box. Check out the video below to see how practical meditation can actually be for anyone.

Get enough sleep

Your body is hard at work growing an entire other human being. Getting enough sleep is extremely important to both you and your babies healthy. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night can help your body repair, and your brain rest enough to decrease your stress and anxiety and help you wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed enough to begin your day on a better and more positive note.

Stay active

If you exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, you will gain more energy and will feel less anxious naturally. Things like yoga, swimming and walking can help reduce anxious feelings and give you a feel-good endorphin boost that’s good for you and your baby. Plus it helps make labor and birth a whole lot easier!

Read: 10 Fun & pregnancy safe exercises 

Read: Pregnancy Exercises to make Labor & Birth Easier

Know your stuff

The more you learn about pregnancy, the changes in your body and how you can have a healthy lifestyle while pregnant, the better you’ll feel. Get a good pregnancy book that will help you understand the changes going on and what to expect.

The more you know about what is normal, the less you will worry when these ‘normal’ things happen. Of course, you should ask your doctor lots of questions too. I also recommend a good prenatal class. It will help reduce your fear of birth as well!

Check out this free pregnancy sample course: Free beginners prenatal course

Find Support

Having a pregnant friend while your pregnant is awesome! If you don’t already know a pregnant mama, you can meet a new friend by going to pregnancy classes and meeting others who are about as far along as you are. If this isn’t possible, try finding women who have had successful pregnancies and deliveries in the past.

They can help you understand what to expect and what things are normal. Plus it’s really nice to have someone that can relate to the emotional changes you experience as a soon to be mom, as well as the crazy changes your body is going through.

Gratitude can be a game changer

Spend some time thinking about the things you appreciate about pregnancy. Try to focus on staying in the moment, and focusing on what is going well. Those that stay positive and avoid negative thoughts or feelings tend to have an easier pregnancy and experience less anxiety.

Studies have shown that a gratitude journal can work wonders on your mindset. Get a simple notebook and jot down 3 or 4 things you are grateful for during your pregnancy before bed. This will help reset your thinking, and you’ll find yourself with more positive thoughts throughout the day.

Keep positive pregnancy affirmations everywhere!

I know it sounds silly, but keeping little meaningful quotes in regularly visible places can really help alter your thought patterns. Affirmations can be an incredibly powerful tool when actually used. (So people will actually do this, which is why more people say it doesn’t work. They never actually try it.)

For this to work you can print out motivational quotes and post them in areas you frequent. The fridge, taped to your bathroom mirror, or even on your visor in your care. Somewhere that you will see them every day. If you want to get fancy you can print out a set and hang them up with a photo clip set like this, and hang as decor in your home.

Nourish your body

When you eat a nourishing diet, you alleviate some of the anxiety by actively knowing you are doing something to help grow a healthy baby. Just knowing you are doing the right thing by taking your prenatal vitamin and are eating a healthy diet can empower you to feel less anxious about the pregnancy itself. Plus getting enough nutrients helps you body deal better with stress. If you are deficient in certain nutrients, like magnesium, it can make you very anxious.

Make sure you are taking a great prenatal vitamin and maybe even try some natural calm. It’s a safe (and tasty) magnesium powder you make into a drink that helps calm your nerves and will help keep you having regular bowel movements. Both are big wins during pregnancy.

Pack your Anti-anxiety Tool Box

As I mentioned previously, nutrient deficiencies can cause excess anxiety. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium, which can cause anxiety itself. Magnesium acts as a “calm switch” for your nerves. Without enough magnesium, your body literally cannot flip the switch, and you end up in a constant state of anxiety.

Also, chamomile tea is an herb that considered safe during pregnancy. I drank a cup nightly while pregnant (and still do even postpregnancy) to help calm the nerves. I can literally feel tension ease from my shoulders while I finish up my cup. I love this brand, as they are all organic and taste great!

You also need a good Omega 3 vitamin. Other than being an essential nutrient for babies eye and brain development, it can help greatly reduce the chance of depression and anxiety. You need an Omega 3 supplement that contains both EPA and DHA. You can read more about the science of all of it here.

I like Nordic Naturals, these ones are specifically designed for the pregnant mama, ensuring that they use fish with lower risk of mercury contamination.

Try cognitive behavioral therapy

If you think you need extra help with your anxiety during pregnancy, it may be time to consider seeing a therapist.  Try finding a therapist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy. In this type of therapy, the focus is on reframing anxious and negative thoughts so you can see these thoughts and feelings in a more positive light. You will learn coping skills so you can better enjoy your pregnancy.

Remember that this shall pass 

Sometimes pregnancy can be plagued with terrible nausea and morning sickness that lasts all day. This can be so stressful that it seems like experiencing anxiety is the norm. Try to remember that this is temporary, and even normal, even though it is more severe in some women than others. It helps to keep reminding yourself that this will pass, and it’s not forever.

Make every effort not to struggle needlessly with anxiety during your pregnancy. Use these tips as natural ways to decrease your anxiety and seek professional help if you feel you can’t cope with it on your own. Ideally, pregnancy should be a happy time, and anxiety just gets in the way.

For more related articles on how to survive pregnancy and prepare for birth:

Creating Possibilities

Surviving your Pregnancy by
Soothing Your Senses

Self-soothing is a simple but powerful technique utilized in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy that can help you manage negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Here are ways to self-soothe by focusing on your senses.

Our five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch can be an effective means to reach a state of relaxation and peace. When experiencing a situation of emotional distress it is very helpful to try to relax by engaging in an activity that includes one of the five senses. In this article, we will present ideas about what you can do to get that subtle sense of peace.


Self-soothing is a simple but powerful technique utilized in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) that can help you manage negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It can also reduce stress and anxiety in everyday situations, and help you to be more present and aware in the current moment. Here are ways to self-soothe by focusing on your senses.



Look at photos of calming places. View snapshots or videos of beautiful locations you have visited or those you dream of visiting one day. Watch a funny web video or movie. Take a stroll on a beautiful path. Get lost in a sunrise, sunset, or the night sky. View inspiring art or poetry. Take a few photos, and find the beauty wherever you are.



Listen to sounds of nature, such as rain or a babbling brook, or music that you find calming or inspiring. Listen to your voice speaking affirmations aloud. Hearing yourself saying positive statements about you and your future can help you start to believe them.


Whether you are CURRENTLY PREGNANT, or will ONE DAY be pregnant, or KNOW SOMEONE who is pregnant, this is a must pin! All the best tips including where to find the best maternity clothes, freebies and deals.


Slowly drink a warm, soothing drink, such as an herbal tea. Have a sweet snack. Even a bite or two of something yummy can be comforting. Savor each bite, and chew it more times than feels natural. Close your eyes and really enjoy each bite or sip.



Light a scented candle. Lavender, vanilla, and cinnamon can be especially soothing scents. Buy or pick fragrant flowers. Cook a delicious meal or bake a treat. Notice each smell and the way it lingers or changes over time.



Give and get a long hug. Rub a smooth rock or other nature find. Feel the different textures against your skin. Take a warm shower, bath, or dip into a pool and notice the water caressing your body. Paint or draw a picture. Rhythmically pet your dog or cat, and feel her fur against your fingers and the rising and falling of her breath. Notice whether it is, or is not, in sync with your own breath.

Nurturing ourselves when we are pregnant is such a reflection of how we will nurture our babies after birth. And taking care of our body, our mind, and our spirit are essential in having a more easeful and high vibe pregnancy. I hope these 8 spiritual pregnancy self-care ideas are useful and inspiring for your motherhood journey.

Check out these must read pregnancy books. They'll answer questions and give you great information you'll need throughout. These are the best for first time new moms but seasoned moms can always learn something new too! #pregnancy #books #bestpregnancybooks #newmom


Whether you are CURRENTLY PREGNANT, or will ONE DAY be pregnant, or KNOW SOMEONE who is pregnant, this is a must pin! All the best tips including where to find the best maternity clothes, freebies and deals.


Our Favorite Pregnancy & Baby Ideas

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for a prenatal course yet, make sure you check out this course from Hilary, the labor nurse. She’s running a special right now where you can get her beginner’s class for free! Although, i recommend the full course. It’s packed with super useful information and helps take the fear out of birth!

How to Make a Birth Vision Board


How to Make a Birth Vision Board

If you love getting crafty, or creating Pinterest vision boards, have some fun with preparing for your birth with a vision board!

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How I’m Preparing for a Natural High-Vibe Birth

motherhood pregnancy

How I’m Preparing for a Natural High-Vibe Birth

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8 Spiritual Self Care Tips for Pregnancy

8 Spiritual Self Care Tips for Pregnancy

In this blog post, I share 8 spiritual self care tips for pregnancy that I used during my pregnancy journey.

Read More


Ways to Make Pregnancy More Comfortable

Pregnancy  -Pregnancy & Childbirth -,Second Trimester-,Third Trimester

7 ways you can make pregnancy more comfortable! There's no need to deal with pain and discomfort throughout pregnancy - click the link to learn how to make it better!

How you can manage discomforts during your pregnancy and make pregnancy more comfortable! These seven things can help you get through pregnancy with a breeze

Pregnancy…such a happy, glowing time, right?!

It wasn’t for me! I was always looking for ways and things that would make pregnancy more comfortable.

I was never a graceful pregnant woman. Through my first trimester, I felt sick, dizzy, and just bad the whole first trimester. I was OK in the second trimester with my first, and felt awful in my third.

With my second, I was just uncomfortable and miserable from day one! Everything ached and hurt and I felt terrible. 

Don’t get me wrong – there are moments I loved! Feeling the baby move, a growing belly, and knowing I was housing a little blessing were amazing feelings. But the way I felt was not so great.

I know there are other mamas out there like me that didn’t find pregnancy to be magical and lovely! So this post will be about how you can make pregnancy more comfortable.

Pregnancy Pillow

As far as I’m concerned, this is a must-have! Especially if you’re a stomach or back sleeper.

In the later stages of pregnancy, it’s not recommended (or comfortable) to sleep flat on your back or stomach. 

In fact, as a labor nurse, I can tell you that babies do NOT like when you’re totally flat on your back for more than a few minutes. You should put a pillow under one of your hips at the very least if you need to lay on your back. 

I used a C-shaped pillow during both of my pregnancies, but I honestly think I’d like a U-shaped  or oval shaped one better. I found it annoying to switch sides without the belly support on the open side, and think one that had the support on both sides would be better.

The great thing about these pillows is that it prevents you from laying flat on your back or belly. If you roll from your side to your back, the other side will be under your hip to keep you from being totally flat.

As pregnancy progresses, being completely flat may reduce the amount of blood flow to the baby. The pregnancy pillow helps prevent that.

I also had a ton of symphysis pubis pain with my last pregnancy, and having a pillow between my knees was the only thing that was comfy. I even used it a few weeks postpartum as that joint healed.

You may also like:
How to Help During Labor: Advice for Dads and Partners
10 Common Mistakes Women Make in Labor
Labor Inductions: What You Need to Know

Support belt or kinesiology tape

I used a support belt throughout the later part of the second trimester and beginning of my third. After that, it became uncomfortable and wasn’t super useful. 

My physician prescribed me this one, but to be totally honest having a prescription didn’t help me. I later found out that I paid the same price as without a prescription, but I had to drive 30 minutes away to a medical supply store to pick it up. Next time I’ll just order it online. Check with your doctor’s office and insurance to see if they’ll offer you more than I got!

I loved the strap on the top of the belly of this one. It really gave my belly the extra lift and support I needed. It’s optional if you don’t like it, however.

I never tried using kinesiology tape, but it probably would have helped a lot with my symphysis pubis pain. The nice part about this is that it can be used until the very end, whereas the belt I grew out of.

Wearing the belt helped me get through working long days on my feet! I highly recommend it for anyone getting uncomfortable.

Comfortable clothes

While I admire people who get dolled up every day, it just isn’t me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love to do my hair and makeup for a fun night out. But day-to-day you’ll find me in sweatpants or athletic wear. 

It’s no different during pregnancy! I want comfort over style, and comfortable maternity wear is a must. These leggings were a go-to, and they are great postpartum as well!

Stretch Mark/Itch Cream

UGH. The dreaded stretch marks!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my stripes and what my body did! But a growing belly can be soooo itchy and uncomfortable.

I recommend the Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter or Belly Oil to help with the itching and discomfort of stretching skin. (They also have an amazing nipple butter if you are planning to breastfeed.)

I love Earth Mama Organics so much, they agreed to give me a coupon code for my readers! Use code thesehungrykids for 20% an item until April 30th! That’s coming quickly… so don’t miss your chance to save!

Epsom Salt Baths

I suffered from restless legs in my last pregnancy, and I swear that Epsom salt baths helped me settle down for sleep! 

Epsom salts contain a high concentration of magnesium which can help soothe muscles. It helped me crawl into bed without restless legs or aches and pains each night!

Sit on a ball


Why, you ask?!

It’s a simple, effective way to keep your body loose and relaxed during labor, and a great way to relieve back and hip pains during pregnancy. 

At the end of my pregnancy, I would eat dinner on it, watch TV on it, and just chill on it. Sitting on a birth ball was SO much more comfortable to me than anything else.

I talk about them in my post about managing pain in labor, and in my post about how to manage each phase of labor like a pro.

As a labor nurse, I suggest a birthing ball to all of my patients. I like The Birth Ball brand specifically because it comes with it’s own pump (to make it as firm as you like it), non-skid socks, and a booklet of exercises for before and after pregnancy. It really makes the product worth it when you can use it for longer!

7 ways you can make pregnancy more comfortable! There's no need to deal with pain and discomfort throughout pregnancy - click the link to learn how to make it better!

Compression socks

Full disclosure: I never wore compression socks.

I included it only because I have soooo many friends who wear them and love them!

Why didn’t I use them? No idea. I just didn’t. There’s really no good reason.

I did a little digging, and found these compression socks to be the highest rated on Amazon and the best value (6 pairs for $20 USD). Let me know if you like them!

How is your pregnancy going?! I’d love to know!

And if you tried any of these and got some relief, I’d love to hear it.

Hypnosis For Pregnancy & Birth Can It Really Help? 

Having a child is one of the most special and happy experiences that a woman can look forward to in her life. But underneath all of this, the pain of child birth can easily turn this ecstatic feeling of anticipation into one that is filled with fear and anxiety. Self hypnosis for pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to eliminate the pain that is caused by child birth. By using the power of the subconscious mind, a woman can safely deliver her baby — without worrying about the pain! Understanding how and why hypnosis works can make it possible for you to have a painless birth.

The Power Of Hypnosis For Pregnancy

When people hear the word “hypnosis”, the first thing that enters their mind is the depiction of hypnosis on TV. Hypnotic trances, ability to control other people’s minds, the power to take a person completely unaware and in some cases even put a person into sleep — these are the usual stereotypes associated with hypnotists. Although it is true these things CAN be done with hypnosis, some of the things that you see on TV can be misleading. This is the reason why we should clear up things and discuss how (and why) the power of hypnosis can help during child birth.

There is no magic associated with Pregnancy Hypnosis (also known as Hypnobirthing). In fact, the reason why hypnosis helps in child birth is because it can help relax and ease the mind. Hypnosis helps eliminate the negative feelings and focus only on positive sensations and energy, allowing the body to ignore the pain. The techniques learned and applied through hypnosis such as mind-numbing and deep relaxation can help make child birth a lot less painful.

Several programs exist that teach different methods of hypnosis for childbirth; Options for at-home study and local classes are available, and each program comes with it's own set of materials.

Two popular programs are ‘Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method' and ‘Hypnobabies'.

How Hypnobirthing Works

According to some studies, hypnotherapy during childbirth is based on the theory that to experience an easy and comfortable birth, women need to have an understanding of the way in which the uterus functions naturally during normal childbirth. Understanding how the body works when unencumbered by fear along with the ill effects of the fear-tension-pain cycle caused by the birthing process allows to body to ignore these fears and eliminate anxiety. Thus, hypnosis for pregnancy should be practiced consistently in order to make the body react positively. (In short, hypnosis during pregnancy is not only practiced during

Birthing women and their support partners are taught non-pharmacological strategies, such as relaxationmeditation and visualization which allow the body to deliver the baby normally without restrictions. This in turn results to a pain free, easier and more comfortable birthing — all because of the power of self-hypnosis!

Mental Health Information Column

Mental Health Disorders During Pregnancy

Last Update on May 19, 2022 : Published on February 19, 2022

Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy

When I got pregnant, I thought pregnancy is all about feeling the butterflies, a phase of happiness, taking care of your baby inside, lots of good and positive thoughts, and whatnot. However, I was so wrong about it. Pregnancy is related to various mental health issues for most women around the world.

Meanwhile, for some, it could be full of excitement and happiness. But, most of us get vulnerable to having mental health issues or psychiatric disorders during pregnancy like eating disorders, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more.

Do you know what’s worse? These mental health conditions are often related to our mood swings and stay underdiagnosed. Additionally, these conditions are not treated because of the possibly harmful side effects of such high doses. But, do you know therapy can help to treat mental health conditions during pregnancy?

In this blog, I have enlisted the list of mental health disorders during pregnancy. So, let’s get started.

List of Mental Health Disorders during Pregnancy

1. Depression

Symptoms of depression during pregnancy are a little bit different than depression; they can be exhausted energy, loss of appetite (even after the first trimester), insomnia, negative thoughts, and more. Studies show that depression might improve after the second and third trimesters.

2. Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress are pretty common mental health issues during pregnancy. To read the relation between stress and pregnancy, click here. Talking about anxiety, it can vary according to your symptoms like nervousness, increased heart rate, sweating, tiredness, and more.

3. Panic

Panic disorders are something that remains unclear and variable throughout the pregnancy. Meanwhile, one study shows that pre-existing panic disorder might decrease along with the symptoms throughout the pregnancy. Additionally, if you have pre-existing panic, you should also be getting tested for Thyroid.

4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is something that is controlled by your thoughts and cannot be controlled by your repetitive rituals or behaviors. Studies also show that symptoms of OCD might also get increased during postpartum. However, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help in treating symptoms of OCD.

5. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is common throughout pregnancy or even during postpartum because most women worry about their babies, labor pain, health, and body changes.

6. Social Anxiety

Social anxiety might not develop during the first trimester, but it might appear during the second and third trimesters. If you have pre-existing social anxiety, it might get worse during the pregnancy. Moreover, there are more chances of experiencing tocophobia (fear of labor pain or delivery) during the pregnancy.

7. Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are also common after depression, anxiety, and stress. Meanwhile, studies show that symptoms might decrease during pregnancy if you have a pre-existing eating disorder.

Additionally, it should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible because women are at great risk especially during delivery and postpartum. Also, it is related to low birth weight and high chances of miscarriage.

8. Psychoses

Psychoses are rare but women with a past of psychosis are at great risk. Therefore, it should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

9. Bipolar Mood Disorder (BMD)

Studies show that women with pre-existing bipolar disorder might get some relief in the symptoms of bipolar disorder during pregnancy, however; it might increase during post-partum. Hence, careful monitoring and therapy are important for the treatment of Bipolar disorder.

10. Schizophrenia

I was not able to find relatable data for Schizophrenia and pregnancy. However, some of the studies show that symptoms might improve for pre-existing schizophrenia during pregnancy.

Additionally, it also requires close monitoring and therapy sessions so that the side effects are not passed on to the fetus before and after birth.

Getting Help

You might not consider getting help for such disorders because of the harmful side effects of the medications to you and your baby. But, do you know that these conditions can also be treated with the help of therapy? If you wish to get help or mental health advice from a professional, you can visit any nearby psychologist.

If you wish to get help from online platforms, click the below-mentioned link to connect with a mental health professional from BetterHelp.

BetterHelp link

Here are some articles that may help you to get help therapy:

  1. 10 Best online services for Anxiety

  2. Therapy for Women, By Women

  3. Top 10 Online Therapy and Counseling Services

  4. The relation of Depression and Insomnia

  5. Mini-Guide: Eating Disorders

I hope this blog helps you to understand mental health disorders during pregnancy. Share this blog with “to-be moms” and support them in their journey of pregnancy.

For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading.

Happy pregnancy!

Bipolar Depressive Disorder and Pregnancy –
Carrie’s Story

Carrie's story of struggling to get pregnant while managing bipolar II is raw and real. After being diagnosed with bipolar depressive disorder at 28, Carrie fought an uphill battle to get pregnant and keep her mental health in check. Thankfully, she had an incredible support team behind her, as well as a mental health care plan in case things got bad. Learn more about bipolar, adoption with depression, and mental health care plans in this story from the #RawMotherhood series. #bipolar #pregnancy

This story is a part of our Raw Motherhood series, a collection of true accounts from real moms. We hope these stories will help shed light on real issues, but we are not medical professionals and are not offering medical advice. If you are in need of immediate help or feel you could be a harm to yourself or others, please call 911.

Growing up, having kids was one of those things I never gave much thought to.

I just always knew I’d grow up, get married, and have kids. Even when I entered my twenties and I began struggling with depression, that plan never changed. 

Every year my depression seemed to worsen and take longer to recover from.

I still never veered from my internal plan, even when in 2009, at age 28, I was diagnosed with bipolar depressive disorder. I was great about taking my medications, seeing my therapist, and seeking additional help when it was necessary.

In 2014, I met my now-husband, Josh, and we both knew right away that we wanted children in our future. What we didn’t anticipate was the up-hill battle it would be with my bipolar diagnosis. 

As soon as we decided to start a family, I began researching my medications and whether or not I could take them while pregnant. I discussed my findings with my husband and we recognized that while there would be potential risks to our baby, there were very real risks to my health if I did not take medication while I was pregnant. We decided that if my doctors (psychiatrist and ob-gyn) felt it was necessary, I would take medication. 

At my next psychiatrist appointment, I announced to my psychiatrist that my husband and I wanted to try to for a baby. 

I will never forget the look in her eyes.

“Seriously?” she said. When I nodded, too stunned to speak, she sighed and said, “Well, it’s going to take us one year to wean you off your medication. At that point, you can begin trying to conceive.” 

I didn’t say a word. I gathered up my things and left the office. I totally understood the safety concerns, but the thought of waiting an entire year to wean off of my medication seemed ridiculous. However, this actually ended up being for the best, as it was not easy getting pregnant.

We struggled to get pregnant for two long years.

During that time, I became depressed. My husband became depressed. 

The Christmas before we got pregnant, my husband’s grandfather told us, “If you haven’t gotten pregnant already, you might as well give up already because one of you or both of you are broken.” 

Little did he know, we had already started looking into adoption due to how long it was taking us to get pregnant. Sadly, through research, we discovered that adoption was highly unlikely unless I could make it two years without having a major mental health episode.

While some countries will not approve international adoption to anyone with a history of mental health issues, domestic American adoptions do not necessarily exclude candidates with a history of mental illness. Every country and adoption agency has its own standards for adoption, but generally, if there’s a concern about your mental health, your doctor and social worker will need to prove that you’re fit to parent.

Do You Have a Plan In Case of Postpartum Mood Disorders?

We were elated when we found out we were pregnant in February of 2016 and my son was born in October. 

I was so lucky to not experience any postpartum mood disorders.

I did take medication during my pregnancy, but at a very, very low dose and only for a short time after giving birth. I joke that giving birth straightened me out for a long time.

There were so many safeguards in place for my mental health after the birth of my son. I’m so thankful that I never needed to use them, but I’m so glad they were there. My family, therapist, psychiatrist, ob-gyn, and friends were all supportive, and they were watching for signs of depression.

Carrie's story of struggling to get pregnant while managing bipolar II is raw and real. After being diagnosed with bipolar depressive disorder at 28, Carrie fought an uphill battle to get pregnant and keep her mental health in check. Thankfully, she had an incredible support team behind her, as well as a mental health care plan in case things got bad. Learn more about bipolar, adoption with depression, and mental health care plans in this story from the #RawMotherhood series. #bipolar #pregnancy

Having a plan in case things went wrong gave me permission to express, not suppress, my postpartum feelings, and I knew it was okay to get help if I needed it. bipolar

I wish that more doctors would talk to pregnant moms about their mental health support plan. I knew that if I didn’t ask for help, or missed a sign that meant I needed help, my family and friends could reach out to my doctors to help me get the help I needed.

Now that I’m dealing with a ‘terrible-twos’ toddler, I take medication again to maintain my mental health, and I see a therapist. The one gift that I have promised to give my son above all others is a healthy mother.

– Carrie

If you have a history of mental illness and/or bipolar depressive disorder, it’s important to create a mental health care plan.

If you’re not sure where to start, your doctor should provide you with a list of resources and ideas, and they can refer you to local therapists and psychiatrists.

You can also grab a copy of her free ebook, How to Talk to Your Doctor About Your Mental Health.


Planning for the Arrival of your Special Baby

Disabilities are defined as physical or mental challenges that prevent people from being able to perform certain functions as well as most others. Children with disabilities may be born with them or they may develop sometime after birth.

Common childhood disabilities include autism, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, and issues that can disrupt learning such as dyslexia, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sensory processing deficits. Dealing with disability in childhood will have a lifelong impact on a person’s emotional, mental, and physical health, as well as their social interactions. Whether that impact is positive or negative has a lot to do with the support they receive at home. 

Whether you are expecting a child and you just learned about their disability from prenatal testing or you are adopting a child with an existing disability into your home, you can help facilitate a healthy environment that supports their healthy and happy development just as you would with a typical baby. Only you will be very proud of the extra details that you thought on your own to put in the nursery for your special baby.

Preparing Your Life for a Special Needs Child

By Jenny Wise

There are so many thoughts and emotions that whirl through your mind when you learn your baby has a disability. Once the initial surge of emotions has passed, it's time to think seriously about how you'll prepare your life for a child with a disability. These are the five things every parent of a special needs child should do before their baby is born.

Preparing Your Life for a Special Needs Child

Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

Prepare Your Home

Once you understand the nature of your child's disability, start thinking about home modifications that will create a safe, accessible environment for your child. Modifications will likely be minimal when your child is a newborn and can't move around, but as your child grows older, you'll want your home to be an environment that fosters independence. Planning now allows you to budget and schedule remodeling accordingly.

Accessibility remodeling can be costly. If you're worried you can't afford to modify your home, look into grants and other assistance programs. There are a variety of organizations that help families adapt their homes for disabilities.

Prepare Your Finances

may qualify for monthly SSI payments through the Social Security Administration. In most states, Medicaid eligibility is automatically triggered by SSI approval. You can learn more about SSI benefits at BBVA Compass. Whether you qualify for assistance or not, you'll need to carefully review your household budget to make room for your child's expenses. Consider that you may need to scale back how much you work in order to care for your child.

There are many other financial considerations for families with special needs children, many of them too complicated to go into here. You can read up on the basics at The Simple Dollar, but it's recommended you talk to a financial planner and an attorney.

Know Your Healthcare Options

This is not something to push aside until after the baby is born. Check your health insurance policy's,co-pays and limits on what they will pay annually. Your child may need both occupational and speech therapy for a long time. Get the best coverage possible before your baby is born.

About half of all children with special needs receive healthcare coverage through Medicaid and CHIP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. There are several pathways through which you can qualify for Medicaid, so don't assume your income makes you ineligible before doing your research. Families that don't quality for needs-based medical assistance must buy insurance through their employer or the public healthcare exchange. You may choose to double up on insurance to maximize coverage.

If buying insurance, pay attention to the out-of-pocket limit. Children with extensive healthcare needs hit their out-of-pocket limits quickly. You may save money by paying more for a policy with a lower out-of-pocket limit.

Identify Your Support System

Every new parent needs a support system, but support is especially important for parents of a child with disabilities. Seek and accept help from your friends and family. If you're not getting the support you need, ask for it. If you start determining who will be there for you to give moral support or a break when you are pregnant, then its one thing that you don't have to do after the baby is born. It seriously does take a villiage of helpers to raise a special needs child.

Many times, our loved ones want to help but don't know how and are afraid of overstepping. It's also important to seek support from parents who understand what you're going through. Online communities, blogs and support groups are safe spaces where you can connect and learn from other parents of special needs children.

Don't discount professional support. In addition to early intervention services, consider hiring home health care, a housekeeper and a counselor to lighten your load and help you cope.

Make a Self-Care Plan

It probably feels wrong to think about yourself right now, but the truth is, your baby needs you to. You're responsible for keeping your child safe, healthy and loved. If you're not taking care of yourself, you can't give your child your best.

Keep up with your healthy habits, like eating fresh food and exercising. If you need to schedule everything out and automate your meals through meal planning, batch cooking or meal delivery services, do it. Sleep when you can, even if that means hiring someone to clean the house so you can nap when the baby naps. And try to stay focused on the positives—keep a gratitude journal, give yourself pep talks, or do whatever else keeps you looking at the bright side.

Nothing can truly prepare you for raising a child with disabilities and the many joys and sorrows parenthood brings. However, when you address these questions before your baby arrives, you enter parenthood as ready as you can be.

Sharing The news

Sharing the news with friends and family that our daughter was born with Down Syndrome was a task that filled me with anxiety. In the beginning, I just wasn’t ready to talk about it.  I needed time to get my mind right and understand our new reality.

Set rules for yourself.

Personally, it was very important to me that the news of this diagnosis didn’t change how we celebrated our girl. To keep this value at the forefront, I had one important rule for myself: I’m not going to hide my daughter.

That boundary set early on helped me overcome fears as I decided when and whether to take public family outings and post photos on social media. If I was avoiding something out of a desire to hide Rory, I knew that I had to make a different choice.

What are some clear rules you can set for yourself so that you don’t fall into behavior you might look back and regret?

Do you have key people you feel should hear the news in person/first?

My parents, sibling, grandparents and closest girlfriends were on my list. I’m not going to lie this was hard. But, these intimate conversations were also life-giving. They will be in my heart for the entirety of my life. I was met with love and support. I didn’t start this train of face to face conversation until Rory was close to 8 days old and we were home. I was honest about my fears, what I needed from them and how I hoped they would love my daughter.

You don’t owe the world an explanation.

In the age of social media, public announcements are hard to avoid. In my case, I’d been blissfully sharing my pregnancy journey for 9 months with friends and family online. When Rory arrived with this extra news I had a ton of internal conflict regarding making a public statement about her diagnosis or not.

It gave me a lot of anxiety. It took me close to six months to finally put a name and statement to what we had been walking through. You don’t need to label your circumstances until you feel ready to do so. My “rules” came into play on this one. I wasn’t going to invite the general public into this personal moment until I could share our story in a positive light. How could I expect them to not feel pity for us if I was pitiful when telling them.

When developing your announcement think about how you wish you could have met your child or heard the news.

You will never get that moment back, but sharing your baby in the light you wish they would have been introduced to you is empowering. Remember, baby first, diagnosis second. Heck, send out a normal birth announcement, just them with no diagnosis attached to it. I was in a haze of shock and never sent one out for Aurora. I have regret over this now that we are out of those heavy days.



It could also be a good idea to add some of these books to your Pregnancy Survival Kit for when you are feeling a bit down: they will definitely help you reconnet with baby and remind you that you are carrying a little miracle inside of you 🙂.


The Benefits of Hypnobirthing

Anyone can benefit from the use of hypnosis during labor and birth. You may be afraid that hypnosis is not for you; Perhaps you don't even believe in hypnosis. Having used The Mongan Method myself during labor and birth, I must say that hypnobirthing is more about teaching yourself how to relax than it is about hypnosis.

When you practice with the relaxation CD or even your own music throughout pregnancy, you train yourself to immediately use the techniques you have learned and become relaxed when you listen to that music. When you bring the skills and training you have practiced to your labor and birth, you will be able to instantly put yourself into a state of calm.

When practiced, hypnobirthing programs can have an amazing effect on your ability to ease tension and pain during birth. The relaxation and positive affirmations also act as an ideal way to get rid of negative thoughts and emotions about the upcoming labor and make you feel confident about your ability to give birth.

Some women have even reported that they were so relaxed during their hypnobirth that they did not feel pain. No hypnobirthing program will promise you a pain-free labor, but it's certainly possible.

When to Start

If you are interested in using hypnosis during your labor and birth, it's best to look into it now and get started practicing the techniques as soon as possible. These techniques are best practiced throughout pregnancy so that they come naturally during labor.

You should practice hypnobirthing techniques with your partner or anyone else who plans to be with you throughout the birth. It's important that they know what to expect from the techniques that you will be using. In certain programs, your partner or Doula will assist you in hypnosis and relaxation.

Not Just for Natural Birth

Hypnosis for childbirth is not just for mother's who plan to give birth naturally. The best thing about these relaxation techniques is that they can be used in any situation. Women who plan to have an epidural or cesarean section can benefit just as greatly from hypnobirthing methods, using them to ease fears and tension.

If you are interested to learn more about hypnosis for pregnancy, Book A Phone Hypnosis Session today. There are no words to describe how important it is to deliver your baby safely in this world — and we will do it without pain!

Hypnobirthing: 50 Tracks for Breathing, Relaxation, Visualization & Meditation, Soothing Nature Music to Deep Hypnosis, Calmness & Serenity, Natural Birthing, an album by Hypnotherapy Birthing, Hypnobirthing Music Company on Spotify

Spotify Link


The difference between meditation and hypnosis

with Suzy Ashworth

Today I want to explore the difference between meditation and hypnosis, and relaxation beause they’re often used interchangeably but there are actually important yet subtle differences.One message that is never far away from the ears of a pregnant woman is around the idea of self-care and relaxation.

The importance of taking the time to reduce stress and to relax is brought into stark focus when you’re carrying a baby, but this isn’t always easy. Unfortunately, being pregnant doesn’t mean that life is put on hold; you still get all the usual stressors coming your way. Now add hormones to the mix and keeping calm and stress-free is suddenly made a bit more tricky.In seeking ways to help to return to this place of calm and relaxation, many women are prompted to start finding new ways to deal with life, or at least start adopting practices that can help them live more calmly day-to-day. This is not only to help them to relax, but also as a way of preparing for birth.

Some of the new things that women discover around this time might include meditation, hypnosis and relaxation but what’s not always clear is the difference between meditation and hypnosis, and whether relaxation is different again. So, I thought it would be great to shine a light on this to help you understand the difference, so that you can decide which one is right for you.To help me do this, I invited Suzy Ashworth onto the podcast for a chat. Sure, I could have talked through all this myself, but it’s always nicer to chew it over with someone, and Suzy is perfect for the job.

As the co-founder of the Calm Birth School (an online hypnobirthing programme) and someone who’s recently cranked up her meditation practise, Suzy has got a good handle on how they differ. She’s even written a piece for Huff Post on this:

What’s the Difference Between Meditation, Self-Hypnosis and Relaxation?

What is the difference between meditation and hypnosis?During my chat with Suzy, we explain what these differences are and in summary this is what we said;MeditationIt’s an active practice that takes discipline and focus. It can be invaluable in helping you to process your emotions and handle your thoughts, while also offering you potential moments of clarity and inspiration.

When pregnant, meditation can be a great time to visualise your birth as well as to connect and communicate to your baby.HypnosisSuzy describes hypnosis as a state whereby you have a narrowed focus of attention, where you become really engrossed in something and you don’t notice the passage of time. In this state, you’re less aware of your surroundings and you’re more open to suggestion. Think watching TV or being engrossed in a good book. Suzy went on to say that as you’re more suggestive, it means that you’re more open to change which can be helpful if you’re looking to let go of some fears and beliefs that don’t support you. This is what makes hypnosis such a great tool for birth preparation.


Suzy described relaxation as “letting the tension in your mind and your body release”. At its very simplest she encourages using your breathing to help you to relax; breathing in for 4 and out for 7. When your exhalation is twice as long as your inhalation, then you trigger the relaxation response in the body, which can have a immediate and direct impact on your mind and body.

This is such a great way to restore calmness in your mind during pregnancy and birth.Understanding the difference between these three approaches can help you to decide what is likely to help you the most depending on where you’re at and what you need.Fearful of birth?

If you’re in a place of fear, Suzy recommends starting with education so that you become informed about birth, and I completely agree with her. Education can sometimes be all you need to move past fear. If you need more support with releasing fears, then hypnosis tracks can help you to shift your focus and perspective so that you’re better able to release your fears and beliefs that aren’t supporting you.

calm birth school

If your fears are more deep-rooted, or you find that hypnosis doesn’t work for you then you might need more direct clearance action to tackle your fears, such as the 5 Step Head Trash Clearance Method or seeking professional help.It’s important to find tools and techniques that you enjoy using and that work for you and your personal preferences. Practising relaxation techniques during your pregnancy will make it much easier for you to use them during birth if you need them. Using your pregnancy to tackle an address your fears is much more preferable to facing them during birth.

About Suzy

Suzy Ashworth is an Author, TEDx Speaker, Pregnancy Coach, Business Mentor, Founder of The Calm Birth School the world’s first video based hypnobirthing school and a writer. Her mission is to inspire women to say yes to dreams in birth, life and business.

To find out more about Suzy, please visit her website, or click here to sign up for free hypnobirthing classes

INSTAGRAM @thecalmbirthschool and @suzy_ashworthSnapchat: calmbirthschool  Audio Player00:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 37:04 — 33.9MB) Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Email | RSS

Related posts:Taking the fear out of birth, with Hannah Dahlen & Kate Levett

The story behind the podcast

When all your worst birth fears come true

Does your anxiety comes from your in-utero experience?

Information on Pregnancy Freebies

Awesome Baby and Pregnancy Freebies

by Joanna Stephens Published: Mar 23, 2020 · Updated: Nov 23, 2022 · This post may contain affiliate links. We earn commission from purchases made. ·

Did you know that there are some amazing freebies for moms and babies? If you or someone you know is expecting, this is for you!

a pregnant woman holding a purple gift by her belly bump

Best freebies for mom and baby

1. Free welcome box from Amazon

Amazon also offers some amazing pregnancy freebies including their free welcome box for starting a baby registry with them!

The welcome box has quite a few goodies and samples for expecting moms, so definitely check them out.

2. Walmart baby box

screenshot of walmart baby box site

Another great registry freebie is offered by Walmart. ​Head over here to and scroll down where you should see the Walmart baby box. When you create your baby registry with Walmart, you are then eligible for this fun box full of full-size goodies!

3. Free books from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

This next freebie is available for kids from birth to the age of 5. Every month they will send you a free book that is age appropriate for your child.

Right now it’s available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Check them out here and see if it’s available in your area.

4. Free baby formula from Enfamil

baby freebies offered to new moms by Enfamil

I talk a lot more in depth about how to save money on baby formula here, but if you sign up with Enfamil, they will send you full size samples and coupons! Check out enfamil's website here.

5. Free baby formula from Similac

Similac also offers a similar freebie bundle of full size samples and lots of high dollar coupons! Check out Similac here.

I would also encourage you to take advantage of both Enamel and Similac's offers because you never know what your baby will like more if you decide to formula feed.

Pregnancy freebie FAQ

Where to get free stuff when pregnant?

How to get free stuff when you're pregnant?

Pregnancy is supposed to be an enjoyable time and with these great freebies, it can really start getting you excited!

If you enjoyed reading bout these free stuff, please remember to share it on Pinterest or Facebook. Thanks!



This is so exciting! All of these adorable baby products can be yours for zero dollars. For real.

I have a coupon code listed with each of these that gets you the item (sometimes more than one!) for free. Isn’t that awesome? You do have to pay the shipping but it’s totally worth it I can assure you.

Take a look!!

A Nursing Pillow

Coupon Code: 4LOVEMARR | One of the most important baby gadgets is free with this code! Without it you’d pay $39.95

Free Nursing Pillow

A Carseat Canopy

Coupon Code: 4LOVEMARR | These are $50 but this promo code gets it to you for $0.

Free Carseat Canopy

A Set of Milk Bands

Coupon Code:LOVE4PINT | An adorable set of nursing bracelets usually $34.95 but with code costs nothing.

Free Nursing Milk Bands

An Udder Cover

Coupon Code: 4LOVEMARR This was my best friend when I had babies and I can tell you I didn’t pay nothing for it! Lol. With my code this is free.

Free Udder Cover Nursing Cover

An Eskimo Kids hat

Coupon Code: 1LOVEMOM | These are precious! And free!

Free Eskimo Kids Hat

A Set of 3 Custom Pacifiers

Coupon Code: 3FREELOVEPACI | Not just one, but three free pacis. I love all the names and monograms!

Free Custom Pacifier

Baby Leggings

Coupon Code: LOVE4MAMA | This code goes up to $50 so that is FIVE pairs of baby leggings for free. They have some adorable NFL team leggings, too.

Free Baby Leggings

Box of Baby Goodies

Start an Amazon registry and get a box of free goodies for your baby! I honestly can’t think of a better place to register!

Diaper Bag

Get a free diaper bag from Similac with 2 full containers of Similac formula!

$10 to spend at Grove

I’m obsessed with this site! They sell tons of natural and organic products and have a huge selection of baby stuff, too. Use your $10 to get some baby body wash, Seventh Generation wipes or maybe something for yourself. Just use my link here.

Honest Diapers

The Honest company will send you a set of diapers and wipes!

Belly Button Band

Coupon Code: 4LOVEMARR These make dressing that belly bump so much easier.

Free Belly Band - Free Baby Stuff

Go forth and get free stuff! And make sure you share with your friends and family, too!

Consideration for Genetics in Special Pregnancies

Which disorders are genetic?

Genetic disorders is a category of diseases that includes certain types of birth defects, chronic diseases, developmental problems, and sensory deficits that are inherited from one or both parents.

Birth defects

Chronic diseases

Developmental problems

Sensory deficits

Some of the symptoms can be the same as those for conditions that are not inherited. Features can appear at birth (congenital heart disease, or cleft lip or palate) or during the course of childhood (developmental delays or learning problems). Diagnosis may involve a physical exam or targeted genetic testing.

What are the physical signs of genetic disorders?

The following list includes features that might suggest that your child has a genetic disorder. However, some of these characteristics are commonly found in people without a disorder. You'll want to check with your doctor if your child has at least two of the following features:

  • ear abnormalities

  • unusually shaped eyes

  • different colored eyes

  • facial features that are unusual or different from other family members

  • brittle or sparse hair

  • excessive body hair

  • white patches of hair

  • large or small tongue

  • misshapen teeth

  • missing or extra teeth

  • loose or stiff joints

  • unusually tall or short stature

  • webbed fingers or toes

  • excessive skin

  • unusual birthmarks

  • increased or decreased sweating

  • unusual body odor

What is genetic counseling and how do I know if I need it?

Genetic counseling can tell you whether you're at risk of developing a genetic disorder or having a child with a genetic disorder. Genetic counseling can also help you to make sense of the information and put it into context for your child. It may be conducted by a geneticist, a doctor with special training, or a genetic counselor, who will explain the cause of a disorder, availability of testing, prognosis, medical management, and treatment. Genetic counseling sessions typically last an hour or longer, depending on the complexity of your child's case is. There are many reasons to seek genetic counseling, including the following:

1. family history or previous child with:

  • chromosome abnormalities (such as Down syndrome)

  • cleft lip/palate

  • heart defects

  • mental retardation

  • neural tube defects

  • short stature

  • single gene defects (such as cystic fibrosis or PKU)

  • hearing or visual impairments

  • learning disabilities

  • psychiatric disorders

  • cancers

  • multiple pregnancy losses (miscarriages, stillbirths, or infant deaths)

2. a parent with an autosomal dominant disorder, or any disorder seen in several generations

3. pregnancy factors (mother older than 35 years)

4. mother with any of the following:

  • schizophrenia

  • depression

  • seizures

  • alcoholism

  • diabetes

  • thyroid disorder

  • fetal or parental exposure to certain drugs, chemicals, radiation, or infections

  • advanced paternal age at the time of conception

  • infertility cases where either parent is suspected of having a chromosome abnormality

  • couples requiring assisted reproductive techniques to achieve a pregnancy, or individuals donating eggs or sperm for those purposes

  • ethnic groups or geographic areas with a higher incidence of certain disorders, such as Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell disease, or thalassemia

How we care for genetic disorders

The Division of Genetics and Genomics works closely with the Genetics Division's research laboratories to develop scientific findings into new treatments and cures for your child. Home to the world's only center studying rare “orphan” diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the country, we are poised to become the richest database of genetic and clinical pediatric data in the world.

Genetic Disorders
|Diagnosis & Treatments

How we look for genetic disorders

Boston Children's provides genetic testing for pregnant women, newborns, and children of all ages. In some cases, a diagnosis can be made after a physical exam. Most of the time, genetic disorders are diagnosed through a specific test, which can include examining chromosomes or DNA (the tiny proteins that make up genes), or testing the blood for certain enzymes that may be abnormal. Studying enzymes is called biochemical genetic testing.

At your initial appointment, a member of the genetics team (a genetic counselor, a clinical genetics fellow, and/or a geneticist) will review your medical, family, and pregnancy history and perform tests. Tests may include x-rays, an MRI, or genetic tests (usually blood or urine tests). Your child may also be referred to a specialty clinic within the hospital.

The different categories of genetic tests are:

  • Predictive genetic testing can tell you the chances that a healthy person with or without a family history of a certain disease might develop that disease. These diseases can include some types of cancer and heart disease.

  • Presymptomatic genetic testing can tell if a person with a family history for a genetic disease but does not have symptoms or has a genetic alteration associated with the disease.

  • Carrier testing can determine if a person carries one copy of a gene linked to a certain disease. An "autosomal recessive" disease means that the disease will appear only if two copies of the altered gene are inherited. Couples who both carry the same autosomal recessive gene have a one in four, or 25 percent, chance with each pregnancy to have a child with that disease.

  • Prenatal diagnosis is used to diagnose a genetic disease or condition in the developing fetus. Prenatal tests include screening blood, ultrasound (sonograms), amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS).

  • Preimplantation studies are used only in in vitro fertilization to diagnose a genetic disease in an embryo before it is implanted into the mother's uterus.

  • Newborn screening is used to check for certain genetic disorders that can be diagnosed and treated early in life.

How we address genetic disorders

Tying genetics to dyslexia allows us to identify a potential problem at birth, so that gives us the earliest possible chance to intervene. Doctors might make diagnoses using brain imaging, before reading even starts.~ — Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital Chief of Genetics ~

Treatment of genetic disorders varies depending on the specific disease. In some cases, such as autism, the symptoms are treated with medication, behavioral, and educational interventions. Other disorders, such as PKU (phenylketonuria), can be managed through diet, while some of the physical symptoms of certain genetic diseases can be corrected with surgery. In many cases, your child will need ancillary services that may include speech therapy and occupational therapy, among others.

Whatever your child's diagnosis, a member of your child's genetic team will discuss treatment options with you and your family and make the appropriate referrals when necessary. We understand the kinds of challenges children and families with genetic disorders face and can connect you with outside resources for additional support.



genetic screening during pregnancy

This guest post is an article specially written for by Alison Woods

genetic screening during pregnancy

There are always risks to pregnancy and some of them are linked to genetics. Even though birth defects are only found in 1 out of every 33 births, it can be helpful for mothers and mothers-to-be to go through a genetic screening. These tests performed before and during pregnancy can help parents understand the possible conditions that could complicate the pregnancy and the baby’s health.

Before taking genetic screening tests, you must first consult with an obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) and genetic healthcare experts on which tests are appropriate for you. Nurses, who are highly involved in the pregnancy, can also suggest, plan, implement, and even administer screening tests that can benefit your health and the baby’s. Genetics nurses are practitioners who have passed their BSN, and those who have this qualification are trained to evaluate your family’s medical history for any risk of inheritable diseases. Genetics nurses, along with genetics counselors and other genetic healthcare experts, can work hand-in-hand with your ob-gyn in prescribing genetic diagnostic tests, which will be discussed here.

Types of Genetic Screening Tests

There are over 1,000 genetic tests available for use, so expectant mothers may get overwhelmed! However, healthcare professionals most frequently conduct the following genetic screening tests for moms-to-be:

1. Blood Tests

Blood works can be administered before and during your pregnancy for carrier screening. This type of test can determine if you are carrying a gene for a disease that can be passed down to your child. Your blood sample can also be used to conduct Cell-Free DNA screening to assess your child’s risk for Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 13, and Trisomy 18.

2. Chronic Villus Sampling

Chronic villus sampling is usually performed in the first trimester of your pregnancy to detect chromosomal abnormalities and other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. It’s recommended for mothers who will be 35 on their due date and who have a history of birth defects in the family and abnormal genetic test results prior.

3. Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is usually prescribed for couples who have been identified as carriers for autosomal recessive disorders and other inherited disorders, like Huntington disease, TaySachs disease, and even congenital heart defects. If your family has a history of those conditions or if you have abnormal ultrasound findings, it’s recommended that women go through this test.

Things to Consider Before Undergoing the Tests

1. Family Medical History

If you haven’t already, take the time to gather information regarding the medical history of both your family and your partner’s family. Your medical provider will be able to guide you better once they know all the possible genetic conditions that you need to look out for.

2. The Schedule of the Tests

Some genetic screening tests are invasive, so moms-to-be should take their time to rest and recover after an exhausting procedure. Most importantly, some tests can only be done in specific trimesters. For example, chronic villus sampling is done within your 10th to 12th week of pregnancy, while amniocentesis can only be performed in your 15th to your 20th week.

3. The Risks of Prenatal Screening

As an expectant mother, be aware of the risks of prenatal genetic tests. Most medical practitioners prefer prenatal blood tests over amniocentesis or chronic villus sampling because these more invasive tests can cause physical pain and carry a slight risk of miscarriage. It is normal to experience worry and anxiety while waiting and also after receiving the results. Having a good support system as well as a trusted healthcare provider can bring ease throughout the whole process.

Getting a Genetic Screening Test

Moms and their partners take various factors into account before getting a genetic screening test. If you and your partner fall under these categories, it is recommended that you consider getting screened:

1. Your age is above 34
2. You and your partner may be carriers for genetic diseases
3. You got a concerning result from a prenatal screening test
4. You experienced two or more miscarriages

As a mom, we believe you know and want what’s best for your child and take that into account when choosing whether or not to have genetic screening in pregnancy. As an expecting mother, you can learn more about your baby’s health and condition through these genetic screening tests.

Article was specially written for by Alison Woods

Prevention of Autism: Is it Possible?

Is autism preventable? 

You might be wondering how to avoid autism during pregnancy.  Although there’s currently no cure or definitive way to prevent autism spectrum disorder, studies have found that certain actions can help pregnant women lower the risk of having a child with ASD. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disability that causes significant development delays, especially in social functioning. According to Autism Speaks, one in 45 children in the United States have been diagnosed with autism.

Women who are pregnant (or planning to be) can develop prevention strategies for autism to increase their chances of delivering a healthy baby. Research in the New England Journal of Medicine found that disparities in brain development begin as early as the second trimester for autistic children. Starting at conception, the following tips may help expectant mothers prevent autism during pregnancy.

See Also: What are the 10 Most Common Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Can Autism Be Prevented by Maintaining a Nutritious Diet?

While you may not be able to prevent autism, there are things you can do to lower your risk of having a child with ASD.  Women can lower the risk for autism by eating colorful, organic diet rich in green vegetables and fruits containing antioxidants.  Doctors recommend eating at least 80 grams of protein per day from lean sources like:

  • turkey

  • chicken

  • nuts

Many health experts support reducing “white foods,” including bread and sugar.  These white foods can be heavily processed and contain fewer nutrients than their whole counterparts.  When foods are refined many vitamins and minerals are removed.

Folic Acid

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggest soon-to-be mothers take 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid to assist with their child’s development.  Folic acid is needed by the body to help form the neural tube.  There is research to show that taking this B vitamin before and early in pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of ASD.Vitamin DIncreasing intake of vitamin D has been linked to better neurological development in fetuses. One study found that women who were deficient in vitamin D halfway through their pregnancy were 2.42 times more likely to have a child with autism spectrum disorder that a woman with a normal vitamin D level.   The reasons are unknown and more research is needed on a possible connection between vitamin D and ASD.

Omega-3 Fatty AcidsDoctors recommend pregnant women should get enough omega-3 fatty acids.  A study from Harvard School of Public Health found a link between an unbalanced consumption of omega fatty acids during pregnancy and a risk of autism spectrum disorder.  They found that children born to mothers who did not consume adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are 53% more likely to be born with ASD.Weight Gain During PregnancyWeight gain during pregnancy is another risk factor for autism spectrum disorder.  A modest weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy is optimal. 

A study published by Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found a possible link between maternal prenatal weight gain and ASD.  They found that the risk of a child developing autism increased significantly with pregnancy weight gain but not pre-pregnancy BMI.  This research suggests that autism has an underlying gestational etiology.

I Have Heard That Genetics Play a Huge Role in Autism

Autism is a complex disorder without a single known cause or “trigger.” In fact, autism is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.  Scientists agree that genetics are responsible for up to 90 percent of the autism risk. Whether a child develops ASD is usually out of the parents’ control.

Certain genetic disorders are associated with an increased risk for autism spectrum disorder. 

Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic condition that can cause behavioral challenges.  Fragile X can also cause learning challenges along with various physical conditions.  It’s believed to be the leading genetic cause of autism.  One in three people with Fragile X will also have a diagnosis of autism.Cornelia de Lange Syndrome is another genetic condition related to autism.  Between 50% and 75% of individuals diagnosed with CdLS have autism characteristics. 

Symptoms like social anxiety and extreme shyness are prevalent in this population.  Selective mutism is also common.There are other risk factors for autism spectrum disorder that are beyond a parent’s control.  These include:

  • the sex of your child

  • family history

  • other disorders

According to research, boys are up to four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than girls.  Historically, males have been studied and diagnosed at a greater rate than females.   This could be because males are actually at greater risk for autism.  It could also be because screening tests aren’t always picking up ASD in females, especially among those considered high functioning.  More research is needed in this area.

Family history can also play a role in autism risk. 

Parents who have one child with ASD are at an increased risk of having another child with the same diagnosis.  Relatives and parents may have communication deficits or problems communicating that can be mild symptoms of autism.


Unfortunately, there is no playbook that can help give a definitive answer to the question “Can autism be prevented?”  There are certainly things you can do to reduce the risk, but there are no guarantees. If you suspect your child may have autism, early intervention is key.  Seek the advice of a medical professional who can complete appropriate screenings.  Reach out to therapists early who can help optimize future outcomes for children with autism.  Most importantly, understand that you are not alone and help is available for children diagnosed with ASD.

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10 Things I’ve Done to Take Control of My Mental Health

I’m not the first to admit that life is hard after you have a baby. Everything is different. You’ve lost your independence, finances are strained, and you are living on half as much sleep (or less).

It’s not that you don’t love your baby. You are absolutely in love with those sweet newborn snuggles, those first sleepy smiles, and the sound of baby’s first laugh. You might try to brush off the feelings of discouragement and exhaustion, fearing that if you do allow yourself to feel this you are somehow a “bad” mother. Maybe you allow yourself to feel and you begin to worry that you really are a bad mother.

I didn’t understand it until I had a baby of my own. I thought postpartum blues and depression were only for those with “chemical imbalances”. I didn’t realize the staggering weight of all mothers accomplish and sacrifice. I’m 3 months into motherhood and I already feel like a master of maternal struggles!

And I’m just getting started.

But while it’s sometimes so hard… Sometimes I’m exhausted and can’t help but fall asleep with my baby while he nurses. Some days it seems I haven’t accomplished a single thing and I wonder where the hours went…. I’ve found some things that have really HELPED me to take control of my mental health and to feel good, happy, healthy, and successful at the end of the day. I’m hoping these can help you too 


Be Mindful about your Emotions

Acknowledging difficult emotions has always been really hard for me. I’m just a happy person and I love life. So I’ve somehow found it shameful whenever I’m bogged down by any negative emotion. The truth is, no emotion is inherently bad. Every emotion serves an important purpose. Emotions can alert you to imbalance in your life and relationships. Practicing yoga has taught me that instead of ignoring my emotions or letting them consume me, I can allow them to serve their purpose. Accept them, learn from them, and learn how I can change to create more enjoyable emotions. Allow them to serve their purpose. Putting up a happy facade is NOT being mentally healthy. You may be able to fool others for a while, but you can’t fool yourself and odds are you’ll eventually snap! So let yourself experience your emotions as they need to be experienced.

Talk About It

I can’t say how much this has helped me. After finally talking through some of my postpartum experiences with my husband, I feel like all my internal struggles have been released. No longer forcing myself to hold them in where only I can see, I can finally help myself and seek the support I need.

Set Down Your Phone

This seriously drains you mentally and physically. It interferes with your relationships, your conversations, and your self confidence.

This week I’ve decided to pick up my phone less and pick up my books more. Instead of scrolling on my phone while I’m breastfeeding, instead I indulge in an interesting book! I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I’m feeding my mind something tangible, rather than something empty.

Spend time Outside

After being cooped up breastfeeding and doing chores all day, I just have to get outside. For me, taking a walk brings me immense peace and clarity. For you, it might be going for a walk, but it might be many other things! Running, swimming, rock climbing… whatever helps you clear your mind, DO IT! Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family or friends so you can have some time to yourself.

Do what YOU WANT to do when Baby Sleeps

Some of the best advice I heard shortly after giving birth. Yes, it’s important to sleep when baby sleeps, and sometimes this is what you need. But sometimes you need something else more than sleep. Read a book, clip your toenails, take a shower, do some yoga… whatever is going to help you feel good!

Eat what makes you REALLY feel good

Not what feeds the way you feel. Choose foods that clear your body and your mind, that don’t weigh you down. Eat in balanced ways, but let yourself indulge once in a while, too!

Listen to Something Uplifting

I’ve recently started listening to some great podcasts while I clean, which helps to boost my mood while doing chores that can feel super repetitive.

Intentionally Spend Time with Loved ones

Put down your phone and any other background distractions and just devote some real time to each other!

Learn New Things and Share What you Learn

I love to learn! When I feed my mind I feel so much more productive and happier. I’ve been reading my social psychology textbook (reads more like a chapter book) while breastfeeding and I love it! I also love telling Carter about all I’ve learned in there and everywhere else 

Find Enjoyable Ways to be Productive

Your mom duties aren’t going to disappear. Babies will need feeding, diaper changing, and spit-up cleaning. Laundry will remain, as will the other chores. But you can still find ways to make even the most mundane chores more enjoyable!

For our new job, we have to vacuum our apartment complex every other day. One month in and I am already getting so sick of vacuuming! Carter has been really willing to help me out and the other night we decided to tag-team it and make a competition out of it. First one to finish their side of the building gets to pick out the Christmas tree next month! 


 That’s motivation enough for me… simply doing it together and adding a little competition made this chore feel MUCH FASTER than ever before. So get creative and find ways to make your must-dos a little more enjoyable.

I sincerely hope this post has given you some ideas of how to boost your mental health. You need some lovin’, mama! I encourage you to do all you can to take control of your situation, but if you are still struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. The suggestions in this post are in NO WAY intended to discredit or replace professional help. There are trained professionals who can help you to learn ways to get out of the negative downward spirals and prescribe medications where necessary (don’t be ashamed if you can’t seem to “figure it out” without medication! All resources are valuable if used in their proper place!). There are so many options and, when used in a holistic way, you can truly be well.

You can do it, mama! You are strong, beautiful, and courageous. You are doing a remarkable work. Never forget that ♥

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