Tag Archives: pregnancy

Things I did not know existed before I became pregnant

I think in life until we really need something, we don’t look for it. That was the case with me when I discovered the world of pregnancy for the first time. I didn’t even know that these are products in the market before I started to need them due to my pregnancy.

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Bra extender

The simplest and best pregnancy items were bra extenders. I went from a pre-pregnancy small cup to 2 sizes up in about 12 weeks. So I went and bought some new bras but I outgrew them in just a few weeks. That is when I discovered bra extenders and it has been a life saver.

A bra extender is a separate accessory that can help relieve or eliminate tightness caused by pregnancy. No sewing is required.  These bra back extenders let you increase the size of your bra’s band by 1-1/4 to 3-1/4″.  It looks like a rectangular piece of material that has bra hooks, just like the ends of your bras.  It latches on both ends of your bra, giving you extra room, acting like a patch.

Waist Band Extenders

I did not know this product existed until one of my friends gave me one.

The Waist Band Extenders is designed to allow people to continue to wear their regular sized pants or skirt when they are pregnant. It is made from a simple elasticised strip and is fastened to your jeans using the existing button and buttonhole.

It is a great idea for the initial months of pregnancy as you can still fit into most of your pants and shorts but the button doesn’t fit or is too tight. I spent much less money on it than I would have buying several new pairs of shorts and pants for early pregnancy.

Red raspberry tea

One of my friends who recently had a baby advise me to research on Red raspberry tea to make my labour easier so I went Googling and found more about it.

Red raspberry is a plant that is the source of a widely eaten, tasty, sweet berry. Red raspberry leaves contain a rich assortment of vitamins including Vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium and fragarine.

When taken during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf is said to aid the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and promote better circulation. Taking raspberry leaf is said to strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth, as well as assist with breastmilk supply.

I have bought Red raspberry capsule which I am planning to take from week 36 of the pregnancy.

Please let me know if any of you have used it before and your opinion on it.

Compression socks

I have been complaining about my swollen feet in almost every post. I have to say that it is one painful time when your feet can’t support your body. Then someone advised compression socks.

Compression stockings are elastic garments worn around the leg, compressing the limb, exerting pressure against the legs, reducing the diameter of distended veins, and causing an increase in venous blood flow velocity and valve effectiveness. Compression therapy helps decrease venous pressure, prevents venous stasis and impairments of venous walls, and relieves heavy and aching legs.

I have to say it works to some extent but if your feet are two swollen, it doesn’t works as the pressure starts to hurt. I guess it depends on each person.

Bio oil

I kind of heard about bio oil before but never used it.

Bio‑Oil is a special skincare oil that helps reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone.

I use it at least once or twice a day on my belly and breasts. I can feel that my skin has been softer, and hope to get no stretch mark after birth.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe gel is a clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the aloe plant leaf.

Because it is summer and some days get too hot, my swollen feet sometime start becoming itchy at times. Also my feet get so hot and swollen at night, and it’s hard to sleep. So I am using green aloe vera gel to massage on my feet and it does help a lot.

These are my discoveries so far. If you have discovered something useful during pregnancy or post pregnancy please share and I will be grateful. Anything that makes my life easier during pregnancy is heaven sent for sure.

Take care,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Boy vs girl

If you have not read my last post, you might have missed out on the news that I am having a baby girl soon. It is one of the most exciting news in my life. When you are pregnant, the most important thing on your mind, of course, is having a healthy baby. Anyone who is given that gift is blessed beyond belief. I definitely did not take that for granted and felt hugely lucky to be having a baby.

But at the same time, every time, I think about babies I was secretly hoping for my first one to be a daughter. I would have been perfectly fine with a healthy baby boy as well but a baby girl is definitely my dream come true.  I had always imagined having a daughter and doing all those fun girly things together and have the same bond with my daughter that I shared with my mum.

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When we found out the gender of the baby, both AS and I were over the moon. Someone tiny is joining us to complete us and we are going to have our own family. Our parents were happy as well. My MIL law has 3 boys so it is going to be their first grandchild and they are happy that it’s a girl.

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In my family, my parents already have a grandson so having a grand daughter was great news for them as well.

In Sydney, I have a few cousins and amazingly enough I have 4 nephews in total and no nieces which means I won’t be surprised if my little gal loves cars more than dolls as she will be hanging around with many boys.

But I want to share the reactions of some people (strangers) regarding this topic.

As I mentioned before, one of the indulgence I have these days is having a massage and I was getting my normal massage one day when the girl giving me the massage started a conversation.

Her: “You are looking good for a pregnant woman. Not too much weight in other places, only on the tummy.

Me: “Thank you. I still feel big and tired these days.”

Her: “Do not worry you are not. Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?”

Me: “Yes it’s a girl and I am so excited.”

You should have been in the room to see her reaction. She was totaly put off that it’s a girl, and not a boy. I think because she is from China, and it is a cultural thing in Asia to think that having I baby boy is better than having a girl.

Her: “Ohooo, don’t you wish it was a boy?”

Me: “No I always wanted a girl and so I’m happy that it is a girl.”

Her: “When I am pregnant one day, I want a boy. I don’t like girls.”

I was really shocked by her answer but I didn’t continue the conversation as I saw no point in it but she made me think for sure. I was thinking how my own reaction would be if I were having a boy.

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I am sure I would be fine. There is a different joy having a boy and different for a girl. If we decide to have another baby in the future, I wish the baby to be a boy so we can have a father son / mother son relationship as well. But wishing for one or another and not wanting one, I think is definitely wrong.

I know in most Asian country, including Nepal, many people prefer boy over girl. They think that one day , the girl will be married and will belong to another family while a boy will be yours for lifetime and help your family tree move forward.

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I was shocked when I read the following report recently.

200 million girls at present abandoned, aborted or killed mainly because of their gender. The countries which are mostly responsible for such criminal acts are China and India. The number of girls killed by these champion nations (population-wise) is more than the number of girls born in the U.S. annually.

In India, an abortion takes place every minute simply because it is a girl. Many of those who manage to survive such as planned abortions end up getting killed while they are infants. The Invisible Girl Project in India reflects that some areas that practice female infanticide widely has 75 percent higher rate of female mortality than male ones. Presently, India has 37 million more men than women..

China, on the other hand, has maintained a one-child policy for years. The country has ended up with 18 million more men than women at present. According to All Girls Allowed, “gendercide” is a widespread practice in the country where there is a “systematic extermination of a particular gender.

I know it is a different thing to wish for a boy or a girl when you are pregnant but is it inhumane to kill the child even before they are born. How can parents to be make such cruel decision?

Even though my baby is still in my tummy, I worry constantly about her welfare and I am worried all the time if I am doing any harm to her unknowingly but there are people out there who are ready to take the life of the baby just because she is a girl.

I think for the very reason in Nepal when you go for a scan, it is illegal for the doctor to tell the parents to be if the baby is a boy or a girl.

In Australia, you can choose to know the sex of the baby and we found out in our 18 week scan. For me and AS, it was a good decision as I wanted to some preparation done beforehand. But I have many friends who wanted a surprise on the day and it went well for them too.

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When you think of having children, do you ever secretly hope for a boy or a girl? Even though people don’t really talk about it, I actually think it’s really common to wish for one or the other.

What do you think about gender discrimination in the 21st century?

Take care,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

My Awesome Baby Shower :)

I can’t believe time is running so fast. I had my baby shower and I am going to have the baby soon. The last few months seem to have flown by and my days as a mum are getting nearer and nearer.

In Nepali culture, we normally don’t have a baby shower but we have a special ceremony called Dhau-baji in Newari or Dahi-Chiura in Nepali.

Dhau-baji ceremony is done after 36 weeks and I am waiting for my parents to arrive in Sydney for that ceremony. in this ceremony, the mother-to-be’s family comes to feed Dhau-baji (yogurt and flattened/beaten rice) and brings Sagun and lots of food along with gifts for the mother-to-be as well as the unborn baby.

In the meantime while I was waited for my parents to arrive, I decided to have a western style baby shower as I have lots of friends here and some of them wanted to help me organise one.

Once we found out the sex of the baby, I was excited for the baby shower because I had some ideas about what I wanted. I was over-joyed since I was secretly hoping for a daughter. I would have been be perfectly fine with a healthy baby boy as well but a baby girl is definitely my dream come true.

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I started planning for the baby shower with the help of my friends a few weeks in advance and I was over joyed with the result. It was everything I hoped for and more.

Here is how the invitation looked like.

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Of course, the theme was pink but to I mixed it up a bit by using yellow.

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My nice hubby helped me decorate our place a day in advance and when we were done, I was really pleased with the end result. I don’t know what I would do without him. He is a really great help when I want things done.

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My friend baked a delicious and pretty red velvet cupcake for the occasion. I can’t be thankful enough that she took so much time to do the onesies topping with fine details like ribbons, bows and hearts.

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The baby shower cake was baked by one of my friends’s friend and it was perfect. I loved the details of the ruffle on the pram and the tiny cloth lining along the cake. I couldn’t have asked for more.

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I used our kitchen bench top as the main table with a pink table cloth for the food and dessert table. I had nice apothecary glass jars filled with different variety of pink and yellow lollies. It went perfectly with the table and added that wow-factor.

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I also had our buffet table decorated with “It’s a girl” buntings, angel lights and wishing trees.

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I had a card made so everyone could write something nice for the baby and hang on the wishing tree. The table also had a fish bowl with floating yellow ducks and a sleeping pink baby.baby shower (27)

I had also customised water bottles and chocolates as a part of the decoration which added to the theme and looked so elegant.

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It was meant to be the photo booth where people could pick up the props I had arrange and take some silly photos.

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As the guests stared to arrive, I was so happy that they followed the theme and were dressed in different shades of pink. The food was ready and I was ready to start the amazing afternoon.

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My friend C, took care of all the games and prizes for the afternoon. The games had us in stitches, and made the day a truly Fun-day.

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One of the games was guessing how big my belly was by using a string. Let’s just say a couple of them think I am twice as much bigger then I actually am. Oops! However, my cousin in law who won that game was only centimetres away from being perfectly right.

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Another game we played was “Dad knows best” and it was a fun one. I had my hubby answer all the questions beforehand the asked the girls to guess what his answer to each question might be. The gals did really well.

Then we played a game called “My Water Broke”. I got pack of tiny jelly babies and froze them into an ice cubes for each guest. Each girl got a cup with a jelly baby ice cube in it to keep an eye on during the party. The first person whose ice melted so that her baby floats freely in the glass shouts “My water broke!” and wins the game. It was such a fun game.

Another game we did was funny but risqué called “Sex or Labour.” I print out a paper with photos of women’s faces in orgasmic poses or while giving birth. Each guest got a copy and wrote if each women was in labour or in bed. The one who guessed the most wins. It was hilarious to see the reactions of everyone when they got things wrong.

We also had other games where they tasted the baby food and guessed the flavour. Overall the games filled up our time and everyone was in the mood to have fun.

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After the game, each guest wrote a sweet love note to my baby and advice for me and it will be a great keepsake for me which I will always treasure.

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Then it was time to cut the cake. I got AS involved in that as I feel it is his big day as much as mine. The cake looked so nice I really didn’t want to ruin it.

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With AS by my side, we cut the cake. My nephew was so excited with the cake that he kept clapping. It was a chocolate mud cake with pink icing and it was moist and so yummy, everyone just loved it.

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After some candid shots, some crazy ones with the props, it was the exciting gift opening time. I was literally overwhelmed by what everyone brought me. Of course, there were the pink dress, onesies, cute headbands, blankets and toys as well as boxes of nappies, baby mats, baby monitor, baby bottle and other very very useful items. I am sure our baby is so lucky to have so many nice aunties in her life.

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I was so glad when everyone congratulated me for pulling off one of the most beautiful baby showers they had ever seen and I will forever cherish this shower. Definitely a big credit to my hubby, and my friend C for all the help they provided. We all had an absolute blast showering this baby girl with lots of love (and cute outfits)! She certainly has a wardrobe that puts mine to total shame now.

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I know I will see most of the ladies only after I have the little girl in my arms instead of in my belly but I am extremely grateful to all of them who made my shower such a dream come true. I am so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so much love.

Hope you enjoyed photographic tour of the sweet shower!

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Things I HATE about being pregnant

Things I HATE about being pregnant

I did my last post about Things I LOVE about being pregnant but today I am writing the opposite.

Now don’t get me wrong. My husband and I are thrilled that we are expecting. I have to admit I was extremely lucky not to have morning sickness as well but there are still things that I am feeling that I wish didn’t happen.

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I might get a back lash from people for not loving the pregnancy but in my honest opinion, there are many things I did not know about pregnancy until I became pregnant myself. Because, even though pregnancy and childbirth is a miracle, it’s not all roses and sunshine, is it?

Therefore, here is my list on things I hate about being pregnant.

Feeling helpless

This was not an issue for me until the last few weeks but I feel so helpless these days. As much as I love the love and affection of everyone around me and being spoilt, I do not like that there are so many normal day to day activates that I can’t do and need help with.

I am a very active person and it is the constant asking for help I don’t like at all. I feel so helpless that it annoys me.

Constant worry

From the moment I found out, I was pregnant, I worried about everything and anything. For the first 12 weeks, I was worried about miscarriage, and then I would worry when I could not feel the baby move.

Then I am worried when the baby moves too much or too little. Seriously, my mind is a constant battlefield thinking about the welfare of the baby. I even cause my hubby to worry at times. Thanks to doctor Google, most of the answers to my questions are easily available.

pregnancy  (1)Sometime I eat something that I am not supposed to unknowingly and that makes me very worried, as I am scared for the welfare of the baby.

I know that this worry will not go away once the bub is out either as I will have other things to worry about.

The constant need to go to toilet

From the first few weeks, all I seem to do is run to the loo wherever I am. Even if I remember to pee before I go out, once we are at our destination, the first things I do is look for a toilet. Sometimes it is so frustrating as I spend so much time on this.

I know it these are all usual signs of pregnancy, a part of all the hormonal changes in the body but I don’t have to love everything do I?

Tiredness, foot cramps and Fatigue, back pain

Whatever tiredness I have experienced in my life before the pregnancy was really nothing compared to what I feel now.

Because my in-laws were here, I was constantly on the move and was doing more than 10,000 steps most of the days, which meant I was dead tired when we reached home.

Then there are the foot cramps that happen at the middle of the night and are so painful that I feel like I am going to die. Thank God that when I yell hubby wakes up and helps. I just hate the pain and everything that comes with it.

I love to be out and about utilising every moment of the day but looks like I will be in front of the sofa watching a movie for a while until the baby decided to come out.

As I am growing bigger every day, my back is not coping too well and my feet are swollen as well. I have stopped running a while ago and I can’t walk or swim for long periods anymore.

Body issue

There are times I feel so fat, gaining more than 10 kg already and being so big for the first time in my life, I worry what will happen, once the baby is out. I know it will be a hard journey of healthy eating and regular exercise to get back in shape.

As I mention I am extremely lucky with my weight which is mostly concentrated around my belly but still there are times that I hate the way I look.

I dream of running and jumping and getting back into the shape so I can feel good about myself again.

Acid reflux and gum bleeding

Few weeks ago, I had a very bad case of acid reflux. At the middle of the night, I woke up multiple times and had to throw up. It was one of the worst nights of this pregnancy because I was so worried something bad was going to happen to the baby.

I called the doctor multiple times just to make sure if I needed to go to hospital but she assured me that it was bad food that caused the vomiting. After that incident, I am more careful about what I eat but still the acid reflux is not 100% gone. According to what I read, it won’t go away until the baby is out.

Also my gums are bleeding when I brush or floss and when I told this to my doctor, she said that it is part of being pregnant :(.  Apparently the increased blood volume is responsible for all this.

Sleeplessness

This is another problem which I did not have for a while but it stared a few weeks ago. Today I woke up at 4:30 am and could not go back to sleep. After tossing and turning for a while, I decided to wake up and do a few stuffs before getting ready to go to work.

Because of that, I am really tired the whole day and it doesn’t look like things are not going to get any better soon.

As I normally sleep on my right so sleeping on my left side while acid creeps up my throat and my child keeps moving inside the tummy, sleeping 8 hours a day seems like a distant dream.

If I manage to stay on my left side, I wake up with a painfully sore hip and feet.

Wardrobe and Shoes issue

I think most of you know that I love my clothes and shoes.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I was super excited and started looking for maternity clothes. To my disappointment most maternity clothes are so ugly and super expensive. So I made a decision not to buy them as long as I could.my walkin wardrobe

So far, I haven’t bought any maternity clothes as I aim to fit into the dresses I already own. Moreover, it is working. Of course, I can’t fit into my super tight dresses but any dresses with elastic or flare, I am wearing them. I have to wait and see how I go for next few months to see if I have achieved my goal or not.

In addition, even though I loved the increased cup size, the bra I bought a few months ago is getting too small now and I do not like the idea that it will keep growing even more. Because of that, so many of my clothes do not fit me anymore.

I bought a new swimwear once my belly popped out but now I can’t fit into it either so I need to do more shopping.

Also for the last few months, I have been wearing only flat shoes so all my heels are crying feeling left alone. I hope this is temporary and I can still fit into those shoes when I go back to normal size. People have told me that sometimes, your feet never return to their former size. I am praying that is not true otherwise my 100’s of shoes will be useless in my wardrobe. Definitely, I am not throwing out all my pretty high heels but I will cry for sure if I can’t fit into them again.

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Gas

This one is so embarrassing but so true. One of the early signs of pregnancy I had was, I was passing more gas. I think it got better after a while but you are not the same. Then once your tummy starts to grow, you start passing more gas again. Guess no room in my tummy for anything else but the baby.

I am sure I can come up with a few more points if I keep thinking but this should do for now.

Even though I am loving my unborn child more than anything in the world, I am hating all the cons that comes with pregnancy. I am not sure why many women don’t talk about things they have about pregnancy. I heard that most of them forget all the pain once the bub is out. I hope that is true but in the mean time all this uncomfortableness and tiredness is going to stay with me for a while thus my right to whinge.

To my unborn child who may read this one day:

Mummy loves you very much despite all the complains, she can’t wait to see you and hold you and love you.

Do share your own experience about the things you hated while you were pregnant.

Also if you have any suggestion to overcome my problems, I welcome them with open arms.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Things I LOVE about being Pregnant

I think like everything in the world being pregnant has its pros and cons. I know most pregnancy is a conscious decision but at the same time just because you decided to have a baby, does not make it compulsory to love everything about the journey.

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I have had my fair shares of ups and downs during the journey and today I am sharing what I enjoy about it.

Here is the list of good things I am feeling since I discovered I am pregnant.

We are having a baby

I really think having is a baby is a real miracle. It is amazing to realise that we are cable of making another human being. A tiny bub is growing inside me, which is all my and my husband’s alone. I cannot wait to see and hold the baby in my arms. I know that it will be one of the happiest days of my life.

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Being Spoiled

OMG this is why I know some women say that they love to get pregnant again and again. Everyone spoils you. It started with my hubby becoming more caring and loving.

I keep telling you guys that I have a great husband who has looked after me really well . But after we found out that I was pregnant, the great husband has become even greater. He constantly checks on me and asks “Are you OK?”, “Do you need something?” “Please rest and I will finish the job.” They are definitely music to my ears :). I feel so spoiled.

In addition, other people around me are checking on me regularly and asking me about my well-being. No matter who I visit, they make sure I am comfortable and I am offered my favourite foods. On top of that you get the special treatment from strangers as well. I remember giving my seats on public transport to pregnant women and I am getting that treatment these days. No matter how busy or packed the buses or trains are, I am being offered a seat. How sweet is that?

I don’t open my own doors most of the time as strangers hold doors and share smiles. I am just loving being spoiled

Feeling the baby move

Because my placenta was on the front of my tummy, I didn’t feel much baby movement till I was over 5 months and I just loved the feeling of those limbs touching across my belly. For the last few weeks, I am feeling the movement even more, as if the baby is wrestling with itself and it makes me smile. Even though I may not be able to sleep due to that, I still love it as it reminds me that I am not alone.

pregnancy  (1)Guilt free eating

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I like to eat healthy and be fit but pregnancy has given me a reason to enjoy some guilty food without feeling too guilty. I know most people think that when you are pregnant, you can eat double but I don’t agree with that.

According to what I have read, you can eat 10% more in the first two trimester and another 10% more on the last one and that is what I am following.

I think physically I am doing well as I have gained only the recommended amount on weight and most of it is concentrated around my belly and I am still enjoying chips, Nutella and chocolates.

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I am very happy with how I look pregnant. I have days when I stand in front of the mirror and don’t like what I see. But most people tell me that I am doing well body wise and I want to believe it.

Bigger cup size

As you know already I am a petite women and push up bra was my best friend. But since I found out I am pregnant, I have grown 2 cup sizes already. It feel good but the bad thing is, it is still growing and I have a feeling I won’t like it in a few months’ time when it is huge and uncomfortable.

 Feeling good and pretty

Because I didn’t have morning sickness, the first and second trimesters of my pregnancy were really smooth. I felt good and there were no problems at all. I was able to do everything as I normally did like eating almost everything, keeping up with my exercise routine and doing all the outings and planned holidays. That really made the journey more amazing as I didn’t have to comprise a lot just because I was pregnant.

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Apart from that, I love my growing belly and fell great dressing up. So far I haven’t bought any maternity clothes as I aim to fit into the dresses I already own. Moreover, it is working. Of course, I can’t fit into my super tight dresses but any dresses with elastic or flare, I am wearing them and it has been helping to make me feel better and normal.

Also getting the compliments like, “You are looking great for a pregnant woman” from friends and family to doctors, midwives and complete strangers have helped boost my moral.

I hope this feeling will last until I give birth.

The anticipation

I think looking forward to the day when our baby will be born is the one of the most important wait my husband and I have done so far. Of course there were many important events in our life but they are like nothing compared to what we are looking forward to now.

I love being in the moment, and reminding myself just how quick and important this moment is. I will never get these moments back, and they are amazing.

One day I will be able to tell our baby how much joy I had when I was pregnant with him/ her.

Please share your own experience and that you loved about being Pregnant.

Of course, my pregnancy hasn’t been all roses and sunshine so I will be doing my next post about the Things I HATE about being Pregnant. Till then, take care.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Massage during pregnancy

One of the things I look forward to these days is the massage I get every few weeks.

As you are aware, we used to get massages before as well, particularly aromatherapy massage and it was our treat as a couple but getting a massage while you are pregnant is a completely a different story.

I never knew that pregnancy would make me feel so tired and it being peak summer right now, the weather is not helping either. I know that when you are pregnant, your body temperature is already a bit higher than normal, so the added heat from the outside is bound to make you feel even more uncomfortable. Sometimes I wish I had thought about these things beforehand but I guess it is too late now 🙂 . I still have the rest of the summer before thinking of cooler weather.

I now have swollen feet most of the time (the fact that I am out and about on my feet a lot is not helping) and I am not sure I will see my normal feet anytime soon.

So I highly recommend massage during pregnancy, just make sure you go to the authorise places where they know what they are doing.

All good places will ask you about your medical and health conditions before they start. Our body is changing a considerable amount in order to carry and accommodate our growing baby.  Make sure you mention about even a slight discomfort you have so they make sure you are safe.

I often go to the same place and ask for medium pressure massage on the rest of my body and hard on my feet. If it is too much, I will let them know.

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And the feeling I get after 60 minutes massage is priceless.

Please let me know if there are other things I could do to be more comfortable during my journey.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to vote your favorite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

What to eat and avoid during pregnancy?

Since, I found out I am pregnant , I have been reading lots of articles about pregnancy and I really find this one helpful. Sharing it here for anyone who are looking for more information regarding what to eat and avoid during pregnancy.

As soon as women announce “I’m having a baby!”, the congratulations are quickly followed by long lists of dos and don’ts about food. Try ginger for morning sickness. Avoid soft cheese because of listeria. Eat more meat to boost your iron. Eat this fish – but not that one, because of mercury.

Pregnant women are understandably confused. So, how do you strike the balance between nutrition and safety, when so many things are off the menu?

During pregnancy, women need to consume a variety of different foods and need more of the main pregnancy nutrients: protein, folate, calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, and fibre. Here’s a quick guide to the best sources.

Protein: lean meat, chicken, seafood, dairy products, legumes, nuts, eggs

Folate: fortified bread and breakfast cereal, green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, chicken, eggs, oranges

Calcium: dairy foods, fortified soy milks, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, canned fish with bones

Iron: red meat, fortified cereals, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts

Zinc: meat, eggs, seafood, nuts, tofu, miso, legumes, wheat germ, wholegrain foods

Iodine: canned salmon and tuna, other fish, oysters, bread fortified with iodine

Fibre: wholemeal and wholegrain breads and high fibre cereals, oats, vegetables and fruit with the skin on.

We have recently shown that a moderate intake of protein (18-20% of a total energy intake) allows pregnant women to eat the best range of foods across all the healthy core groups in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, while optimising vitamin and mineral intakes.

Interestingly, the protein to carbohydrate ratio was related to the amount of muscle and fat tissue in the developing baby. While more research is needed, it may contribute to the risk of developing diabetes in the future.

How much?

The Australian dietary guidelines advise pregnant women to consume the following number of servings from the five core food groups each day.

Vegetables and legumes/beans: five servings. One serve = 75g or 100-350kJ, for example, half a cup cooked green or orange vegetables, one cup of raw salad vegetables, half a medium potato, one tomato.

Fruit: two servings. One serve = 150g or 350kJ, for example, one medium piece (apple, banana, orange), two small pieces (apricots, kiwi fruit), one cup diced or canned fruit.

Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain or high-fibre varieties: eight-and-a-half servings. One serve = 500kJ, for example, one slice of bread, half a cup of cooked rice, pasta or porridge, one-quarter of a cup muesli, three crispbreads.

Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans: three-and-a-half servings. One serve = 500-600kJ, for example, 65g cooked lean meat, 80g cooked lean poultry, 100g cooked fish, two eggs, 170g tofu, 30g nuts, one cup of cooked beans.

Milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives, mostly reduced fat: two-and-a-half servings. One serve = 500-600kJ, for example, 250ml milk, 200g yoghurt, two slices (40g) of cheese.

Morning (noon and night) sickness

Nausea and vomiting affects about three in four pregnancies. While the data on fetal risks associated with drug treatment are controversial, non-drug approaches are a good place to start.

Limit exposure to food odours by having foods that do not smell as much during cooking or by reducing cooking time, with stir-frys or a BBQ cooked outdoors.

Nausea can be worse in the presence of hunger, so avoid an empty stomach by having small, frequent meals and snacks comprised of foods that you can tolerate and don’t have much smell, such as fruit or nuts, or raisin bread or sandwiches, or yoghurt. Very cold drinks can help with the nausea and prevent dehydration.

You could try ginger as a ginger tablet, cold ginger beer or ginger cordial. While only some evidence supports the use of ginger and/or vitamin B6 supplements to relieve nausea of pregnancy, they’re unlikely to cause harm.

Mercury and fish

Fish and seafood are important sources of protein and minerals. They are low in saturated fat and are a major source of omega-3 fatty acids.

During pregnancy, omega-3s play an important role in the baby’s developing central nervous system, the brain and retina in eyes. Research shows that maternal omega-3 fatty acid consumption during pregnancy is associated with increased birth weight and improved brain development in the child.

Deficiency of omega-3s is associated with irreversible visual and behaviours deficits in children, as well as an increased risk of depression, pre-eclampsia and pregnancy hypertension in the mother.

Population surveys in the United Kingdom and United States show that pregnant women don’t eat enough fish and therefore omega-3s, partly due to fears about adverse effects of mercury and other toxins (such as polychlorinated biphenyls).

We have shown that pregnant women in Australia also eat less fish than is recommended. But when we estimated what their weekly exposure to mercury would be from eating two to three serves a week, it was well below the targets. Pregnant women in Australia can safely eat fish.

Listeria risk

Due to changes in the immune system during pregnancy, women are more susceptible to food poisoning. But by avoiding all foods that carry a risk for harbouring listeria, women are consuming fewer nutrients.

You don’t have to go without. For every item on the “no” list, there are a number of alternatives:

Avoid pre-packaged cold meats. This includes deli meats and sandwich bars. Instead, choose freshly cooked seafood one to two times per week and/or canned fish up to four times a week. Choose home-cooked meat instead and make it into homemade sandwiches.

Avoid ready-to-eat pre-cooked chicken pieces, especially if cold. Instead, choose home-cooked chicken or hot take-away whole chicken or large pieces – but eat it immediately.

Avoid raw and chilled seafood including oysters, sashimi or sushi, smoked salmon, ready-to-eat peeled prawns, prawn cocktails, sandwich fillings, and prawn salads. Don’t eat shark (flake) or billfish (swordfish, broadbill and marlin). Limit orange roughy (deep sea perch) or catfish to once per week. Instead choose other fish species, including canned salmon and tuna two to three times a week.

Avoid salads (fruit and vegetables) that are pre-prepared or pre-packaged or from salad bars or smorgasbords. Instead, choose freshly prepared homemade salads (with leafy greens or other salad vegetables), fresh fruit, or canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.

Avoid soft, semi-soft and surface-ripened cheeses such as brie, Camembert, ricotta, feta and blue cheese. Instead, choose hard cheeses such as Cheddar or tasty, processed cheese, cheese spreads, or plain cottage cheese if packaged by the manufacturer.

Avoid soft serve ice cream and unpasteurised dairy products such as raw goat’s milk. Instead choose packaged frozen ice cream and pasteurised dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, custard and dairy desserts.

Listeria can live in lower temperatures, so take extra care with foods served cold, and avoid buffets and smorgasbords altogether. Cooking, however, kills listeria but the food needs to be heated until steam rises. And remember to always wash your hands before handling food or starting to prepare foods.

Constipation

Up to 40 per cent of pregnant women develop constipation. This is caused by rising levels of progesterone and oestrogen, and the relaxation of muscles of the bowel. Low fluid and fibre intakes can also play a role.

Mild constipation can be self-treated by increasing high-fibre foods, including soluble (oats, lentils, dried peas and beans, psyllium) and insoluble (wholemeal and wholegrain breads and cereals, wheat bran, vegetables and fruit) fibres. To counter constipation in pregnancy aim for 25 to 28 grams of fibre per day, drink plenty of water (1.5 to two litres per day) and exercise regularly.

Some oral iron supplements can cause constipation. If medication is required, only use what your doctor prescribes as not all laxatives are safe during pregnancy.

Multivitamins

Women planning or in early pregnancy are likely to need a folic acid supplement to reduce the risk of the baby having a neural-tube defect, and iodine for the developing brain and nervous system.

Multivitamin supplements may be recommended when there is a fairly high chance of not meeting nutrient needs from food. This is more likely for pregnant adolescents, vegetarians, those on pre-existing special diets, individuals with drug, tobacco and alcohol addictions, or obese pregnant women on medically restricted diets to limit weight gain.

Pregnancy is an important time to focus on what you eat. The food-based recommendations in the Australian Dietary Guidelines will help you enjoy a variety of foods while getting the best mix of nutrients important at this time.

Clare Collins is a Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics at University of Newcastle. She receives or has received funding from NHMRC, ARC, Hunter Medical researcg Institute, The University of Newcastle, Meat and Livestock Australia.

Michelle Blumfield is a Postdoctoral researcher, Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition at University of Newcastle. She does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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