I am so excited!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Cooking, Daily, FASHION, Friday Finds, FUN Times, GET FIT, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, LIFE, My Pregnancy, Nursery, Other, photo, Photography for Mommies, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, Real Life on Instagram, REVIEWS, travel

The time has come for you guys to learn about what it is I have been working on so hard for the last 6 months. FEBRUARY 28th!

DAILY MOM

I’ve mentioned this name in passing a few times, but I doubt many of you noticed or paid attention. However it is now a huge part of my life that I am incredibly excited about. It took a lot of work and it’s almost here and you, guys, get to be the first ones to see it. A new portal that will hopefully stand out in the sea of mommy-oriented websites. I first came upon the idea for the website when I was sick of wading through hundreds of useless posts that sucked me in and wasted my time on big corporate website ( you know the ones I am talking about, those with scandalous news and celebrity gossip).  One post that has the potential of helping me as a mom and a woman among 10 posts of useless (but admittedly entertaining content). I wondered if there was a place for a website that doesn’t try to entertain, but tries to help. I instantly thought of Pinterest and how awesome of a service that is. My next thought was “I wish there was a blog like Pinterest, where all that awesomeness was delivered to me daily in a blog format into my email or RSS feed.”

DING DING DING

(that was the lightbulb over my head) Now over a year later after the initial idea and 6 months of grueling work along with my kick ass team of moms, Daily Mom is here.

So what is Daily Mom?

This is how we define it!

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: I am so excited!

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Supplements during pre-conception and pregnancy

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

I’ve gotten so many emails about the supplements I am taking during pregnancy and took before conception that I decided to write a post. It seems a lot of people are having trouble finding the right prenatals they are happy with. I’ll also place this post under the Preconception and Pregnancy Resources at the top of the page.

Speaking of those pages, few of you might know that these two pages (PRE-CONCEPTION RESOURCES AND PREGNANCY RESOURCES) is where I have placed links to more informative posts I was writing as I was going through preparations for TTC and pregnancy and will continue updating them. They are articles, posts and links to things I found useful while preparing to conceive and during pregnancy, as well as what I did during the pre-TTC period and pregnancy recaps, along with helpful products and books. If you’re TTC or pregnant, go check it out, you might find a few useful things there.

VITAMINS and SUPPLEMENTS

Note: I am not here to give medical advice. All the information in this post and on this blog is my personal opinion derived from many books and studies I have found. You need to use your own situation and resources to decide if what is right for you.

When we first decided to TTC and started preparing our bodies for the first month of trying to conceive, I did a little bit of research as to what vitamins we could take to make our bodies healthy and strong in preparation for pregnancy. At that point, pretty much any prenatal supplement would do the job. However, knowing that many vitamins and minerals do have a toxicity level, my goal was to find a prenatal supplement that didn’t have mega doses of certain vitamins. Some prenatals LOVE jamming 500% or more of vitamins into the pill, and not only is it unnecessary, but could be very dangerous when it comes to pregnancy.

TTC Supplement

So my initial pre-TTC prenatal supplement was from Solgar Prenatal Nutrients. It has a perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of RDA,except for Iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyways) and Vit. C ( which doesn’t really have a toxicity level) (view the supplement label here)

It’s important to go into pregnancy with adequate stores of iron, which sets you up not to be deficient later and you also need 200% of regular DV of folic acid which is 800mg. It’s extremely important to take folic acid supplements prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of neural tube defects.

For your man:

Get him a zinc and selenium supplement which helps sperm health and production. A standard one a day men’s pill like one below should do just fine

DHA supplement

Taking DHA or eating fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines and herring) is going to help with your baby’s brain development once you get pregnant. I started with an algae based vegetarian DHA from Solgar. I liked the idea of not having to deal with mercury and dioxins from fish based supplements. Soon I realized it wasn’t enough DHA (only 200mg) and to get it to the recommended 1g, I’d have to take 5 pills a day, which would become very costly. That’s where the Environmental Defense Fund website came in handy with their Fish Oil Supplement Guide and after checking out a bunch of DHA brands, I decided that I really liked Nordic Naturals (I had read good things about them before as well). It has a nice strawberry taste, contains 1g of DHA in it and it’s really well refined, so you don’t have to worry about mercury and dioxins.

So that’s where I was during the pre-conception stage….

Then pregnancy came and with it, came a lot of new reading and researching.

I found out that as little as 3/4 of Daily Value of vitamin E has been linked with heart defects. My OB tipped me off about that when I ran my prenatals past him but the prenatal he offered that had 50% of vitamin E was flawed in other areas. The worst part is that ingesting more than 3/4 of the recommended amount of vitamin E (from food AND supplements) BEFORE and DURING pregnancy increased the risk of heart abnormalities in babies 9 fold (according to the study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology). You just CAN’T WIN, can you? Keep in mind that some DHA supplements use vitamin E as a preservative so count that in too (it’ll list it on the label).

So I decided that the only way to truly do a good job with my prenatals is to “build my own”. Rather than take 2 massive pills, I decided to buy all separate supplements.

Most people’s diets get sufficient amounts of some vitamins and minerals. Everyone’s diet is different, therefore everyone’s needs are different. In order NOT to have to take literally up to 25 different pills a day, I set out to figure out what my diet is deficient in and only supplement those plus some. After tracking my food intake for a week or so using NutritionData, I figured out that as a {mostly} vegetarian eater, I was perfect on all vitamins except B, and all minerals except iron and zinc. I actually continued tracking my food intake and vitamins and attempting to get all of my 100% of RDA from foods, but anything I was deficient that day I could always pop a supplement for, without throwing the rest out of wack.

So I assume most of you aren’t going to want to go to the extent of tracking your food intake and some of you might not have time for it, so I’ll try to break it down as easily as I can.

If you’re mainly a vegetable/fruit/grain eater, you’ll need the same supplementation as me. If you tend to eat fewer vegetables and more meat products, you need to check your A,C,K, folate consumption.

Here is my supplement breakdown:

{ Morning: 500mg of Calcium + 1000 mg DHA. (links are to the actual supplements I take) }

Calcium needed supplementation just in case ( I did eat enough dairy to meet my RDA, but I’d like to keep my teeth and bones when I am done making babies, so I wanted to be sure). It needs to be taken at a different time of the day than iron, since it interferes with iron absoption (which is hard to absorb as it is). In addition to that, only 500mg of calcium can be absorbed at a time, so if you want to supplement more, you need to break it down into 500mg servings over the day. Make sure your brand comes with vitamin D for better absorption as well.



DHA
is almost always deficient in most people, unless you literally eat fatty fish daily, and with every child your DHA stores dimish, so it’s even more important to supplement in subsequent pregnancies. There’s been a study in nursing women that showed that taking as much as 2-4 grams of DHA increased their child’s intelligence accordingly, so the supplementation doesn’t stop with pregnancy, but continues into breastfeeding and beyond. If you’re formula feeding, it’s trickier, since not all formula companies care to add DHA, however it’s possible to find one that does have a good amount of DHA (don’t be fooled by the marketing ploy of adding a negligent amount of DHA and stating “source of DHA” on the can)

{ Evening: Vit. C+Iron+Zinc+Copper+B complex+Folic Acid (links are to the actual supplements I take) }

Vitamin C – besides it being harder to overdose on, vitamin C is just a good vitamin to supplement. In my case, the reason for supplementation was that Iron is better absorbed if taken with vitamin C. You can accomplish the same thing if you take your iron with orange juice or eat a grapefruit. The challenge is to find a pill that doesn’t give you 1000% of vitamin C. So I break mine into two and take half the amount (250mg) at one time. Most fruit/vegetable eaters don’t need supplementation unless they want better iron absorption.

Iron – this one really doesn’t need explanation. Unless you eat A LOT OF iron rich foods, you probably need supplementation at one point of the pregnancy or the other. I used Gentle Iron from Solgar from the beginning and I haven’t had much trouble with it making me sick or constipated (like some iron supplements do). Don’t take it close to a calcium rich meal or with your calcium supplement. It inhibits absorption. Iron is the reason I take all these pills in the evening, because I figured if I were to get sick from it, I’d be fast asleep by the time it hits me and I won’t notice it as much :) So the evening time just stayed.

Zinc and Copper- I don’t actually need copper supplement on daily basis, however the rule of thumb is to supplement copper if you supplement zinc and visa versa. They are in a very finicky balance in our system and supplementing one without the other can throw the whole balance off. Unless you know you eat plenty of copper, I wouldn’t supplement zinc without it. Since these two tend to come in 200% dv form, I break them in two as well.

B vitamins Complex – this pill complex includes all B vitamins in no more than 100% DV, plus 400mg of folic acid. Since I don’t eat meat, or drink too much dairy, I need supplementation. If you’re a meat eater, you might not. This one from Sundowns was the best one I found.

Folic Acid – this one is a must from day “MINUS 30″ of pregnancy. The RDA for pregnant women is 800mg. Since I get 400 mg from my B complex, I only need to supplement an additional 400mg.

So that’s where I am at right now. I guess once I start breastfeeding, I’ll have to review the breakdown of vitamins necessary for breastfeeding and adjust accordingly.

Hope this helps a few of you who ran into the same trouble with prenatals as I did, but haven’t had a chance to email me.

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Supplements during pre-conception and pregnancy

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Maternity Activewear and (Pre-)Pregnancy Fitness Test

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in GET FIT, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, REVIEWS

Hey, guys! Hope you’re having a great Wednesday and doing all the things that make you happy.

I am in my blogging chair, with my Klean Kanteen full of fresh water, listening to the new AWESOME Blink-182 album and editing some photos from last week.

As I wrote in my last post about non-maternity maternity clothing, I have found a few maternity companies that made me think differently on the whole clothing situation during pregnancy. It’s easy to hate maternity clothes, exposed to the ordinary all-too-familiar brands when you’re used to buying clothes off of more obscure trendy online shops, so with some looking around I found a few places I liked.

So I want to start a series of posts, featuring certain maternity brands ( and maybe some giveaways) that I’ve tried out and approve of.  These will not be your run of the mill Gap, Old Navy, Target clothing. We all know about their maternity lines. It will be shops you might have never heard off that have either GREAT styles or offer unprecedented comfort. Because those are the only  two things that matter when it comes to maternity clothing.

When I got pregnant, I knew right away that when it came to exercising, I will have to get a whole new wardrobe. If boobs that grew two sizes weren’t enough to convince me of that, the ever expanding belly did. None of my stretchy tight sports bras fit anymore. My work out pants, while stretchy, pressed uncomfortably when I put them on mid-belly, and felt like they’d fall off if I roll them down.

It was very clear that if I wanted to continue exercising outside, I needed clothing designed specially for  pregnant bellies.

This brings me to THESE PANTS

3 in 1 Maternity Yoga pants by Oceanlily sold at MaternityActivewear.com

When I first put them on at home when they arrived, I refused to take them off. I spent hours wearing them around the house. The pants are made out of a thick and taut fabric, which made me think that I was going to die from Florida heat in them, but surprisingly enough, after about 30 minutes of taking pictures in the scorching sun, my upper body was wetter and hotter than my lower body. So apparently, they stay cool and dry better than my skin.

My favorite part, though, is that they are super versatile.

Everyone will tell you that the worst thing about buying maternity clothes is the understanding that you might never wear it again for the rest of your life, or if you do, it’ll be for a few months. So I’ve always LOVED the idea of maternity clothes that transitioned with you into mommyhood and beyond.

Not only can you wear them post-partum ( to hold that belly jiggle), but you can also position them 3 diffferent ways ( hence the 3 in 1) below the tummy, mid-tummy and over the tummy.

This  was my first pair of pants with the over-the-tummy option and it felt strangely comfortable and secure. When we went for a walk later that evening, I found myself pulling the band up over the tummy, even though it was still hot and humid. There’s something about the tautness of the material and the support that makes your belly feel secure. Do you, other preggos, ever find yourself holding onto your belly while walking, sort of to protect it for the movement? Well, I do and these pants totally do the job for me.

During the day though, I usually opt for the below the tummy option, especially if I am wearing a short top, which feels really good and firm too.

 


Another bonus is they come in 4 lengths: short, regular, tall and extra tall. Unfortunately, I got tall instead of extra tall, so they’re a bit short on me. But that’s a huge plus for tall girls like me, or shorter than average, since getting pants to fit right lengthwise is usually a big pain. You can get these yoga pants and other maternity activewear here

Maternity Activewear has quite a few retail locations in US and Canada, but if you’re an online shopper like me, feel free to check out their website: www.maternityactivewear.com for more maternity yoga pants, leggings, sport tanks, tees , shorts and more.

 

There’s no sales tax and free shipping over a certain amount.
And just for a limited time just for my readers,
you can use code 144698 to get 15% OFF at www.MaternityActivewear.com (valid till Sunday night, October 2nd)

And since we are on the fitness topic, I’d like to post something that I should have posted A LONG TIME AGO:
(Pre-) Pregnancy Fitness Test.
It’s a test I found in Pregnancy Fitness book and mentioned in one of my old pre-conception posts before I was even pregnant. I’ve had quite a few people ask me to publish that test, so here we go.

 

Basically, it’s a very simple, very basic flexibility and strength test to make sure that you’re at least in the minimal shape before getting pregnant. Or if you’re already pregnant, it might give you a clue as to what you should work on to prepare for future pregnancy challenges and labor. It really helped me identify my weak points ( ankles? lol) and motivated me to work on my Kegels more

CLICK TO VIEW THE FITNESS TEST HERE (PDF)

I’d also recommend buying the book. I’ve been doing their 1st trimester and 2nd trimester exercises and really enjoy them.

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Maternity Activewear and (Pre-)Pregnancy Fitness Test

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Blog changes – Please Read!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

As you might have already noticed I did a minor re-design of the blog. I felt I needed something bright and happy, now that we are squarely in the pregnancy territory.

Once Alexis arrives, I’m thinking about completely re-doing the layout and possibly going with two sidebars and of course lots of pictures with our little girl.

Aside from the design, there are a few other changes to make life easier for you and me.

SIDEBAR

1. Along with subscribing by email or through an RSS feed, you can now subscribe to my blog through BlogLovin’ if that’s what you use to read blogs.  See the sidebar for the links.
If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you’re always welcome to say hi and follow.

2. If you’d like to include our button on your blog, feel free to grab it from the sidebar.

3. The biggest change that is bound to make your life easier is the addition of Google Friend Connect.

You can now sign in and comment through your Google ID as well as add this blog to your account for easier access.
Please see the sidebar and connect.
To comment with your Google ID, just make sure you’re signed in ( there’s a little sign-in button at the bottom of the comment form), that way you won’t need to enter your information.

4. I also added 3 sections on the sidebar with the sites I frequently use: FOR MOMMY, FOR BABY and HOME DECOR.

 

Pregnancy Preparations

 

4. I’ve never pointed it out before, but if you’re pregnant, TTCing (TTC= trying to conceive) or about to start TTCing, there are a few pages I put together with the research I’ve done going through the journey myself. That way you don’t have to search out the blog to find needed information.

The top bar has a page, called PRE-CONCEPTION RESOURCES. It lists ALL the steps we took in preparation for TTCing with links to appropriate posts, as well as some useful items, including THE BEST BOOK you could possibly read before trying to conceive.  Our actual TTC phase didn’t last long. Well, technically, we didn’t even have a TTC phase, since we got pregnant the first month, but I feel that a year of preparations was like spending a year TTCing.

The other useful page is called PREGNANCY RESOURCES. Since I’m only half way into this pregnancy, there is only some information there ( will be updated as I get further along). You can find a list of harmful herbs , all known teratogens ( substances that cause birth defects), water filters, pregnancy safe skin routine, maternity sleeping bras. I also listed ALL the pregnancy books I’ve read and which ones are a MUST and which ones are a PASS ( Like Bruno says “Nicht Nicht! or Ja! Ja!”)

And finally, NUTRITION. This page contains all the posts I did as a part of GET FIT GET HEALTHY challenge. This blog is not meant to be about nutrition, but I didn’t want those few things that were written about nutrition to be lost in the maze of this blog’s archives.

This blog was started as a way to record all the things we were going through to prepare to start TTCing. I spent about a year in just preparations, and I didn’t want all the information to be wasted. So the blog was started as a way to give women, who were going through the same phase, all the information I’ve gathered, save them time and headache. And while it morphed into a more personal blog about our journey, I would like to continue putting together all and any useful information I come across in the meantime.

 

5. Finally, please feel free to contact me via email (contact {at} prebabyblog.com) I love getting emails from you guys and will be happy to answer questions or just say hi!

 

 

 

 

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Blog changes – Please Read!

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Epigenetics and Prenatal Development

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in HEALTH, Msc, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

As I continue to seek out and read books about prenatal development and epigenetics ( in my words, a study of how genes get turned on and off without changing DNA during intra-uterine development), I am more and more amazed at how much we don’t know, our mothers didn’t know, and many doctors, who refuse to educate themselves, don’t know.

And in this case what we don’t know CAN hurt us and our babies.

My current read is Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul, a scientific writer who set out to educate herself as she embarked on her second pregnancy.
I’m only on chapter 2, but it goes along the same lines Dr Verny followed in his Pre-Parenting: Nurturing Your Child from Conception.

Right now, I am reading about nutrition and how it affects the expression of genes and level of hormones. It’s actually not new to me. I read about it in my favorite pre-conception book Get Ready to Get Pregnant: Your Complete Prepregnancy Guide to Making a Smart and Healthy Baby.
It was a new concept to me at the time, that what we eat and how we eat can “program” the fetus by “turning the genes on and off”, but it turns out it’s not that uncommon of a concept in the scientific world. It’s just our real world is pretty slow to jump on the bang wagon ( as it has always been with any medical breakthrough that challenges the previous notions).

For those who are curious, just a quick example in short:

Nature made it so that the intrauterine environment “lets” the baby know of the world outside of us via hormones and a few other processes.
For example, if a mother is constantly stressed and the released cortisol crosses the placenta, the baby’s brain will be programmed for the flight-or-fight response, taking from it the fact that in the outside world, the baby will need to be quick and vigilant. The baby will come out of the womb ready for the environment that was “pre-programmed” into him, fast and unable to focus, possibly even predisposed to aggression. That’s how evolution helped our ancestors survive.
…or…
By eating lots of sugar and simple carbs that send our insulin skyrocketing (and doing it all the time), we’re “teaching” our unborn baby to become insulin resistant, so in the future he/she might have troubles keeping weight off (apparently, insulin also controls how our body stores fat). The same happens with leptin, the substance that tells us when we are full. I don’t remember the exact mechanism by which leptin resistance occurs in a unborn baby ( i think it was somehow connected with insulin as well), but it creates a human being who is unable to know when to stop eating.

On another hand, {i read in the new book} it turns out that low birth weight babies (due to malnutrition specifically, I don’t think that other reasons, like preterm birth, were included in that) suffer from the same problems as  babies born with insulin resistance- diabetes, obesity, heart disease. At first glance, it’s surprising, but before I even read the explanation for why it happens, it made perfect sense to me:

When the baby doesn’t receive enough nutrients, it learns to live on little, his body being “programmed” that food out in the real world is scare. However, when he’s born into the world of excess and processed foods, his body can’t handle it properly, having been “taught” to store every single nutrient received (kind of in the same way the fad starvation diets never work long term). I guess the effects were the worst for babies who were malnutritioned during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
What baffled me, though, was why the heart disease? What would this have to do with the heart? The explanation was the following: by receiving few nutrients, the fetus “sends” them to the most important organ in our body, our brain, leaving other organs short of necessary food. That, later in life, came back to bite him. In addition, inability to properly control and process high fat, processed diets helped that too.  They did a study on the survivors of one winter during World War II, during which food was so scarce that most people had to live on 500 calories a day ( including pregnant women), and a tremendous amount of survivors born or conceived during that winter were obese,with diabetes and heart disease, compared to babies born during other times. Here the effects were stronger, if malnutrition happened during the first trimester, when the heart was developing {which isn’t really fair, because of morning sickness which is something that our body does to us)

There’s an amazing amount of information and studies brought up in all three books I mentioned, it’d be impossible to relay every single detail of even one example here. It’s definitely fascinating and opened my eyes on many things. Even if you’re sceptical, I’d recommend you read it, because the examples and studies brought up in the books are pretty convincing.

Either way, as I go through this, I find it slightly difficult to find a happy middle. Everywhere we turn there another advisory about what is good or bad during pregnancy. It seems like everything can influence the baby. Omegas-3s in fish are great for the brain and produces higher IQ scores, but at the same time, fish is high in mercury, exposure to which produces low IQ scores. It’s like we can’t do anything right. {btw, my personal answer to the fish dilemma are sardines- small fish that doesn’t accumulate much mercury at all and one of the best fatty fishes for Omega-3s. Canned sardines are tasty, safe and very nutritious}.

My personal dilemma has been Vitamin E. When I was preparing for pregnancy, I found one Prenatal Vitamins brand that fit what I wanted,which  was “no vitamin or mineral could exceed 100% of daily value” ( it’s amazing how many prenatal vitamins have mega doses). I was very happy about it, until I showed it to my OB, who liked it a lot too, until he saw vitamin E content- 100% of DV. Then he informed me that there have been studies that linked vitamin E consumption to heart defects. So he prescribed me a formula that had 50% of vitamin E. After I got home, I jumped online to try and research those claims. I did, in fact, find plenty of articles citing several studies in which vitamin E consumption before pregnancy and during pregnancy of as little as 2/3 of Daily Value was linked with 9 fold increased risk of heart defect.
Obviously, supplementing vitamin E was not something I wanted to do ( considering I was already eating at the point where I received everything at at least 100% from food). Vitamin E can be found in oil, nuts, but the truth is I don’t really consume oil, or products that contain oil ( processed foods), and I am not a fan of nuts ( though I do take them for their nutritional benefit).

For a bit, i wondered whether that increased risk was connected more with consumption of fatty, oily foods, rather than actual vitamin E. But of course I can’t completely discount the study based on a hunch. So I don’t supplement E, but I don’t really get much E from diet. I’m between a rock and a hard place. Hubby and I decided that we’d curb vitamin E consumption pre-pregnancy and during the 1st trimester when the heart is developing, and then ease up on that in the 2nd trimester. But I still feel uneasy about the whole situation….

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Epigenetics and Prenatal Development

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Pregnancy Safe Products – Face Wash, Exfoliator and Sunblock- LOVED ‘EM!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in HEALTH, Msc, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

One of the first challenges I encountered while getting ready to get pregnant were the toxins and teratogens all around us. I mean, EVERYTHING is made out of chemicals nowadays. And since certain chemicals and toxins can adversly affect a fetus, it was important for me to switch to everything natural and toxin free.

It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
I started with cleaning supplies, which we switched to 7th generation ones -  they smelled interesting and strong (herbs and lemon) and cleaned decently but not as well as full on chemical stuff.
I went to organic shampoos – I loved the feel and the smell and the idea that they’re all natural, but to be honest, the shampoo just didn’t clean as well, and the conditioner didn’t make my hair as soft as the typical brands.
I bought a zinc oxide sunblock, but it only came in a white cream that was really hard to put on.

Let me just say I wasn’t too happy about these changes, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

I was still looking for a good facial SPF, moisturizer,body wash, face wash,etc.

A few months ago I became a part of a new affiliate programs and as I was going through different online stores, I bumped into Belli Skin Care. I would have probably passed them by if not for  the word “teratology screened”.
“Oh!”- I thought.

I have never seen a skin care care line SPECIFICALLY tested against teratogens, phthalates, BPA, parabe, artificial dyes, etc. Before I knew about nsBelli, i had attempted to research this on my own, emailing my favorite brands for a list of ingredients and then cross checking them against known problem agents. eventually I gave up, because it was too much work. I knew just going natural and organic wasn’t going to do it, because there’re quite a few natural things that can cause birth defects, like aloe vera, rosemary, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, vitamin A. The problem with something as minor as personal care is it seems like it’s too much work for a relatively low risk. Some people think that there’s a placental barrier to protect the baby from toxins, however the barrier only keeps larger molecules away, like bacteria, but lets some others through with no problem.
So needless to say, I kept postponning ordering something for when I am pregnant, because it was just too hard.

After reading more about Belli products I was sold on the concept. They also carry maternity skin care lines, breastfeeding lines, and baby care, each specifically designed to protect us and our babies from toxins at different times of our lives. I will definitely be using other products when I breastfeed and for the baby. You can get a Stretch Mark Minimizing cream if you already have them, or Belly Oil, if you want to prevent them

So I placed an order for an Acne Wash, a SPF25 facial sunscreen and an Exfoliator. To be honest, I was expecting one of those organic products that might be safe for my baby, but does pretty much nothing for me. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. I got my package yesterday morning and last night I took a shower to try them out (oh come on! Don’t you get all excited when you buy new products? Except for I was expecting it to be something like that organic fragrance free soup I bought from Whole Foods- UGH!).

I LOVED IT!

I soooooo didn’t expect this reaction, but I loved all three products!
1. Ache Wash smelled like lemons and cleaned my face so well, but without stripping it, that when I got out of the shower it looked like I applied one of those primers that you put under make up to make your skin smooth and soft. I couldn’t believe it!
2. The exfoliator was one of those super fine particle exfoliator and did an amazing job without irritating my skin
3. The Anti-Cloasma had a little bit of a tint to it ( which usually annoys me because it tends to be darker than my skin) and went on smooth and nice and didn’t look like I had anything on.

So I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I will be ordering shampoo and conditioner from Belli as well, in hopes of getting something that works better than other organic shampoos.

If any of you guys are interested, there’s a coupon for 15% OFF  right now. Just use the code: 15BELLI

Just wanted to mention that I wasn’t compensated in any way to write about these products, or anything like that. I just spent so many hours researching safe products and trying to decide what to buy that I hope this would make it easier for some of you who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, are breastfeeding or just want safe baby skin care.

Since Belli doesn’t carry any facial moisturizers, I will be ordering mine from Beauty.com, they have a massive section of natural skin care and make up, plus right now there’s 2 promotions going on that I want to take advantage of:
1.  New Customers – get $5 off $35 or $10 off $70 on your first Beauty.com order! and
2. Get a free Lela Rose Designer Bag + deluxe samples ($140 value!) with your $100 Beauty.com order! While supplies last.

 

On another personal note, I am feeling fabulous and happy and just having the best time of my life. So many things I want to be doing and never enough time to do it.
So right now I am off to make a salad, play some drums and maybe go for a walk. Hope your Sunday is just as relaxing.

Oh, two new things:
I got a Facebook Page for the blog, feel free to like it if you want
I might start taking pictures of the meals I make and posting them here. I way too impatient to actually write recipes, but I might be able to take  the time to post photos only. Too many people have requested that, so I think it’ll be helpful for those trying to eat healthy/vegetarian/vegan. Let me know what you think.

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Pregnancy Safe Products – Face Wash, Exfoliator and Sunblock- LOVED ‘EM!

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday Pregnancy Question – Pets and Infants

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Msc, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION, Q of the week

As most of you know, I have three cats and the question has been floating in my head for a while:

HOW DID YOUR PETS REACT TO YOUR NEW BABY?

Our cats are super curious when it comes to new things or rooms that tend to stay closed for a long time. Our future nursery is the only room in the house that hasn’t been used, since we’ve always known it’d be turned into a nursery eventually. So we keep some boxes and furniture there, along with some files- so it’s basically a storage room. It generally stays closed. But the second we go in there to find something, all three cats launch themselves into the opening of the door and proceed to sniff everything out.

I realize that after some time in that room, they’d get bored. But the day we bring a new baby into our house with its new baby smell, the cats will go crazy, I know it.

I assume it’s not really safe to let a cat sit/lie/sleep in the baby’s crib. I haven’t done much research about infants yet, mostly just pre-pregnancy and pregnancy itself.  But it makes sense that you wouldn’t want pet hair and their bodies anywhere near the baby in the first few months, right?

Any experience you’d like to share about your new baby and your pets? Their reaction, their incessant need to be in the baby’s crib/bassinet? What did you do to prevent that? And also once your baby was able to sit and play, how did they interact with the pets?

I’d love to hear your stories!

Kittah licked me

Oh and I am sorry I haven’t been to all of your blogs recently. I am going to catch up today.

Also I will be making a BOOK PAGE, where I’ll psot a list of all the pre-conception and pregnancy books I’ve read or am reading for those who might be interested. It should be quite an interesting list.

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Tuesday Pregnancy Question – Pets and Infants

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

There are sacrifices to be made…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

NOTE: The original post has been deleted due to incessant speculation and erroneous rumors

I originally wrote this post about our approach to pregnancy. We had spent months preparing for our pregnancy, reading every book we could find, taking every test out there to make sure that Alexis had the very best start in life, unencumbered by anything that might be going on in our bodies or our lifestyles. We committed to making sure that the 9 months that I spent being pregnant were peaceful, without stress, exertion, full of nutritious foods and, most importantly, as germ and toxin free as we can be without living in a bubble. If we could have gone to a Tibetian retreat, we would have done that :) But since we were left living in a Floridian suburb, we did the most we could: stayed away from large crowds or small spaces with lots of people, smoke, germy places, flus, colds, etc (If you’re interesting to read the reason why something as drastic as that could possibly be important, I suggest you pick up a copy of Pre-Parenting: Nurturing Your Child from Conception or Origins or any other book dealing with epigenetics, the science of how gene expression works and how they interact and are influenced by the environment, including time in the womb).

That did not mean never leaving our house, but it meant doing what we could in terms of the things I mentioned above.

Feeling a little bit Alice today

In the deleted post I also wrote about the studies brought up in the above mentioned books about maternal anxiety and stress, inadequate nutrition and the effects of it on the development of an unborn fetus. It is not a secret that stress releases cortisol that can make many changes to a healthy body, but what has been glossed over until recently is the changes stress can make in a neural, cardio-vascular and hormonal systems of an unborn developing fetus. Growing a baby is such an intricate process, so many things can go wrong under the influence of seemingly harmless external factors. It is absolutely fascinating  ( and scary) to read all that can influence the development of a fetus. Most studies were done on the pregnant “victims” of natural disasters and those who lived through world wars and famines and their babies, so the conditions were, of course, very extreme, but it is not known whether a little external factor AT THE WRONG TIME could do harm. Just like there is no safe amount of alcohol… The conditions linked with prenatal environment are as harmless as allergies and go all the up to ADD, dyslexia, asperger’s, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, asthma, and more, more, more. {note: I did read somewhere that mild non-chronic stress is actually beneficial to the fetus}

One of the things mentioned was homosexuality. According to the studies brought up in the books, there is evidence that maternal stress at a certain period of time of fetal development can result in different brain wiring. One that makes you legitimately attracted to people of same sex, or have a brain wired for one gender and body of another. And that makes it a completely normal occurrence. Not unnatural – completely normal.

Unfortunately, this citing has earned me hundreds of outraged comments and a series of erroneous speculations. It’s like the best case of a broken ( and very stupid) telephone. A citing that was essentially “proof” that homosexuality ( among other things) is a completely natural thing, isn’t a choice and cannot be “cured” was turned into name calling by {predominantly straight} idiots, set out to “defend” the LGBT community. It is even more ridiculous to see someone commenting saying that I am a “homophobe”, when it is the furthest from the truth. I support and always will gay marriage, gender reassignment help, equal rights for everyone regardless of their orientation or preferences, I have a ton of gay and a few transsexual friends that I love, my opinion has ALWAYS been that you are born that way and  who you are attracted to or chose to live with should have no bearing on your rights or attitudes of people. But alas, those who probably know the least of the subject, the close minded straight females, have been spreading rumors about what I am or am not.

So  for whoever it is that is looking for the truth, for my side of the story, here it is:

LGBT COMMUNITY HAS ALWAYS HAD AND ALWAYS WILL HAVE MY SUPPORT NO MATTER WHAT.

And if someone continues speculation, spreading lies and name calling based on something they misunderstood and have absolutely no idea about, that is perfectly fine by me. It would not be the first time that “herd” has gone off on something completely irrelevant.

 

To Alexis: Sweetie, if you’re reading this when you’re older, and by some chance you feel that you’re different (in any way, shape or form), know that you can come to me without judgement and I will celebrate you for who you are and jump happily up and down because you have taken the awesome step of discovering and accepting that you are absolutely perfect no matter what. {even if that means you’re a tattooed piercing-crazy headbanger *cringe* no offense to those who have tattoes or piercing or like heavy metal}

 

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: There are sacrifices to be made…

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New Beginnings

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in FUN Times, Msc, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

So we are done with  TTCing for this month. I have no idea whether I am pregnant or not. I also have no idea whether I could be pregnant. My BBT sort of gave out on me this month. The temperatures are making no sense, but I did switch the time when I take it, so I don’t know.  I’m usually pretty regular with my ovulation, so we’ll see. Also since we’re trying the Shettle’s method that has us TTCing 2-3 days BEFORE ovulation, I don’t think there’s a big chance that I could be pregnant this month.

And I am totally OK with that.

It’s kind of funny because I always read that “sex on schedule” will be boring and a chore. It couldn’t be far from the truth for us. We had so much fun trying that, honestly, it would be just fine if we get to do it next month {wink wink}. We both found it fun and exciting and couldn’t wait to get out hands on each other. I realize it’s the first month only, but I don’t see this getting old :)

Right now, hubster is super protective of me, which I love (in case I am pregnant, his words too, not mine). He is the one telling me that we have to think of it like it already happened, and think good positive thoughts. I am in the process of reading a fascinating book about the life of unborn babies and how our moods and feelings influence them and I re-tell him everything I find interesting. He has taken it so seriously, and asks me every hour how I am feeling and whether I’m positive and happy :)

So honestly, this rocks!

However, I am being very pragmatic and realistic, and not keeping my hopes up,  because I know the average chances are 25%, plus the fact that we’re avoiding the ovulation day and one before, and that probably takes it down to 5% or so.

We will keep on trying if it doesn’t happen this month or next and I will notify all of you as soon as it happens.

Oh and here’s what I decided about “to tell or not to tell” dilemma:

I am not a secretive person, and I hate keeping things from people because that makes me feel conniving. Plus, this blog is specifically a baby blog, so it’d be silly to ignore the first 3 months of pregnancy and not journal  here.

So I decided to annouce it here within a week or two of getting a positive pregnancy test (or earlier). However, I will not post it on Facebook or other social networks, neither will I tell anyone outside of this blog except for my family.

My closest friends, who I love and want to know about it, already read this blog. I will, though, make sure to tell them personally as soon as I find out. The rest are people I do not know in person, so I am not afraid of judgement or anything like this-  and I’d love support and feedback.

Those people that I wouldn’t want to know, in case that a miscarriage occurs, do not know about this blog.

So I think I feel pretty comfortable with that.

{I was going through our wedding photos and re-editing them and I bumped into this one. I love it and it’s so fitting: showing the beginning or our relationship, the excitement and the beginning of our new chapter in life}

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: New Beginnings

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

TUESDAY PREGNANCY QUESTION #4

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Msc, Pre-CONCEPTION, Q of the week

How and when did you find out about your pregnancy?

What were your first emotions? How did you tell your husband/boyfriend?

Feel free to link up to a story on your blog – I love reading those!

My one and only experience with pregnancy tests happened just this month.

In the beginning of the month, right after my ovulation, we figured we’d finally ditch the condoms since my April ovulation has passed, so next time it comes around we’re good to go. No need for birth control anymore.
It was scary and exciting at the same time, because I’ve been on the pill for 8 years and then used barrier methods for the last three months as we were getting ready. For 8 years every time we had sex, I’d always have this fear of pregnancy. My mind would always rush to “Did i take the pill?”

Now we have decided that it is ok but my mind hasn’t been exactly clued in.  Both hubby and I had this nervous laugh as we were going at it :) lol

But you know, we both knew that I can’t get pregnant since it was past my ovulation. Everything was fine, until about 7 days later I got some spotting ( implantation spotting, anyone?), so I went back to look at my BBT chart and realized that possibly we might have done it closer to the big O than we thought. I shrugged that off and we spent the next few days having fun in Orlando. Until this one evening when i got a really strong wave of nausea that wouldn’t go away for a day ( I don’t normally get nauseous for no reason)

Hubby insisted that we go into Walgreens and buy a pregnancy test ( MY VERY FIRST ONE IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE), because if I were in fact pregnant, he’d drive me straight home rather than spend the night at his mom’s house and then go to Disney the next day. {The reason for that is that we feel very strongly about the fact that during the first 2 trimesters the baby is very vulnerable to all sorts of germs and infections and disruptions and that we’d rather shield it from anything and everything possible since we are able to do that, while the brain and the neural tube develops along with other organs, because any little mess up could result in things like dyslexia, ADD, personality disorders, learning disorders and etc. So my first two trimesters will be a super quiet, calm time without exposure to germs or toxins.}

I really loved that he took it so seriously that he wanted to drive me home if we got the BFP ( big fat positive). I was ready to say: “I’m not pregnant, let’s just wait until I get my period” and continue having fun. But he was really serious about it, which I love ( considering I am the one who is usually all about making everything perfect).

The funny part was that it mattered to me WHERE I’d take the test. I didn’t want it to be a hotel room, or someone else’s house. I wanted it to be in something that’s ours. I was ready to pee on a stick in our car :) But then figured I wasn’t really pregnant, so there was no need be picky about a place to get a big fat negative.

So that was my one and only experience with pregnancy tests, but I absolutely LOVED how protective of me and the baby my husband got.

Update: Sorry if I didn’t make it clear, but I was NOT pregnant. We definitely missed the ovulation date and all is good. Now starts the real deal- the TTCing.

Looking forward to reading your REAL stories about how you found out

 

and while you’re at it, can I get a quick vote, please? Press thumbs up to vote!

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: TUESDAY PREGNANCY QUESTION #4

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