Preg Fashion at 7 Months: Avoiding Maternity Clothes

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I don’t know about you, but before I ever got pregnant, I was dreading maternity clothes. True, the days of super fugly tent-dresses are pretty much over, and there are some cute options on Zulily and ASOS, but seriously–why spend the money on outfits that I’ll only be wearing for a couple of months? I have always been the kind of person who only buys clothes that I looove (not my fault that the closet is overflowing because I love so many), and will want to wear for longer than say, two months.

Lucky for me, this season is incredible for preg-friendly non-maternity clothes. The roomy cuts of many tank tops, dresses, and even gym clothes has blown my mind, and I just have to share some of my finds with you! Here are some of my favorites:

Maxi dresses – I was never a huge fan of the maxi dress, but I have become one in the past month or so. Why? They’re sooo comfy, they’re bump-flattering, and you can dress them up or down depending on the occasion. This maxi dress from Banana Republic is one of my absolute faves. Notice the way the dress is stitched–the bodice is fitted, while the darts at the (high) waist allow just the right amount of growing room!

Banana Republic is full of bump-flattering non-maternity maxi dresses to keep you feeling light and airy.

Banana Republic is full of bump-flattering non-maternity maxi dresses to keep you feeling light and airy.

Low waisted shorts – With the influx of 90s-inspired high-waisted shorts, the low-rise variety is much harder to find than in previous seasons. But it’s worth it to look around. Old Navy’s Diva shorts have fit me thus far, and I also found a pair of low-waist stretch denim shorts (pictured below, from the back), at Body Central.

Low-rise shorts are still buttoning beneath the bump at 29 weeks and counting.

Low-rise shorts are still buttoning beneath the bump at 29 weeks and counting.

Roomy tanks – Forever 21 has some cuuute ones. Below is one that I recently purchased. I’m wearing it with a tutu for the pride parade, but you get the picture. The low-rise leggings I bought to go with it are ah-mazingly comfy, too.

I'm loving the roomy tanks at Forever 21.

I’m loving the roomy tanks at Forever 21.

Blousy gym tops – Old Navy has these awesome active tops that bubble out at the bottom, and I just had to buy them in various colors. Also, any gym tanks that say “semi-fitted” on the label have worked for me in my regular size thus far.

Floaty dresses – As obsessed as I’ve been with maxis lately, I love the shorter, floaty dresses that are everywhere this season. This one from Kohl’s Juniors’ Department is one of my favorites. I just bought it on sale, and my normal size has tons of room.

Other mommies-to-be out there, are you morally opposed to maternity clothes? 😉 What styles have you been buying that will work for you during your pregnancy and beyond? I’d love to hear what you think!

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Preg and the Sea: Benefits of Beaching it During Pregnancy

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I’ve had a lifelong love of the beach, which is why the San Diego area is the absolute perfect place for me! Antonio and I frequently walk on the beach to meditate, frolic in the waves, or just enjoy the sunshine and salty air. We usually beach it on the weekends, but last Thursday we had an evening beach-date, which recharged me and left me exhilarated for the remainder of the work week.

Meditating during last week's "beach-date"

Drinking in the view during last week’s “beach-date”

I looove the beach for its calming effects, its natural beauty, and its health benefits, and I think it’s the absolute perfect place for us pregs to hang out for a little R & R. Here are 5 benefits of beaching it during pregnancy–and really any time!

  1. It has cleansing properties – No doubt about it; that tangy, salt air is ah-mazing for your skin–all the better to enhance that famous pregnancy glow. 🙂 And if you’re feeling a bit sluggish, there’s nothing more energizing than taking a deep, cleansing breath of ocean air. In addition, salt water is a natural astringent that has been said to speed wound healing and exhibit anti-acne and anti-inflammatory properties. The sand is great for your skin, too, with its natural exfoliating properties.
  2. It’s the perfect place to meditate – Sometimes, we just need to get away from it all, and what better place than the beach? The glimmering waters, brilliant blue skies, and golden sand provide the perfect backdrop to sit back, relax, and reflect on everything we have to be grateful for, as well as to set goals for our bright futures.
  3. It provides exercise opps – The beach is the perfect place to be active, regardless of your trimester. Swimming (in calm waves, of course) imparts that delightful feeling of weightlessness, and is a great way to combine cardio with subtle toning. Walking or jogging provides a work-out that is so different than walking or jogging on solid ground; the sand works wonders for your legs, especially your calves, and also stabilizes your core. And yoga on the beach allows you to commune with your inner self as well as your baby, and stay toned, all at once!
  4. It provides bonding time – The cliched “long walk on the beach” gives you quality couples time, and allows you to discuss your hopes, dreams, and plans, or simply to enjoy a companionable silence.
  5. It boosts creativity and mood – Something about the beach is so inspirational, don’t you think? During our beach-date, I thought up most of the storyline of the new YA mermaid fantasy novel I’ll be writing soon. And the environment, combined with the exercise and the sunshine, jacks up your seratonin and endorphins, boosting your mood and helping you to combat the preg blahs.
Preparing to frolic in the waves

Preparing to frolic in the waves

Is it any wonder that Baby C and his/her parents love the sea? Mommies-to-be out there, do you enjoy the beach even more now that you’re pregnant? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

10 Perks of Being Prego

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We all know about the weirdisms of pregnancy, and the things we probably won’t miss at all once our babies are born. But it’s so important to be grateful for the amazing perks of being prego, too! At 27 weeks, my Baby C is definitely showing, and I was struck by how nice everyone was to me at the airport a few days ago. It really seems like the world softens toward us pregs.

There are so many awesome things about bump-flaunting! Here, I list 10 perks of being prego. 🙂

  1. The anticipation – I haven’t been so excited about something since Antonio and I were planning our wedding. There are names to pick out (we did that a long time ago, but the list is always open to evolution), a shower to plan, and so many cuuute things to look at and buy that if you’ve given Pinterest a break for a while, now is the time to return to it.
  2. Super-healthy hair, skin, and nails – The prenatal vitamins, combined with our natural hormone changes, lead to incredibly gorge hair, skin, and nails. The pregnancy glow is not a myth–it’s real, and reminds us that, right now, we are goddesses of life.
  3. Healthier lifestyle – I (almost) forget what a hangover feels like! That’s because pregnancy demands that we have a much healthier lifestyle, eating regular and nutritious meals, never missing a prenatal vitamin, exercising, and, of course, limiting and/or eliminating alcohol intake (see UK guidelines for alcohol in pregnancy). While I miss the round of cocktails with friends, I do feel incredibly healthy and hydrated 24/7!
  4. Gym cred – I was kind of dreading working out when I was obviously pregnant, and thought I’d feel cumbersome and bulky. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I do the All-Belly Pregnancy workout 3 times a week with light cardio, and Prenatal Yoga twice a week, and when I’m lifting weights and using the machines with the guys, I feel like I have some gym cred. Working out has allowed me to retain much of my muscle tone, keep my posture straight, and feel confident about my changing body. And, as we all know, when we’re confident, everyone knows it. Just last week, a girl passing by grinned at me and said, “Work it, girl!” LOL.
  5. People are nice – As I mentioned earlier, people just soften like butter on the countertop when a preg is around. I’ve heard people say so many times that no one has any manners any more, but when you’re pregnant, everyone does! I’ve never had so many people hold open doors or offer to let me cut in line. Sweetness. 🙂
  6. Parking for expectant mothers – Certain malls and shopping plazas have special parking spots for expectant mothers. While I don’t mind walking–and actually encourage pregnant moms to get their exercise–these spots are an amazing perk when you’re shopping on a super busy day, like the 4th of July or Black Friday, and there’s no parking to be found.
  7. Deeper friendships with your mommy friends – When your friends have babies before you do, it can be hard to relate to discussions about diaper changes, night feedings, and vaccines. But when you’re about to join that exclusive Mommy Club, you suddenly feel engaged and involved in these previously boring topics. The convos will become deeper, and so will your friendships.
  8. Bringing family together – Everyone is excited about the baby, so a pregnancy is the perfect way to reunite your extended family despite their differences: at pre-baby events like your baby shower, and at all the special events after the baby is born.
  9. Feeling those kicks – Feeling the stir of life inside you is the coolest thing ever. It’s an indescribable feeling that only we pregs can understand. I love sharing every day with Baby C, knowing that (s)he can hear me talk, sing, and play piano, taste the food I’m eating, and exercise along with me (especially in yoga). I love introducing Baby C to family and friends, and seeing the delight on their faces when (s)he kicks. I feel like these prenatal bonding days are essential in creating a happy relationship with Baby C down the road.
  10. Deeper bond with your hubby – I saved the best few perks for last, as you can tell. 🙂 Creating a new life together is one of the most intimate and elemental things a couple can share. Sharing the almost-giddy anticipation, as well as the moments when you feel soooo yucky, strengthens the relationship with your SO. The look on Antonio’s face the first time he felt Baby C moving was priceless. I have loved sharing this journey with him, and feel like our love is stronger than ever.
Pregnancy is an awesome way to deepen your bond with your hubby!

Pregnancy is an awesome way to deepen your bond with your hubby! Here we are bump-flaunting last week 😉

Pregos out there, what are your fave aspects of your pregnancy? I’d love to hear what you think!

Starting off on a High Note: The Impact of Music on Your Baby

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I’m now at 26 weeks, and Baby C is active and so responsive! He/she stays pretty calm at the gym when I’m doing my All Belly Pregnancy workouts and light cardio, but absolutely loves yoga, stretching along with me. Baby C also adores mealtimes, kicking and flipping soon after I eat. And when I’m moving or dancing, I often feel Baby C grooving along, too!

Baby C seems to love music. Antonio and I think it’s amazing that when we’re singing along with our favorite songs, or even just talking, Baby C is hearing everything! He/she may only be 26 weeks young, but (s)he’s already attended several concerts, including the Backstreet Boys, a 90s favorite of both parents. 😉 Baby C listens to house music, throwback music, rap, chill-out music, top 40, and, of course, classical piano, played by Mommy.

It's never too early to start exposing Baby to your favorite kinds of music!

It’s never too early to start exposing Baby to your favorite kinds of music!

I have found that my piano sessions have become a great way to bond with Baby C as he/she matures and becomes more responsive to sound and other external stimuli. Interestingly enough, studies have found that babies exposed to music in utero demonstrated earlier vocalization, increased attention, and more sound imitation after birth than babies who encountered minimal music as fetuses. Exciting stuff.

There is also evidence that the same music that is played to a fetus in utero will be soothing to the baby later on. Several studies actually showed that newborns recognized melodies that were played to them in the womb. I’m hoping that Baby C’s exposure to classical piano will come in handy during nap times–perhaps, all it will take is a rendition of one of our Debussy favorites to put him/her to sleep. Wishful thinking? I guess we’ll find out. 😉

Naturally, people are cashing in on these scientific findings, developing various products to promote music to fetuses. I just heard that there are actual belts being sold to pregnant women that can be worn around the waist to project music to the baby. I’m definitely not in line to buy one of those; honestly, the idea seems kind of useless to me. The baby can already hear the music we listen to, but maybe if you like tech-y gadgets, this would be a fun thing. For now, I’m going to stick to listening to music together, singing, and playing classical piano.

Mommies-to-be out there, have you noticed that your babies are responsive to music? What are your favorite songs to listen to together? Do you play any instruments, and if so, are you playing regularly for Baby? I’d love to hear your feedback!

The Beauty of Prenatal Yoga: 5 Reasons You Should be Saying Namaste

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We all know that proper exercise is essential throughout pregnancy. Not only does it increase energy, improve our moods, and combat excess weight gain, this article discusses how it actually boosts baby’s brain activity!

I am following the All Belly Pregnancy workout from Flavilicious Fitness, and would recommend it to anyone with an uncomplicated pregnancy who wants to maintain optimum health and muscle tone. This workout incorporates targeted weight-lifting and resistance exercises to keep us mommies-to-be looking our preg best.

I also practice prenatal yoga one to two times a week, and absolutely love the effects. Not only do my muscles feel tight and toned, I’m more relaxed and in tune with Baby C. I would highly recommend checking out prenatal yoga classes in your area; if they don’t fit into your schedule, the All Belly Pregnancy workout includes the option of buying Prenatal Yoga workout videos as well. The instructor demonstrates safe poses in pregnancy, which is so helpful!

A preg 3-legged dog on the beach ;)

A preg 3-legged dog on the beach 😉

 

There are so many benefits of prenatal yoga, and here are just a few:

  1. Improves focus – Combat the dreaded “mommy-brain” with focused you-time. Yoga’s emphasis on meditation, mantras, and focused thinking has prevented forgetfulness and absentmindedness throughout my pregnancy, and I think it will work for you, too!
  2. Better posture – As we gain weight in our bellies and boobs, it’s easy to slump forward, round our shoulders, and stop making an effort to hold our spines straight and our heads high. Yoga improves muscle tone and keeps the spine, chest, and shoulders supple and strong, leading to beautiful body carriage throughout pregnancy.
  3. Aids in delivery – The disciplined deep-breathing techniques, as well as the emphasis on stress management and healthy mind frame, make yoga an ideal way to prepare for delivery. In addition, many prenatal yoga poses strengthen the core and the pelvic floor, allowing for an easier delivery. I was inspired by a story I heard from a colleague, about a woman who practiced prenatal yoga and reported having a nearly painless delivery. Hmmm. Let’s see how that works… 😉
  4. Allows communing with baby – Close your eyes, say “ommmm,” and listen to the soft sound of your breath. All of these yoga activities help us to become more attuned to our bodies, especially during pregnancy. But even better yet is the way yoga makes us more attuned to our babies! The first time I followed the prenatal yoga video, the instructor urged viewers to imagine what our babies were doing as they listened to the calming sound of our breath. And then, Baby C kicked! So cute. In fact, Baby C is often active during my yoga sessions, striking little poses of his/her own. I guess he/she is a yoga lover like mommy!
  5. Relaxes our muscles and our minds – Many poses are excellent for stretching, improving flexibility, and relaxing the muscles. That’s why I love yoga on my non weight-lifting/strength training days. And just as importantly, yoga quiets our minds. Sometimes, the weird evolution that is pregnancy can be a bit overwhelming, and yoga is an amazing way to cope with that.

Ladies, what do you think? Are you a fan of prenatal yoga? Have you found any prenatal yoga programs that work well for you? I’d love to hear your feedback!