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If you picked a long first name for your baby or you have a long surname, a short middle name works best to break up the cadence. But if you want to look beyond the more traditional middle names like Ann, Lynn, Lee and James, you’ll find that there are plenty of more unique options. (And since middle names are rarely used, you can have a little more fun with them, too!)

Consider one of these sweet and short baby middle names before you commit to a longer one:

1. Ace

Ace has that rock star vibe thanks to KISS guitarist Ace Frehley—and a popular name now for several celebrity babies.

2. Bee

Bee could be considered short for the classic Beatrice—or a buzzworthy name in its own right. 

3. Cam

Cam is short for Cameron or Camilla—and the perfect short middle if you want something that works for either sex.

4. Dax

Actor Dax Shepard (hubby of actress Kristen Bell) is the claim to fame for this baby name, which comes from a legendary spa in France. (Ooh la la!)

5. Eli

This classic Hebrew name means “ascended.”

6. Fox

The forest animal or the FBI agent who sought supernatural truths on The X-Files could be your baby name inspiration for this pick. 

7. Gus

A short form of Augustus, which means magnificent, Gus has become a popular name in its own right lately. 

8. Hal

This is usually considered a short form of Harold or Henry, and shares their meaning—ruler. For sci-fi fans, it’s also the name of the computer that goes a little mad in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

9. Ivy

A cooler and fresher nature-themed name, Ivy is an evergreen plant, so it’s often associated with eternity and fidelity.

10. Joy

Three letters can pack a lot of sentiment, as in this cheerful word name pick. 

11. Kit

Thank Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington for putting this nickname for Christopher back on the radar. 

12. Leo

This grand name means “lion,” and is considered a variation of Leonardo.

13. Mae

This could be considered an alternative spelling of the spring month—or a variation on the name Mary. 

14. Noa

Without the H at the end, Noa is usually given to girls, and means “in motion.”

15. Oak

The stately and strong tree type makes for a stately and strong middle name. 

16. Poe

Star Wars fans will recognize this as the first name of roguish pilot Dameron from the latest trilogy, while everyone else will remember master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe. 

17. Rio

The Spanish word for river could be a stylish unisex middle name.

18. Sky

Looking for a nature name that isn’t too frilly or floral? Sky might just be what you’re seeking.

19. Ty

You can’t get much shorter than this middle name, a pared down version of Tyler. Baseball legend Ty Cobb was the most famous wearer.

20. Uma

Actress Uma Thurman is the claim to fame for this girls’ name, which means nation in Sanskrit.

21. Van

Usually part of a Dutch surname (think Vincent Van Gogh), several actors have used Van as a cool first. 

22. Win

Short for names like Winifred and Winston, Win also has that wonderful, victorious word meaning. 

23. Xen

A unisex option with a cool “X” initial, Xen is a variation on zen, and shares its meaning.

24. Yul

Yul means “beyond the horizon,” and is most famously linked with The King and I star Yul Brynner. 

25. Zoe

This stylish girls’ name means “life,” and it’s been a top 50 favorite for girls for the past decade. 

More Baby Names:

The post Adorable Short Baby Middle Names from A to Z appeared first on Momtastic.

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If you’re like me, then you’ve been straight up glued to the internet this week as the world waited like an old school, sweaty-palmed, nervous, new dad in a waiting room, to hear the news of the royal birth.

Moms and dads everywhere swooned when a pink-cheeked and obviously giddy Prince Harry gushed to the world that he is a proud papa to a son but also that women are fierce as hell. Prince Harry, who is known for speaking up on issues of equality did every mom a huge favor when he spoke eloquently and candidly about how amazed he was to witness Megan laboring and giving birth.

But then, like waiting for those annoying ads on YouTube to go away, we had to sit tight and wait some more before we heard the name.

Spoiler: it’s Archie!!! SO CUTE!

Americans may know and love the name Archie from pop culture (looking at you, Archie comics!) but the name is actually steeped in a rather lovely history that involves the culture crossover between English, Scottish, and even Germanic pasts.

Archie actually comes from Archibald, which is a modern English and Scottish blend of the Old High German name, ‘Ercanbald’. If we pull the Germanic name apart, we can see the historical meaning of the name; “ercan” translates to “genuine” and “bald” translates to “bold” and when combined, it is easy to see why the lovely royal couple has chosen such a powerful name for their infant son.

If we all recall, Megan wore an absolutely stunning gorgeous yet super simple design for her wedding dress because we were to focus on the event and not the attire. The wedding event itself was a wonderful mix of love, inclusivity, and political statements on racial equality. We’ve also seen Prince Harry and Megan speak publically about women’s issues, racial equality issues, and climate change to name a few. They really do appear to be socially progressive and heartfelt people who are clearly thinking about how they want to raise their son as evidenced by the name they carefully chose.

Also, OMG, you guys, Archie is such a cute name.

Right now, according to Nameberry, as the world learns of this sweet child’s name, ‘Archie’ is listed as #108 on the most popular baby boy names, curiously (gee, can’t imagine why) the name has seen a 6% uptick in popularity today. Americans and Brits, however, have very different ideas of cool baby names (Kale versus Alfie, for example) so it is worth noting that in the UK, the name Archie is actually quite popular and comes in at #18.

Congrats to the new parents! Make sure you sleep when the baby sleeps.

(Just kidding, don’t do that.)

 

 

The post Prince Harry and Megan Markel Name Boy, Archie appeared first on Momtastic.

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As if pregnancy wasn’t difficult enough, along with the baby you can be carrying a host of dental issues. That’s because pregnancy hormones and morning sickness can result in unique challenges to maintaining proper dental hygiene. Dr. Tsolair Hovsepian, a dentist based in the Los Angeles area and a mom herself, says that despite the difficulties that pregnancy can bring to dental care, keeping a mouth full of clean pearly whites and gums while baby on board is important.”Pregnant women should absolutely visit the dentist,” Hovsepian says. “It is very important to keep up with dental recall appointments to ensure that oral health is maintained.” And according to March of Dimes, good dental care during pregnancy can even help the baby be healthy.

Dr. Hovsepian explains that the nausea of morning sickness can contribute to plaque and tartar buildup, along with decay. If the morning sickness is severe enough to cause vomiting, acid exposure in the mouth can also cause decay. In addition, the hormones of pregnancy can contribute to a condition called “pregnancy gingivitis”, which is redness and swelling of the gums that is sometimes aggravated by plaque buildup. The hormones can contribute to “pregnancy tumors” on the gums. These “tumors” aren’t cancer, but rather bumps on the gums between the teeth. These bumps go away after pregnancy. “The best way that pregnant women can prevent these problems is to maintain proper hygiene on a daily basis–brushing twice a day and flossing daily,” Hovsepian says.”Pregnant and nursing women should avoid whitening products and stick to regular brushing and flossing”, she adds.

Beyond the daily brush and floss routine, pregnant women should continue visiting the dentist, according to Hovsepian, and let their dentist know that they’re pregnant. The dentist should also know how far along the pregnancy is, any complications or high-risk status, and what medications the pregnant patient is taking. Although morning sickness can make the thought of opening wide for a check-up nauseating, Hovsepian says quicker and gentler check-ups can ease the process.

On a more personal level, Hovsepian believes the more natural products a pregnant woman can use, the better. “Oral health is linked to overall health, so all products matter”, she notes. “As a dentist and mom myself, I found myself paying more attention to ingredients in everything that I use on my body and that I ingest, because my body was essentially connected to my baby’s body,” she says. “I did a lot of research on ingredients that I was unsure about and thereby found myself turning to more natural and organically driven products. It is never too early or late to start taking good care of yourself, because taking care of yourself means taking the best care of your baby.”

More Pregnancy Health:

 

 

 

The post What You Need to Know About Dental Hygiene And Pregnancy appeared first on Momtastic.

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If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, then chances are you have heard about the benefits of red raspberry leaf tea. Red raspberry leaf is exactly what it sounds like – the leaf from the red raspberry bush. (Not to be confused with red raspberry tea which is black tea with raspberry flavoring.)

Red raspberry leaf tea is often recommended by doulas, midwives and certain medical professions to pregnant mothers for it’s uterine stimulating qualities. Red raspberry leaf tea is believed to help tone and strengthen the uterine muscle, allowing for a more efficient labor. Plus, it can ease morning sickness and leg swelling. But it does more than just aid pregnant women. Raspberry leaf tea can regulate irregular menstrual cycles, reduce heavy periods, and ease cramps. And in toning the uterus and fortifying the walls of the uterus, it also naturally promotes fertility.

Because there is some controversy around using red raspberry leaf throughout pregnancy, healthcare providers often suggest you avoid it during the first trimester, just to be safe. To make the most of the benefits of this herbal tea, you could begin drinking it in the second or even in the third trimester.

Here’s what else you should know about the benefits of red raspberry leaf tea:

For expectant moms:

  • Studies have shown red raspberry leaf may play a role in decreasing the incidence of artificial rupture of membranes, unplanned cesarean sections and use of forceps during delivery. Even so, you should discuss the pros and cons of this herbal remedy with your health care provider before drinking it.
  • Red raspberry leaf is often included in “pregnancy teas” to help tone the muscles in the uterus, which can help shorten labor and ease labor pains. Do not use red raspberries during pregnancy if you are having complications.
  • The high level of B vitamins in particular makes it useful for relieving nausea, soothing leg cramps, and improving sleep. (Symptoms that definitely increase during pregnancy!)
  • Postpartum, raspberry’s astringency is used to help with bleeding and swelling as well as to restore tone to the uterus. The high nutrient content may help to enrich breast milk, though over-consumption can cause supply issues due to raspberry’s astringency.

For new mothers:

  • Trying to conceive? The relaxation effect of red raspberry leaves on the uterine muscles may work to help prevent early miscarriage and to assist early embryos in attaching to the uterine wall. The tea’s phyto-progesterone quality can increase progesterone levels as well.
  • The APA states red raspberry leaf can help increase breast milk supply, help the uterus return to pre-pregnancy size and help reduce postpartum depression. Most evidence of red raspberry leaf increasing breast milk is anecdotal, but it is considered safe to consume while breastfeeding.
  • Worried about losing weight after giving birth? Known widely as a low-calorie tea with a metabolism-stimulating characteristic, raspberry leaf tea is popular with people who are trying to lose weight. This tea can help make you feel full while delivering key nutrients and boosting your energy levels.

The use of herbal teas particularly raspberry tea is not very comprehensive. Keep in mind: as there are no official recommendations regarding the dose or the ideal trimester to drink it, discussing red raspberry leaf tea side effects with your OB or midwife is a smart move.

The post The Benefits of Raspberry Leaf Tea for Moms and Moms-to-Be appeared first on Momtastic.

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The first trimester of pregnancy can be marked by several unpleasant physical changes: nausea, vomiting, and fatigue to name a few. Sure, some women experience little to no symptoms during this time, but many others struggle. Navigating the first trimester at work can be a challenge. When you feel perpetually ill and exhausted, it can be hard to focus and stay on task. You may worry that your performance may suffer. You may worry your employer will notice. The struggle is real.  Here are three tips for surviving the first trimester at work.

Manage First Trimester Symptoms

First and foremost, find ways to manage your symptoms. Pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting varies from woman-to-woman and from pregnancy-to-pregnancy. Some women can manage their symptoms with ginger and crackers, while others suffer extreme nausea and vomiting with even the strongest prescription medication.

If you find yourself unable to perform your normal tasks because of your symptoms, work with your physician and employer to see if you can arrange a reasonable accommodation (more on that below).

Even if your symptoms are less severe, you should stock up on the things that help you. Keep a stash of crackers, lemonade, and sour candy on hand. Sip hot tea throughout the day. Schedule times to rest as needed. Remember that your health is a priority.

Bookmark These Resources

Be aware of your employer’s policies regarding pregnancy and your workplace rights.

The UC Hastings Center for WorkLife Law provides helpful guidance through its Pregnant at Work initiative. In addition to offering tips on when to share the news of your pregnancy with your employer, it gives advice, by state, on how to obtain assistance from your healthcare provider. The site also provides a list of workplace accommodation ideas plus guidance for your doctor if you need a note for your employer.

You can also contact A Better Balance, which offers a free legal hotline to speak with an attorney about your situation. A Better Balance also offers a free state-by-state guide called “Baby Gate” for all your questions related to work and pregnancy.

During this time, you should also learn your employer’s parental leave policies and your workplace pregnancy rights. If at any point you believe your employer is treating you disparately on the basis of your pregnancy, contact an attorney, the EEOC, or your state’s civil rights commission. You should also contact your employer’s Human Resources Department (or equivalent) with questions or concerns you have related to your pregnancy and your employer’s policies.

Find an Ally at Work

Choosing when to disclose your pregnancy at work is a personal decision. Many women aren’t ready to do so during the first trimester. Still, if you have a close friend or colleague at work, you may wish to share your news with them. Having a trusted individual who can help you navigate this time may be helpful and put your mind at ease.

Be aware that you will also need to disclose your pregnancy should you seek a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy-related medical condition. However, even without doing so, you may choose to discreetly share the news with your boss or someone else on your team if you feel it would be helpful and you are comfortable doing so.

More First Trimester Advice:

The post How to Manage Your First Trimester of Pregnancy At Work appeared first on Momtastic.

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My husband and I were pleasantly surprised — okay fine, we were downright shocked — to find out that after having two kids and rounding the sharp corner toward the big 4-0 we were expecting a third child. When we met our doctor for the first time we felt pretty sure that we knew exactly how that appointment would go given that we had been through it a couple of times before, in the not so recent past. So, imagine my surprise when I learned that I have a geriatric uterus.

Yep, I’m in a fun category called “Advanced Maternal Age.” At first, it was kind of funny and my husband took no time to crack some ridiculous jokes about Benjamin Button growing backward in my ancient lady parts — that is until the doctor started talking to us about some scary sounding tests for genetic and metabolic disorders. We stopped kidding around about skipping the college funds and calling AARP because this conversation had gotten a helluva lot more real.

As it turns out, AMA is not the end of the world, although at first it can feel like one. Here’s what it really means — and what you can do to decrease your risk:

1. You’re more likely to have gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. In a nutshell, that means your body may have a harder time regulating sugar and blood pressure. You can lower your risk of both problems by eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of (pregnancy-safe) exercise. Basically, don’t eat crap and make sure you move every day.

2. You are at a slightly higher risk for birth defects. This is scary as f*ck, I’m not going to lie. But to put it into perspective, there is still an excellent chance that you’ll have a healthy baby. You can assess your own personal risks against statistics and family history with your doctor. Some good news? Your child may be less likely to have certain physical abnormalities that are not chromosomal-based because you’re older.

3. Older mothers are more likely to give birth to multiplesSee, after the age of 35 women tend to produce more of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). But fear not: The rate of multiple births is still very low. In 2015 there were 33 sets of twins born per 1,000 births and 113 sets of triplets per 100,000 live births. So, your chances are fairly low.

4. Your baby is more likely to have a low birth weight, weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth. (Your health, diet, genetics, and social behaviors such as alcohol and drug use during pregnancy also play a role). So, it’s important to take your prenatal vitamins every day and be monitored by a doctor.

5. You have a higher risk of miscarriage than younger moms. According to data collected by the CDC and reported by the Advanced Fertility Center in Chicago, by the time a woman is 40-years-old her risk of miscarriage reaches 29 percent. Some of the causes of miscarriage can be prevented or even predicted, but not all; your doctor will monitor your pregnancy closely to help ensure your (and your baby’s) good health.

If you are at an AMA, remember that as long as you try your best to be as healthy as possible and you see your doctor regularly throughout your pregnancy then the odds are in your favor of delivering a healthy baby. Having lady parts that may be considered medically ancient is truly no big deal. I mean, I’d freak out over a gray hair down there sooner than I would about the risk of potential complications (they are statistically very low!). So rub that belly and have faith that you and your baby will be okay.

More for Pregnant Moms:

Photo: Getty

 

The post The Term ‘Advanced Maternal Age’ Shouldn’t Scare the Sh*t Out of You appeared first on Momtastic.

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Popular baby names often define a generation, from 1980s hits such as Heather, Jason, and Amanda, to today’s favorites, including Emma, Olivia, and Noah. But what are the most popular baby names of all time — you know, the truly timeless ones that never go out of style? Here’s the definitive list, for both boys and girls.

GIRLS

1. Mary
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the most popular name of all-time for girls. While it’s fallen off a bit in popularity, its long-time reign at #1 ensured it still scores the top spot.

2. Patricia
A feminization of the popular Patrick, the name means “noble.” It was one of the most popular baby names from the ’40s to the ’60s, though it’s currently at #745 in popularity.

3. Elizabeth
Still a top 20 favorite, Elizabeth is a Biblical name that means “consecrated to God,” and comes with a score of nicknames that makes it forever stylish.

4. Jennifer
The queen of the ’70s scores the fourth spot, thanks to its overwhelming ubiquitousness. If you grew up in the ’70s or ’80s, odds are you have at least a Jen or five amongst your friends. The name means “white wave.” It’s still in the top 300 in popularity.

5. Linda
A mid-20th century favorite, Linda means “beautiful.” It’s now 700 on the list of top 1,000 names of all time.

6. Barbara
While currently sitting near the bottom of the top 1,000, Barbara was a top choice for the ’30s and ’40s. It means “foreign woman.”

7. Margaret
A perennial classic that has several cool nicknames (Maggie, Maisie, and Daisy feel freshest right now), Margaret means “pure.”

8. Susan
Susan hit its peak in popularity back in the ’30s to ’60s. It means “lily.”

9. Dorothy
Thanks to the young girl in the ruby slippers, Dorothy has always had its fans. It means “gift from God.”

10. Sarah
An Old Testament favorite girls name, Sarah has remained in the top 100 steadily. It means “princess.”

BOYS

1. James
A cool classic that never goes out of style—James still sits in the top 5 most popular baby names. It means “supplanter,” and is currently starting to be seen for girls as well.

2. John
A Biblical favorite, John means “God is gracious.” It’s been used by a slew of popes, saints, apostles, and U.S. Presidents.

3. Robert
A top 10 pick for more than a century, Robert is still in the top 100. It means “bright fame.”

4. Michael
As you probably know from your circle of friends and family, Michael was the top name for more than 50 years—and since it’s still in the top 10, it isn’t going anywhere. Expect it to move further up the chart in the coming years.

5. William
Forever in vogue, William has been used for royalty and Presidents, and it means “protector.” It’s currently still in the top 3, thanks to its currently in vogue nickname, Liam.

6. David
The famed Old Testament king helped this name, which means “beloved,” remain among the top 20 popular baby names for nearly a century.

7. Richard
Don’t let the old “Dick” nickname (and the association with Richard Nixon) keep you from this classic. Now in the top 200, Richard means “ruler,” and was the name of several members of the British royal family.

8. Joseph
A top 20 favorite for nearly 150 years (it only dipped down to #21 once in 2015), Joseph has Biblical roots, and a slew of famous namesakes.

9. Charles
A French name that means “free man,” Charles was a top favorite through the mid-20th century, before dipping down into the top 75.

10. Thomas
Apostles and saints bear this name, which means “twin.” It was a top 10 pick from the 1880s to the 1960s, and is still in the top 50 baby names.

More Baby Name Ideas:

The post The Most Popular Baby Names Of All Time appeared first on Momtastic.

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About three months ago, I got some of the happiest news of my life. After not having to “try” for as long as we’d expected, my husband and I were expecting Baby #2. Because I have a complicated medical history — severe endometriosis at the top of the list — I’d been told for years I may never have children. After one healthy baby born, I was elated to discover that I was expecting another.

That is not what this post is about, but I preface with it to be entirely clear: I am thrilled and grateful to be carrying our second baby. Every night I go to bed with a silent prayer of thanks for all of the wonderful gifts in our lives, counting Miracles 1 and 2 right at the top. I felt it important to start there, because the rest of the experience of a second pregnancy is nothing short of a living hell that makes me want to cry and throw up all at the same time.

While I always imagined how fun it would be to have a little kid and be waiting on another, no one bothered to tell me what all of this nonsense would be like. So let me share a few of the highlights…

1. Constipation is way worse when you have an audience. I thought pregnancy-related constipation sucked the first time around, but now there is a 2-year-old staring at me while I’m trying to make something happen. And, she gets seriously pissed off when I take too long in there; even if she does leave me alone for a few minutes, she’ll come in crying shortly thereafter to signal my time is up.

2. Naps are no longer a thing. When I was pregnant with my first, I napped so hard I could have listed “falling asleep during the day” as a skill on my resume. Between meetings, on weekends, in the evenings before my husband came through the door. Now that I’m pregnant and have a toddler, there is no such thing as napping. When my daughter falls into her afternoon slumber, it’s a race against time to catch up on laundry, dishes, and work. Two hours are never enough to get everything done, but even if they were, there would still be no time for napping. Boo.

3. Protecting the bump from toddler attacks is a full-time job. My 2-year-old is so full of energy and life, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with her. Now that she notices my growing middle, she thinks it’s hilarious to bounce off of, knock on, and otherwise disturb it. Even though she’s a sweet child and doesn’t mean any harm, I’m worried half the time about a collision — and the other half of the time about how I’m going to keep a newborn safe around this toddler tornado.

4. Lugging around a toddler and a baby bump is exhausting. I thought my bump was a huge inconvenience the first time around, but now I have a 2-year-old who constantly wants to be held. At 15 kgs on one hip and who-knows-how-many-kilos to go in front, will I ever be lithe and free again? At this point, it’s feeling like a solid no.

5. You won’t work out, like, ever. I literally spit out my soda water that I now chug in the evenings in place of that beloved glass of wine the last time a friend asked me if I was “working out this time.” And I get it; last pregnancy, I was miss #bumpfit with the daily runs, yoga classes, and lean, green, protein-enriched salads. This time, I’m lucky to get out the door and make it to the supermarket once a week, let alone do something so gloriously self-indulgent as spend money on a workout and a sitter. Bah!

6. No matter how crappy you feel, there’s someone else you have to take care of. My nausea has been way worse this time around. But gone are the days of sitting in my car nursing a ginger beer for 20 minutes or hitting snooze as many times as needed for it to subside. The fact is, toddlers have needs and they can’t be put on hold for your own. I’m lucky to have a wonderful partner who “takes over” when he gets home from work, but taking care of a needy 2-year-old all day when you really want to just lie down and suck on ice cubes is rough. That’s the truth.

7. Cutesy memorabilia and journaling will not happen this time. With my first pregnancy, I had a whole binder full of everything from ultrasound photos and nursery inspiration to safe medication lists and milestone calendars. I also wrote to my unborn daughter in a leather-bound journal. This time, unless I’m actively throwing up or trying to button a pair of jeans, I practically forget I’m pregnant. Keeping a toddler engaged and happy is tough enough; who has time for scrapbooking? We do, however, have a file folder in the kitchen with “Baby 2” scrawled on it, alongside the wrong due date (oops). It contains mostly junk mail. Such is life.

Most days, I wish I could go back in time and bop first-time-mum me on the head for every single complaint I made during that pregnancy: Oh, you didn’t make it to yoga today because you got stuck in traffic? Wah, wah. You still have six hours left with absolutely no one to care for but yourself, so find another class or do a YouTube video. Or better yet… What’s that, you’re tired? Take another freaking nap, you spoiled brat. Who’s stopping you? Close your eyes and enjoy the silence, because next time around, someone will make sure you can’t.

For all the drama, I’ll end where I started. Growing these two miracles is a gift and I swear I appreciate it in the big picture. But in this very moment — sigh. Mama could use a nap.

Image: Getty

The post All the Things Nobody Tells You about Being Pregnant & Having a Toddler appeared first on Momtastic.

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I was so excited for my 20-week ultrasound. I hadn’t seen the baby growing in my belly since my 12-week scan, and I knew this would probably be my last chance to have a look at the little bean before D-day. But, here’s the thing: There’s a lot more to it than determining your baby’s gender. “The 20-week ultrasound is one of the most important doctor’s visits of the entire pregnancy,” says Anna Barbieri, MD, an ob-gyn in private practice in New York City. “It checks for the correct development of all of your baby’s organs, and it will significantly reduce the chance that your baby would be born with a major birth defect.” With all that in mind, here’s your chance to read up and go into your 20-week scan prepared.

What is the 20-week ultrasound for?

This ultrasound (also known as the anatomy scan) is done to check out the structure of your baby’s organs (think the brain, spine, heart, stomach, and kidneys), in order to make sure everything is developing normally and there are no abnormalities, says Melissa Goist, MD, an ob-gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus, Ohio. She’ll check your baby’s fingers and toes, too, and count and measure the bones to make sure that your baby’s growth is on track. Additionally, she’ll check on the location of the placenta to make sure that you don’t have placenta previa, a condition that occurs when the placenta covers the cervix. “It can result in certain complications, like bleeding, and requires earlier delivery by C-Section,” says Dr. Barbieri.

Will I definitely find out my baby’s sex?

Your baby’s genitals are well formed at this point, so as long as he or she cooperates the technician should be able to determine whether you’re having a boy or a girl. However, science and technology have come a long way and Dr. Barbieri notes that most people are able to find out their baby’s gender by blood work as early as 11 weeks and by ultrasound at 16 weeks.

What if the ultrasound shows a problem?

If your doctor sees an abnormality, she’ll most likely schedule more tests. Dr. Barbieri says that it really depends on what the abnormality is to determine the appropriate test. “For example, a structural heart abnormality may require additional testing with a fetal echocardiogram [a specialized cardiac ultrasound],” she explains. “Some abnormalities suggest the presence of a genetic syndrome, such as Downs, or an infection like CMV, which can then be hopefully ruled out with an amniocentesis.”

Before you start stressing out, though, remember that the 20-week ultrasound is usually a very happy occasion. You get to see your baby!

More for Pregnant Moms:

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The post What to Expect at Your 20-Week Ultrasound appeared first on Momtastic.

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When mamas to be go into nesting node, organizing becomes instinctual! High on your priority list should be packing your hospital bag…but don’t leave it ’til the last minute! By 36 weeks you should focus on what you need for yourself and the new baby. I recommend using your rolling carry on luggage. It will make your life so much easier than a duffle bag, especially if you are arriving to the hospital in the throes of full labor.

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag

Must-Haves For Mom

Paperwork:  Your ID, insurance cards and any other important documents. Keep these in an easily accessible place so your partner can easily find them as you are admitted. You may be too busy concentrating on your contractions.

Nursing Bra: If you’re planning on breastfeeding, be sure to have a bra to ensure easy access.

Pajamas/ Loungewear: If you are having a c-section or are spending more than one night in the hospital for any reason it will be nice to get out of the hospital gown and into your own clothes.  Bring a robe, sweatshirt or sweater too if you have room. 

Slippers or anti-slip socks: You’ll most likely be walking up and down the hallways and you’ll want something on your feet.

Underwear: Trust me when I tell you to bring your own. The hospital will supply you with some mesh underwear that are pretty uncomfortable, so bring a few pair that you don’t mind tossing. Or better yet, bring disposables like Depends.

Cell phone charger:  Be sure you have your charger handy. Besides needing a phone for obvious reasons (calling, texting, and updating your social accounts with your exciting news) you’ll want your phone ready for those first precious photos. 

Toiletries (The works): Bring body wash, shampoo, and conditioner for that all important first shower after labor. Deodorant, toothpaste, and a toothbrush are necessities along with a hairbrush and hair ties. Don’t forget the lip balm and moisturizer – hospitals are dry, and

Going home outfit: Don’t expect your body to bounce back immediately. You may still look a couple of months pregnant so skip your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans and pack a comfortable maxi dress or leggings and a tunic. 

Mints or gum

The post Hospital Bag Checklist: What Do You Really Need to Pack? appeared first on Momtastic.

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