The Best Pregnancy Planners

There are so many amazing pregnancy planners on the market, but these take the cake, and the shower, and the complete pregnancy record too.

A great pregnancy planner will help you keep organized, while acting as a reminder for all of the important things and a journal so you remember each step along the way.

The printable planner below is great because you buy the pages on Etsy and put them in your favorite binder.

There are many types of planners. You can purchase pages and print them yourself or you can buy physical copies that get shipped to you. Of course, baby shops usually have planners you can buy too.

Planner Stickers

You can create a complete pregnancy planner that is designed exactly how you like it and even print off stickers to go with it.

There are SO many cute stickers you can add to your collection and make your nine months memorable.

7 Reasons You Need the Haakaa If You’re Planning to Breastfeed

The Haakaa came onto the scene like a storm. The simple hand pump makes all of the sense. I mean, literally ALL of the sense. This genius contraption takes all of the parts and pieces and guesswork out of breastpumps. Literally.

Reason #1 – Parts & Pieces

Your friends might have told you about that pumping session when they were trying to get the pump washed out and dropped the valve on the floor right as they were really, really needing to get to pumping. Or, better yet, they couldn’t find the valve at all.

Most pumps have several pieces that have to be put together after washing or before use. The Haakaa completely eliminates that with this genius one-piece wonder.

Reason #2 It’s Easy to Clean

All of the yassssss. When you’re a breastfeeding mom, taking things apart and keeping them together and making sure they are sanitary for your liquid gold is of the utmost importance. This little ditty is so easy to wash out with a bottle washer.

Reason #3 It’s Great For Catching The Let Down From The Other Boob

You know that other boob that likes to let down at the same time as it’s friend? The suction on the Haakaa is so amazing that you can pop it on and continue nursing without having to hold it on or worse – lose out on that precious milk that could have been added to the stash in the refrigerator.

Reason #4 It’s Inexpensive

The Haakaa is affordable for any mom. You can easily have one in a diaper bag, one at work, one in your car, and one in the dishwasher – all for less than the price of most other handheld breast pumps.

Reason #5 It’s Lightweight and Easy to Conceal

If you’re all about being discrete or don’t want to add a lot of weight to your already bursting diaper bag, the Haakaa will happily go along for the ride without taking up much space or adding much weight. At just 5.6 ounces – yes 1/3 of a pound, this little wonder is an easy addition you won’t notice in your bag.

What’s more – the Haakaa isn’t big and bulky like most pumps, so you’ll be able to pump when and where you need to without making it that obvious.

Reason #6 It Fits All. The. Boobs.

Whether you’re rocking all the mom boobs or can barely notice you’re feeding a critter with those things, this pump is for you. It’s specifically designed to fit all of the sizes you can throw at it. No need to worry about whether you’ll fit or whether it’s not going to be able to get the suction it need to get the job done.

Reason #7 Save More Milk

With easy to use storage lids and the spout-like cup, you’ll be able to store your breastmilk in the Haakaa or easily transfer it over to a storage bag.

You can grab the Haakaa Leak-Proof lid here. Any storage bag will work, but these breast milk storage bags are our favorite.

A Complete List of Pregnancy Board Acronyms

Whether you’re a FTM (First Time Mom), are TTC (trying to conceive) or are working on number three, chances are you’ve landed on a message board that needed to be decoded. These threads are full of mommy and family lingo broken down for quick typing. No matter your situation, if you stumble into a mommy board of any ind, you’ll likely find yourself in a virtual soup of acronyms.

After the baby is born, they don’t stop – now you add in acroyms for sleep methods, parenting methods, diapers, older children and so much more.

Decode them here:

AC – Assisted conception
AI – Artificial insemination
AIH – Artificial insemination with husband’s sperm
AIO – All-in-one
AP – Attachment parenting
ART – Assisted reproductive technology
BBT – Basal body temperature
BC – Birth control
BD – Baby dancing (sex for conception)
BF – Breastfeeding
BFN – Big fat negative (pregnancy test)
BW – Blood week (period)
CC – Controlled crying
CD – Cloth diaper
CIO – Cry it out
CM – Cervical mucus
CVSs – Chorionic villus sampling
DA – Dairy allergy
DD – Dear daughter
DF – Dear fiance
DH – Dear husband
DI – Donor insemination
DPO – Days past ovulation
DS – Dear son
DSD – Dear step daughter
DSS – Dear step son
DTD – Do the deed (sex)
DXP – Dear ex partner
EBF – Exclusively breastfeeding
EBM – Expressed breast milk
EDD – Estimated date of delivery (due date)
EN – Extended nursing
EP – Ectopic pregnancy
ER – Egg retrival
ET – Embryo transfer
FF – Formula feeding
FS – Food stamps
FTM – First time mom
GD – Gestational diabetes
GF – Gluten-free
HPT – Home pregnancy test
IUI – Intrauterine insemination
IVF – In vitro fertilization
LAM – Lactational amennorhea method
LO – Little one
LP – Luteal phase
MC – Miscarriage
MIL – Mother-in-law
MS – Morning sickness
NAK – Nursing at keyboard
NFP – Natural family planning
NIP – Nursing in public
NTNP – Not trying/not preventing
O – Ovulation
OH – Other half
OPK – Ovulation predictor test kit
OWT – Old wives tale
PG – Pregnant
POAS – Pee on a stick
POF – Premature ovarian failure
SAHM – Stay at home mom
SB – Still birth
SW – Starting weight
TTC – Trying to conceive
US – Ultrasound
VBAC – Vaginal birth after cesarean
WAHM – Work at home mom
WOHM – Work out of home mom
WM – Working mom

Did we miss one? Be sure to comment with your favorite pregnancy or family acronym below.

Must-Have Maternity Robes For Soon-To-Be Moms

Maternity robes aren’t anything new, but THESE maternity robes… just wow. Bright and colorful, these silhouette shaped craftans were designed to highlight that bump and the butterfly sleeves were designed to create a flowy feel will leave any mama feeling beautiful.

The best part is – they’re also amazing for a new mom who doesn’t feel like getting fully dressed just yet – especially when she’s nursing a baby.

Maternity Robes Make a Great Baby Shower Gift

Everyone is taking diapers and baby clothes, why not bring the stand out gift for mom? Imagine these gowns, beautifully folded with a tissue paper wrap in a beautiful crisp white box. Yep, you’re with us, aren’t you?

Maternity Robes Are A Family Keepsake

Imagine passing these robes down for generations? Just like a wedding dress, these maternity gowns mark an important moment in history. Why not buy a gown that is worthy of generations of mothers?

When we found these completely custom sewn robes on Etsy, we knew we had to cover them on IHP.

Let us know which color is your favorite in the comments.

maternity gown

This green maternity robe collection is what first caught our eye. Beautifully colorful and adorned with bright flowers, this robe is sure to offer a pick-me-up to any mom-to-be. Imagine a mama opening this at her baby shower! You can see this one HERE on Etsy.

champagne maternity gown

If champagne is more your color style, this designer has it! These elegant floral champagne maternity gowns are absolutely beautiful. You can pick one up here.

teal maternity gown

If you love teal, you’ll love this maternity robe collection. Accented with bright colored flowers like sunflowers and roses, these robes are a must-have in your colorful maternity and new mom wardrobe. Grab them here.

blue maternity gown

If you’re into light blue, this design set features a classic light blue with a wide range of subtle to colorful flowers. We’re personally a fan of the second one from the left. Browse the set here.

navy maternity gown

Okay, I’ll take that sunflower and navy blue robe right now, please. GAH! Which is your favorite maternity gown out of this set? Grab them here.

mint maternity gown

We love all of these mint maternity robes with pops of pink and purple. We’re thinking we need one of each. How about you? Check them out here.

We love these robes and we hope you do too.

As a note, the links to these gowns are an affiliate link. We love covering them and were not compensated for sharing, however, if you purchase a gown via our link, we will receive a commiission at no additional cost to you.

 

Pregnancy & Dads: Why Inclusivity Matters to Our Relationships

For decades, we’ve taken for granted husbands being in the room when their wives deliver. Many of us believe that dads’ presence is important to supporting moms during childbirth, and to affirming fathers’ central roles in their children’s lives.

Despite men’s now commonplace birth attendance, Michael Odent, a French obstetrician known as the first doc to invite dads into labor and delivery, did a 180 on his earlier stance. In an interview with the British press a few years ago, Odent claimed that women are happier, and healthier, when they give birth without male partners.

Why? Men’s presence constrains women’s willingness to let go and scream. Plus Odent, an avid proponent of natural childbirth, blames husbands’ inability to emotionally handle their wives’ labor pains for increased epidurals and caesareans.

From a Relationship Coach perspective, the core issue is less whether or not Odent is right, and more: What do couples want for their birth experience?
A study from Sweden claims that, while most men attended childbirth classes, some found their secondary status challenging. Their childbirth questions were ignored or redirected to moms and, the study found, dads lacked a forum for their own fears.

I can’t help but wonder about Odent’s claim of men’s impact on epidurals and C-sections, and whether, if true, it might be related to (most) men not being invited to express, or get support for, their fears concerning their spouses’ wellbeing during childbirth.

How can these issues, or some of them, be avoided?

Here are a few pre-birth tips:

  • It’s not just expecting moms who struggle with fear about birth, so take time before the due date for both of you to acknowledge that your fears aren’t just okay, they’re completely normal.
  • Go a step further and create a space to discuss those fears about birth and parenting. Think your spouse won’t chat with you about these issues? Then encourage him (or her) to speak to someone else, e.g., a friend, colleague, or Life Coach.
  • Expecting moms can ask childbirth instructors and members of their medical/birthing team to include expecting dads as much as possible, at various stages of the process, including pre-birth, e.g., at ultrasound appointments.

Ask The Tough Questions

Ask yourselves and each other birth-prep questions centered on your relationship (vs. the mechanics of childbirth). Even if you make up your answers, just asking the questions gives each other room to express best-case wishes and, hopefully, the ability to reference those wishes the real birth process turns out differently than planned.

Questions to ask…

If I were to imagine the best birth experience, in emotional terms (let’s just assume the physical goes great), what would I want my spouse to experience?
 
If I were to imagine the best birth experience for me, in emotional terms (assume the physical goes great), what would I want to experience?
 
Ideally, what role would I want my spouse to play in my experience?
 
Best-case scenario, how do we want to feel about each other during the birth process?
 
What can we do to create the atmosphere we both want for the birth process? (e.g., playing music we love, taping our favorite photos on the wall, etc.)
 
What do we want to remember about our relationship, if everything we want for ourselves, and each other, flies out the window during the birth process?
 
For couples who consider, or really want to consider, the birth of their child a team effort—with delivering moms clearly leading the charge!—finding ways to ensure spouses, too, are consciously integrated into the process and invited to share their feelings, especially before childbirth, is not only important to us individually, but also to our relationship together.

How I Gave Birth, Almost Died and Lived to Tell About It

This is a quick disclaimer – Before you read this, please understand that there are some areas that some may consider graphic. The squeamish might appreciate the warning. My personal story below is intended for informational purposes only.

 

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is the thought that kept going through my mind as I lay on an emergency room gurney just days after giving birth to my daughter. That, and how and why is this happening?

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start over…

The day I found out that I was pregnant, it was 2008 and I was getting ready to go to work. I remember that I was wearing a bright yellow and white floral dress topped with a white cropped cardigan. After work, I was going to see the new Sex and the City movie with my girlfriends. Knowing that there would probably be a Cosmo or two in my future, I added, “take a pregnancy test” to my morning routine. I wanted to check that it would be safe to drink an adult beverage. Call it intuition. (I’m a Charlotte, by the way.)

As soon as I see that pink plus sign, I jumped on my sleeping husband waving around the pee stick and screaming, “I’m pregnant!” We had officially started trying for a baby six months prior and I figured that after years of birth control pills it would have taken longer than it did, but there we were, pregnant. I was going to be drinking water at the movies.

My pregnancy was uneventful, save for the fact that I developed gestational diabetes. I pretty much figured that this would be the case due to many factors, my age, weight, and genetics. I ended up being prescribed medication to help control that aspect.

I was 35 when I was going to deliver. Because I was considered a high-risk pregnancy, my doctor scheduled a time for me to come in to induce labor with Pitocin.

On Friday, January 30, 2009, I spent the day going through labor. The doctor came in periodically to check how far along I was. Near the end of the day, the doctor explained that my baby was “sunny side up” otherwise known medically as occiput posterior or OP position. She tried reaching in and manipulating the position, but my stubborn baby was not having it, and the heartrate would drop.

After discussing with my doctor, I opted for a caesarian section to avoid stressing the baby out any more than was necessary. After a quick prep for surgery, I was whisked away to give birth. It seemed like it took only a few minutes and before I knew it, my daughter, Olivia, was born at 8:50pm.

I couldn’t hold her as my arms were strapped down, which I guess is common practice during surgery – no flailing about and keeping a sterile environment. I had to wait for the doctor to close me up. Once I was back to my room, I held her for the first time. It was glorious and she was the most beautiful girl in the world. My family surrounded us and it is something I’ll always treasure, holding her for the first time.

Because I had the C-section, I was in the hospital for four days and Olivia had jaundice and spent the majority of her days in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) getting phototherapy. We were both biding our time until we got home. While at the hospital, I found it hard to get comfortable. I was having pain above my left breast, below my shoulder. Nurses told me that it was gas due to the medication and that it would pass. I eventually asked for an antacid as the pain persisted. I figured eventually, I would pass gas and I would finally be done with the pain.

Once the baby and I got our clean bills of health, we set off for home. Forgive my bluntness when I say that I still had not “tooted”. Eventually the pain was so bad that I had to sleep sitting up as lying down made it worse. Weird, I thought, but didn’t think any more about it.

After being home for a day, my husband and I took Olivia to her first pediatrician appointment. On the way home, I mentioned to my husband that this gas, or the lack of passing it, was really starting to take its toll. I called my OBGYN to see if she could prescribe a more powerful antacid as the over-the-counters were not cutting it.

In speaking with the receptionist and explaining my issues, she put me on hold to speak with the doctor. Again, I thought, weird. Why does the doctor have to talk to me about passing gas?

My doctor got on the line and asked me a series of questions – Where is your pain? Can you lie down? Are you having trouble breathing? I answer with, above my left breast, no – lying down is too painful, because when I do, I am having trouble breathing.

She said that I need to get to the emergency room and that she is going to call the hospital regarding my arrival. I’m sorry, what? I was stunned. And yes, after all this, I’m still thinking, “all this for gas?”

She said, “You have a possible pulmonary embolism and I want you to go to the ER to rule it out.”

Thinking back on this conversation, I have to say, I had no idea what she was talking about at the time. Still, I relayed the information to my husband and we went to see my mother. I told her that I had to go to the hospital per my doctor’s orders. My mom took the baby and I kissed Olivia telling her that I would be right back. Little did I know that I just lied to my daughter.

By now, the pain was getting more severe. I checked into the ER and noticed that I was taken right back, despite the other patients in the waiting room. They started checking my vitals – blood pressure, oxygen intake, listening to my heart – all the normal stuff you see on TV. Nurses had put those stickers with snaps on them and I was being hooked up to a machine. The nurse asked me to lie down. Then it hits me, I couldn’t lie down because I couldn’t breathe. It hurt – my chest was hurting. Tears started to form and I was thinking that I was having a heart attack. I was gasping out, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”

I looked at my husband and I thought, “I’m sorry but you might be a single father because I am dying”. Up until this point in my life, I had never broken a bone, never had a hospital stay and now I truly thought that I was dying.

They sat me back up and that was better. I was still having pain but I could breathe little gasps of breath. The ER doctor said that he was going to send me for a CT scan. He thought that I had a blood clot in my lungs. A blood clot. In my lungs. What? How? Why?

The ER doctor confirmed after the CT scan that I did in fact have a blood clot in my lungs and I was admitted to the hospital. I started to cry, I just had a baby, checked out of the hospital a couple of days ago and now I was back.

Needless to say, I was mentally exhausted, physically weak and severely depressed. I continued to pump for breast milk while in the hospital. My husband would take the milk back to Olivia every day. She hated formula and I felt it was my duty to give her what I could. I felt guilty for being away from her and it is still something that haunts me to this day.

Let me just say that my mother was our lifesaver. I was, and continue to be, so grateful to my mother for taking care of Olivia while I was in and out of the hospital. My parents even moved to Pennsylvania from Texas and found a house only a couple of blocks from ours.

I was put on blood-thinners and was told that I would be on them for up to six months, maybe more. I spent another five days in the hospital while trying to recover from the blood clot. I was told later that a blood clot could have killed me and I cried some more.

Leaving the hospital didn’t mean that I was out of the woods. I was set up with a nurse who would come to our house daily to check on me and take blood work. I spent a majority of the night and a good portion of the day sleeping. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was pumping. Due to my absence, Olivia didn’t take to breastfeeding and probably bonded to my mother more so than she had with me. Still, I pumped. In my mind, it was the only thing that connected us as mother and daughter and it was the very least I could do.

About six weeks after having had the baby, I noticed that my C-section scar was tender, more so than usual. In some spots, it appeared that puss was forming. I brought this up to the doctor and because I was on blood thinners, it was back to the ER.

Turns out, my C-section had gotten infected. Spots along the scar appeared slightly green even. The doctor was able to draw on my belly an outline where the infection appeared, like a map of a country. I’m told that they are going to treat me as if I have MRSA.

According to WebMD, “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus — or staph — because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.”

The blood thinner that I was being treated with in pill form, was now going to be in injection form. Apparently, if the need for surgery were to arise, the reversal of the effects of the blood thinner works quicker if administered via injection.

I’m typically a glass half-full person but on that day, I couldn’t help but think that the world was against me. I was back in the hospital, away from my newborn daughter, suffering from blood clot pain and now my C-section incision was infected and I had to get injections every 12 hours. Oh and these injections were given in my gut. Yes, my stomach. This is the site where you get these injections. I was feeling quite defeated.

I was admitted back into the hospital but I felt like I was under observation, as if the doctors were waiting for something to happen. I was getting my twice-daily injections for my blood thinners, I was pumping every couple of hours and binging on America’s Next Top Model. My incision appeared to have grown a boil on it, but still nothing really happens. Then on my second, or was it my third day at the hospital, I got up from a nap. My husband was also napping in the chair next to my bed.

I got up to use the toilet and I was dragging along my monitors and whatever other devices to which I was hooked up. I lifted my gown and lowered my underwear when I heard a wet slapping sound. I looked down and I was bleeding. I was bleeding from my C-section incision. The boil had broken and puss and blood were dripping onto the tiled floor of the bathroom.

You know that “pull in case of emergency string” that all hospital bathrooms have? I pulled it but nothing happened. I thought that someone would spring into action and an announcement would be on the speakers, “code (whatever color) in room 324”. I waited a good five seconds, nothing.

By now, I was panicked and called out to my sleeping husband, “ERIC!!” Next thing I know he had raced over to find me in the bathroom and I was just standing there with blood and goop dripping from my body. And I can tell by the look on his face, he is the one thinking, “I’m about to become a single father because my wife is dying.”

He ran into the hall and yelled for help and a nurse came in. She had me sit on the toilet, as it was the closest thing to a chair. Then it dawned on me, I didn’t feel any pain so I figured I was in shock and also, I never peed so I proceed to do so as my husband and a nurse held me. Modesty was definitely out the window.

Once that was done, I was moved to the hospital bed. One of the nurses cleaned me up and then a barrage of doctors rotated into my room – pulmonologist, OBGYN, hematologist, and wound care. The wound care doctor explained that he was going to check the wound. My C-section scar was now being referred to as a wound. The wound care doctor lifted up the bed so I was at least four feet from the floor. He takes one of those long-handled swabs and inserts it into my C-section incision. He is able to push it in over two inches. The thought of that made me want to vomit.

My wound was unable to close because of the blood thinners. Talk about a catch-22. I had a blood clot so I needed the blood thinners but because of the blood thinners, my C-section was not healing.

The next few days were a blur of being poked and prodded by the nurses and doctors. I still got my twice-daily blood thinner injections. My blood was drawn every day. Now wound tape – medicated strips of a gauze-like material – got packed into my wound. This was as awful as it sounds. Apparently, the wound packing material allowed the wound to heal from the inside out and it was a long process.

Eventually, I was discharged from the hospital. In 2009 I spent a total of 17 days in the hospital. I was again set up with a nurse who came to my house to change my wound dressing. Eventually, I ran out of visits according to my insurance company and the nurse gave my mom and my husband “lessons” on how to treat my wounds. They both became experts on doing this, as my wound would take over four months being treated with wound tape.

A couple months later in May 2009, I visited my OBGYN. I still had weekly visits with her to check the healing process. I told her that the wound feels tender I showed her where the scar was healing irregularly. She called to one of her nurses to come into the room. She asked the nurse to hold my hands, saying that this might hurt a bit. I had suffered chest pain from a blood clot, daily stomach injections and wound tape packing for a few months. I figured my pain tolerance was better than most. Then, she did something that I will never forget. She took one of those long-ended swabs and she was able to bypass my skin with little effort at the site of my wound. She proceeded to open the wound by dragging the swab down the length of my C-section, as if she was opening an envelope.

I remember crying out. I heard the nurse say to me that she has arthritis and not to squeeze her hands too tight. Seriously?! I was being cut open like a Thanksgiving Day turkey and I couldn’t squeeze your hands? Still, I felt badly for the nurse and I gritted my teeth and held her hands as delicately as I could while being shived with a cotton swab. The doctor was able to go most of the length of my C-section with a swab inserted almost an inch deep in some spots.

I felt like I was starting over. The weeks went on and I continued with my blood thinning injections and wound packing regimen. All the while, I kept a breast-pumping spreadsheet to keep me on schedule. Looking back, I’m not sure why I did it but I would time my pumping’s every four or so hours and measure how much I was producing. I think that it made me feel like I was doing something important for my daughter that no one else could, despite all the issues I was battling. It was proof that I was somehow caring for my daughter.

Eventually, I saw my wound care doctor in his office when the wound became shallow enough that it could no longer be packed. He cauterized the wound with silver nitrate and I ultimately got better. I had finished taking my blood thinner medication. My wound finally closed. I was even able to go back to work.

Thinking back on this experience brought up some painful memories. Not just the recollection of bodily pain, but the pain felt by my family. My parents who just had a granddaughter but at the possibility of the loss of their daughter. My husband who had become so depressed but so depended on. My sister who I burdened with my medical issues while she was working towards her career in law enforcement.

I was stronger because of what happened. I even pursued a career in the medical field and worked at the hospital where this whole thing took place. Throughout this ordeal, I remember thinking that God would never give me anything that I couldn’t handle. In the end, I guess He didn’t.

Today, my daughter Olivia is a happy and healthy eight-year old. She and her sister, Emma, are the light in my life. Yes, I did have another child and that pregnancy was carefully orchestrated by my OBGYN and there were no issues to speak of with that birth. I gave birth in one of the operating rooms vs. the maternity ward, in case the need for surgery came up. I even had a plastic surgeon do the “close” of the C-section.

I decided on having a tubal ligation after the birth of my second daughter – no regrets. I try to think what I could have done differently during my first pregnancy but it turns out that after doing extensive research and multiple doctor’s visits of all kinds of specialties, it was a fluke. That blood clot was random. It can sometimes be hard to accept – trying to find blame and coming up short. But that’s the way it is sometimes, no rhyme or reason. The strength of my family and friends got me through the hardest time of my life. And I for one, am grateful for it.