You may be used to wearing high heels before you got pregnant, perhaps even enjoyed the leg-lengthening effect of your favourite pair, but when you conceive and your belly begins to grow, you need to put those heels to one side and rather opt for shoes with better support before your baby arrives. Here are the reasons why high heels aren’t meant for pregnant women.

Pregnant woman resting

1. You don’t have the strength and support

During pregnancy, your body undergoes a whole array of changes to accommodate your ability to carry the extra weight of the baby, as well as to make the birthing process easier. The ligaments in your lower back loosen and the same hormones that produce this effect can also result in loosened ligaments in the feet, ankles and lower legs. You will not have the same strength and support as before, which means that wearing high heels will not only be uncomfortable, but also painful and dangerous.

Proud mother to be

2. Your balance won’t be what it was

Aside from your lower body’s diminished joint support, your balance is also affected by pregnancy, especially because you need to learn to carry all that additional weight during the second half of your pregnancy. If high heels were a challenge to wear before getting pregnant, they will certainly challenge your stability during pregnancy. If you insist on wearing high heels during pregnancy, then it’s best you get some medical aid quotes and cover yourself for falls and sprains.

Just because you’re pregnant, you don’t have to be frumpy and wear flip-flops or flat boots. The real requirement for the pregnant woman’s feet is that your shoes need to be comfortable (especially when pregnancy fluid retention makes your feet and ankles swell) and they need to offer as much support as possible for your arches, calves, hamstrings and lower back.

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When it comes to raising your family, you only want the best for them, which is why considering your children’s dietary health is so important. Knowing what’s in your baby’s food will help you to make the right choices about her diet and establish the foundation for healthy eating for the rest of her life. Here’s why organic is better than non-organic food for your baby:

 Healthy baby food

1. Say no to pesticides

Large-scale farming requires the use of pesticides to ensure that crops are spared from infestations and the farmer can maximise his production and keep costs low. Even if the food is cleaned before it’s sent to the supermarket or processed into baby food, the pesticides aren’t completely washed away, which means that there’s a good chance that non-organic food contains traces of pesticides. Smaller scale organic farmers don’t use pesticides and while they may lose parts of their output to pests, the food is of a much higher quality and is safer for your baby to eat. You’ll pay more for organic baby food, but your child will grow up with healthy food in her tummy.

 

2. What about hormones?

Farmers who raise livestock for food are under pressure to use minimal time and resources to grow animals to size, which means that growth hormones are used to speed up this process, especially in beef cows. In order to protect the animals from illness and disease, they’re also treated with antibiotics. These hormones and antibiotics find their way into the packed meat in the supermarket and it’s suspected that they can have a negative effect on human development and on our endocrine systems. When selecting a high quality protein for your child, ensure that you can trust the source of the meat and that it comes from an organic farmer that doesn’t employ the same methods of mass production.

Organic baby food

Organic food is healthier, but more expensive than non-organic food. If you want to save costs, one of the best ways to get organic food for less money is to invest in growing your own! There are some great ways to start your own vegetable garden in planter boxes and produce healthy, organic food for your family, right outside your door.

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It’s a bit of a misnomer that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) is called “morning sickness” because, as many pregnant women know, that green, nauseated feeling can start from the moment you wake up in the morning and last all day. Some women experience such severe vomiting that they may need to be hospitalised (which is fortunately covered by most medical aid plans). If you’re one of the many women who suffers from pregnancy nausea, try these tips to reduce that icky feeling:

Pregnancy morning sickness

If it makes you feel ill, don’t eat it

While you do want to consume a balanced diet to ensure your baby gets all the best nutrients, it’s better to have a smaller range of nutrients in your body than to throw everything up before you’ve had the chance to digest it.

Eat small, frequent snacks

Don’t eat large portions three times a day. Rather opt for smaller, healthy snacks at frequent intervals throughout the day. Keeping something in your stomach could potentially reduce the feelings of nausea (which are more prominent on an empty stomach).

Morning sickness

Avoid trigger foods

One of the causes of pregnancy nausea is linked to a heightened sense of smell. If warm, aromatic foods turn your stomach, steer clear and rather opt for less fragrant foods that you’ll at least be able to eat and digest.

Suffering from morning sickness

Choose liquid calories

If you’re struggling with solid food, get your calories in liquid form in the shape of soups, smoothies, and shakes or other beverages that you can sip on throughout the day.

Stock up on gingerIt’s a commonly held belief that ginger helps to settle the stomach and reduce nausea. While it doesn’t work for every woman, you could try ginger tea, real ginger ale, ginger snaps, or even ginger-based sweets – but make sure they contain real ginger.

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From the time your baby is very small, right up to the age of about 10 to 12 years old, you need to ensure their safety in the car by strapping them in to a car seat, even if you’re just going to the shops around the corner. Their safety must come first, but they can only be safe if you know how to use car seats for infants and young children. Follow these basic steps to installing child car seats, but always follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions.

1. Secure the car seat

Child car seats come with a base that needs to be firmly attached to the back seat. Make sure that the base is as tightly secure as possible and cannot move more than a couple of centimeters in either direction. Follow the instructions closely for how to use the seat belts to secure the unit.

2. Strap your little one into the car seat

Place your baby in the car seat and make sure that the harness is used correctly. There may be varying chest, shoulder, and hip harnesses that need to be properly secured so that your baby fits snugly in the seat without the straps being too tight.

Baby in car seat

 3. Attach the seat to the base

When your child is comfortable, attach the car seat to the base, ensuring that it snaps into place and that the seat won’t detach unexpectedly.

Your baby needs to be in a comfortable position when in the baby car seat. He should always be in a semi-reclined position that will allow him to sleep comfortably if he needs to, without his head flopping forward. Even if he is uncomfortable with being restrained by the harness, give him a safe toy or a bottle for the journey to keep him occupied.

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When you become pregnant, your whole life will change… starting with your diet. It’s a common myth that pregnant women are now “eating for two” and are able to eat whatever they want – here are some guidelines on what pregnant women should eat to support the healthy growth of their baby.

 Pregnant woman

Proteins

It’s recommended that you eat a good source of animal protein – be it lean meat and chicken, fish, or eggs – while plant-based proteins are just as important. Beans, legumes, lentils, quinoa, nuts and seeds, are not only fantastic plant-based proteins but also provide expecting moms with many other nutrients and iron require for a healthy pregnancy.

 

Fruit and veggies

The more colourful your platter of fruits and veggies, the better for your body and your baby. Different fruits and veggies are packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals and trace elements that will form the building-blocks for your baby’s health. It’s important that fruits and vegetables are eaten fresh, but if you cook the veggies, be sure to not slather them in salt, oils and sugar and try to eat them as naturally as possible.

 Pregnant woman eating

Starches and carbs

While you will benefit from the energy from rice, pasta, and bread, it’s important to also eat natural white carbs like rice and potatoes. However, try the healthier options of brown rice and sweet potatoes too.

 Food for pregnant women

Fats

Fat in your diet is an important element, especially for your growing baby, but fats should not make up more than 30% of your daily intake, and then also only “healthy fats”. You can get these from avocado, nuts, and fatty fish, but try to avoid animal fats.

 

The healthier your diet during pregnancy, the healthier your baby’s own nutritional springboard will be.

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If you’re feeling tired all the time, even when you feel like you’re getting enough sleep, and your doctor has ruled out all the other potential conditions that may leave you feeling sluggish, with low energy, headaches, and even joint and lymph node pain, it may be due to chronic fatigue syndrome. Even though it’s a controversial condition that is difficult to diagnose, good medical aids will provide cover for the doctors’ appointments required to make this diagnosis.

 Chronic Fatigue

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is classified by its symptoms (as there are no screening tests to determine if you have it or not), which include an intense tiredness and body fatigue that no amount of sleep can cure. It can get worse if you persist with certain mental and physical activities, however, it might not be attributed to any specific cause.

 

The causes of CFS

There are a few different causes of CFS, including viral infection, which may account for the pain the joints and lymph nodes. Other causes include high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as hormonal problems and general immune system impairment. If you are overweight or lead a particularly inactive lifestyle, are prone to the effects of stress, or the right environmental factors for CFS are present, you are considered high-risk for developing chronic fatigue syndrome.

Fatigue

How does CFS manifest?

The first signs of CFS will be a feeling of being tired all the time – so tired that it interferes with your daily ability to function. You may be diagnosed with CFS when you have experienced this intense fatigue that isn’t cured with bed rest, for six months. If this is paired with an inability to concentrate, waking up feeling tired, inexplicable muscle and joint pain (without inflammation), headaches and sore throat, as well as tender lymph nodes in the armpits and neck, it’s very likely that you may have CFS.

 

Because a CFS diagnosis is difficult for doctors to make, it’s important that you persist in finding the cause of your chronic fatigue and help your doctor to rule out any other conditions so that there’s no doubt when he makes a CFS diagnosis. From there, the correct treatment plan can be administered.

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There’s no substitute for good nutrition as the basis for a healthy pregnancy, but because of how rapidly your baby grows and the demands this places on your body, it’s advisable to take additional supplements to ensure you’re providing enough nutrients and vitamins for both you and your baby. The following are good supplements to take during pregnancy:

Healthy Pregnancy

 Folate

Folic acid is a commonly recommended supplement to take before and during your pregnancy, but this is the synthetic form of folate. Folate is critically important to ensure healthy neural tube development and without it, your baby runs the risk of developing conditions such as spina bifida. Speak to your doctor about the correct doses of folate and folic acid, and how to adjust them based on where you are in your pregnancy.

Prenatal multivitamin

Prenatal multivitamins are a vital way of ensuring you get the full range of additional vitamins and minerals your baby needs during pregnancy and nursing. It’s important not to rely solely on this multivitamin, but to pair it with a high-nutrient diet too.

Vitamin Supplements for Pregnancy

 Probiotics

Your baby’s gut will be sterile when she’s born – she will get all her important gut bacteria when she’s born and during nursing. You can ensure she has a healthy gut from the start by taking a high quality probiotic, which will set the stage for gut health for the rest of her life. And it’s pretty good for you too!

Magnesium

Magnesium is an all-important mineral during pregnancy because of its impact on your baby’s development – from muscles and tissue, to brain and bones. Using a magnesium oil on the skin or taking an ionic supplement during pregnancy should ensure that you don’t have any deficiencies, but speak to your doctor to find out more about your magnesium needs.

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When you discover that you’re pregnant, there are so many considerations to think about to make sure you gestate and deliver a healthy baby. It’s vitally important that you have all the right medical assistance to take you from pregnancy to delivery and paediatric care for your little one as he grows up. Whether you’re already on a medical aid or you need multiple medical aid quotes to find out which one to join, the following are important considerations that will help your decision:

Pregnant Women

Are you covered for pregnancy?

You will need to see your GP, who may be able to assist you during your full term, or he may refer you to a gynaecologist to provide more specific prenatal care. There will be scans and tests that are required to ensure a healthy pregnancy and that you’re all set for delivery. Your medical aid should cover the costs of these tests as well as any other medical assistance you may need during pregnancy.

What’s included for the birth of your child?

Whether you choose to have a natural birth or a caesarean, or you need a caesarean at the last minute due to complications, you need to find out from your medical aid how you’re covered for the birth of your baby. Also find out how you’re covered if you choose to have your baby at home.

Expecting Mother

This is a beautiful time in a woman’s life, don’t let your medical aid cover distract you from enjoying this moment.

There are many different medical schemes available, but it’s important that you find the one that suits your needs so that you can focus on your baby while your medical expenses are taken care of.

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All moms wish that their babies were idyllic creatures that latched on immediately, slept for more than three hours at a time, and were comfortable enough to not scream for no reason. Unfortunately, back here in reality, each baby is very different, communicates in their own way, and will display their personality traits from the time that they are just a few days old. However, there is a special kind of baby that really does stand out from the rest, and is known as a high-maintenance baby.

These are the traits to look out for with a high-maintenance infant:

They display intensity

High maintenance babies may behave (especially cry) with an intensity that make even the most confident moms worry. Their methods of communication are intense and demanding – they need immediate attention and command it because they know they’ll get it. All of their activities – from crying to laughing, to feeding, and even the way they clench their little fists all have an urgency to them that shows this inherent intensity.

Very happy baby

 They may appear hyperactive

Hyperactivity is very often a subjective matter, so we’ll clarify by saying that a high maintenance baby will not only express himself in a hyperactive manner, but will leave moms feeling drained – as though he has sapped every last ounce of energy from you with his hyperactive behaviour.

They may feed very often

High-maintenance babies need to keep their energy up to expend it on their intense, often anxious, behaviour, which is why they will want to feed often. Feeding may also be a form of comfort for them, which may also explain their huge appetite. In spite of how frequently they feed, they may also display behaviour indicative of insatiability – with everything.

They may display unpredictable behaviour

Hyperactive and hyper-sensitive (emotionally and otherwise), high maintenance babies are controlled by their need for constant attention, which may also make them unpredictable. These children will keep their moms on their toes.

 

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We often associate skin conditions with teenagers, especially when their hormones are awry, but eczema is a skin conditions found in babies, teenagers, adults, and even in mature adults. Eczema manifests as patches of skin that are red, dry, and itchy, and can be caused by a number of factors like irritants, dust mites, and allergens to certain foods.

Treating eczema is easier in adults than it is in babies because of how sensitive babies’ skin is. Adults may be able to apply topical creams and cortisone, to take antibiotics for their condition, and try various medicines. Babies, on the other hand, need a variety of less invasive treatment options. Medical aids in South Africa will be able to cover pediatric appointments to properly diagnose your baby’s eczema, but it’s important to try a range of treatment options to see which works the best for your baby.

1. Avoid the obvious skin irritants

There are many skin irritants that could be causing your baby’s eczema – from fabric softener to soaps, bubble bath, lotions, and detergents. Try out hypoallergenic products to see if this has any effect on reducing your baby’s eczema.

2. Try different diet combinations

Eczema may also have a dietary origin. It may take a long process of elimination, but give your child different foods to see whether there’s any correlation with their eczema flare-ups. The foods that may be causing the eczema should subsequently be avoided.

3. Use a good eczema cream

Skin affected by eczema needs to be moisturised and soothed with a topical cream, but make sure that these lotions are fragrance-free, and also free of other irritants.

4. Don’t let your baby get too warm

Sometimes skin that is too hot can break out in eczema, so it’s important to keep your baby cool by dressing him with light, breathable fabrics. Avoid heavy fabrics that may also be scratchy, as this can only exacerbate the irritated skin.

 Speak to your pediatrician about prescribing a baby-friendly medication if your little one is really struggling with this skin condition.

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