Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Skinny on Pregnancy Web Resources

Ok there is a lot to figure out when you’re pregnant and it helps to have numerous resources at your fingertips.   However, all the information can be a little overwhelming. 

Here are some national and local sites I found useful:

Babycenter, The Bump & What to Expect

These sites are quite similar, so just go with the one you’re most comfortable with.  They all provide excellent information on everything from trying to get pregnant to preparing your child for school. The What to Expect site is a spin off of the book, What to Expect When Your Expecting.  Personally, I am a Babycenter adherent since I didn’t know of The Bump during my first pregnancy, but I checked it out and it’s legit.  It’s run by the same people who put out so there is a slight cheese factor, but I can’t lie and say I didn’t love reading the The Knot when I was planning my wedding!

All three sites have a “pregnancy tracker.” Once you sign in with your due date they will send you weekly e-mails telling you what’s going on with your pregnancy that week. I found the Babycenter e-mails interesting and informative.  After your deliver the e-mails continue, only the updates change from “Your pregnancy this week” to “Your baby this week.”  I have to say I like these updates better than the pregnancy ones.  There would be weeks when my husband and I would be racking our brains trying to figure out what was going on with Sophie’s behavior.  Why she wasn’t eating as much some days or why she was refusing to sit in her car seat, among more serious concerns.  On nearly half dozen occasions I’d receive a Babycenter e-mail that talked about exactly what Sophie was doing.  (And yes, we read a number of baby books).  The one major difference I noticed with the sites was that only The Bump and Babycenter have local DC forums.  However, all three have a ton of calculators, charts and checklists.

Lilaguide is put out by  The site touts itself as “The word of mouth survival guide for parents.”   Essentially it’s a local review and advice site—just make sure you enter “Washington, DC.” On it you can post or find reviews on just about everything baby; from baby gear and parenting classes to pediatricians and preschools.  Can’t say I love the set up of the site, but it’s worth checking out.

DC Moms Like Me
Website and discussion board for Parents in the DC area.  Interesting, but will be more useful to you after the baby is born.  Again, worth checking out.

DC Urban Moms & Dads
A great site if you live in DC or MD (PG or Montgomery County). Provides advice and support to parents, as well as forums on numerous issues from schools to politics.  Can be a little too political at times.

Washington Parent & Nothern Virginia Magazine
Web versions of two local magazines.  Washington Parent is more useful to new parents, but Northern VA Magazine has a family section and often has parenting specific articles.

Free Pampering & Style Event for Expecting Moms at The W Hotel - April 11th

Hey Ladies! Wanted to let you know about this FREE event at the W Hotel next weekend.  Thanks Lisa for passing this on!

The W Hotel Washington, D.C. invites you to celebrate the birth of the ultimate pregnancy style bible

BUMP IT UP: Transform Your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement 
With style expert and author AMY TARA KOCH

Co-hosted by: Amy Baier, Meghan Bracewell and Kathleen Schaumber Mandizij

Enjoy all sorts of fun demonstrations and goodies, like…

Cravings–based smorgasbord and mock-tails

•Book signing and preggy styling session by author

•Preggo pampering treatments by BLISS

•Bra fitting &s shapewear tutorial by WACOAL

•“Faux glow” bar by LANCOME

•Car Seat and stroller demos by BRITAX

•Test drive PAMPERS’ ultra sleek (fits in a clutch!) high performance DRY MAX diaper!

•Mega gift bag & raffle featuring a BRITAX car seat, a MEDELA breast pump, BABY BJORN carrier, Baby Me Babymoon at W, Pre-natal spa service by BLISS, PAMPERS sleek new swaddler diaper with Dry Max, TIDE TO GO samples and more!

Check out the link:

April 11th, 12-2pm, W Hotel, 515  15th Street, NW
To attend, PLEASE RSVP by sending an email to!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo…Choosing your Ob/Gyn or Midwife

Ok so this post is a bit serious.  Choosing your Obstetrician/Midwife is an important and difficult task, especially if you are new to the area.  And by now you’ve probably noticed that this isn't the easiest area to navigate.  So after speaking with a number of friends and colleagues (my local momtourage), I’ve compiled a list of more than a dozen practices in Northern VA, DC & MD that were highly recommended.  It is by no means comprehensive.  There are way more practices out there and as I receive recommendations I'll add more.  This list can be found on the Ob/Gyn’s, Midwives and Hospital page of this blog.  I’ve included the addresses, phone numbers, and websites (if applicable) for each, as well the hospital where the practice delivers.  Below the list of doctors is a list of hospitals in the area. 

But how do I know if a practice if right for me?

Well here’s where you have to do some homework.  There are a number of websites that provide interview questions for you to take to your first Ob/Gyn meeting.  However, some of these questionnaires are long and you might not care about half the questions on it.  So first you need to figure out what is important to you.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Do you only want to see one doctor or are you ok with being seen by several doctors in a practice?

At many practices, you have a main ob, but will rotate towards the end of your pregnancy and aren’t guaranteed your doctor.  My practice, Physicians for Women, does this. While Dr. Hibshman was/is my main Ob, I rotated between the doctors during the last two months of my first pregnancy so they were all familiar with me.  In the end I went into labor a week early and Dr. Siegel delivered Sophie.  I really liked all of the doctor’s in the practice and had no problem with this.  However, you may want the same doctor the whole way through and want that doc and no one else to deliver your baby.  If that is the case you better find out from the get go.

What kind of labor do you envision?

Epidural? No epidural? Bradley Method? Induced?  Episiotomy? C-section?  I was pretty laid back about this.  I wanted to deliver vaginally and figured I would go as long as I could without an epidural.  If I was overdue, I was ok with being induced and if there was a problem then I would be ok with a C-section.  I really didn’t want an episiotomy, but if needed then fine.  I wanted to be prepared for anything and left it to my doctors to do what was best for our health.  I have at least a half dozen friends who were the complete opposite.  They had very specific birth plans and did not want to deviate.  However, if you choose to go natural or want to be induced or want a c-section (without medical need) you will have to make sure your practice shares your philosophy or you are going to have problems.  

How far is the practice from your home/office?

You are going to be there more than a dozen times during your pregnancy—try to find a practice that is convenient or you are going to stress yourself out.

Do they do blood work & testing in their office or do you have to go to another location?

Some practices do everything in house, especially if they are attached to a hospital. At others you have to get all your tests done at a different location.  Just make sure the testing center is convenient.

Where do they deliver?  How far is the hospital from your home?

Make sure you find out where you are going to deliver and make sure this hospital is right for you.  Does the hospital have a religious affiliation? Are you ok if it does/doesn’t?  Also, figure out how far the hospital is from your home.  You really don’t want to be stuck in a traffic jam on the beltway or the 14th street bridge while you’re in labor.

Do they offer childbirth classes? Is there a tour of the hospital?

I definitely recommend taking a childbirth class.  I just found my “baby school” binder from when I was pregnant with Sophie this morning.  I dusted it off and brought it back into the bedroom for when I need to brush up.  Not all practices offer a class but almost all can recommend one.

Are the doctors/nurses accessible by e-mail?

If you have a question, can you e-mail it or do you have to always call in, leave a message and then wait for a call back?

What insurance do they take?

Don’t fall in love with a practice until you know they take your insurance! You don’t want to pay for this stuff out of pocket!

Once you have an idea of what you want, check out one of the online doctor questionnaires.  Here’s the link to’s questionnaire, it provides a lot more in depth questions...possibly too many, but it's better than some others I've seen I actually recommend going over this list (or which ever you choose) before meeting with the doctor and marking the questions that are really important to you.  No sense in wasting your time or the doctors going into issues that aren’t important to you. 

Once you go to meet with your doctor, talk to some women in the waiting room, most will openly tell you their favorite/ least favorite doctor in the practice.  Also ask them what they like most/least about the practice.  Again, most women will gladly offer up their opinion on this issue!

Basically read up on a practice before you meet with a doctor.  Most practices have a website where you can get a pretty good feel for their attitude/philosophy before you even step foot in the door.

Happy doctor hunting!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Trimester Necessities – A Few Of My Favorite Things

I was talking to a couple of friends last night about morning sickness and how awful we felt during our first trimesters.  It got me thinking about the things that helped me get through those first few months.  That said, here’s my list of first trimester necessities:

Nausea Busters

Saltines (keep a baggy of them with you in your purse)
Ginger Ale (ginger in any form is a wonder)
Spearmint/peppermint gum (doesn’t work for everyone but sometimes just the scent made me feel better)
Preggie Pops (easy to carry around in your purse and yummy)
Sea-bands (yes, the sea sickness wrist bands. I felt like wonder woman wearing them.)
Hot water with fresh lemon and a little sugar (My great grandmother used to give this to my mom when she didn’t feel well- it tastes delicious and is very soothing on the tummy)

Severe Headache Remedies

Regular strength tylenol
A coke and a tylenol (if its really bad) 
*Talk to your Dr. about this before trying!

Health/Beauty Supplies

Pre-natal Vitamins - Have your doc give you some samples and see what works best for you--some are very strong and might make you sick.  The DHA vitamins made me very sick. Also some Rx pre-natal vitamins can cost $50-80 a month!  Know that you do not have to go with these.  I loved Pre-Nate Elite but the price went from $20/month to $60/month, so I got the generic.  Ask your doctor if there is a generic for the brand or if you can take an OTC pre-natal vitamin like One a Day or even a store brand.   No sense in going broke before your little money sucker arrives!  But DO take a pre-natal vitamin everyday.

Palmers Cocoa Butter - My cousin told me about this during my first pregnancy and it really worked.  Basically you slather it on your belly (and some use it on their girls too!) before bed each night to keep your skin supple and to prevent stretch marks.  However, I really don’t like the smell and might switch to Mambino Organics.  You can find Palmers at CVS, as well as at Babies R Us and online.  Mambino is carried at some Babies R Us, in higher end maternity stores, and online. 

Pantiliners – Really? Do I need to explain why?  Just have them on hand.  

Lingerie Solutions

Bra Extenders -  You might want to wait to get some new bras until you’re a littler further along…cause yes, the girls are going to get even bigger.  For now just get some bra extenders.  Basically, it allows you to wear your regular bra after your back morphs and gets broader.  They run about $5-10 for a 3 pack and you can get them at Target, Walmart, or online at  I love these and just put mine on my bra yesterday. 

Be Band/Bella Band - Pants getting snug? Basically the band extends the life of your pre-prego pants and also helps you keep up maternity clothes that are a bit too big. The Be Band and Bella Band are virtually the same thing but the Bella Band is the higher end/more expensive of the two.  You can get the Bella Band and almost any maternity store.  The Be Band is sold at Target.  Both can also be found online.  I’m 17 weeks along and still able to wear my True Religion jeans thanks to the Be Band.

Ok, so I don't have any of these yet but am looking into getting a few to stave off muffin top.  Be Band and Bella Band now also have tummy smoothing tank tops.  My friend Megan also recently posted on her blog Modern Mom ( about Yummie Tummie ( a new brand of high end shape wear that  promises to smooth out your midsection.   If you're in that weird stage of pregnancy where you look more like you have a beer gut than a baby on might want to consider this.  

For your convenience, all the items mentioned in this post can be found in EITB's recommended products store on!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What's in a Name?

So about the name… you got the “Expecting” part, right?  As for the rest, it’s a play on the term “Inside the Beltway.”  The Capital Beltway is the name for 495, the interstate highway that rings the city of Washington. Geographically, “Inside the Beltway” refers to the area inside the ring; DC of course, but also the inner suburbs of Virginia (Arlington County, Alexandria City, Falls Church City and parts of Fairfax County), as well as Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Inside the Beltway also refers to a state of mind found within beltway -- a kind of “we’re way more in the know than you about what’s really going on in DC (i.e., in the Federal government)” attitude.  If you work for the federal government or are a lobbyist, contractor or reporter, you will no doubt use this term at some point during your time here.  TBT, we probably do know more about what’s going on because our livelihoods depend on it.  After living here a while though you will know more than you ever wanted about the inner workings of the government – and some of it will make you sick! 

If you are looking for housing in the area this post might actually be helpful to you.  If you plan on working in DC, you really are going to want to live “inside the beltway” for your sanity’s sake.  DC has the 2nd longest commute in the nation.  Traffic is a nightmare here and rush hour seems to last from 7-10 am and then from 3-7 pm.  More than five (5) million people live in the DC metro area and some 500,000 commute into DC each day.  Let me put it this way: When I lived in PA I drove 22 miles to work each day (most of it on the PA turnpike) and got to work in less than 30 minutes.  When I worked in DC, I commuted 7 miles from Arlington to my office on 13th Street.  It would take me 30 minutes on a good day, but more often than not, it took me damn near an hour. 

I’ll post again about the different neighborhoods in the area, but for now I will leave you with this.  If you really need to drive to work, live inside the Beltway.  If you are ok with public transportation or ride sharing then outside the beltway is just fine.  Otherwise you are in for a really long and frustrating commute.

Sorry I didn’t talk layout of the site or doctors yet. Today got away from me a bit- our HVAC crapped out and my little wonder decided to only take a 40 minute nap…and now I gotta go -- Bunco night.  A guilty pleasure I will explain another day. 

I look forward to talking to myself again soon!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello & Welcome

Hi and welcome to Expecting Inside the Beltway.  I have to admit it’s taken me longer than I hoped to get this blog up and running.  I originally conceived the idea at the end of December, shortly after finding out that I was pregnant with my second child. (BTW, I really could have gone for the pun on conceived there but spared you—you won’t always be so lucky)  However, just when I thought I was going to get this thing going I was hit with wicked morning sickness. 

Let me sidebar here and talk a bit about morning sickness for anyone new at this pregnancy thing: You may make it through your entire first trimester with just some nausea and fatigue.  That’s how it was for me during my first pregnancy.  I wasn’t so lucky this time around.  This time I was knocked on my arse.  I was exhausted, nauseous, and had wicked headaches everyday and NOT just in the morning.  Granted I wasn’t puking out the window of my car on 395, but it was pretty bad, I really couldn’t function.  Now I am much more sympathetic to women with morning sickness.  Really, it should be called the first trimester flu or first trimester blahs, but again that would be false advertising since some of my friends were sick for more than half their pregnancy.  A few weeks ago I entered my second trimester and by week 14 I regained enough energy to get this started.  So here we are now at week 17.  Only 23 weeks to go.

Oh and I have no illusions -- I am fully aware of the fact that I am basically just talking to myself right now and, truth be told, I feel a bit ridiculous.  But aside from being personally cathartic I hope this blog will actually be of use to someone…some day. 

Tomorrow I will explain the name of the blog and talk local docs, hospitals and some things you might want to have on hand early in your pregnancy…