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It's well known that being as healthy as possible is important during pregancy, but getting yourself pregnancy-ready before you start trying to conceive can be incredibly valuable, too. Take some steps to prep your body—and mind—for this wild adventure you are about to embark on.

Here are nine questions you may have about getting yourself ready to try to conceive:

1. Which health insurance is best for pregnancy?

Unfortunately, there are so many variables here it's hard to say specifically which insurance plan is best for you—but one thing is for sure. Health insurance can make pregnancy way more affordable.

Pregnancy is amazing, but it can also be expensive. Prenatal care costs about $2000, not including the bill that will come after you give birth (which can be over $9,000 for a vaginal birth and over $15,000 for a Cesarean birth).

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But don't worry, mama—health insurance cuts this down dramatically. If health insurance is not provided by your place of work, you have a few options:

  1. If you are married, you may be able to be covered by your partner's health insurance.
  2. If you are under the age of 26, you may be eligible for coverage on your parents' health insurance plan.
  3. The Affordable Care Act provides health insurance that is often quite inexpensive (or even free). To enroll, visit HeathCare.gov. Just remember that if you have a "qualifying life event" (like a job change, getting married or divorced, having a baby, and more) you will have to update your profile because your coverage could change.

When selecting your health insurance provider, consider what they cover for prenatal and birth care, as well as future pediatric care for your baby. Mental health care is also incredibly important (see number nine below). Lastly, if you will be using assisted reproductive technologies to conceive, don't forget to look into whether or not it is covered by your potential insurance company.

2. What is a preconception health visit?

Before you start trying to conceive, schedule a visit with your women's health provider. If you have one you love, that's great! Go with them. If not, this might be a good time to start thinking ahead about who you might like to receive your prenatal and birth care from—it can't hurt to form a relationship with them now.

Psst: To learn more about your options, check out this article.

At your preconception health visit, your provider will help you to make sure that you are as healthy to increase your chances of getting pregnant and can help your pregnancy to be healthier.

Preconception health also includes dental care! Good oral hygiene can have significant impacts on your future pregnancy, including decreasing your risk of preterm labor, and it can even lead to fewer cavities for your future baby.

3. What are prenatal vitamins and when should I start taking them?

It would be great if we could meet all of our nutritional needs with food, but the truth is that is next to impossible for most of us. That's why taking vitamins, especially when we are pregnant, is incredibly important.

There are a number of nutrients that prenatal vitamins provide, but the most famous is folic acid. Folic acid is vital during pregnancy because it helps to prevent neural tube defects (problems with the baby's spine).

Folic acid works best when it is already on board when you conceive so start now. Prenatal vitamins won't hurt you if you are not pregnant, so even if you are not planning to get pregnant for several months, it is a good idea to start taking them as soon as possible.

4. When should I stop taking birth control?

If you are using a form of birth control, you will need to stop in order to get pregnant. The timing of this decision depends on many factors (another item you can discuss at your preconception health visit).

For example, if you are using a non-hormonal method such as condoms or the Paraguard IUD, you can likely become fertile as soon as you stop using it. Hormonal methods, like the pill, the Mirena IUD, Depo-Provera injection, etc. may take time to wear off, meaning that you'll have a slight delay in your fertility (though not always).

Some women decide to discontinue their hormonal birth control and switch to condoms a few months before they starting trying to conceive to let the hormones fade away while also making other lifestyle changes to prepare for pregnancy.

And hey, a piece of good news! Research has found that using hormonal contraception does not decrease a woman's future fertility.

5. Can I drink alcohol while trying to conceive?

The jury is out on this one. While we know that most medical organizations in the United States do not recommend any amount of alcohol during pregnancy as safe, it can be harder to determine whether or not it's okay to imbibe when you trying to get pregnant.

Some studies say it's just fine, while others caution that alcohol use can harm a woman's fertility.

Here is my take:

First, talk with your provider about your specific scenario, because it can vary for everyone.

Beyond that, drinking in moderation is usually okay. Binge-drinking (when a woman drinks about four drinks in two hours) is not the best idea (for fertility and your well-being in general). The thoughts on whether a daily glass of wine is good or bad for you seem to vary depending on the results of the latest study—in general, most providers don't recommend more than a few glasses per week.

If you are wanting to pull out all the stops, you could give up alcohol completely. I do also think it's important to maintain a sense of normalcy during the potential stress of trying to get pregnant, so if an occasional glass of wine with dinner will feel enjoyable for you, it is okay to honor that. Remember that you can always re-assess and change your approach.

6. Can I drink coffee while trying to conceive?

Unfortunately, some studies (though not all) have found that our beloved caffeine may negatively impact the ability to get pregnant—for both men and women. It's also been found that women and men who have more than two caffeinated drinks per day pre-pregnancy have a higher risk of miscarriage.

Again, moderation is probably the key. We generally recommend that 200 mg of caffeine or less (about the amount in a regular cup of coffee) is safe during pregnancy, and probably before it too.

7. Can I exercise while trying to conceive?

Exercise is not only considered safe when trying to conceive but beneficial as well. Low to moderate intensity exercise can improve fertility in men and women, by helping to decrease stress, improving blood flow, getting to an ideal BMI, and more.

What is the best exercise for conception?

One study did find that walking seemed to be the best exercise for improving fertility. That said, I'd encourage you to move your body in the way that feels best for you—dancing, yoga, swimming… it's all awesome for you.

It is important to note that too much exercise may harm your fertility, though. Women who exercise more than an hour per day have an increased risk of not ovulating, and men who partake in strenuous exercise may have decreased sperm motility.

8. Can stress affect your chances of getting pregnant?

I never love sharing this one, because in and of itself, this piece of advice induces stress. But, to the extent that you can try to reduce your levels of stress, as it may impact your fertility.

Everyone gets stressed out—so try not to stress about your stress. But see if you can find ways to minimize it where possible. Have you been meaning to pick up meditation again? How about that daily walk after lunch you keep thinking about, but haven't gotten to yet? Now is a perfect time to carve out even a few minutes a day of zen and relaxation. It may help you get pregnant, and will definitely help once your baby arrives.

9. How does mental health affect trying to conceive?

Whether you have an existing mental health concern, or you are starting to think about the ways that conceiving, pregnancy and motherhood may impact your mental health, this is an awesome time to take care of your emotional well-being. If you are not already, consider reaching out to a therapist.

Psst: Check out this awesome guide for help on getting started.

Up to 25% of mothers experience mental health challenges after the baby arrives. Prenatal depression is also receiving increasing attention, as ar concerns related to the stress of fertility struggles. How wonderful would it be to already have a relationship with someone if any of these challenges become a part of your story?

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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Life

There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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