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When I was pregnant with my first baby, I worked out until I gave birth and looked like I had just stepped out of a pregnancy magazine. I only gained weight in my belly and my boobs, and I generally felt good. But my rigorous and rather insane fitness routine came at a steep price: a 42-hour labor.

You see, our society sees pregnancy through Hollywood eyes, in which women display pregnancy with a cute, round bump -- rarely the reality of weight gain, aches and pains, and swollen ankles. To the detriment of my well-being, I strove to attain that publicly acceptable image and was often congratulated for this feat.

But exercising too much, especially at the end of your pregnancy, can do a number on your body’s alignment. It can overly tighten your pelvic floor muscles, torque your pelvic ligaments, misalign your pelvis and constrict your psoas muscles. All of this can end up shifting your baby’s position, ultimately making birth more difficult. Since I was a prenatal yoga instructor, a Lamaze teacher and a doula, I was well versed on the dangers that over-exercising can pose to the pregnant and laboring body, but my body image obsession took precedent. And so I kept on working out until the end of my pregnancy: I took spin class 5 days a week, continued with weight training and kept on going to my advanced yoga classes. The very first time I had missed a spin class was because I was in labor, and it really ticked me off. I wish someone had told me that what I was doing could do more harm than good.

After 20 hours of labor, I knew something was wrong. My son’s heart rate never faltered and my blood pressure remained normal, but my labor wasn’t progressing. Fortunately, my doula, husband, and midwife were very hands-on in trying to help my labor move along. They walked, shifted, and shimmied my body to correct my baby’s position. By the time I fully dilated and started pushing, he was still slightly malpositioned and didn’t correct himself until four hours into pushing. Finally after almost two days of labor, my perfectly healthy baby boy was born. My body, however, had seen better days. I was extremely tired and sore, and my pelvic floor muscles felt defeated.

Sadly, this story of long, arduous labor is not uncommon. Most of the time, it has to do with the baby’s position in the pelvis. Baby needs to be well aligned in what is called “optimal fetal position.” This doesn’t just mean head down. The baby’s spine needs to be towards mama’s belly; its head should be tucked in towards its chest; and the smallest part of the head must be pushing symmetrically against the cervix. Think of how you put on a turtleneck sweater: you wouldn’t look upwards to the opening or tilt your head to the side; you would tuck your chin down and slide the neck opening over your head. The same goes for a baby coming through the cervix.

Many women don’t have a support system during birth to help baby shift and end up with a cesarean section after being pronounced ‘failure to progress’ or ‘baby too big.’

My challenging birth and recovery taught me to remind women the importance of accepting body changes and slowing down. The whole system in which I teach prenatal yoga has shifted to focus on helping women have a functional birth. Students work towards creating balance both physically and mentally and preparation for birth.

For my second pregnancy, you can bet I did things differently. Towards the end of my third trimester, I regularly saw a chiropractor to help align my pelvis, I established a more balanced and appropriate yoga practice, and I traded in my spin shoes for a maternity bathing suit. Then I pushed my daughter into the world in 6 minutes! I learned from my mistakes, and I hope you can too.

Image via George Ruiz on Flickr.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

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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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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