Beach Maternity Photos: Tips + Tricks

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to head to the beach with your baby bump and camera. Even if you’re camera shy, you’ll regret not capturing the amazing moments of your pregnancy later — I promise!

We gathered a collection of our favorite maternity beach photos, and analyzed what these Mamas did right. Here are some tips for a beautiful (and fun!) photo shoot:


1. Maximize your GLOW! Even if you’re not planning to show off a lot of skin, make sure you’re feeling beautiful and confident. This should start with proper pregnancy skincare and beauty treatments before you even head to the beach!

What makes you feel good? Is it a bombshell blowout? A relaxing pregnancy massage or mani/pedi treatment? You know what makes you feel ah-maaazing, so do it! Your confidence will radiate in your photos.

What we recommend? A head-to-toe exfoliating rubdown with our organic sugar scrub. It will make sure your skin looks smooth & refreshed! (Remember: We want to commemorate your beautiful bump, not ashy arms or feet. ;))


2. Maximize “the Golden Hour.” The golden hour, sometimes called the “magic hour,” is roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset, although the exact duration varies between seasons. During these times the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light that is much more flattering than the midday sun. 


3. Don’t be afraid of the dark side. Even if you like the “barely there” look, cameras have a way of washing out makeup. Don’t be afraid to go a wee bit heavier on the blush, eyeshadow and lipstick. Take a couple test shots when you’re on location, and adjust your makeup accordingly.


4. Let your silhouette tell a story. When it comes to pregnancy photo shoots, there’s nothing more dramatic and artistic than a well-done silhouette portrait. Here are some quick pointers on how to create a silhouette, and even how to do ‘em on your iPhone!


5. Get creative with props! Maternity beach photos are a dime a dozen (seriously, just Google image search it), but what we love about this one in the creative use of a frame. Whether it’s a crown of flowers, balloons or small chalk sign with your baby’s name on it, you don’t have to put in a whole lotta effort (or money) for photos that are uniquely your own.


6. Play dress-up. A photo shoot is a good excuse as any to play dress-up. Do you love classic pin-ups? Are you a romantic hippie at heart? Don’t be afraid to don flowers in the hair, wear a dramatic flowing skirt or be a little “over the top.” If it helps, decide on a theme for your photo shoot, and let your imagination go from there!


7. Tell a story. Let these photos be a snapshot of your life, because remember — everything is about to change! Involve your current children, significant other and even the family pet. If you’re camera shy, involving others is a great way to relax and take some of the pressure off as well.


8. Just be comfortable, dammit. Many Mamas don’t feel comfortable letting it all hang out — and that’s totally okay! This beautiful set of maternity photos show it’s not all about skin. We think she looks absolutely glowing in a long peach skirt and cozy sweater…gorgeous!


9. Just have fun! No matter what, the rule of thumb is to relax enough to have fun. There’s no hiding a self-conscious face or stiff posture, so surround yourself with good company and just get silly!

Have you done a maternity photo shoot? Let us know your tips and tricks!



Pregnancy skincare: What is melasma?

Everyone talks about the pregnancy glow, and I’m sure some women do feel radiant — I know I did for a total of three days before I became sick and nauseated over everything!

Those who are not feelin’ the glow right now may be dealing with the many varied side effects of impending motherhood. One common pregnancy skincare issue is melasma, facial skin discoloration colloquially known as the “mask of pregnancy.”


What is the mask of pregnancy?

Melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) appears as splashes of darkened skin that appear on the forehead, bridge of the nose, upper lip and cheeks. Though women with olive and darker complexions are more likely to develop it, up to 70% of expecting Mamas experience the mask of pregnancy.

The splotches vary from brown to gray-brown, and appear in an irregular pattern. While melasma appears frequently with pregnant women, it also occurs to pre-menopausal women and those taking oral or patch contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications.

What causes melasma during pregnancy?

Blame it on the hormones, Mama. As progesterone, estrogen and other hormones flood your body during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, hyperpigmentation can occur.

While melasma usually fades within months of giving birth, it never quite disappears for some. When exposed to the sun, Mamas may find faint patches appear once again.

How do I treat melasma?

  • Become militant with sunscreen. According to the American Association of Dermatology, the sun triggers melasma:”One of the most common treatments for melasma is sun protection. This means wearing sunscreen every day and reapplying the sunscreen every 2 hours.”

    Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat when outside, since sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need.

  • Consider toxin-free maternity skincare products designed to treat melasma. The Spoiled Mama’s Dew-Luxe pregnancy-safe moisturizer is the perfect lightweight creme that clears the surface of your skin with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and multi-fruits acids, so it can be replenished with new cells and give you a refreshed and glowing look. 

    Meanwhile, Rehab and Lucid Brightening Face Serums both brighten and correct dark spots using Retin-A and licorice extracts — ingredients proven to help treat the mask of pregnancy.

  • Eat foods that contain folic acid. Studies have shown that a folate deficiency can be related to hyperpigmentation. Good choices include green leafy vegetables, oranges, whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal.

Want more tips? Check out other ways to treat, prevent and minimize melasma during your pregnancy!




10 Summer Getaway Musts for Expecting Mamas

Summer Getaway Musts for Expecting Mamas

It’s no secret that being pregnant during the summer can be an uncomfortable, sweaty and swollen mess. But whether you’re headed on a babymoon, a family reunion in the mountains or a weeklong coastal retreat, your baby bump shouldn’t be a speed bump in your vacation.

From essential reading, organic pregnancy skincare and comfortable maternity fashion, we’ve got the must-haves every expecting Mama needs for a memorable summer trip!

From a roundtable survey, here’s our staff picks for the 10 Summer Getaway Musts for Expecting Mamas:



 1. Get your reading on. OK, I hate to break it to you, but much of your reading material will soon be replaced by Dr. Seuss. There’s no better excuse to get off your swollen pregnancy legs, then to plop down with a good mystery or  romance novella. If your pregnancy brain can’t handle a dense tome,  we recommend something light and inspirational like Tina Fey’s bestselling memoir “Bossypants.” The successful Mama, comedienne and actress will have you guffawing and reaching for your mocktail (see #3).


2) Kitsch elastic hair ties. My favorite part of summer is you can roll out of bed, slap your hair in a messy bun and instantly rock the “beach chic” look. But we both know the truth: you’re on vacation. You’re pregnant. You couldn’t care less.

With Kitsch elastic hair ties, you can give the illusion of effort! These pretty ties come in a variety of fun colors and patterns that will spruce up your hair-do, whether it’s a pony, braid or bun. Since they’re made from strips of elastic cloth, Kitsch hair ties are comfortable to wear and won’t snag your hair. Comes in headbands as well!


3) Sip on refreshing mocktails. There’s no point in having drink envy when you can have a delicious mocktail whipped up! If you want to make your own stash, check out this amazing collection of mocktail recipes that utilize sparkling water, flavored soda, fresh juices, and simple herb- and- fruit-distilled syrups. If you’re dining out, most bartenders should be able to create something fresh and delicious for you as well.

Remember, pregnant women are recommended to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, so make sure to have a water bottle handy even when you’re on vacation. Being properly hydrated will also help with edema, or swollen pregnancy legs and feet.


4) Slather on the SPF. This is a no-brainer! When choosing SPF sunscreen, make sure it’s toxin-free and pregnancy-safe. We recommend checking out Environmental Working Group’s list of safe sunscreens.


5) Relieve your edema. Puffy ankles, feet and legs are common during the second half of pregnancy, but can be particularly uncomfortable during sweltering summer weather. The Spoiled Mama’s Cucumber & Aloe Leg Gel (on sale for $19.20) uses soothing cucumber and spirulina to help aid circulation in the legs and reduce edema.

For a cooling summer treat, pop your leg gel in the fridge for a few hours, slather on your swollen gams and keep your feet elevated.


6) Plug in to podcasts. If you aren’t in the headspace to read, listening to podcasts is a great way to keep yourself entertained and relax. There is a plethora of FREE podcasts right on your smartphone that cover practically any interest you may have.

Don’t know where to start? Try “One Bad Mother” for hilarious and frank talk about motherhood, “Stuff Mom Never Told You” for educational discussions on women, or “Pea in the Podcast” for all your pregnancy questions.


7) Choose the perfect cover-up. There’s nothing more versatile in a maternity wardrobe than an open shawl or cardigan. That’s why we’re especially envious of pregnant Mamas who can work the beautiful, trendy kimonos of this season.  Pictured above, a lightweight chiffon kimono is a great vacation piece for expecting moms: it looks great over jeans, awesome with a dress and gives you extra coverage on the beach. Dress up for a date night with your sweetie, and even wear it postpartum — score!


8) Stock up on maxis. Summer is the perfect time for expecting Mamas to stock up on maxis. Whether it’s a skirt or dress, maxis are easy, flattering pieces that provide maximum comfort to expecting mothers. We especially love foldover, elastic waist maxi skirts, which can be adjusted to accommodate your growing belly.


9) Cool off with multi-purpose toner spray. Pack The Spoiled Mama’s pregnancy safe toner in your suitcase for a quick pick-me-up. Aside from being a toner, the organic Hydrate Cucumber & Aloe Toner spray helps you beat the heat as a refreshing facial spray and aromatherapy treat! On a night out, lightly spritz any of our organic toners over your face to help set your makeup.


10) Nourish your skin with a Mini Spa Kit. For the Mama on-the-go, our Mini Spa Kit makes sure your skin never goes neglected. Slim and stylish, the kit is packed with four of The Spoiled Mama’s bestsellers: Tummy Butter and Bump Gloss for stretch mark prevention, Aloe Leg Gel for swollen pregnancy legs and feet, and Luxe Mama sulfate-free body wash.

What are some of your pregnancy summer musts? Share your thoughts below!


Toxin watch: What are parabens?

In our crusade to create healthier, cleaner and toxin-free pregnancy products, it’s time for another Spoiled Mama Toxin Watch. Last time we explained why sulfates (SLS &SLES) in skincare is harmful, and now…parabens!

So, what are parabens? what-are-parabens-skincare-beauty-pregnancy

Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, and are by far the most widely used preservative in cosmetics and toiletry products. Chances are even the most cautious Mama has parabens in her household, as they naturally occur at low levels in foods such as barley, strawberries, currents, vanilla, carrots, and onions.

What are parabens used for?

Since the 1920s, synthetic parabens have been used in beauty and skincare products as a way to improve shelf life from weeks to years. Since parabens effectively and cheaply prevent mold and fungus, it’s found in basically everything: shampoos, moisturizers, shaving foam, deodorant, personal lubricants, certain topical pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution, makeup and toothpaste.

Why are parabens harmful?

The use of parabens have become increasingly controversial ever since they were found in breast cancer tumors. Parabens have also displayed the ability to mimic estrogen, a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancer. Certain studies have fueled a popular belief that parabens in underarm deodorants and other cosmetics can migrate into breast tissue and contribute to the development of tumors. Philip Harvey, editor of the Journal of Applied Toxicology said more research is needed to determine whether parabens actually cause tumors, but they may certainly be associated with the overall rise in breast cancer cases:

“Given that breast cancer is a large killer of women and a very high percentage of young women use underarm deodorants, I think we should be carrying out properly funded, further investigations into parabens and where they are found in the body.”

Another concern with estrogen-mimicking parabens is that they may be a factor in the increasing prevalence of early puberty in girls.

Are parabens harmful to pregnant women or nursing moms?

While more research is needed to determine the toxicity of parabens, many pregnant and nursing mothers are opting for paraben-free maternity skincare and cosmetics to use on themselves and their children.

While naturally occurring parabens found in food is metabolized in the body, synthetic parabens in skin products easily penetrate the skin, bypass the metabolic process and enter the blood stream and body organs intact.

In Denmark, some forms of parabens have already been banned in cosmetics products for children up to 3 years.

How do I live paraben-free?

As consumers become more conscious of what’s being put into their bodies, it’s become easier to live paraben-free. For pregnant and breastfeeding Mamas, The Spoiled Mama has developed a totally organic and toxin-free skincare line for mothers and babies. Instead of using potentially harmful parabens, we use naturally derived preservatives, essential oils and plant oils to protect our products and your health!

Our sulfate-free pregnancy safe body wash produces a rich lather using coconut and sugar derived surfactants! Gentle enough for Mama and baby.
The Spoiled Mama’s paraben-free pregnancy safe body wash uses natural preservatives like caprylhydroxamic acid and sodium benzoate, deemed safe by skincare watch dogs like the Environmental Working Group and Good Guide. Luxe-Mama is safe for Mamas AND baby!
Since baby products are full of parabens, we want to make sure anything our babes are ingesting is free of potential toxins. The Spoiled Mama’s all-natural nipple butter is 100% organic, paraben-free and safe for nursing mothers and their little ones. Soothe your chapped and sore “suckers” without worry!

Make sure you check the ingredients of every product you apply on your body and baby, as parabens come by many names. If you see any of these listed, put down the bottle and keep shopping:

  • methylparaben
  • propylparaben
  • butylparaben
  • benzylparaben
  • sobutylparaben
  • ethylparaben
  • and any other ingredients ending in –paraben

And there you have it: Parabens 101! 


#SpreadtheGood: March of Dimes

Operation #SpreadtheGood continues!

If you haven’t been following the blog or social media the past few weeks (shame on you!), #SpreadtheGood is The Spoiled Mama’s take on Twitter’s @HiddenCash social experiment to “pay it forward” by hiding cash for strangers to find.

In a similar vein, we are sneaking $10 Mama Bucks vouchers in Spoiled Mama orders that YOU can donate to three awesome nonprofits. Every time you order pregnancy skincare from our online store, you can be randomly selected to #SpreadtheGood!

This week, we’re highlighting March of Dimes, an organization that has done amazing medical research to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.

If you want to learn more about the other nonprofits we’re working with, check out our posts on San Francisco’s Homeless Prenatal Program and Operation Showers of Appreciation for military moms and children.


What is March of Dimes?

March of Dimes began on the eve of World War II by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to research and fight polio, a contagious and historically devastating disease that left the president famously confined to a wheelchair.

Through research grants funded March of Dimes, polio was  virtually eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century. With that accomplishment under its belt, the organization redirected its mission to focus on premature birth and birth defects.


How March of Dimes helps expecting Mamas & their families:

Throughout its history, March of Dimes has demonstrated a multi-faceted approach to birth defects, seizing every opportunity to improve infant health and reduce premature birth.

Holy Moly Fact:

Worldwide, 15 million babies are born prematurely and close to 8 million are born with birth defects every year. More than 4 million die to preterm birth and birth defects annually.

Never relying on a singular approach, the organization has reinvented itself numerous times to include walk-a-thons, awareness on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and assistance to newborn intensive care units in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Why we love March of Dimes:

Holy Moly Fact:

 Since 1970, nationwide March of Dimes walk-a-thons have raised an incredible $2.3 billion to benefit all babies.

From spearheading public health policy initiatives to bringing prenatal education overseas, March of Dimes has helped countless Mamas bring healthy, happy babies into the world.


“How do I support March of Dimes through #SpreadtheGood?”

If you receive our complimentary $10 Mama Bucks voucher in your Spoiled Mama online order, simply contact us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (@thespoiledmama) and tell us you want your donation to go towards March of Dimes.

We will happily turn your Mama Bucks into real cash, and send it along to the nonprofit of your choice!

“I want to give more! Can I directly donate to March of Dimes?”

Of course! Your donations help the nonprofit find answers to premature birth and fund research that ensures Mamas have full-term, healthy babies.

Will YOU give your Mama Bucks to March of Dimes? Look out for donation vouchers in Spoiled Mama orders, and #SpreadtheGood!



Thoughts on pregnancy and motherhood from your favorite maternity skincare line


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