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What Should An Expecting Mum Be Wearing?

Gone are those days when the baby bump was supposed to be discreet and expecting mothers would hide it in ugly overalls and loose clothing. The trend today is to flaunt the growing belly while staying absolutely comfortable in your clothes. Maternity wear need not be ill-fitting and shapeless; with women celebrating pregnancy and the baby bump all over the world, maternity wear has evolved from grandma-like clothing to well-fitted and smart looking outfits that help you stay cool and comfortable throughout pregnancy.

What Should You Buy And Why? Here Is A Quick Checklist:

1. Supportive Bras:

For moms-to-be who are in their first and second trimesters, breast size is an issue that you might get a little frustrated with. As your body prepares for birth and breastfeeding, the breasts store additional amount of fatty tissues and you can expect your cup sizes to change very frequently. Your breasts will tend to feel sore and you will obviously need a supportive bra that keeps your breasts from sagging. Progesterone that releases in pregnancy tends to relax our muscles and this is the time when your breasts start sagging. You could try wearing sports bras that are quite comfortable tp even sleep in.

You can choose to get yourself checked by a fitting expert that is available at most lingerie outlets these days, so that you end up picking the right size. Underwired bras can offer good support but also tend to dig into the already sensitive skin in pregnancy.

2. Nursing Bras:

Top lingerie brands have come up with fancy looking nursing bras1 that you will not feel depressed to put on. They provide you maximum comfort, are mostly made of cotton, have convenient openings and closures for the baby to latch on perfectly while breastfeeding. These will be your best companions till you are comfortable enough to nurse in regular bras.

3. Maternity Denims:

If you thought being pregnant meant bidding farewell to denims for 9 months, think again! Maternity wear brands have the most comfortable denims on offer along with panels that help you to do away with buttons or zips and accommodate your growing belly without any discomfort.

4. Dresses:

There is nothing more comfortable that putting on an airy, light and pretty looking dress that lets you move around with ease all through pregnancy. Most women find dresses to be the most comfortable maternity wear.

5. Underpants:

For your information, maternity underpants can also look quite sexy, if you have been feeling low lately. Try and get 20-25 of these stocked up because you might need to change them frequently to feel at ease. They have wider and more comfortable bands to support your growing belly and are almost always made of 100%cotton for that extra comfort. There are bikinis to briefs to boy shorts styles and others to choose from if you happen to be a little more adventurous.

For maternity clothes, consider buying a few at a time instead of stocking up because you can never be sure of your size in the near future.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursing_bra

The Different Of Natural Childbirth Classes And How They Help

If you are pregnant, you must have heard about childbirth classes but did you know that natural childbirth classes are a step ahead and they are especially useful if you are planning for a natural, intervention free birth? Natural childbirth classes prepare you and your body to face the most normal form of birthing via vagina and also emphasise upon the need to do away with unnecessary medical or surgical intervention. They teach you that childbirth need not be all about screaming, pushing and tearing yourself. There are calmer methods to deal with labour. They also assist you in trusting your body’s ability to deliver your baby all by yourself because that is what Nature had intended us to do.

Here are a few natural childbirth classes that have gained immense popularity because of their attempts to reassure women about how capable their bodies are:

1. Lamaze:

Lamaze classes are based on the philosophy that birth is a natural phenomenon and it requires no medical interference. These classes teach women strategies to cope with contractions and labour pains, how to move and breathe during labour and how to comfort themselves in the process of delivering their child. Lamaze classes strike a balance in conveying that while childbirth is an absolutely normal process, there is no denying the fact that a woman might need medical assistance and she has the right to give consent to it while being well informed about its consequences.

2. Bradley Method Classes:

The Bradley Method Classes also emphasize on the normalcy of a vaginal birth1 without opting for medical intervention. These classes encourage the mother-to-be to eat well and continue to have a balanced diet while pregnant and also after delivery. They teach women that deep breathing can help manage labour pains in a very effective manner and make them practice deep breathing exercises so that labour is comparatively easier. They encourage the partner/husband to come along to the classes so that he is aware of the techniques as well.

3. Hypnobirthing Classes:

Hypnobirthing or the Mongan Method believes in keeping calm and using the mind-body technique to have a completely natural birthing experience. The inherent fear of childbirth makes physical pain seem unendurable whereas women are capable of enduring much more pain. It suggests the mother to relax while birthing and consequently the baby relaxes as well. It is also about reaching a state of undistracted concentration where the mind believes that the body is capable of natural birth. Hypnobirthing classes teach to replace words like “pain” and “contraction” to “surge” and “sensation”. There is an inclination towards developing a positive idea about labour and childbirth.

If your hospital does not have natural childbirth classes, you can always look up online and fix appointments with personal trainers or group activities. There are online videos that are free and you can watch these repeatedly to learn the techniques involved. Giving birth naturally helps avoid the feeling of deprivation usually associated with a medically assisted birth. It is all about believing in the power of the human body.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaginal_delivery

Should You Find Out Your Baby’s Gender?

Among the many delights of pregnancy, there is something about the gender of the baby that is an exciting moment to look forward to at birth. While in some countries it is illegal to convey the gender of the child to the parents, in some others, it is legally practiced but the question is, “Why would you want to know the gender of your unborn child?”

While this article will focus on why you don’t need to know the gender, there are some reasons for parents to want to know. Listed below are some of them:

  • The Name:

Deciding the name of the child is one of the most important decisions to take during pregnancy. While some prefer to wait till delivery, most others plan on a couple of names to be prepared. A lot of parents want to know the gender at the 20 week ultrasound so that they can finalise the name accordingly. However, with the rise in popularity of gender neutral names, this may no longer be a reason.

  • The Nursery:

If you are the type who believes in colour co-ordinating everything as per the gender of the child, and you are probably spending a fortune on the nursery1, you might want to know whether the walls need a blue or a pink colour coat.

  • Clothes:

Those who prefer blue for boys and pink for girls would look forward to the 20-week ultrasound so that they can buy clothes well in advance and of the right colours. Buying the appropriate type is not a concern these days with unisex baby clothing doing the rounds.

Now let us come to why you shouldn’t find out the gender:

  • Stereotyping:

You have probably made an announcement that you are having a baby girl and to your disappointment, your baby shower is an overdose of pink and purple. You might not necessarily want your girl to be swathed in pink as much as you wouldn’t want your boy to only wear blue. Gender stereotyping is for real and you could keep this at bay.

  • Not Excited Enough:

The excitement at birth, the looking forward to the moment of truth is an incredible feeling that knowing the gender beforehand could dampen. Making an announcement after your baby is born is so much more real and heart-felt.

  • Focus On The Ultrasound:

Parents, in their rush to know the gender of the baby, forget to focus on the ultrasound that has a real purpose. It is meant to check the wellness of the baby, the womb, and the organs of the baby among other things. Parents might also forget to ask significant questions regarding the pregnancy.

With unisex newborn clothes, colour matching according to gender being looked down upon and with finding out the gender being a tricky job because it completely depends upon the position of the baby; finding out the gender is overrated and absolutely necessary. However, it completely depends on the sentiments of the parents and they alone can take the final call.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursery_%28room%29

Newborn Wardrobe Essentials That You Should Buy Today

With more brands realising that cashing in on the sentiments of an expectant mother is profitable, newborn essentials have emerged to be one of the biggest markets ever. From rompers to sleeps suits to onesies and more; everything is either colour co-ordinated or accessorised. It is every easy to fall into the emotional trap of a cute little onesie staring at you in a shop full of adorable baby clothes. Anybody who has had a baby recently will tell you that newborns don’t need fancy stuff but what they need are essentials and here is a checklist to follow before you step out to hunt for your newborn’s wardrobe fillers:

  • Rompers:

Newborns need warmth and what better way to give them that than covering them up in soft, colourful rompers? According to the weather conditions, you can choose to buy cotton or woollen rompers. Ensure that they do not cover the tiny little hands of the baby because recent research suggests that wearing mitten-like things could hinder motor skills. You will need at least 10 rompers till the next growth spurt.

  • Body Suits:

These look like vests and have enveloped necks. They come in handy if there is a light wind blowing outside and you need an extra layer of clothing under the rompers. These can also be worn on their own if it’s warm and sunny outside. Eight to ten bodysuits will be enough for the first 4-6 months.

  • Winter Wear:

If you are having a winter baby, you will need to stock up on winter clothes well in advance. When it comes to babies, layering helps because the layers of clothes trap warm air inside and help keep the baby warm. Get a couple of thermal vests to be worn over a half-sleeved body suit, fleece jackets or woollen jackets according to the temperature, and socks if you plan to go out. Always remember to check if the baby is getting too hot and layering comes in handy here as well as you can always take one layer off as and when required.

You can also buy caps for your newborn to protect them from the wind outside. Buy both cotton and woollen caps to be used according to weather conditions.

  • Cotton Tees:

If you live in warmer climes, cotton tees will be required by the dozens. You should never let a newborn sweat too much so remember to buy at least 6-8 cotton tees that would last for the first 5-6 months.

  • Towels And Muslin Squares:

From wrapping the baby to wiping it down, soft towels are a must-have for a newborn. Get 4-5 towels that have a soft texture and are hooded. Muslin squares will always be needed for one thing or the other. Buy 15-20 for the initial months. You could also make your own muslin squares if you are not too keen on buying.

Since every baby is different, so are the needs. As you bring your baby home, you will eventually find out what are your baby’s wardrobe essentials.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romper_suit

How Your Body Changes In The Third Trimester

Often touted as the most uncomfortable period of pregnancy, third trimester can leave you physically and emotionally drained and you probably can’t wait for the delivery to happen, especially with frustrating false alarms and sleepless nights. Along with the discomforts, there is an undeniable excitement building up to meet your little one for the first time. Expect to undergo quite a few of the symptoms mentioned below:

  • Frequent Contractions:

What started as mild, infrequent contractions can now seem stronger and slightly more frequent. Towards the end of this trimester, you could even see impressions of your baby’s feet, part of buttocks; head etc as he/she tries to make space in the already overcrowded uterus. If the contractions are too frequent, call the doctor right away.

  • The Return Of The Reflux:

Heartburn and reflux from the first trimester is what you had been dreading and it will return to give you sleepless nights but can be managed to an extent if avoid spicy, sour, fried food and also too much water. Always drink to thirst and have small frequent meals to keep yourself filled up. Most women sleep with their upper body proper up to avoid heartburn.

  • Leaky Breasts:

You might experience leakage from your breasts as you get closer to your due date. This yellowish discharge is called colostrum1 that would be your baby’s first food after birth. Do not try to express at this stage. Use washable or disposable breast pads if you feel uncomfortable.

  • Huffing And Puffing:

Have you wondered why taking climbing up or down your regular flight of stairs is leaving you panting for breath? Shortness of breath is a common complaint in the third trimester because your growing uterus keeps putting pressure on your diaphragm and you end up feeling breathless. Practice your prenatal breathing exercises and maintain good posture to give more space to your lungs.

  • Increased Urination:

All the first trimester issues are here to pay you a visit all over again. As your baby prepares for birth, it moves downward into your pelvis and places more pressure on your bladder which is why your washroom visits will become frequent. You might also tend to leak some urine while laughing, sneezing or coughing. Continue practicing your Kegels2 to keep your pelvic floor intact.

  • Swelling And Varicose Veins:

The blood vessels in your legs and feet are continually under immense pressure and this might lead to swelling in legs and feet. Since blood circulation is also increased, you might notice bluish veins under the skin of your legs that are otherwise known as varicose veins3 and can be quite painful. These can be avoided with proper posture.

  • Vaginal Discharge:

Frequent vaginal discharge is common towards the end of pregnancy but if it is accompanied by a foul smell, itchiness or any other discomfort, contact your doctor immediately. If you sense the leakage of amniotic fluid, rush to the nearest hospital.

Expect yourself to be nervous and excited at the same time. The unpredictability of birth and after might give you frequent jitters but remember to sleep and eat well and stay as active as your body permits.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colostrum
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kegel_exercise
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varicose_veins

First Trimester Signs And Symptoms Explained For You

Have you been feeling way too sleepy than you’ve ever felt before? Are you rushing to the washroom more frequently than your 80 year old grandpa and does exhaustion seem like your best friend? A brand new pregnancy can bring along a host of new feelings and symptoms that you probably have never experienced before. The first and the third trimesters are usually more uncomfortable for most pregnant women but could also be quite pleasant if you knew how to tackle the discomforts.

Know What To Expect In Your First Trimester To Make It More Comfortable Than Most Others:

1. Morning Sickness:

Unfortunately, the term could be quite misleading because morning sickness can take over at any time of the day and for some, might go on all day. While 85% of pregnant women1 experience intense nausea and tend to vomit throughout their first trimester, the rest do not feel a thing. Nausea can be avoided by snacking on simple, less flavoured food early in the morning like crackers, cheese etc.

2. Cravings And Aversions:

You might start hating the sight of your favourite burgers and craving kale crisps that you used to detest a couple of months back. Cravings and aversions are normal in the first trimester and it is medically approved to give into most of your cravings as long as you do not have a history of allergies, gestational diabetes or other pregnancy induced ailments. Remember to have a balanced diet as far as possible.

3. Washroom Visits:

Do you feel embarrassed because your office washroom is almost always occupied by you? Please don’t because frequent urination is the commonest thing to expect in the first trimester. Your growing uterus pressurizes your bladder and hence the need to pee often, arises. A lot of women tend cut down on water but this could be dangerous and might lead to UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). You could curb your caffeine intake instead.

4. Constipation:

The increased production of progesterone by your body tends to make your digestive muscles sluggish and your iron supplements also play a major role in constipating your system. You might feel bloated due to this and your appetite may also dip. Try eating fibrous food, green leafy vegetables and indulging in some sort of physical activity to get rid of constipation.

5. Sore Breasts:

You might experience an unusual tenderness taking over your breasts in the first trimester. This is normal and happens because your body is releasing hormones to prepare your breasts for production of milk. If it bothers you too much, you could choose to go braless at home and wear loose cotton clothes to keep the discomfort bearable.

Apart from these common symptoms, the first trimester tends to make you a bundle of unpredictability who goes from smiling to feeling grumpy in seconds because of your changing hormones and that is just another hurdle that you will overcome very soon.

Reference:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/first-trimester-of-pregnancy?page=3

Easing Into the Second Trimester: Knowing The Changes

It is not for nothing that the second trimester (Week 14-Week 27) is often hailed as the euphoric phase of pregnancy. Now that the obvious discomforts of the first trimester have passed, and your baby is kicking up a storm, the second trimester is meant to be enjoyed while you start shopping, packing, attending labour and birth classes or even planning a vacation. Here is what you can expect your second trimester to be like:

  • Your Changing Skin:

You might notice a number of new things happening to your skin like a faint line that travels all the way from your navel to your pubic region that will begin to look darker very soon. It might also travel upwards. This is called the linea nigra1 and you’re probably not the only one who will experience this.

You might also notice pinkish streaks on your growing belly, buttocks, and thighs and even on your breasts. These are stretch marks that are absolutely normal and occur because of your skin stretching and expanding to support the pregnancy. There might be dark patches on your skin, your face might look blotchy and you might also have acne breakouts. Blame the raging pregnancy hormones and calm down because all of this is temporary and will pass soon after delivery.

  • Weight Gain:

As nausea and food aversions make way for increased appetite, you can expect to gain around 13-14 pounds during the second trimester. Do check with the doctor regarding accelerated weight gain if there is a family history of diabetes or preterm babies.

  • Sensitive Gums:

Sensitive gums and are common second trimester problems. Since your hormones are playing hide and seek, expect more blood flow to your gums and softening of them that often leads to sensitive and bleeding gums. Using a softer toothbrush and maintaining proper oral hygiene will keep infections at bay.

  • Snoring:

Did your husband just convey an unbelievable fact that you were snoring last night? Your blood circulation is heightened during pregnancy and more blood flowing through your mucous membranes leads to swelling of your airways. This causes congestion and you end up snoring at night. If there are nosebleeds or breathing problems, please consult your gynaecologist.

  • Growing Belly And Breasts:

Your uterus is expanding to accommodate your growing baby and in turn you will find your baby bump to grow bigger. You will look visibly pregnant and your maternity jeans will finally come in handy. Try and wear loose, cotton clothes and slather your belly with a moisturiser if you want to keep the itch away. Your body is also preparing your breasts to produce milk and they will keep growing in order to accumulate that healthy fat. Wearing a supportive bra will prevent sagging.

  • Dizziness And Leg Cramps:

As your blood vessels dilate, you can expect sudden bouts of dizziness due to fluctuating blood pressure. Keep yourself hydrated and lie down on your left side to manage the dizziness. Leg cramps are common if you have been inactive and lying down for long. Staying active, well hydrated and keeping your legs propped up might help.

  • Contractions:

Otherwise known as Braxton Hicks Contractions2; this is your body preparing for labour and birth. As normal as this is, if they tend to get frequent or more painful, visit the doctor immediately.

Keep your symptoms monitored, enjoy your baby’s kicks and don’t forget your prenatal classes!

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linea_nigra
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braxton_Hicks_contractions

How To Deal With A Miscarriage

“I wish there was a way to go back in time and change the future” A miscarriage often brings along these thoughts and a host of other feelings that are almost indescribable for a woman to convey to even the dearest people in her life. A pregnancy is like living each day with growing expectations of parenthood and reliving your own childhood through your baby. A miscarriage seemingly puts an end to the wonderful dreams you might have dream for your child to be. As depressing and overwhelming it could get, the best thing to remember in a phase like this is that nothing is forever and there is every possibility that you will have a healthy baby in your arms sooner than you thought.

How To Cope With The Feelings?

As if your pregnancy hormones weren’t enough to make you emotionally unstable, the after thoughts that cloud your mind can be very difficult to deal with. Here are a few common things to expect and a few simple ways to deal with them:

1. Grief:

Natural and overwhelming, the grief for your loss can take you to a point of no-return. Accepting your loss and trusting your doctor to help you heal physically and mentally is important. If you feel unusually depressed and simply cannot handle the grief despite all your efforts, try meeting a counsellor. Depression1 is for real.

2. Guilt:

Even if you have had nothing to do with the miscarriage it is natural to feel guilty. You might wonder if you did not care enough for your baby, but it’s most unlikely that any of your acts might have triggered the miscarriage.

3. Fear:

A previous history of miscarriage/s might instilL fear regarding the next pregnancy and you might wonder if you would be able to reach full term and deliver your baby successfully. More than three quarters of women deliver healthy babies after miscarriages so don’t let this fear set in.

Talking To Your Partner

This is very important for both the people who were expecting a baby. It surely is physically draining on your part to cope with this but your partner is equally upset and talking it out with him will help relieve half your problems. If need be, give in to the grief together and cry it out. A good cry helps immensely. Convey what you feel and plan accordingly. If both of you want a baby right away, your doctor will guide you on this and if you two do not want to plan any time soon, do consider safe methods of contraception.

Your Doctor/Midwife 

Your doctor will assist you in recovering completely from the miscarriage and will also advise you to wait a couple of months and get a few tests done before conceiving again. Your body will need to settle into your regular cycles before the next conception and till then you can adopt safe contraception. You can also seek help from a midwife to survive this phase of bereavement.

You can also join similar support groups online to talk to mothers who have had miscarriages and are now raising healthy children. Have faith in yourself, your body, your partner and your doctor to feel better very soon.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_%28mood%29

Choosing The Right OBGYN For Yourself

You definitely want your pregnancy to be as smooth and uneventful as possible and to ensure that comfort, you will need to choose the right OBGYN who will help monitor your pregnancy, assist in your labour and deliver your baby to you. If you already know a gynaecologist who also practices obstetrics, you might want to refer to him/her but if you have a birth plan that he/she is not compatible with, you can always research about another and refer accordingly.

While choosing an OBGYN, do consider chalking up a pregnancy and birth plan and jot down your questions beforehand so that you end up with the safest pair of hands to deliver your baby. The ideal time to go hunting for an OBGYN would be as soon as you start thinking of a baby so that you are on track with your prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements. Listed below are the factors you should consider before deciding:

1. Discussing Your Health

You will need to discuss about your health history to your OBGYN. If there is a possibility of developing pregnancy induced illnesses and your pregnancy might seem to be a high-risk one, he/she may refer you to a perinatologist1. Otherwise, you will be asked to undergo basic health checkups that might include blood tests, USGs and internal checkups to ensure all is well with you. Do remember to convey about family history of Gestational Diabetes, miscarriages, high BP or any other issues.

2. Comfort Factor

You will need to be absolutely compatible and comfortable with your OBGYN. If you have a birth plan, consider discussing with him/her. You might want a VBAC; choose a doctor who specialises in this area.  You might also want to discuss your views regarding episiotomies2, fetal monitoring, epidurals, induction, delayed cord clamping, placenta encapsulation, skin-to-skin after birth and breastfeeding. These are important factors to discuss and know if your OBGYN supports your views on them.

3. Is he/she Respectful Of What I Think?

You don’t want to get into an unnecessary hassle in the third trimester on grounds such as repeated USGs and unnecessary internal checkups. Plan your innings beforehand; ask yourself if your doctor:

  • Will answer all your questions
  • Will explain the needs and consequences of procedures
  • Is interested in your pregnancy
  • Will entertain emergency calls
  • Is respectful of your wishes

You will need to convey your wishes to your doctor to check if he/she is the right one.

4. Choose The Hospital

While choosing your OBGYN, you are also choosing your birthing centre. Remember to choose wisely. Keep the hospital on board with your birth plan, convey to them if you want a natural, intervention free birth and if you want your partner to assist you in the labour room. If the hospital agrees to your conditions, you can go ahead with it or else you have the option to change your OBGYN and hospital together.

Instead of waiting till you conceive; try picking your OBGYN well in advance so that he/she is as beautifully involved in your pregnancy as you are.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maternal-fetal_medicine
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episiotomy

Can’t Afford A Fancy Nursery? Find Tips On A Budget Nursery Here!

Let’s admit it, a designer nursery could be easy on a celebrity’s pocket but not all of us are celebrities and we might need to think about other baby-related expenses. How do we go about making a nursery warm and welcoming for our newborn? There are a number of ways you could decorate a nursery while keeping your budget intact and we will tell exactly how:

  • Be Practical:

Your baby will probably not have the same personality from infancy to preschool years. Decorating the room with pink lace and pink frames on the wall, painting the walls purple and buying a pink mat; just because your 20-week ultrasound tells you that you will have a baby girl makes no sense at all. Your baby might not even like pink. Try and incorporate timeless ideas that your baby will grow up with. This reduces the cost of your decor because specific detailing is more expensive these days. Moreover, you are also ensuring that you will hardly spend a lot till 3-4 years from now.

  • Buy Preloved:

All of us love our babies but that does not necessarily mean we would go broke decorating his/her nursery. What could we do instead? Buy preloved1. There are a number of online portals where people sell off new or used baby gear, accessories, clothing etc that you could choose to buy at a much lesser cost than the brand new ones. The users put up pictures of the products so that you can see if they are good enough for you. From changing tables to mats, from high chairs to cribs, from cot mobiles to storage units, there is something for everyone.

  • Buy When Sales Are On:

Since you will have 9 whole months to buy things for the nursery, you are sure to have one sale season in this term. Utilise it to its fullest potential. Buy almost everything that you feel might be required initially and there will enough discounts both online as well as in physical stores to bring down prices within your budget. This not only saves precious time after baby is born but also keeps your finances stable.

  • DIY:

Nothing is as personal as doing up your baby’s nursery all by yourself and with a little help from your pregnant partner. You will simply need your favourite paint shades, wall tapes, a bucket; a couple of good brushes, an apron and you are set to paint the nursery just the way you want to. You could also frame family portraits and hang them up instead of choosing expensive store-bought wall hangings. Cot mobiles can be easily made at home instead of the exorbitantly priced ones available in stores.

Apart from these ideas, you could always accept hand-me-downs from family members and friends. At your baby shower, you can ask for particular baby-related stuff as per the budget of the one who is gifting. It is quite easy to decorate your nursery on a budget, provided you know the tricks of the trade.

References:

  1. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/preloved