Being pregnant is SUCH an incredibly exciting time!! I loved knowing that God chose me to be a part of creating this little miracle & it is so much fun seeing your body change and grow with that little life. But, it can also be overwhelming (because there is so much info out there) and is some serious business work on your body. Obviously I’m not an expert, but I was blessed to have a pretty awesome pregnancy! After being pregnant for 40 weeks and 1 day, here are some of my tips for the preggos…
1. Find a doctor or midwife you LOVE. This is so important! You want to feel comfortable with them and confident in them. I’m big on relationships and so appreciated that the midwives made me feel important and really focused on me…not like I was just another number they rushed in and out. It was really nice feeling 100% confident in them going in and being on the same page with our goals. They were supportive of my “birth plan” and desire to have a natural childbirth too. Of course they wanted me to be open minded, but were very supportive & I definitely appreciated that.
2. Find your positive pregnant/mommy friends & stick with them. Ignore the crazies, negative nancies, & horror stories. Everyone will want to tell you their HORROR stories about labor…and you’ll probably hear things like “Better sleep now” or “Enjoy your freedom now because life is about to revolve around those kiddos” (or if you’re me…”Are you SURE you’re not having twins?!?”) about 8 million times. While these things may be true, they are not encouraging and you will not fully understand until the baby gets here, so it’s just annoying to hear those things. As much as people try to prepare you with their thoughts, experiences, and wisdom, they just can’t. There is nothing anyone can say to prepare you for being a mom….or the incredible, unconditional LOVE you are going to feel for that sweet baby, (making every second of sleep deprivation SO worth it)!!!
3. Get lots of sleep. This one gets tougher as you get further along…especially as you get up to pee 9 times throughout the night, can’t get comfy, feel like you ran a marathon after rolling over, etc. I am a tummy sleeper, so I hated sleeping on my side. I would definitely invest in a pregnancy pillow (mine has been really useful for breastfeeding too) or learn to use all the pillows to prop under your growing belly. They recommend for you to sleep on your left side and avoid sleeping on your back. Make it a point to go to bed early & take naps if you can. (I would sneak in my office at work during my lunch break, put my feet up on the desk, and lay back for a little 15-20 min snooze. I can admit that on the blog now that I’m retired!) I also drank 1/2 cup of tart cherry juice before bed to help me fall asleep and stay asleep better. Oh, and tip for rolling over if you have a massive belly like I did…(thank you, Catherine)…don’t roll over across your back. Push up onto all fours with your tummy under you.
4. Read lots. (But don’t stress yourself out.) It’s great to be informed, and since you are going to hear all kinds of CUH-RAAAAAZY advice, it’s super important to do your own research so you can make the best possible choices for yourself and your growing little family. I read a TON before hand…especially mommy blogs. But I didn’t obsess or focus on the “what if’s” that could go wrong. I prayed a lot too and that helped with anxiety. I also signed up for every free pregnancy website (the bump, baby center, fit pregnancy, what to expect) so I could get weekly e-mail updates. It was always fun to read about what was going on with me and the baby each week! I would also make sure put any questions I came across during the week into my phone so I would remember them when I went to the doctor.
These are my top 3!!
I also recommend Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, Happiest Baby on the Block, Baby Whisperer, & The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (has some good info, but some I don’t agree with…), and OF COURSE your Bible. It is so easy to put your faith on the back burner when there is so much going on…but this is the time to focus MORE on your walk with the Lord than ever!
Favorite Mommy Blogs:
5. Eat as healthy as possible and drink LOTS of water. Avoid the foods they say to avoid (certain fish, lunch meats, unpasteurized cheese and juices, too much caffeine, etc.). I know The water will help prevent swelling, & being dehydrated can cause many issues, including pre-term labor. The thought of water made me sick during pregnancy, so I added lemon juice to my water bottle every time so I could get it down. I was OVER the lemon as soon as the baby was born. Here are my two posts with tips about Eating Healthy During Pregnancy & Nutrition During Pregnancy .
6. Monitor your weight, but don’t obsess. You are NOT eating for two- that is a myth. But you do need about an extra 300 (HEALTHY) calories a day!! Definitely amp up the protein- that is SO important!! Also, this is a great time to start shopping organic if you can. Your baby really needs lots of good nutrients, to skip the junk food & maybe allow just a few treats each week….but do you best to make healthy choices as often as possible. Gaining too much (or not enough) weight can have health repercussions for both you and the baby. Of course those awesome doctors & midwives you chose will help you know what’s right for you.
7. Take a GREAT prenatal multivitamin, Probiotic, Calcium, & Omega (DHA). I personally wouldn’t take anything besides Advocare because I know it is TOP quality & I was giving my baby the VERY best! (This is not the time for BOGO vitamins….although something is better than nothing.) You can check out what I took during pregnancy (& am still taking now while breastfeeding) to help me get rid of that 29 lbs HERE ! I was back down within 2 lbs of pre-pregnancy weight by week 2. Oh, and another vitamin tip if you’re nauseas (or even if you’re not)….take your vitamins at night before bed so you don’t pee it all out.
8. Exercise!! Get yo fit on!! Now is not the time to start some new intense exercise regiment, but you can definitely continue doing what you’re already doing & the doctor’s recommend that if nothing else, you should at least walk 3-5 times a week. I still lifted weights and did core strengthening exercises (just not on your back after 4 months) up until Jase was born. I did lots of body weight stuff- squats, pushups, & planks (no lunges) & arm stuff with 8 lb & 5 lb dumbbells. I even jogged up until my belly got pretty massive & I became a spectacle on the treadmill. I wasn’t beast mode or anything, but I definitely did my best to stay fit because I know that helped me have more energy, sleep better, and have a better labor experience. Oh, and I sat on an ab ball at work for my last 2 months to help keep my core strong. (I don’t recommend this unless you feel pretty confident in your ab ball sitting abilities and know you won’t crack your skull.)
9. Wear comfy shoes. This is not the time to be rockin’ crazy heels or shoes with little support. Your body is carrying lots of extra weight and it’s distributed in a whole new way on your body (which can also shift your center of gravity & throw off your balance), so you need to give your legs, feet, back, etc. good support. I’m not sayin’ you have to look like a scrub, but this probably isn’t the best time for the stilettos.
10. Do pregnancy stretches & exercises. This is where the Bradley book comes in majorly handy! Tailor sitting, pelvic rocks, squatting, Kegels, & butterflies. You can read a quick overview of them & why they’re beneficial here , but I also STRONGLY recommend reading the books!!! I know natural childbirth is not for everyone (& I had a c-section after many, many hours of natural childbirth- read my birth story here ), but my labor experience was INCREDIBLY positive (& drug free till time for the c-section) because I prepared with the Bradley method. I could not recommend it any higher, & reading the books TOTALLY changed my perspective!! Plus, those relaxation techniques came in very handy for my first couple weeks of breastfeeding! No worries, post to come on that too…
11. Read to, sing, & talk to the baby. I loved praying out loud with Baby Jase on the way to school every morning. And I would sing to him and get in the habit of talking out loud while doing things around the house (I tried to avoid it in public so I didn’t look like a total psycho!) because I knew wanted to do that after he was born to help with his language development. And it’s really special to get daddy-to-be to read to the baby! If you don’t have books, maybe encourage people to bring a children’s book rather than a card with shower gifts so you can stock up. It is SO SWEET when that baby knows your voice!! Jase stopped crying and looked right at me when I started talking to him after he was born….one of my favorite moments of my life! Seriously, life changing.
12. Keep a journal. I love that I have the blog to look back on and read what was going on with me each week. I know it’ll come in handy for future pregnancies, and of course you can get them printed into blog books so your kiddos can read about what life was like while they were hangin’ out in the tummy! Also, be sure to take weekly bump pictures!! You’ll love looking back seeing when you thought your bump was “SO HUGE”…Check out my 13 week & my 40 week pictures. I seriously thought that was a “bump” at week 13. Uhhhh, no. That is what I look like after eating Mexican…but at the time I sure thought I was rockin’ one.
13. Try not to stress. I know this one can be tough when you are responsible for growing another human being, or when you have a mile long to-do list and all you want to do is SLEEP, but I did my best to stay as calm & stress-free as possible. I LOVED long baths (not super hot) with lavender bath salts & pre-natal massages. Exercising was also a big stress reliever for me, and of course I prayed a LOT too. Try to eliminate as many stressors in your life as possible, and for those you can’t eliminate (especially if they are people…cuz that wouldn’t be cool), find some good coping mechanisms/relaxation techniques. Stress can also make you more susceptible to getting sick…and speaking of, become a hand-washing machine.
14. Watch the chemicals. Whether it’s perfume, cleaning supplies, self-tanner, acne medicine, deodorant, whatever…just be cautious and try to go as natural as possible. I avoided the nursery for several days when Jonathan was painting to avoid the chemicals in the paint. And I would straight up put my t-shirt over my face when I was around someone smoking. Again, one of those things you don’t want to obsess over, but remember that your baby is getting anything you are….whether you are breathing it or putting it on your skin. I changed my face wash (to Cetaphil), lotion, etc. Coconut oil became my go to for pretty much everything…oh, and vinegar for cleaning.
15. Network. I know I kinda already mentioned this, but I think it is SUPER important to have a strong support system. I am really fortunate I was pregnant during the BABY BOOM & there were like 90 people pregnant at the same time as me that I could talk to. Of course it’s helpful to hear from your “been-there-done-that” mommy friends, and you better believe I was constantly asking “Is this normal?”… but it is also such a cool bond to go through pregnancy with friends. Now all of our kiddos are close to the same age, so we all still text EVERY DAY & it’s so fun (& relieving to hear someone else having some of the same issues) to share that. I don’t know what I’d do without all of my mommy friends right now. Honestly, I think I’d feel very overwhelmed and lonely. Plus, it was helpful to hear suggestions/tips & things their doctors have said that I may not have heard yet.
16. Spend lots of quality time with your baby daddy. I know Big Jon was SO PUMPED & excited to meet our little man and that absolutely melted my heart! But chances are that even as excited as he is to meet that sweet little bundle of joy, he may be feeling anxious too. (Hello, life is about to be changing in a HUGE way! He may be putting lots of pressure on himself to be a great labor coach,provider, the best daddy, wondering if you’ll love him as much, etc. )..Honestly, who KNOWS what’s going through his head, so he needs a little TLC too. Be sure to spend lots of time with him, include him in the pregnancy as much as possible, and reassure him often. There will be times your pregnancy hormones get the best of you and you’ll really want to karate chop him in the throat, but this is your last few months as a family of 2…so take advantage of all that alone time!
17. Do not compare! “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Your pregnancy, your body, your weight, the way you feel, the way you show, etc. is all going to be very unique to YOU!! You can set yourself up for a lot of hurt feelings by comparing yourself to others or allowing others to compare you. One of the benefits of having so many friends pregnant at the same time as me meant I had a lot of support and that fabulous network I was talking about earlier….BUT, it also meant everyone was constantly comparing the preggos! Sometimes what they had to say (particularly about my belly) made me feel a little self-conscious, so I had to get to a point where I ignored everyone else’s comments and stopped comparing. And as a reader brilliantly pointed out, it’s not smart to compare anyway! Here’s a post I wrote a long time ago about comparing...
18. Be patient. It may get uncomfortable and of course towards the end you are SO ready to meet that little blessing you’ve been preparing for for the last 9 months….and obviously the baby will come in God’s timing….but try not to rush it! There are TONS of benefits for the baby in making it the full 40 weeks. And there are some things you’re really going to miss about being pregnant (people are super helpful!!), so try to soak it up. You’ll have that sweet bundle of joy in your arms before you know it…and life will never.be.the.same.
What are your tips for mommies-to-be??