Sometimes the last thing you want during your pregnancy is advice. People are screaming from every direction, “Do this!” and, “Don’t do that!” It’s enough to make you want to become a hermit until delivery. But today I thought I’d participate in From Mrs. to Mama‘s 52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose and share a few tips from what I learned during my first pregnancy. They might not work for every family, but they definitely worked for mine. Maybe they’ll work for yours too?
1. Exercise. I wouldn’t be a good quasi-fitness blogger if I didn’t start out with exercise. Some (if not most) days will be hard. Your body will feel like it has already run a marathon. You may not be a gym rat, but (certain rare medical conditions aside) you can at least walk. Walking is easy. Go to the mall for an hour and you probably won’t even realize you’re walking. If you’re interested in what I did for exercise during pregnancy, read here. I have to attribute at least part of my 5 1/2 hour labor and 20 minutes of pushing to all the exercise I did. I definitely attribute my postnatal bounce-back to it. Exercise can also prevent back pain, bad moods, stretch marks, gestational diabetes, postpartum depression, excessive weight gain, and insomnia. Wear a Maternity Support Belt when your belly gets uncomfortable.
2. Don’t eat whatever you want. Lots of women use pregnancy as an excuse to indulge each and every craving. Then they blame their postnatal bodies on pregnancy, when it really had more to do with their lack of discipline. You only need around 300-450 extra calories/day while pregnant. Nourish your body and your baby with healthy, nutritious foods. Keep a food diary if you’re prone to going out of control.
3. Buy a Pregnancy Pillow. I slept exponentially better, though it was a bit tricky getting in and out of bed when I needed to get up in the middle of the night to pee. And my husband didn’t appreciate the pillow barrier.
4. Don’t announce your baby’s name until it’s on the birth certificate. If you have very opinionated family members like I do, you can avoid unnecessary stress by keeping the name a secret. This is YOUR baby, and his or her name is one of the most meaningful things you’ll give them. Don’t let outside pressures ruin this experience… Plus, it’s kind of fun to have a little secret to save until birth.
5. Read The Happiest Baby on the Block. Eva was the easiest baby in the world. Some people call it luck, but I know this book had something to do with it. “The Five S’s” worked wonders. I wrote more about my experiences with them here.
6. Go on outings with your newborn. It is much easier to take sleepy newborns places than squirmy crawlers. I took my baby to the beach when she was three days old, on a boat when she was four days old, and to the Kid’s Club at the gym starting at eight weeks old. I took her to restaurants, barbeques, and malls. I took her everywhere. People always comment on how well Eva does in public places, and I think it may have to do with her simply being used to it. Enjoy the newborn period while you can, because it will only get harder (at least it did for me). I have a feeling that outings can help with postpartum depression as well.
7. Say YES! to help. If you have awesome friends like I do, they’ll offer to come over and cook you dinner, or simply bring you takeout. Some of them may even help you clean. If you’re like me, your first instinct will be to say no thank you. You don’t want to bother anyone. This is not the time to say no. Accept the help and remember to send a thank you note. You might even get to return the favor one day.
8. Do this: Dig a hole in the sand (or the dirt if you have to), throw a blanket over it, and just lay on your belly for a while. Thank me later.
9. Buy a Belly Band. Wear your jeans for as long as possible. It’s hard to find a cute pair of maternity jeans. It’s hard to find a cute maternity anything. Maternity clothes in general are pretty gross. Waste your money on as little as possible.
10. Savor your pregnancy. Unless your last name is Duggar, it’ll probably be one of the few times you’ll get to experience the miracle of growing a human inside you. The backaches, rib pain, and exhaustion are only temporary. But so are the kicks and wiggles. Treasure them. One day they’ll be a distant memory. You might not even remember what they felt like. Read what I wrote here if you need some more reminding.