Here are some pregnancy tips expecting moms must know.
It's likely my age, but I know a lot of people who are expecting. For some, it is a wonderful journey filled with glowing skin, the ability to sleep and shiny hair. For others, it's a path you have to endure to get to hold your baby. And then there are those like me, who are, likely to be the majority. I had several days that I enjoyed the journey and embraced the bursts of energy by nesting and doing baby laundry, but even more days when I just wanted to sleep, throw up, sleep, eat, sleep, work, sleep, read and sleep. Did I mention I really wanted to sleep?
I did manage to work (and drive myself to work) till the day I delivered (in the crazy New York polar vortex with a 20-mile commute daily), so growing a baby doesn't mean the rest of your life has to go on hold or that you cannot be as productive or efficient as you like. But be prepared to take things at a pace that you are comfortable with and put yourself first.
I'm not going to list what's going on with you or your baby week by week, there are enough apps that do that really well. I prefer to share facts that you ought to know at this stage in your life. Here are some things about you, your changing body, and your growing child that you should know:
Note: In order to not overwhelm you (and me), I am going to write this in three parts - stay tuned for more on labor and your newborn!
Also, I am not going to go on about high risk pregnancies because while I have book knowledge about them I do not have any first hand experience.
About you, (almost) mommy:
1. You do not have to eat for two when your pregnant (feel free to quote me to any mothers-in-laws that insist otherwise), unless you would like to look like two (of you). The calorie requirement is 300 calories extra (per day not per hour) in the first trimester going up to 500 calories in the third. That's just a little more than an extra banana.
2. The healthy weight gain is 4-7 lbs in the first trimester and one pound per week after that. That's a total of 25-35 lbs. People who were underweight or overweight before should gain more or less accordingly (and those with multiple pregnancies of course). Keep in mind this is the recommended weight gain, and people do put on more or less depending on nutrition, body type, genetic, and even their appetite while pregnant. At the end you will put on weight faster than in the beginning. For the record, I put on 40lbs, but often hear of women who gained approx. 20lbs less or even 20lbs more!
3. If you have back to back pregnancies and haven't lost the weight, you still have to put on the same amount the second time! It's what each baby needs. (Ugh)
4. Nausea - ugh! Can last forever, though the actual vomiting (in most cases) goes by 14 - 16 weeks. There are some smells though that will make you feel sick even after your baby is born.
5. If you don't have an appetite early in your pregnancy it's alright. Just eat whatever you can keep down and take your vitamins. Your baby will still get all the nutrients it needs from your body if not your food. Once you're able to eat, do so, but it's to replenish yourself.
6. You will eventually be hungry, and even crave things you never liked before. So, eat everything that you want.. (Except ofcourse raw food, sushi, medium or raw steak, most fish, shellfish, and Brie and other delicious unpasteurized cheeses).
7. Prenatals, prenatals, prenatals. Seriously, Take those vitamins! You don't want to be losing teeth when the baby is born along with your hair (sorry mom, those thick locks do eventually shed- but your body is just making up for the fact that you're not shedding while pregnant).
8. Pregnancy books can scare the living day lights out of you!!!! Even I, with my love for information, thought that it was way too much!
9. Pregnancy apps however, that tell you about your babies development and your body/ expected symptoms are a blessing. What to expect, baby bump, and baby center are the best ones.
(Now for the stressful stuff - I'm not trying to scare you, just trying to help you deal with the symptoms you may have.)
10. Heartburn.. you can't get rid of it completely but you can control it… speak to your MD about a prescription if it's unbearable like mine was.
11. Memory loss.. you may feel like you're immune but your unlikely to remember why you have it or what the hell to do about it when it's there. It's even worse when the baby is born, and at some point you will feel like your mind is never coming back.. but it does.. slowly (I'm still struggling to remember my points as I write this, so make use of the notes on your phone and put post its everywhere). At work, I would write down my points before opening my mouth, as they would disappear from my head as soon as my mouth opened.
12. Just when you think your bladder cannot get any smaller, it does… But rest assured, it's never as bad as it will be during delivery, so ask for a catheter/ urine bag, or keep running to the bathroom (I was down to every 5 mins when I gave up and had a catheter put in).
13. Back pain, and sciatica (back pain from pressure on your sciatic nerve in your back) can happen, depending on the position of the baby. Hip pain can come with sciatica too, but there are exercises, like pelvic bridges you can do that really do help. (As per Grey's Anatomy this week, back pain is practically a sign that you are pregnant, due to how common it is during pregnancy.)
14. Sleeping on your belly will soon become impossible if it isn't already, and on your back can harm you as the baby presses against your organs. So sides it is! Get a good pregnancy pillow (the wedges help but the pillow is worth every cent). Keep it between your legs and try to sleep on your left. Which is medically recommended to increase blood flow to the baby. However, you are likely to end up tossing a lot between both sides and that's fine too!
15. Sleep isn't easy but try try and try, and on your own schedule.. you won't have that luxury at all very soon. Nothing will make you feel better than being able to sleep early.
16. Have you heard the rumors that your feet can change size? Not just swell like a balloon but actually change sizes as your bones expand under your swollen feet. Mine didn't (thank you for small mercies - or large ones, actually this one is ginormous for my shoe closet and husband's walker ), but my fingers still (8 months after delivery) won't fit any of my original rings. For your feet - stay active and when your home keep them as elevated as possible and just keep drinking water !!!! It will reduce any retention not increase it.
18. I can't stand people touching me! Seriously. The spa is a punishment for me and not relaxing in the least. But I did try a Prenatal massage and if I wasn't averse to the entire concept I would have perhaps enjoyed it.. So if your a spa person don't be afraid to go for one, just make sure it's after your first trimester and your therapist is licensed and knows how to do a prenatal massage specifically. I know people who got relief from this, with all kinds of joint aches.
19. Hair, nails and skin - this can be good or bad.. For most women their hair and nails will grow like crazy enjoy it. Skin on the other hand can either grow or suddenly become hairy!! (Even on the face around your chin) and can get acne (even for those who have never had it.) Sorry ladies - though you will be able to spot which of you're friends are honest and who is lying, because everyone will swear that you are glowing anyway.
20. Does this all sound like a nightmare? Each trimester will have it's own challenges so you won't face it all together, don't worry. Each one will have it's own milestones too- the first kick, the first turn, the ultrasounds, the heartbeat. Try and focus on the good! It will be worth it in the end.
21. Speaking of the end, it's the hardest.. Just because you want to hold your baby already! Other than that, and just balancing and peeing, I didn't think my third trimester was as exhausting as my first. It's different for everyone but at least keep in mind that it won't be all bad and there is a lot to look forward to.
22. Keep yourself busy! Even if you are home and not working, take time to do things that interest you. Make things for the nursery, or get out at lunch with your friends. Not just because you won't have as much time later, but more because you will feel better and healthier if you're mentally occupied.
23. Maternity clothes - buy things that really stretch so they last you longer. Believe it or not, not all maternity clothes are built to go the whole way. Also, some of them are just wayy too big and don't fit you till the end (even in smaller sizes). So stretchable fabrics are the way to go! Plus, they make that baby bump look so adorable. Dressing in layers will help with hot flashes, so you can strip down or bundle up as needed.
24. Most importantly - If u don't want anyone to rub your belly and treat you like a laughing Buddha be clear about it. Don't be afraid to say that you're not comfortable. (Think of it as practice for when everyone is trying to grab your baby). I don't know what it is about us growing a baby and sharing our bodies with a child that make people think we are now public domain to rub and play with!!
25. Remember mommy, you and your needs come first! Take the time to cater to your cravings, and have every whim met. That won't always be the case...
I hope this gives you a better picture of what lies ahead. Really, it's not all bad, it's a beautiful journey for some and for those who don't think it's all that cushy, don't worry, you will soon forget the most of it! Thank you, dear hormones.
I will be back with more on labor and delivery, and tips for your brand new baby so stay tuned.
Veteran moms - feel free to let me know what I missed (as my pregnancy brain was pretty bad too).
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