How-To: 10 Tips for Pregnant Mommies
I had a surprise pregnancy. I chose to keep it pretty quiet for several reasons. First, I didn’t know I was pregnant until 3 months and I didn’t really show until I was 6 months along, I was scared I that I would be an awful parent, and none of my friends had been pregnant before. But overall, it was a great pregnancy with fast labor and a quick recovery. So here’s my pregnancy to parenting story so you can better understand why I chose these 10 Tips.
My Pregnancy to Parenting Story
I worked up until my water broke – literally. My water broke at work right before I went home! But it wasn’t like the childbirth classes described. I thought I just peed myself. I didn’t even know my water broke, but I had a hunch something was different. So I just went home and tried to time irregular contractions until I finally just went to bed.
Just out of precaution, I stopped by the hospital on my way to work the next morning. They did two ultrasounds to check fluid levels. They didn’t let me leave. I called in sick to work.
Because I was 12 hours past my water breaking, the doctor recommended an induction. While an induction was not in my “birth plan,” I went with the flow. After my contractions started, I labored for two hours but managed to go epidural free through an 5-7 minute delivery. I even walked from the delivery room to the recovery room to spend time with my new family. No medication was in my birth plan.
So how did I get so lucky? Many pregnant moms have asked me this question when they hear my story, so I created a list of 10 Tips for pregnant mommies.
Now all these tips don’t relate to the pregnancy and include some things I wish I had known during the pregnancy. You don’t have to like them all, but as long as one or two helps you, I’m a happy camper. Enjoy!
10 Tips for Pregnant Mommies
- Exercise: Prenatal yoga is AWESOME! Not only is it relaxing and can help with aching joints and stretching, it can also help strengthen and stretch your body to prepare for childbirth! I exercised and did both prenatal yoga and prenatal pilates throughout the entire pregnancy and had a painkiller free two hour induced labor with less than 8 minutes of pushing. It is possible! But please speak to your doctor before starting any new exercise regiment as you do not want to push yourself. Even walking daily can do wonders for your pregnancy and delivery. My DH used to take me to Target to walk the aisles in the later months of my pregnancy. It helped.
- Listen to your body. Your body is very good at telling you what it wants. Pushing yourself beyond your limits is not healthy for you or the baby. In this day and age, we often don’t listen to what our bodies are telling us because we want to achieve more and move faster to keep up. So rest when you need it, sleep when you’re tired, and eat when you’re hungry.
- Eat little, eat often. Eat lots of little snacks throughout the day, like fruit or making your own trail mix (with extra M&Ms) :) Doing so can help curb hunger and start a healthier eating pattern to go along with your growing baby and growing body. Too often, people get in the habit of eating large meals just three times a day. This is difficult for pregnant women once their stomachs start getting squished and they feel hungrier more often. This eating habit will also come in handy if you choose to breastfeed.
- Enjoy the foot rubs. Let your partner spoil you. Whether it’s picking up late night cravings or putting up with your mood swings. Oh, and the foot rubs don’t hurt either. PLUS, regular foot rubs will reduce the chance of swollen feet as it improves circulation! So if your partner won’t give you foot rubs, spoil yourself to regular pedicures! You have a great excuse.
- Take as many classes as you can stay awake for. Whether it’s childbirth, new born care, or breastfeeding classes, don’t be afraid to take multiple classes. I know many women have family members who are experienced, so they don’t bother to take classes. But information is constantly changing and you never know what you can learn. So while many women want to wait until it’s later in the pregnancy either out of fear of not being “pregnant enough” or wanting the material to be fresher, chances are you won’t remember much of it anyway. And in the last trimester, you’re usually so doggone tired that staying awake in the 6-9pm weekday classes is a real challenge. This brings me to my next tip…
- Start early with seeking help. Take classes earlier rather than later, and find support groups to meet other pregnant moms or just to ask questions. For example, La Leche League welcomes pregnant moms to come and ask questions and get a feel for breastfeeding. Being around breastfeeding mothers beats any breastfeeding class offered by a hospital. Many mothers who are not successful with breastfeeding usually do not have a comfort level or support system in place to continue past challenges. So whether you find a lactation consultant, breastfeeding buddies, or a community clinic or support group, don’t be afraid to start those relationships earlier in your pregnancy.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Many people will offer unsolicited advice (I’m just as guilty), but it’s often because they really want to share information to help you. So if someone offers you help, whether it’s to answer questions or do your laundry once the baby is born, take them up on their offer. It’s okay to feel guilty about it, but then accept it! Or better yet, ask them to just watch the baby you so you can do the laundry. Whatever you desire.
- Forget your birth plan, just know your goals but be flexible. Birth plans are awesome in theory, but how many people actually remember to take them? And when they do take them, how many people actually remember to pull them out in time? Have a discussion with your partner or family and make sure everyone is on the same page about your preferences. Do you want an epidural or do you want to go without medicine? Who do you want in the room? Do you want to breastfeed? Do you want to walk around or do you want to lay down during labor. Write out a birth plan, but make sure everyone is on the same page or the written birth plan is pointless.
- Get familiar with your hospital’s birthing practices. Go on a tour and talk to doctors about the hospital’s practices. Once again, ASK QUESTIONS. Are they baby friendly? Maybe they’re not baby friendly and you want to breastfeed, what kind of support do they give? Are they willing to get you a lactation consultant right after birth? How long will they let you labor before suggesting a cesarean birth? Do they allow rooming in? Do they offer sugar water or pacifiers when they take the baby away? While these questions may seem impertinent or jumping ahead, they can eliminate too many extra surprises. Since this is the place your baby will be brought into the world, you deserve to understand how it’s going to happen!
- Expect to feel crazy after birth. Whether you’re sleep deprived, hormonal, or just irritated with house-guests, expect to have crazy feelings! Your life will significantly and completely change after birth, so it’s okay to be bitchy and tired and confused. People will flock to you to help in any way they can, but all the attention is on the baby and the new parents are often expected to be calm and blissful. You know what? You may feel that way right after birth, but two weeks into your new life and you hit a growth spurt? It won’t be so calm and blissful. This is normal and with a major life change, you should feel crazy. Take it day by day and you will get through it.
So congratulations on your pregnancy and I wish you the best. You will have your ups and downs, and sometimes you may even dislike parenting. But it’s okay! Parents aren’t perfect beings and being imperfect can teach us a lot about ourselves and even help our children grow. So transition into parenting from pregnancy and you’ll see the world in an entire new light. Good luck!