Welcome to baby week! I hope you find this helpful!
So you’ve just taken 5 pregnancy tests and are now 100% sure you are pregnant (or if you’re like me you’ve had five positive tests, and still don’t really believe it until you go to the doctor and even then you’re not sure and then in the future you have a four month old and you think “do I really have a baby?!?”) Congratulations! You have fun times ahead! Below are the things that got me through nine months of ups and downs.
For your tummy and your aches and pains:
Ginger Ale – In real life I try to avoid HFCS, but when you can’t keep food down you’ll try anything. Ginger Ale was one of the only things that helped me at all. The other beverage that helped was decaf black tea. It got me through a lot of work when I could no longer look Ginger Ale in the eye. Watch out for herbal teas though. Some can be dangerous.
Preggie Pops – These actually made me feel worse, but I have friends who swear by them so I guess I’ll go ahead and include them.
Water and Coconut Water– I was so thirsty all the time when I was pregnant, and these really helped me. (Ok, I realize drinking water when you’re thirsty isn’t exactly a “tip” but really…stay hydrated).
Tums and Zantac – I’m not a doctor, so I would ask one before you start taking meds, but mine said both of these antacids were fine, and in the end I couldn’t have survived without Zantac.
The Gym – Seriously. I was pretty into weightlifting when I got pregnant, and I continued lifting weights (heavy ones!) until two weeks before the baby made her debut. Again, ask your doctor, but lifting weights gave me so much energy, and really helped strengthen my back so I was able to completely avoid back pain. There are tons of benefits when it comes to pre-natal workouts, and studies show that exercise leads to calmer babies and easier births. I only have the one, so I can’t speak for all babies, but mine is really easy (I did have a c-section but my baby was quite tangled in her cord, it had nothing to do with my body). Cardio can also lead to a lower resting heart rate in babies, which I think is really cool. Another thing to consider: the less weight you gain, the less you have to lose in the end.
Plastic bags –Keep one (or more) in your purse at all times just in case you’re caught somewhere and you get sick. You’ll be glad you have it, even if you never use it. I also kept a trash bag wrapped in a beach towel in my car in case my water broke…but fortunately didn’t need to use it!
For your wardrobe needs:
Bella Band – I’ve heard some people say they didn’t like the Bella Band and that it didn’t work for them, but I was able to wear my non-maternity pants until the very end thanks to that stretchy bit of goodness. I also was able to wear regular pants in my I-still-look-pregnant-but-I’m-not phase which was also my I-had-a-c-section-and-pants-really-hurt phase. I highly recommend getting at least one. It’s even helpful over maternity pants when you get so big that even your maternity shirts don’t cover your whole belly.
Cardigans/Jackets – I was able to stretch (har har) a few cheap, non-maternity dresses from Target until the end (they were all that fit the last two weeks…and I even wore one to a gala!) and I would wear the same two dresses with different jackets/cardigans over them every day. They also work great with maternity tanks (I had two white ones and a navy one) and your non-maternity pants that you’re wearing with your trusty Bella Band. I hardly bought any maternity clothes thanks to cardigans and the Bella Band.
Maternity Jeans and Leggings – The exception. You’re big and swollen and you don’t want a hard waistband digging into your belly. Suck it up and buy the maternity jeans. The leggings are just super comfy and you deserve that. Also, the leggings come into play later when you’re in the hospital. More on that soon.
Resources – My favorite place to buy necessities was Target. Liz Lange tank tops and leggings were the best, and I got my Bella Band there as well. When I actually needed cute clothes I shopped at Asos. They were trendy enough to still feel like myself (hello, red maternity jeans!) but reasonably priced (I’m looking at you A Pea in the Pod). One last thing…don’t wear a white dress. You’ll look like a giant marshmallow. Trust me. I know from experience.
Flats – It will probably be readily apparent to you, but give your feet a break. They’re going through a lot.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting– I loved following week by week. Especially in the beginning when it tells you things like “your baby has kidneys!” or “your baby no longer has a tail!” It’s less exciting in the end when it just keeps telling you your baby is bigger. This book gets a lot of hate, but I loved it! It was good for me because I wasn’t feeling warm and fuzzy about being pregnant, and this book is very to the point.
BabyCenter iPhone App – you get “texts” about your baby. It’s pretty cool. If you don’t have an iPhone you can sign up to BabyCenter and get weekly emails. I’m actually a big fan of BabyCenter in general. Parenting.com also has a good weekly pregnancy tracker.
Other things that I liked:
Perrier – because you can’t have a cocktail and sometimes you want to feel fancy.
Pillows – I didn’t buy a fancy pregnancy pillow, but I had five pillows on my bed so I could wedge them wherever I needed one or so I could sleep sitting up if needed (thanks, heartburn). They’re also nice to have around to put behind your back or sit on if you do get achy.
Lotion – It might not actually help with stretch marks, but stretching skin gets itchy. Lotion feels gooooood. I liked Mama Bee Belly Butter for my belly.
Pictures – Take lots of pictures, even when you feel gross. They’re fun to look back on and your baby will love them someday too. We took pictures every week and I wrote a note to the baby for each one. I love having them because you forget the feelings you have along the way.
Things no one tells you:
Everyone warns you about morning sickness. No one warns you about being tired. I was EXHAUSTED. I would sleep the second I got home from work, wake up to eat dinner (then fail to keep it down), and then sleep until the next day in the very beginning.
You might feel differently than you expected. I’m generally really big on personal space, but when I was pregnant I loved it when people rubbed my belly. Important to note: not all pregnant women feel this way! NEVER rub a lady’s belly without asking (and don’t even ask if you’re a stranger)! You also might feel sad and that’s ok, having a baby is life changing and you’re allowed to mourn your old life.
Food aversions and cravings are really real. Ok, so people will tell you about them, but they’re amazingly strong. I normally have what I thought was an undying love for garlic, but I couldn’t even be in the same room as my husband if he had eaten garlic earlier that day. I also usually love cinnamon and mint and hated both. On the other hand I couldn’t get enough beef…which I don’t usually eat a lot of. I also loved Brussels sprouts, clementines, and chocolate chip cookies. Oh and I had urgent, crazy, non-negotiable cravings for Flaming Hot Cheetos and Fettuccine Alfredo exactly one time each.
Every lady you meet will tell you her birth story. Don’t listen. Everyone’s birth is different, so there’s no need to internalize horror stories. This is especially true of anyone who gave birth before the 1990’s. Apparently doctors were horrible misogynistic torture mongers when our mothers were giving birth. These days you can choose a doctor or midwife who will be nice to you and make your pregnancy/birth as pleasant as possible. If you’re not happy with your care find a new caregiver! Also everyone’s ideal birth is different. Educate yourself and choose the best option for you and shut out other people’s opinions (but do remember that things don’t always go as expected). Some people will try to make you feel guilty for your choices, but remember…it’s none of their damn business.
Toward the end of your pregnancy you’ll get lots of attention, and people will ask you the same questions one billion times. Instead of punching them, send them this 🙂 (via: A Cup of Jo)
I hope you found this helpful! Feel free to ask any questions or add any tips of your own in the comments section! These are just my own personal hints for things that worked for me, but hopefully you can take away something that makes your pregnancy easier.