As I’m entering the last few weeks of pregnancy – I can count the weeks on one hand! – I want to post a round-up of my tips for a happy pregnancy. Keep in mind, these are my opinions and some things I have found to be helpful and think are worthy of passing along. Grab a cup of coffee and stay a while, this is a long one…
9 tips for 9 months
1. nurse your mental health
I would never recommend to any woman to purposefully have big time life changes occur during pregnancy. We worked through an unexpected job change for the better (for hubby), leading to the discussion and the decision to house shop, which meant a move into my parents’ house while we shopped/waited on construction to finish and then of course we moved again! Whew!
Working through the financial part of this was easily the most exhausting, stressful, and emotional time I’ve had throughout the pregnancy.
2. keep your anti-nausea remedy close-by at all times
I’m not going to tell you to “drink orange juice and eat 3 crackers before letting your feet hit the floor in the morning and you’ll never get sick!” or anything crazy like that… why? Because everyone offers their 2 cents to a pregnant woman, whether it’s solicited advice or not and let’s face it… you don’t care what worked for Susie in 1975 who had the worst morning sickness known to man.
Here’s what I will say – find an anti-nausea solution that works for you. For me, it was a regimen of ice water, Zesta saltines, peppermints (the red and white swirly kind), and the occasional cup of lemon ginger tea on those really tough days. Morning sickness may not be limited to the morning, so wherever your day takes you make sure you keep a stash of (fill in the blank) with you at all times.
If you and your doctor feel like your morning sickness needs to be treated with medication, do your research! Here’s an easy read from American Recall Center on some of the risks associated with a commonly prescribed drug for morning sickness, Zofran.
3. keep notes
Easy to say, not so easy to keep up with. I am the weirdo who wrote down what time of day I peed on the stick. Not joking. Also, I wrote down baby’s heartbeat at our initial appointments. I wish I would have kept up with my note-taking now that we are entering the last month of pregnancy and I can’t remember what his heartbeat was at our last appointment…
For those of you who aren’t detail-obsessed I guess this will just seem like crazy talk!
4. figure out all the fine print
Do I wish I would have thought about the fact that I don’t have short term disability insurance before getting pregnant? Um, yes. Know what your employer’s policies are for maternity leave and what your health insurance and any other insurance you have might cover.
Speaking of health insurance, we met with a financial rep at the doctor’s office before the doctor’s office even drew my blood to confirm that we did have a little nugget on board. After just a quick chat and review of my insurance card, the rep presented us with a payment plan option where the monthly payment was MORE than our car payment. Oh, and these payments start NOW. Come again? Thankfully, I negotiated this number down but we were required to start making monthly payments immediately.
All of this comes down to one thing, budget, budget, BUDGET! Know what kind of expenses you’ll have during pregnancy for your health care. Also, know what kind of expenses you’ll be dealing with after pregnancy, and for working mommas what kind of pay you may or may not be receiving on maternity leave.
I would also recommend having a conversation with your husband to discuss what you think a reasonable maternity leave might be. Chances are, he has no idea what is normal.
5. make sleep a priority
In the first trimester, this isn’t an option. Fatigue is real. I think that it’s one of those things most pregnant women can agree on. For me, energy levels ramped up in the second trimester and through most of the third as “nesting” becomes a necessity.
Getting quality sleep leads to having more energy for any person – pregnant or not. I would advise that pregnant mommas do whatever it takes to get quality sleep each night.
For some that might mean dropping $50 on a pregnancy pillow, or sleeping on the couch, or in a recliner. Whatever it takes! For husbands/boyfriends… deal with it. Deal with the 5 pillows in the bed (thanks, J for never complaining!) and the wife who is so tired at 7:00 pm that’s acting like a lunatic drunk. (Maybe that was me.)
6. don’t go to google
Worst thing you could ever do for any slight concern. Let’s say you have a minor rash on your baby bump that looks like insect bites (happened to me) and you do a quick Google search to figure out what in the heck is going on. Within 10 seconds, your little smart phone will have convinced you that you have a stage 4 horrible problem that certainly leads to your baby being born with one foot – or something like that. (Turns out I shouldn’t use overly scented lotions from Bath & Body Works because they’ll make my skin break out.)
Along the same lines, being weary of the advice you may read on forums connected with common pregnancy apps. They are full of stories and comments that will make you worried sick. Just stay away.
7. eat healthy, if you want
If you don’t, then don’t. I enjoy the taste of healthy foods and the way fruits and veggies make my body feel so I have chosen to keep up with eating those types of foods while pregnant. Some women may want to chow down on cashew chicken and mac-n-cheese every day – so be it.
For me, I feel my best when I am eating leafy greens, fresh fruits and veggies, and getting enough protein. Protein has been a little bit of a challenge for me since becoming pregnant because of the risks associated with eating cold lunch meats. (I love me some turkey sandwiches on wheat.) Instead, I lean on having hard boiled eggs on salads for lunch and having chicken most nights for dinner. Note: We also love to substitute ground turkey for ground beef in recipes where there are lots of seasonings involved, like this one for South of the Border Sweet Potatoes.
8. pamper yourself here and there
My husband looked at my chubby feet propped up on the dash in the car the other day and said, “Well you need a pedicure!” DAMN RIGHT I DO! Take time to get a pedicure here and there, a massage, facial, whatever floats your boat. I know massage therapists can work wonders for pregnant women suffering from aches and pains, headaches, etc.
I am lucky enough to work at a physical therapy clinic, and be married to a physical therapist. So any time I’ve got a little nagging headache or tightness in my back there is somebody around who can help me out!
Some doctors may prescribe physical therapy for pregnant women experiencing back pain, neck pain, hip pain, and sometimes rib pain. The muscles and connective tissues can get tight causing your body to get out of whack. Other docs may recommend massage therapy by an LMT experienced in prenatal massage. Ask your friends for recommendations to find an expert in your area!
P.S. I’m getting an organic facial today and I couldn’t be more excited! Hello bright and clear skin. I have many make-up free days ahead of me and want my skin looking its best.
9. be educated
Our hospital offers several classes for parents-to-be covering a wide range of topics, from childbirth techniques and the process to introducing baby to pets. My OB highly recommended we at least take the childbirth class, but we opted to buy a package deal so we could take as many classes as we would like.
So far the only class we have attended was a baby care basics and safety class. It covered car seats, bathing, feeding, SIDS and suffocation, etc. It was absolutely terrifying, and completely helpful at the same time. Coming up this week we are enrolled in the breastfeeding class and then the all-day childbirth class and L&D tour on Saturday. Next week I’ll be going with my mom and mother-in-law to the grandparenting class (let’s get everybody on the same page), and J may go to the Fatherhood class in a couple weeks.
Taking these classes will hopefully make me feel more confident in my ability to keep our little boy happy and healthy. I would recommend that expecting couples find out what types of classes are offered in your area, whether they be hospital-led or not, to learn as much as you can before your little bundle of joy arrives.
xoxo and happy pregnancy!