Unfortunately for some, pregnancy doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Aside from a few standard guidelines given by your OB at your first appointment (don’t drink, don’t smoke, limit caffeine, don’t gain a thousand pounds) you are pretty much free to do what you want.
For the most part, this isn’t such a bad thing. I mean, who want’s to be told how to live their life, you know?
But I speak from experience when I say that a few unwritten rules wouldn’t be such a bad thing. We have wedding etiquette, why not pregnancy etiquette?
Here are a few pregnancy dos and don’ts that we could all benefit from following…
12 DON’T eat for two adults
Yes, when you’re pregnant you are technically eating for two, but it’s important to remember that when one of those two is the size of a grain of rice, he doesn’t need his own cheeseburger.
Sadly, pregnancy doesn’t actually require us to double our calorie intake. Granted, anyone who wants to live to see another day isn’t going to judge a pregnant woman for having seconds or thirds, but it really isn’t necessary.
I speak from experience. Believe it or not, gaining 20 pounds in your first trimester is a bad idea. It sets you up for a much bigger weight gain over the course of your pregnancy which means it takes even longer to get the baby weight off, and you’ll be considerably more uncomfortable the bigger you are.
(But this didn’t stop me from doing the same thing the second time around).
11 DO take belly pictures
Pushing your belly out to take “bump” photos at 5 weeks might get people talking behind your back. It’s slightly ridiculous. But, I did it. At the time, I thought I was showing. Now that picture is one I look at in hopes of getting that belly back someday.
You don’t have to post weekly bump pictures on Facebook, but you won’t regret taking them either. I loved having belly pictures from my first pregnancy to compare to my second and third pregnancies. It was a relief to see I wasn’t so big, and I was able to obsess over the baby’s genders based on how I was carrying. (Because, that IS legit!)
Now that I’m PROBABLY done having babies I love looking back at all my belly pictures, even the one single shot of my bare belly that I let my husband take on a whim.
10 DON’T throw yourself a shower
Some people don’t know this, but it’s actually considered a little tacky to throw yourself a shower. But even more so, you shouldn’t have to. Someone should throw you a shower to celebrate your baby.
It’s okay to have a hand in planning and even to plant the seed in a friend or family member’s brain to host your shower. If nobody offers, you can go to your mom, sister, or closest friend and say, “Hey would you mind helping me plan a shower so that I don’t look like I’m begging for gifts by throwing one for myself?”
It’s totally ok to help pay and plan, but it’s a good idea to at least make the invitations come from someone else. Some people, especially your old fashioned aunts, might be turned off at the thought of someone throwing their own shower.
So if nobody offers to throw you a shower for your firstborn (showers for second and third babies are also sometimes frowned upon), just see if someone will at least let you list them as the host on the invites. Hopefully, they will take the hint and help you plan and organize too. You deserve it!
9 DO your research
Especially, if this is your first pregnancy.
Don’t just do what everyone else does simply because it’s easy. Do some research, look into different doctors. Read books on pregnancy and parenting. Shop around and read reviews on baby products. Find what you think will work best for you and your baby based on your own research and views. What works for everyone else might not work for you and that’s ok. Be your own person, not the mom the mainstream media wants you to be.
I’m telling you to do this while you’re pregnant, because honestly, once the baby is here you won’t have time. Sure, you’ll have lots of time to search the internet during those middle of the night feedings… but let me just tell you, you’ll be so tired you won’t even know your name. So do the important research while you’re still pregnant.
8 DON’T expect the world to revolve around you
Pregnancy is such an exciting game changer in your life. Life as you know it is about to change forever and it is a BIG deal. You will likely be consumed by your pregnancy everyday, especially when you are expecting your first baby.
Your pregnancy will likely affect every decision you make. You won’t go the same places or do the same things that you did before you were pregnant. It changes everything, but while your family and friends are going to be happy and excited for you, their lives are not going to revolve around your pregnancy.
Your cousin may still get married on their scheduled wedding day, even if it happens to fall on your due date. Your friends may still decide to go to an amusement park even though you can’t ride any roller coasters. Life still goes on for everyone around you and that’s ok. Don’t be offended. Don’t take it personally when people do things that you can’t do. And most importantly, don’t make a big deal about it. Your best bet is to just get used to it. Life is changing, for the better!
7 DO include your family in your pregnancy
On the other hand, some family members are likely to be almost as excited as you are over your bundle of joy.
If you’re lucky enough to have parents or in-laws who want to be a part of your pregnancy, let them! First time grandparents, especially, are likely to be over the moon excited about their grandchild on the way. They would probably love to join you at an ultrasound, for shopping, or to help you make your registry.
Listen, I’m not saying you have to invite your mother-in-law to every cervical check, but if she wants to tag along to a couple of things, let her. Unless she’s crazy.
6 DON’T complain on social media
Everyone who has been pregnant before knows there are a lot of undesirable things about pregnancy. Nobody forgets the aching back, swollen feet, heartburn, morning sickness, or insomnia. And we feel for you, we really do, but it’s important to remember that there are also people who don’t know what it’s like because they’ve never been pregnant. So your constant status updates complaining about how miserable you are might really rub some people the wrong way.
Even if we are unaware of any fertility issues or miscarriages among our friends, they probably do exist and we don’t want to unintentionally hurt anyone by complaining about something they would give anything to experience.
Don’t get me wrong, complain all you want, you’ve earned it. Just know your audience.
5 DO pamper yourself
At the end of your pregnancy, reaching your toes won’t be an easy task. I remember puking in my mouth every time I bent over to put on my shoes, so painting your toenails and breathing at the same time won’t be an easy task. Use that to your advantage!
Schedule that pedicure so your toes are pretty for the big day. While you’re at it, schedule a hair appointment, and maybe even a massage, because once the baby is here, chances are you won’t be taking the time for yourself much.
True story, I just had my hair done for the first time since I was pregnant with my daughter. She just turned 3.
4 DON’T listen to everyone’s delivery horror stories
Why do women feel the need to share their horrifying delivery tales with poor innocent pregnant women? Is there some sort of sick thrill that they get out of causing an expectant mom to panic over a situation that there is absolutely no backing out of?
It’s mean and it needs to stop.
You don’t have to listen to every “well meaning” woman in your life who wants to tell you about her failed epidural and third degree tear.
You will have your own horror stories to tell soon enough.
Just kidding. Your delivery will be a breeze.
3 DO accept advice
Might we add to that, with a grain of salt. Moms love to give advice. It’s something we have no control over. I used to get super ticked when I was pregnant and a new mom because everyone felt the need to offer me unsolicited advice.
I hated it.
I took it the wrong way. I thought people were offering me advice because they felt I was incapable of figuring things out myself. I was wrong. MOST of this advice was offered by people who were really trying to help make my life a little easier. But I was having none of it.
Now, while I try really really hard to only offer advice when asked, sometimes it just pops out. It’s a problem and I can’t help it. Most moms can’t. If a mom mentions something that works for her, chances are she’s really just hoping it works for you too. You can choose to take her advice or leave it. But don’t be offended by her offer, just say thank you and go on about your day.
2 DON’T stress over things you can’t control
I know that when you are hugely pregnant, super emotional, and downright miserable, there are no words more enraging than, “He’ll come when he’s ready.” Trust me. All three of my babies came right on their due date. (I don’t even know how I would have made it another day if I had gone over, I was so beyond done).
But stressing because you’re due the day your oldest is set to start preschool won’t make your baby come any sooner. You can plan out every scenario possible. You can obsess over which days would be best for baby to make his arrival to your hearts content.
But that isn’t going to change anything. Take it from a control freak, there are just some things about pregnancy that are beyond our control.
1 DO try to enjoy your pregnancy
Whether it’s your first or your last pregnancy, it’s a special time in your life. There are different things about every pregnancy that make it unique from those before and after it, and everyone else’s.
Write things down. Take pictures. Let strangers touch your belly (if you’re cool with that). Pregnancy is a beautiful and memorable experience that is only overshadowed by the end result- a baby!
So despite how stressful, miserable, or unplanned your pregnancy may be, do yourself a favor and try to enjoy the experience. Believe it or not, you’ll miss it.
- I swore I’d never say that!