Pregnancy is no walk in the park. After all, here’s a perfectly normal woman, doing her own thing. Maybe she has a husband or a boyfriend. Maybe she’s not seeing anyone in particular. Maybe she has a job, maybe she’s still looking for one. Maybe she’s a housewife, maybe she’s still in college. She might like hanging out with friends, whether in real life or online. She probably has a hobby, be it painting, playing an instrument, dancing or running the Benedict Cumberbatch Facebook fan page. She takes selfies, likes ice cream and is pretty much just like everyone else.
Until one day, she finds out she’s pregnant. Now, depending on her specific situation, she might be either overjoyed or terrified. In most cases, she’s probably a little bit of both. But her initial reaction to the pregnancy is nothing to what she’s going to go through next.
For one thing, all the hormones in her body will begin raging like they have never raged before. They’re going to cause mood swings and exhaustion. They’re going to result in changes in her body that she never thought were possible. From skin darkening to body fat buildup, from swollen feet to suddenly thick hair.
And all that can be difficult, especially for first-time moms who, as of now, do not have a clue. So what’s an expecting mom to do? She can’t just sit there and wait it all out. So we’ve made this fifteen-point survival guide to get every expecting woman through the ups and downs of pregnancy.
There will be times when mom will just want to stay in bed and laze around all day. And we don’t blame her. Pregnant moms do have the tendency to get exhausted easily. This is not because they’re lazy, but because a huge chunk of their body’s energy is going towards more important things: making babies. Literally.
But even if mom’s not to keen on moving about, exercise is just the thing that she needs. Most moms are more averse to the idea of doing it. But once they’ve started, they often find that it makes them look and feel great! Exercise is great for keeping the blood circulation going. And it also makes for a faster, less-stressful childbirth when the time comes. Soon-to-be moms should not forget essential pregnancy exercises such as the Kegels, which keep the perineal muscles nice and toned, allowing them to heal faster after childbirth.
14 Free Up The Schedule
As we’ve said before, mom is likely to become tired very easily during her pregnancy. Which is why it’s in her best interest to free her schedule up a little bit. And we’re not saying this just so she can take some extra shuteye. We’re saying this because she needs to pace herself in the coming months.
Many people find it difficult to adjust to having less energy than usual. As such, mom is likely to book appointments, clients and interviews at her usual rate. She might even schedule some fun social gathering sin between. If this happens, she’s likely to find herself in an exhausted wreck at the end of the week. Freeing up time means that mom can take her time doing her work, and have time for things that she finds fun as well. After all, just because she’s preggy doesn’t mean she can’t do everything she wants to. She just has to do it at a slower, more relaxed pace.
13 Get It On
With pregnancy, there’s generally a spectrum of changes when it comes to sex. Mom might get increasingly horny and want to get it on all the time, or she might want to have just about as much sex as a baked potato does. Most of us, fortunately, will fall somewhere in between. And, often, the mood will vary by the day. Maybe even by the hour.
And even when mom does want to have sex, there are challenges. For one thing, she may be tired at the usual love hour, perhaps requiring a bit of rescheduling. Or that belly might be getting in the way. Generally, there are challenges that are unique to each trimester. As such, mom might want to do her research on the best positions for her. With luck, she might even find that pregnancy sex can be just as enjoyable – maybe even more – than ever before!
12 Friends Are Forever
Family and friends are always there for a good laugh. They’re there to celebrate with us, grieve with us. They’re there when we just need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. And, trust us, there is no time in which friends are more valuable than when it comes to kids.
During the pregnancy, they can share with mom all the usual things about their friendship. And this can help her process this new life event, helping her feel better even during the times when she’s down in the dumps about everything that’s going on. Not to mention, if they’re open for favors, they can be extremely helpful when mom is exhausted but needs an errand or two done. After all, mom may have to carry the pregnancy by herself, but she certainly doesn’t have to go through it on her own! At least, not with great friends around!
11 Small, Frequent Meals
Even eating might be complicated when mom is pregnant. First of all, she might experience morning sickness early in the pregnancy. Later on, she’ll have pregnancy cravings or an increase in appetite. But the trouble with that is, with her growing tummy, she may not be able to eat as much as she needs to without feeling way too full and wanting to throw up.
Fortunately, for all those there is a simple solution: eat small, frequent meals instead of three big meals in a day. This ensures that mom’s tummy doesn’t get too full but, at the same time, gives her enough nutrition for the day. This, of course, means that she’ll have to manage her portions, possibly even eat slower than usual. If she’s working, she’ll have to eat her lunch in two or three separate portions. As such, she may want to schedule her breaks to revolve around these mini-meals.
It may seem trivial, but it’s actually pretty important to learn to breathe properly. This is because many of us are chest breathers rather than abdominal breathers. But chest breathing isn’t as efficient as abdominal breathing, and it makes mom prone to hyperventilation especially if she’s in pain or stress.
Proper breathing allows for better gas exchange, fueling the brain with oxygen and disposing of excess carbon dioxide from the blood. Those who breathe properly are calmer and have improved mental processing. In addition, many people report that deep breathing can help reduce pain. In fact, it’s pretty much a standard pain management technique during childbirth! Might as well practice it early on. There are many tutorials on proper breathing online. For best results, however, mom might want to sign up for a local meditation or yoga class. These classes come with guided exercises that can amplify the effects of good breathing on her body.
9 Childbirth Classes
Let’s face it: it can be very stressful to think about the impending childbirth. After all, most moms you’ll meet will describe it as pain, pain and more pain. However, it is possible to minimize fear, anxiety and even pain during childbirth by being prepared. One of the best ways to do this is to attend childbirth classes, preferably with the partner.
Childbirth classes can allow mom and dad to understand the entire pregnancy and the process of childbirth together. Often, they also include tips as to how to manage common pregnancy problems each trimester. Mom and dad will also learn how to distinguish true contractions from false ones, as well as to know when to call the doctor. Many also throw in important stuff such as pregnancy exercises, deep breathing exercises and tips on looking for a good doctor or midwife. As such, the parents-to-be know what to expect and are better equipped to deal with everything that goes their way.
8 Treat Yourself
Pregnancy is a long, tough road. Treating it like torture, however, isn’t going to do anything for mom’s well-being. As such, she might as well enjoy it even if it’s challenging. One way to do this is for mom to give herself treats regularly. And if you ask us, she certainly deserves it! Growing a human being inside of you is tough work. But the treat itself, of course, depends on mom’s preferences.
Perhaps mom’s idea of a treat is a weekly date night with the hubby. Perhaps it’s a weekend getaway or a good afternoon at a pregnancy-safe spa. Maybe she wants to have a night out with friends, or perhaps browse a local museum. No matter what mom likes, it’s best to dedicate time for it. After all, it’s all that mom can do to make sure that the stresses of pregnancy (and of everything else in life) don’t get the better of her.
7 Proper Body Mechanics
It may surprise mom to know that she might not be moving properly. For instance, there is a proper way of picking something off the floor. There’s a proper way of sitting and standing, of moving heavy objects and of turning around. Proper body mechanics is the collective term for these right ways of moving around that put the least strain on the muscles and bones.
This is particularly important for pregnant women, first because their growing belly will change their center of gravity. As such, it will be much harder for them to balance their bodies. Proper body mechanics will, at least, keep them from falling over. The second reason why it’s important is because proper body mechanics are methods are easier on the back. And, trust us, late in pregnancy, mom’s back will hurt a lot from carrying all that weight! As such, putting minimal strain on it early on can keep both pain and injury at bay.
6 Get Some Sun
Whether mom prefers a walk in the park or a trip to the woods, getting out for some fresh air and sun is always a great idea! For one thing, it is one of the best ways in which mom can get some much-needed exercise. If it’s done on a regular basis, all the better! Also, sun exposure is essential in the production of vitamin D in the body.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is essential for the little one’s growth. It helps regulate immune function and plays an important role in bone health. Some research also suggests that vitamin D deficiency is also linked to preeclampsia – something that no pregnant mom ever wants to have! The best time to go out for some sun is very early in the morning, when the sun’s rays are diffused and aren’t too hot. If mom must get out in the sun any later than that, such as if she’s gone to the beach, it’s probably best to put on some sunscreen!
5 Read A Great Book
Given that mom will probably need to spend a good chunk of the pregnancy resting, it might be worth looking for a good book to read when she’s purposely idle. Book series are great as this gives her plenty to read over the course of nine months. So if mom hasn’t quite caught up with Harry Potter or the Hunger Games or Discworld, pregnancy is a great time to start! It’s a wonderful way to explore new worlds in the comfort of mom’s own home or, at least, the workplace lunchroom.
But even for moms who aren’t really into books, reading stuff about pregnancy can be super helpful. This way, she can learn things that may not have been taught during childbirth classes. And if she really isn’t into even that, a good TV series will do! Whatever it takes to get mom relaxed and entertained during her free time is fair game!
4 Go Shopping For Comfy Clothes
We’re willing to bet that whatever clothes mom had before she became preggy, at least half of it will become increasingly uncomfortable throughout the course of the pregnancy! There is, of course, the issue with size. As mom’s belly gets larger and larger, not a lot of stuff is likely to fit properly! But that isn’t the only reason why mom’s clothes will be a bane. Those made of nonabsorbent, insulating material are likely to be way too hot for her, as pregnancy causes a rise in body heat. As such, she’ll sweat and feel scorching hot in them.
What’s more, both her bra size and her shoe size are likely to go up. Because of all of this, mom might want to go shopping for some nice and comfy clothes to help her survive the pregnancy! We’re not saying, of course, that a pregnancy in high heels isn’t possible. It’s just that not a lot of women are willing to put up with that sort of pain!
3 Attend All The Prenatals
Prenatal visits allow mom to monitor her own health and that of her baby’s. During these visits the doctor or the midwife is likely to check with mom’s blood pressure and sugar levels, ensuring that any early warning sign of preeclampsia or gestational diabetes will get caught as early as possible. Certain prenatal appointments will also allow mom and the doctor to check for preventable genetic problems in the baby. After all, early detection means early treatment, which all equal to less risk of complications.
In addition, many prenatal checkups are “landmarks” in the pregnancy. For instance, at the six-week checkup, mom might be able to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time through fetal Doppler, although it may take a bit longer for some others. As such, prenatals aren’t just good for mom’s physical health, they also do wonders for mom’s mental health as they make her feel more and more connected with the little one.
2 Get Body Positive
One major thing that any mom must be able to achieve during pregnancy is to learn to love her body. After all, for most women pregnancy is a time of drastic physical change and, inevitably, weight gain. For moms who put a lot of stock in their physical appearance, it can be depressing to see the body metamorphose so quickly into something remarkably different from their pre-pregnancy self.
And since pregnancy is not exactly the best time to diet, given that the baby needs a steady supply of nutrients to grow, it’s simply a bad idea to commence a crash diet. But instead of turning this into a pity party, the only consolation of which is mom’s plans to “lose it all” post-pregnancy , she might want to turn it into an opportunity to love and understand her body. After all, it’s doing amazing things right now. Might as well embrace it.
1 Be Prepared
As the big day grows nearer, mom might want to make sure that everything is in place. First of all, she has to make sure that she sets up her birth plan. This plan outlines the sort of pain medication she intends to take, the kind of birth she wants to have and any backup plan in case things don’t go her way. She might also want to browse hospitals and birthing facilities to check as to which one she finds the most comfortable. Many moms even look for a doula at this time.
She’ll also want to get her hospital bag ready so that she doesn’t have to spend as much time packing up when the time comes. And, of course, many a mom will excitedly go shopping for everything from cribs to baby booties! It’s better off that she does all those things in advance, anyway, since right after childbirth she’s not exactly going to have energy for all that!