Your pregnancy is over and wow, has it been a wild ride. What a roller coaster of emotions, from start to finish. Whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, each one is unique in its own right, and you may have things you wish you had done differently – both during those nine months and after the baby arrives home.
Sound familiar? We’ve compiled a list of seven things you may regret having done, both during and after your pregnancy. This list is not intended to make you feel guilty. We’re not pointing fingers at anyone. On the contrary, it’s to help you realize that you’re not alone and other moms have similar feelings. Since there is no such thing as a time machine, we can only learn from our experiences.
7 (Not) Sticking to a Healthy Diet
Planning and preparing a healthy menu can be really time-consuming and tiring. It takes effort to eat healthfully. The temptation to resort to junk food after a long day at work may be overwhelming – no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re in. If you have a partner who can help you prepare healthy food, this is very helpful. But if you don’t, it’ll be up to you to make smart choices when fatigue really rears its ugly head.
Nutrition is very important during pregnancy. Your baby eats what you do. Not to mention the fact that eating healthy will give you some much-needed energy to sail through those nine months.
It’s a good idea to develop healthy eating habits, because the situation can be made worse once the baby arrives home. Now you’re not just tired – you’re busier than you’ve ever been before. Where are you ever going to find time to make healthy meals?
You can turn things around and try these tips to ensure you get proper nutrition:
- See if your partner can watch the baby so you have some time to prepare a healthy meal.
- Remember how much your mom likes cooking for you? See if she’ll put aside some healthy leftovers for your family.
- If your budget allows, spend some money on ready-made healthy meals and snacks like veggies and dip, salads, and vegetable dishes.
- If you’re skipping breakfast, opt for a healthy protein shake. It’s quick and convenient and will give you the energy you need to keep up with the demands of a newborn.
- Continue taking iron supplements if you’ve suffered from any type of anemia (especially after having a C-section). It can take several months for red blood cells to build back up again.
6 Stressing Out Over Work
Do you have a demanding job with strict deadlines? Did you work a lot of overtime during your pregnancy? Working while pregnant (especially in the last trimester) can be really challenging. You’re big, uncomfortable, and probably not sleeping all that well. In a low-risk, smooth-sailing pregnancy, some women can continue with their regular work duties while pregnant. Others may have to reduce their workloads or modify them.
If you continued to push yourself to the limits and gave in to the demands of the workplace, you’re not alone. Perhaps you even took on some physical work while pregnant that you now regret. Strenuous lifting, carrying, and other physical tasks should be avoided during pregnancy.
The fact of the matter is it’s over now. Just make sure when you return to work after your maternity leave, you set some boundaries if you feel you cannot take on the same amount of work as you did prior to pregnancy.
5 Interference from Parents and In-Laws
This can be a particular problem for new moms. Let’s face it -- you’re new at this game. Your mother or mother-in-law is more experienced and probably has a lot of advice (however well-intentioned) for you. You may have taken their advice and later fretted over the differences in information given by your prenatal classes and from your family. What a confusing situation. The truth is, what was done 30 to 40 years prior is likely not the norm now.
A good example is advice surrounding how babies were put to sleep decades ago. When I was a baby, we were put to sleep on our stomachs. It was thought that if a baby threw up during the night, there was a risk of choking on vomit if he slept on his back.
Now we’re being told differently. Back sleeping is deemed safer because it is thought to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This sleep position is recommended for infants during the first year of life, and especially during the first six months.
Using bumper pads in the crib was another battle I had to fight. They were all the rage when I was a kid and I can recall having many a discussion with both my mother and mother-in-law about why we don’t use them today. Your best bet is to take their advice with a grain of salt and be sure to follow your heart. Follow those maternal instincts and trust that the combined efforts of everyone involved will result in the best decision possible for your baby.
4 Having a Few Drinks During Pregnancy
Drinking is so incredibly faux pas during pregnancy. But of course, you know this. It is probably the reason you won’t admit it to many people. There is no way to know how much alcohol is safe, so doctors advise steering clear entirely as a result.
One thing is known for sure: heavy drinking can have devastating effects on an unborn baby and puts him at risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders, which can involve low birth weight, low muscle tone, behavioural problems, and learning difficulties.
If you drank during pregnancy, it’s important to let your doctor know. It’s preferable to alert someone as soon as you can during pregnancy, but if it happens afterwards, that is also okay. This is an important step in the right direction.
3 Not Getting Your Partner on Board
As women, we often feel the need to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Modern-day mothers are programmed to do it all. We must work full time, take care of the kids, make healthy meals, and keep the house clean. No wonder we’re tired.
But who says we have to do it all? Asking for help can be a scary thing, but it doesn’t mean you are less of a mom if you can’t do all of these things. Maybe you didn’t let your partner help out enough during pregnancy and you were left exhausted as a result. Maybe he didn’t offer, either. If this is a regret of yours, you can turn it around by asking for help once the baby is born.
Don’t be afraid to let your partner get up once and awhile during the night to help feed the baby. Little things such as picking up some extra chores around the house and cooking healthy meals will be a huge help in the grand scheme of things. If your partner is not much of a chef, stick to the basics. Making you a sandwich for lunch or massaging your feet once in a while may be just the help you need to re-energize.
2 About That Weight Gain…
This is a tough one. If you were not happy with your weight prior to pregnancy, chances are you’re pretty miserable afterwards. Perhaps you gained more than the recommended 25 to 30 lbs. during the nine months. Now that your baby is here, it’s time to toss those regrets aside and make a fitness action plan. The great thing about weight gain is it does not have to be permanent.
- Take your baby for long walks. It’ll help him sleep, and you can burn some extra calories.
- Load up on snacks that are convenient and low-fat.
- Attend a yoga or fitness class with your baby in tow.
- Ask your partner to watch the baby for 15 minutes a day so you can devote some time to exercise.
1 Smoking During Pregnancy
Smoking may be one extra-curricular that was too hard to kick once you got pregnant. Old habits can die hard, especially if you started smoking young. There is currently no amount of smoking that has been deemed safe for your baby, and risks involve premature labour, low birth weight, and stillborn births.
You may have deep regrets over smoking during your pregnancy. If anything, the disapproving looks from other non-smoking moms are probably enough to make you want to hide the fact that you smoked at all during pregnancy.
Whether you smoked a pack a day or a few cigarettes throughout the 9-month journey, talk to your healthcare practitioner about ways to cut down or quit entirely, because after pregnancy, smoking can still be harmful.
The smoke that is burned off of the end of the cigarette or cigar actually contains more toxic substances than the smoke inhaled by the smoker. Tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide – it’s all nasty stuff. If you smoke around your baby, it means he is inhaling all that junk. And if you breastfeed, the more cigarettes a mother smokes, the worse it is for the baby.
Did You Know?
Studies show smoking can lower your milk supply and increase the risk of early weaning. Others may be able to smell smoke in your expressed milk. So don’t hesitate to be truthful with your doctor and get some help. A good doctor will be non-judgemental and only wants the best for your health and your baby’s.
Every woman has things she wishes she had done differently during and after pregnancy. It’s important to know there is no going back –only going forward. Focus what energy you do have on the future and making good choices. Taking care of yourself is key. Your baby needs a healthy mother to give him the attention he deserves.