Most of you reading this blog may have already had a baby or you are currently pregnant. Maybe this is your fourth, but you forgot what it was like and what to focus on. I have three best friends and they all have already had their first baby so I decided to pick their brains. I wanted to know the top things they wish they had done while they were pregnant, or what they would have changed. I wanted to know the things they did that helped them during pregnancy and the things that did not. Not surprisingly, they all said a lot of the same stuff. Here are the top 10 suggestions to do and not do while you are pregnant.
1. Exercise! If you can, start exercising before you are pregnant so you can keep doing it while you are pregnant. If exercise is just not your thing, find something you love that moves your body. Go for a walk, do some yoga at home (thank you YouTube), go swimming. Exercise will make a huge difference physically and mentally.
2. Drink Water. Staying hydrated will help you and the baby.
3. Don't forget about yourself. Remember that taking care of you is just as important. Treat yourself when you can, even if it's something small like a long bubble bath. Remember to do this before and after the baby comes.
4. Do research on the doctor you want delivering your baby. Ask friends who they recommend and why. Read reviews online of the doctor you are considering. Once you have chosen, if something does not feel right, change doctors. You as the mother need to feel comfortable with the doctor you are working with.
5. Don't ask the internet. Save yourself some time and worry, if something feels off or funny, just call your doctor. Most doctors have an after hours nurse that you can call and leave a message and they usually get back to you right away. If you think it is an emergency and need someone right away either call 9-1-1 or go to the ER.
6. Talk about your feelings. Some women will experience depression or anxiety during and after pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about it. Talk to your spouse or partner, your family, your friends. Whoever your support system is, talk to them about it. In addition, if you need to, get professional help. Never be ashamed or feel like a failure for asking for help. Pregnancy and motherhood can be tough and dealing with depression or anxiety is normal. Talk about it.
7. Expensive does not always means it is the best. It is easy to be caught up in buying something because of the brand or because you want the "best" for your baby. Be smart with your finances when it comes to baby items and clothes. If you have friends who have strollers, car seats, or swings pick their brain about them. Do your research on what is best for your family quality wise and financially. Also, if you love baby clothes shop at thrift stores or consignment stores, you will find cheaper items and won't be so sad when baby grows out of them so soon.
8. Fed is best! The new feeding motto for babies! Obviously if breastfeeding is working for you, go for it. However, if you aren't producing enough, if you don't feel comfortable doing it, if your milk is giving your baby a lactose sensitivity, whatever reason breastfeeding isn't working for you its OK. Find a formula that works for your baby and smile. Remember that what is important is that your baby is fed and happy. Plus a happy baby means a happy mama
9. Your body is going to change. You might get stretch marks, you might not. You might be able to exercise, you might not. You might fit back into pre-pregnancy jeans a month after having your baby, but you might not. No matter what happens to your body, celebrate that it just did this amazing thing! Your body created a life and took care of it. If you are trying to get back to your pre-baby weight, eat right, exercise, and be patient with your body.
10. You are the parent of your baby. Parenting philosophies are there so you can see what works for you. Others will judge you and might even say things to you about your parenting style or choices. Let them be and you worry about your baby. Instead, surround yourself with other parents who will give you strength and support. And if you ever need extra parenting support call Help Me Grow and one of our Parent Support Specialist would be happy to talk to you!