Welcome to Tips & Tricks #7:
WHAT TO DO WHEN EXPECTING
I remember reading several blogs about pregnancy when we first found out we were pregnant! Now that we’re looking back, celebrating 9 months of my daughter’s life, and I’m back to pre-pregnancy weight (and even starting to think about another baby), I’m stretching my memory to think back to life before her…but more specifically, life while she was still in the womb.
I’m probably going to list a bunch of stuff you’ve already read about being pregnant, but I guess this post is more for my future self; what I’d like to prepare for if and when we have the next one.
1. Keep Your First Trimester Secret. We didn’t tell anyone we were pregnant until 11 weeks in, almost the end of the entire first trimester! To be honest, we were scared that we might lose the baby, since something like less than 20 percent of first time mothers miscarry, but we knew once we hit the second trimester, the likelihood of a miscarriage dropped significantly. Since it was a secret, it felt so special. God knew, my husband knew, and our doctors knew. It made me think of how God knows us intimately and He shares in our secrets, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of us! God knows us AND He loves us! God knew the little one growing inside of me and that He couldn’t wait unveiling His plan for us and our little one. I also felt like my pregnancy was shorter, or that it didn’t drag on since we didn’t announce until almost the second trimester.
2. Start Your Research. I didn’t start researching about labor, birth and how to raise a baby until we were pregnant. I figured that I would have ample time (9 months) to do the research necessary! I was wrong. I am learning about pregnancy, labor, birth and babies still to this day. I wasn’t until I was 28 weeks that I settled on a midwife. I had been going to an OB and left him once I found out his c-section rate (50%), of which I was trying to avoid completely, and found a midwife. Also, you should never feel locked in to using your Gynecologist! Choose you birth attendant carefully, wisely, and it is also never too late to change doctors/midwives. The way your baby enters this world will affect him and his future health! Please look into the effects of c-sections on babies…you’ll find that God’s natural process is best. Scheduled c-sections have become so unnecessary, especially since we are not predictors of exactly when the baby is ready to come out. If your baby is breech at due date, it doesn’t mean you need to schedule a c-section to get the baby out. There are some natural ways to turn a baby (like acupuncture and chiropractic methods), and maybe your baby is breech because he’s just not ready to come out yet. Patience is key. Lastly, c-sections are amazing life-saving surgeries that are necessary in true emergencies! But the baby will benefit from having gone through labor and then needing a c-section rather than never experiencing labor.
3. Prepare Yourself Mentally to go past your Estimated Due Date. The estimated due date based on a 40 week gestation period is actually not accurate! The average pregnancy for a first-time mother is 41 weeks and 1 day with a plus/minus 2-week variable. An undisturbed pregnancy (no induction) that lasts longer than 40 weeks can be just as healthy as a pregnancy that comes exactly on 40 weeks. We have to remember that humans differ from each other and no one pregnancy is the ‘right’ length. It can be completely natural and healthy if your body takes 38 weeks to make a baby, and another body takes 42 weeks to make a baby! Don’t worry, the baby will come out eventually. With all this in mind, I was ready to go beyond the 40 week estimated due date given to me by the doctors.
4. Tell People your Due MONTH instead of your Due DATE. After my daughter was born and I found out more about the Bradley Method and read an article about Kate Middleton’s choice of revealing her “due month” but not “due date.” I’m definitely going to do that next time. Although I didn’t go past my due date, the friends that have have complained about how people comment every time they see her after the due date has passed.
5. Know Your Birth Plan. Do you know your hospital’s c-section rate? Do you know what you are required to do at your hospital (IV, no walking, no eating, shots, etc)? I was so pleased with my home water birth and think the success of the birth was due to knowing how I would react to any complications. I felt so relaxed about labor and birth because I went to Bradley classes and discussed birth plans with not only my husband, but my Bradley teacher, my midwife, and my OB. (Yes, I went to both an OB and a midwife). A thought that helped me through a natural unmedicated birth was that every contraction brought me closer to meeting my baby!
6. Drink lots of Water. I remember being thirsty a lot and feeling the urge to drink suddenly. I went through two bottles of water each night and was using the bathroom every two to three hours! I never drank enough water and hope to get to drinking 1 gallon of water a day the next time around. Drinking lots of water may help prevent premature births.
7. Eat a Diet High in Protein. Babies are made of fat and protein, but don’t start eating for two! Eat foods high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Organic food will get you more nutrients and hopefully avoid pesticides and chemicals. Since we eat the Paleo diet, we found eating lots of fat and protein and good nutrients relatively easy (despite my cravings for Cheetos)!
8. Stretch. Labor and giving birth is like running a marathon. No one runs a marathon without preparing physically (running and eating right) and mentally (practicing running long distances). Practice the birthing position (squats are THE BEST), practice relaxing through contractions (have your husband practice talking to you before bed…Bradley classes are the best in teaching you these relaxation technique). If you stretch and do your kegels now, you will have less trouble when the time comes for a baby to come out!
9. Find Motherhood Communities and Stores. There are plenty of mom groups on Facebook that provide a forum to ask and answer questions. There are also online communities to buy and sell baby stuff for cheap! You can get all your maternity wardrobe needs in these places. Also, consignment stores are great for finding maternity and kids stuff! I find it wasteful to pay full price for clothes that you won’t wear more than 9 months.
10. Don’t worry about the Weight Gain. Like I said, each pregnancy is different and though I put on 40 pounds, my friend put on 75 pounds, and another friend lost weight, all of us had healthy births and our babies are healthy! It’s not about the number of pounds you weigh, but more about the nutrient-rich diet you eat. If you eat the right things, you won’t have to worry about eating too much.
11. Leggings are Essential. Fold-over leggings or yoga pants are so comfy and stylish. They fit snugly underneath a long sweater dress and nicely underneath boots (if you’re pregnant through the winter). They are perfect for lounging around the house and also for wearing out. I wore them pretty much every day, so invest in some high quality ones!
12. Keep yourself Busy. I kept working up until I went into labor. I think this was the best thing for me! I think if I was left to lounge around all day the last few weeks, I’d eat too much, become too lazy and not stay active. I think the fact that I stayed active, was walking for hours due to work, my baby got into position easier and we had a fast labor and birth.
13. Keep Healthy Snacks Around. You won’t know when your next craving will happen, so always have a healthy snack like apples, clementines, bananas, and etc around. I was always making sure I had a piece of fruit in my purse before heading out the door.
14. Get used to Unsolicited Advice and Tummy-touching. Just get used to people randomly telling you their horror birth stories and touching your belly. If you really get perturbed when touched, just move away when they reach out their hand to touch you. Or, make them feel awkward by touching their belly back! I was okay with the random stranger touching my belly, but when it came to unsolicited advice, I was irked. I just tried to remember that my birth was going to be different (especially since we were planning a home birth, which was unheard of in my circle of friends).
15. Ask for Help. Your friends and family want to help out and they won’t have a problem coming to your aid! Set it up ahead of time or use http://www.mealbaby.com/ for people to coordinate bringing you meals. The best way to help out a new mom is to go to her house with food and be ready to clean or do other regular house chores that just can’t happen with a new little one.
I plan on writing a post about my birth story, and what I didn’t expect at another time! Thanks for reading!
Previous Tips & Tricks: