The joyful experience of expecting a baby is one of the most memorable times in a woman’s life. Pregnancy marks a milestone and marks the entrance into a new avenue of life – motherhood! Although pregnancy is exciting, it is crucial for expectant moms to be able to balance their emotions, preparing for their baby, ensuring their health, and maintaining time to take care of and pamper themselves before the big day. Follow these simple tips to ensure you enjoy and thrive every day during and after your pregnancy!
Preparing for your Baby
As you prepare for the big day, take time to read literature about what to expect during your birth as well as during infancy. As you bring your child into the world, new responsibilities and circumstances arise that you have never dealt with before. By reading literature and research, you will be prepared for the first time your child has a fever, a cold, or whatever other circumstance that may arise. Remember not to become overly worried or paranoid, just maintain a knowledge base that leads you to be an educated mommy!
Ask your friends and family about their experiences during pregnancy, birth, and the first months of motherhood. Keep in mind everyone is different, but there is nothing like great advice from your friends and family!
Pack “the bag!” It’s probably one of the most common sense pieces of advice, but be sure the bag is packed for the hospital trip, and that your husband/significant other/ friend/ family member knows where the bag is! Chances are, you won’t think of “the bag” when you go into labor… Items to pack may include:
· Insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)
· 2-3 pairs of warm, nonskid socks that can get ruined (for walking the halls before and after labor)
· A warm robe or sweater you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause
· 2 maternity bras — no underwire — and nursing pads (whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak-protection)
· Lip balm (hospitals are very dry)
· Toiletries and personal items — hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, makeup (as if), shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)
· Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips — they’ll probably poke you)
· Sugar-free hard candy or lozenges to keep your mouth moist during labor (candy with sugar will make you thirsty)
· Pen and paper
· Lots of change for the vending machines and non-perishable snacks (you’ll probably be hungry after labor, and the hospital cafeteria could be closed)
· Cell phone and charger, phone numbers of people to call after birth, prepaid calling card (if your hospital doesn’t allow cell phones)
· Camera, film or extra memory card, battery or charger
· Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity size and flat shoes
· Bath towel (the hospital will likely supply a small, very thin one)
· Your favorite brand of soap, shampoo and heavy flow sanitary pads (the hospital supplies these things, but bring your own if you’re picky)
· A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined
· A ruin-able nightgown (you can use those lovely hospital gowns, but your own might help you feel more human)
· Breast pump, if you plan to use one
· Slippers that can get dirty
*list complied with help from thebump.com
Be sure that you have chosen your pediatrician. Most pediatricians visit their new infant patients right in the hospital just after you have given birth. Be sure you have chosen and met your pediatrician well in advance – you do not want to meet your child’s doctor for the first time at the hospital!
Generate a baby registry if you will have a baby shower. Remember to register for practical items like diapers and wipes and not all of the fancy and glamorous things (those are fun too, but remember to be practical not picky!)
Be sure to be cautious and smart about your diet when you are pregnant. We all know you and understand what it’s like to have odd cravings, but eating fruits, veggies, and essential proteins is important during pregnancy! Ask your doctor if you are not sure what your daily diet should be – ask for suggestions, or see a nutritionist if you’d like even more expert advice!
It is also important to exercise during your pregnancy , but be sure to do so safely and with the consult of your doctor. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can safely engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days. Walking, swimming, riding a stationary bike, using an elliptical, and low-impact aerobics are perfect cardio options as your pregnancy progresses, since these activities don't put any pressure on your joints, loose ligaments, or pelvic floor. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it! Try the talk test: If you cannot hold a conversation while exercising, you're working out too hard and need to slow down or lower the intensity. Also, exercising during pregnancy can be an excellent opportunity for you to relax and distress.
Taking Time for Yourself and Balancing Emotions Your Emotions
Remember to stop, and take time for yourself during your pregnancy. Although you may be excited, apprehensive, and anxious about the arrival of your new baby, taking time for you is super important! Be sure not to become too overwhelmed with preparing and prepping for the big day – keep faith and hope, and know in your heart that everything will be okay! Some tips for taking time for yourself might include:
· A walk in the park
· “date nights” with your spouse or significant other
· Shopping – just for you!
· Sitting at your favorite coffee shop with a book or magazine – indulging in peace in quiet
· Have an old hobby or past time that you love? Set aside some time during your busy week to enjoy the joy of your favorite hobby!
· Sit outside in your garden or yard – enjoy the calmness of the nature around you
· Take a drive to the beach and let your pregnant toes feel the soft sand
· Write down your feelings, worries, wonders, or thoughts for the day in a daily pregnancy journal – this is a great keepsake that you can someday share with your little one!
· Be sure to talk to others about your feelings, whatever your feelings may be. Perhaps a close friend or relative is a good set of ears for you each week. Remember to express your feelings and release your stress!
All in all, be sure you are able to enjoy every minute of your pregnancy – don’t take this precious time for granted. Seek positive thoughts and energy amidst the stress and worries that accompany motherhood. Remember you are about to bring a precious life into the world, and that you must be the best you can be in order to give your all to your new little bundle of joy.
Heather Grocott is the Director of The Children's Workshop in Lincoln, RI. She earned a BA from Providence College in Elementary and Special Education. She is pursuing a Master's Degree from Rhode Island College in Early Childhood education. Her true passion is not only working with children, but sharing knowledge with families and teachers in order to provide the best early learning experience for all young learners.