Pregnancy Tips for First-Time MomsJana Llewellyn
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 1 of 13
A few of my friends have recently become pregnant with their first child, and of course, they are excited and eager for information: should they find out the sex of the baby? Will they go back to work, and if so, how does one choose the best daycare? Fortunately for them, I dealt with and agonized over these questions years ago. Heres what I wish someone had told me when I was first pregnant
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 2 of 13
Dont read What to Expect When Youre Expecting
There is such a thing as too much information. Youll want to study up on the basics, but try to resist the urge to find out about every little complication that could arise during your pregnancy. I once spent an afternoon researching Listeria online after guiltily eating a ham sandwich and I still have not recovered. (The baby and I were just fine.) Rather than reading those thick books that advise you to call your doctor on almost every page, take this time to enjoy and marvel at your changing body and have a few laughs — parenting will be stressful enough.
Heres another reason to throw those guidebooks out the window.
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 3 of 13
Consider a midwife
Though some women feel more comfortable in a hospital with a doctor, others prefer a more natural, personal approach to birth. A midwife is more likely to honor your birth plan and let you call many of the shots throughout labor, which can be reassuring to some. (I can't tell you how grateful you'll be for small pleasures, like warm compresses and hand-holding, during the notorious ring of fire, when the babys head is crowning.) And despite what you might think, midwives are not by nature against epidurals, and some of them even take insurance. Theyre also there for you weeks after your birth to make sure you and baby are doing okay. Whats not to love?
Find out how choosing a midwife fit in with this moms natural birth plan.
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 4 of 13
Hire a doula
If a midwife still seems too granola to you, consider a doula. Doulas recognize that your emotional state matters during pregnancy and childbirth, and will serve as your own personal coach before, during, and after labor. A doula will give you some tips and talk to you about your birth wish list, assist you during labor, and even check on you after labor to help with both physical and emotional recovery. With a doula present, you are also less likely to have an unnecessary Cesarean. Giving birth is one of the most significant moments of your life, so you deserve to have as much support as possible.
Read these 10 reasons to hire a doula.
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 5 of 13
Go to the movies
Some winning things about going to the movies: Youll get out of the house, youll enjoy two uninterrupted hours to yourself, and youll give your swollen feet a break. Trust me, enjoy this all now while you still can.
See which movie some moms think should be required viewing pre-pregnancy.
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 6 of 13
Buy a swing
Registering for baby items was one of the most stressful times of my life. I wondered, could all of these items really be necessary? Well, some are and some arent. But a swing is going to save your life. Get one with adjustable positions that plays music and your baby will stay in there for hours. That might sound negligent to you, but remember you dont even have one kid yet. Take it from one who knows — a sleeping baby is the absolute best kind. While youre at it, and if you can afford it, throw in a bouncy seat, an ExerSaucer, and some sort of Jumparoo.
Find out why this couple sprung for a swing and more parenting gear.
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Read mom blogs
While you should avoid all sorts of scary sites that tell you things are going wickedly, horribly wrong, mommy blogs are a good place to learn about pregnancy and parenting from the front lines. Theyre funny and smart and will help you feel less isolated when your only human company is a crying, pooping, gassy baby. Not sure where to start? Check out some of Babbles favorite mom bloggers.
Check out the best Facebook fan pages for pregnancy, too.
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 8 of 13
Give acupuncture a shot
Not only can acupuncture help with fertility, but it is the perfect relaxing antidote to the stress and worry that comes with the realization that you are going to be solely and completely responsible for all the needs and wants of a little person. The needles dont hurt (I promise!), and are supposed to help balance all of your chakras (aka spiritual centers) and help you move toward a deep calm. A calm and happy mom means a calm and happy baby in utero.
Considering acupuncture to induce labor? Check out what the research says.
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 9 of 13
Get as much sleep as possible
There is nothing more precious than sleep, so get it while you can. Babies dont know if their rooms are painted or decorated or if their drawers are stacked with neatly with folded onesies — they can hardly see a foot in front of them. So try not to run yourself down trying to get everything done before baby arrives.
Find out how to catch some z's while pregnant.
Pregnancy Tips for First-Time Moms 10 of 13
Do yoga and mild exercise
Join a prenatal class, buy a DVD (I loved Zen Mama from Rainbeau Mars), or just read a book about some yoga stretches you can do that make you feel more comfortable as your body changes and grows. Yoga emphasizes a mind-body connection through breathing and movement, a practice that will definitely help you during all stages of labor. A walk or mild aerobic exercise will also help raise those endorphins to help make you feel less stressed.
Learn 10 more benefits of prenatal yoga.
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Dont assume youll go into labor early
Much of what you read (and shouldnt be reading) tells you that youre full-term around 36 weeks. So you might start thinking that labor can occur any day. Dont hold your breath babies can take longer to arrive than you expect. Just assume babies are like celebrities: always fashionably late.
Is it labor or a false alarm? Find out what signs you should be looking for.
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Follow your gut
The best thing to remind yourself in this age of parental anxiety is something a litigious-minded doctor will probably never tell you: Trust your gut and do what works for your family. (And by what works, I mean whats relatively easy.) Its really quite hard to break your baby. And if that doesnt comfort you, this should kids dont start remembering things until around age three, so you have a few years of practice to get it right.
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