Sunday, July 26, 2015

9 Tips for 9 Months - Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

9 Tips for 9 Months

1) Find a doctor that makes you comfortable! I think it’s important to find a doctor that you connect with. Pregnancy is an emotional time thanks to all those fun hormones and you don’t need a doctor that makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong, your opinion doesn’t matter, or like you’re just another patient. Personally I recommend finding a midwife as I believe in natural birth, but also because I’ve never felt more cared for on a more personal level than with a midwife.

2) Morning sickness sucks, so eat whatever you can and tell your conscience to take a vacation! Morning sickness is a misleading name; it can come on at any or all times of day and night. Some foods or smells may trigger an episode, or you may just feel it constantly regardless. While it’s important to eat healthy, you just do the best you can in the first trimester until that morning sickness passes. If for instance, all you can stomach is an entire box of plain ol’ macaroni and cheese, then you go ahead and eat that whole box! If you can only eat half of what’s in the dinner your husband made, you go ahead and eat around those carrots (I used to gag the second it one was even in my mouth). It will pass and then you can get back on the healthy train! I also found it helpful to eat small meals more frequently (even going so far as to eat a little bowl of cereal at 4 am because I couldn’t sleep through the nausea).

3) It’s okay to indulge cravings, but only in moderation! Though I suppose that’s true of anything in life. I craved frosting in my first pregnancy and various things at various times in my second. I indulged nearly every day, but I did my best to limit it to a single treat and something fairly small. In the end, I ended up eating graham cracker and frosting sandwiches on occasion to fill the craving. As long as I didn’t do something crazy like eat a tub of frosting, I managed to do just fine on both my sugar levels and weight gain. Why did I allow myself to indulge? Because frankly, it used to bring me to tears to continually deny myself.

4) Try to eat a balanced diet! This was hardest for me because different sources say what makes a diet balanced in pregnancy. It also depends how your individual pregnancy is going. If you have high blood pressure, avoid salty foods. If you have gestational diabetes, avoid sugary foods. If you’re anemic, eat more iron rich foods. Personally I had to focus on protein, iron for anemia, and fiber to counter the protein and iron. It’s all a balancing act, so just make sure you’re making healthy choices for you.

5) Drink lots of water! The doctor or midwife will probably say something like “drink 8 oz for every hour you’re awake”. That’s insane and will make you obsess over it if you try to keep up with that. It’s just a guideline. What I used to do is take three 16 oz Tupperware bottles, fill them in the morning, and try to finish one by a certain time, but make sure I finished all three by evening. Water is very important, however, you also get water in other things you eat and drink, so while yes, drink lots, don’t obsess over drinking a specific amount per hour or something or you’ll drive yourself crazy!

6) Exercise! I took a child development class in high school and learned many things that have stuck with me. One of those was that you shouldn’t start a NEW exercise regimen, but you can keep up with whatever you’re used to as long as it’s safe and you’re comfortable (kind of like intimacy during pregnancy in that regard). If you don’t have one however, walking or finding a pregnancy work out video (or something) is a good idea. I have asthma and have never been able to do anything like running, so I started walking before getting pregnant with my first. Walking was GREAT during both of my pregnancies. It’s a great exercise to begin with and it helped me stay active and keep my weight gain under control (along with diet).

7) Avoid medications of any kind as much as possible! There is a list of medications that are “safe” during pregnancy, but frankly, nothing is truly 100% safe; and that’s just counting the OTC ones. There are many times a doctor might prescribe something while you’re pregnant: anxiety, morning sickness, trouble sleeping, etc. I see a midwife and she mentioned maybe giving me something to help with anxiety (because I’m freaking out about early labor more this time than last for some reason). I turned her down because I’d rather talk to someone or work through it than take meds. There are meds for nausea, such as Zofran, that might be prescribed to help, but can still have very harmful side effects to both mom and baby. There are other meds that doctors simply don’t know what kind of effects they could have on a baby. So the bottom line is, try to avoid meds whenever possible.

8) Take a birthing class! My husband and I took a Bradley method class and it was one of the smartest decisions we ever made. It was very informative, took the fear out of labor and delivery (HUGELY appreciative of that aspect), and helped us set up a support network for after the baby was born. I made new like-minded friends, was introduced to La Leche League, and learned how to include and lean on my partner and close friends and family. I absolutely recommend to every new parent to be to take a Bradley (or similar) birthing class!

9) Take or leave advice! Everyone has some advice they want to impart to you when you’re expecting, particularly if it’s your first baby. The important thing is to listen and learn as much as possible, but to ultimately, including everything you’ve read here today, take what interests you or works for you and leave the rest. If someone is offended because you did something a different way than they recommended, poo on them. In the end, no one knows you or your baby better than you and the most important thing is whatever works for YOU.

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