With the excitement of planning a nursery, picking out a daycare, shopping for baby clothes and all of the other fun tasks that come with pregnancy, it is easy to get caught up in this special time. There is so much to celebrate and there are so many preparations to be made. Looking back on my pregnancy and now my first year of motherhood, here are six things I wish someone had told me.
Add 8 Days to Your Due Date
Did you know the average length of a pregnancy for a first time mom without interventions is 41 weeks + 1 day? If you are a planner, like myself, watching your due date come and pass with no baby in your arms is excruciating. Our little boy waited an extra 14 days! The daily texts, emails, and messages from excited friends and family serve as a constant reminder that your little one is still cooking, despite your due date passing by. Before you announce your pregnancy, consider adding 8 days to the due and share that date with your friends and family instead. This will keep some of the “no baby yet?” text messages at bay come 40 weeks.
Ditch the Push Present and Hire Help Instead
If you aren’t familiar with the term push presents, you will likely hear the phrase sometime during your pregnancy. They’re a little gift that the husband or partner gives to the mom as a token of appreciation for going through pregnancy and childbirth. Push presents can range from sentimental gifts, like a charm for a charm bracelet, to more practical gifts. If your partner is fond of the idea of a push present, ditch the traditional gift route and consider hiring help for your first few weeks at home. Maybe you arrange a housekeeper to stop by every once in a while to tackle the cleaning or perhaps you hire a babysitter to come over for an afternoon so you can go to the grocery store. A pretty piece of jewelry may make you smile, but it won’t compare to the smile that will appear on your face when an extra set of hands walk through your front door.
Invest in New Bras (and Sweatpants While You’re At It)
For the first few months after giving birth, it can be tough to feel sexy. Showers are sparse, you’ll lose count of the last time you washed your hair, more often than not you are covered in spit-up or drool, and some days may pass without even changing out of your pajamas. It happens to all of us. A properly fitting bra can do wonders to your self-confidence during this transitional period. Maybe pick one that has a little lace on it or a fun print. If you are going to be nursing, you’ll likely be investing in a new bra collection anyway. As your pregnancy progresses and your chest starts to outgrow your current undergarments, go ahead and start collecting a handful of quality nursing bras. You’ll be living in these for at least the next six months, so be sure they make you feel great!
Practice Your Kegels
As a soon to be certified childbirth educator, it is my duty to share the importance of kegels during pregnancy. If you aren’t familiar with kegel exercises, it involves contracting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles. As you prepare for birth, kegels can help tone the muscles used for the delivery. Kegels can even help with incontinence and healing postpartum. Basically, they rock. Try doing kegels whenever you hit your brakes while driving, to squeeze them into your daily routine (pun intended).
Double up on Date Nights
What I missed the most during my first few months as a new mom was alone time with my husband. Sure it was wonderful to be a family of three and spend time with our sweet little baby, but there were days I wished I could just go to the movies with my husband or take a spur of the moment trip to our favorite restaurant. During your pregnancy, take full advantage of the freedom you have for movie dates, dinners with friends, and late nights out. Take that cute bump of yours and go have some fun!
Build Your Support System
The postpartum adjustment to motherhood can be tough. From figuring out how to soothe cries to taking care of your body as it heals, the weeks that follow birth are often exhausting. Spend a little time during your pregnancy building a support system. Who can you text in the middle of the day when you are too sleep deprived to function? What friends can you call who will understand exactly what you are going through? Whether it’s a friend, sister or mother, you’ll come to rely on these people heavily. Consider joining a local mommy and me group towards the end of your pregnancy to meet other families in your community. Meetup.com is a great resource for scouting out a local group. After all, it takes a village!
From preparing for birth, to readying your home for a new family member, pregnancy is such an exciting time. Enjoy the pregnancy glow, the comfy maternity jeans and that cute baby bump because time sure speeds up when you become a momma!