15 Special Tips for My Pregnant Friends.

Via on Apr 16, 2012
Photo: David Roseborough

A few of my good friends are having babies this year, and it fills me with joy to know that they will soon join the parent club.

Because I had my first son a few months ago, I have been writing long emails to them with the pieces of wisdom I’ve acquired recently. As I started gathering my thoughts for a new ‘congratulations on the bump and here are a few things that might help’ email, I came up with the following list of tips:

1. Moan and then forget.

Being pregnant is marvellous, but not always as enjoyable as we would hope; side effects can sometimes make the experience difficult. Once baby is here, you quickly forget all about the heartburn, nausea, back pain, insomnia, trips to the toilet at night, fatigue and even labour pain. Pregnancy is a special time when you can indulge in many things, moaning is one of them.

2. Buy more pregnancy clothes than you think you need.

You will wear your pregnancy wardrobe a lot once the bump is visible. Also, after birth—because you might not fit in your pre-pregnancy clothes for a while—you will have to keep on wearing loose jeans, and tops. If you plan on breastfeeding, buy a lot of shirts. They are very convenient and quick to open discreetly when you are out and about with baby.

3. Do your pelvic floor exercises.

During pregnancy and after birth and forever after. I did them without questioning because I’m a good girl like that. I understood why, right after birth, you really want to keep strong muscles in that area. If you don’t believe me, here is a good article about incontinence after birth.

4. Squat, Squat, Squat!

This is what I learned from pregnancy yoga and it did help me during labor to some extent. Squat legs apart during pregnancy and legs together after birth. For a bit more science on the subject, read this fascinating article that advocates squatting instead of Kegels.

5. Keep working on those abs.

It is not recommended to do strenuous crunches or exercises that interfere with the bump, but there are many ways to work out your abs gently during pregnancy. You will need your belly strength to push this lovely baby into the world, especially if you’re exhausted by hours of labour.

Photo: Scott Ventura

6. Become boob-wise.

If you plan on breastfeeding, get as much information as you can. I personally found it more difficult than labour. I have been nursing for five and a half months now and it has become entirely natural, painless and easy. For the first few weeks, however, this wasn’t the case—and I almost gave up on week six. I’m so glad I didn’t. So, get ready and find support groups in your area; their help is invaluable.

7. Spot the bump in your neighbourhood

When baby is born you will need other mothers around to share your experience: somebody who will find your stories about big diaper explosions at five in the morning or your baby fart jokes funny. You will find it all so fascinating, but chances are your non-parent friends won’t be that amused.

8. Indulge and get yourself a stylish changing bag.

A changing bag is much more than for diapers and mat. It will become your new handbag, your life saver, your everything. Choose one with lots of pockets and that attaches easily to your stroller.

9. Beg, borrow and buy on eBay

You’ll need a lot of gear for baby. The good news is there’s a great second-hand and hand-me-down market. Get a list of what you want and start working on it a couple of months before baby arrives. One of the magic search terms is ‘bundle.’

10. Create an online wish list.

Send the link to the lovely friends and family who ask what you want for baby. A wish list is a good place to put all the little extras that you can’t really afford because you’re buying all the other important things. Amazon has a universal wish list button which allows you to add items from all sites you browse, which is very useful.

11. Don’t “enjoy your freedom now.”

You’ll hear this endlessly when you tell people you’re pregnant. It ruined my confidence and terrified me—’what did I just sign up for?’

It makes parenthood sound like doing time, and getting a life sentence of sleep deprivation, busy weekends, and boring evenings stuck at home. Well, now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I’ve discovered that it’s not as simple as that, and babies are not jailers. You can’t stockpile freedom. You can, however, create the good memories. So do something nice with your partner: a romantic weekend together, a nice dinner in your favourite ‘family unfriendly’ restaurant. Celebrate the change that is coming.

12. Take all the advice you can.

90 percent of it is useful; the rest is from your mother-in-law! Smile, nod, and avoid the controversial subjects. You’ll learn that mothers know best; they’ve been there, done that and are still wearing the ‘#1 Mom’ t-shirt.

Photo: Myles Grant

13. Keep calm and trust your instinct.

Your baby and you will quickly develop that special relationship. Soon enough, you will be able to interpret every sound your baby makes and respond to their needs accordingly.

14. Keep something for yourself.

Have a hobby, and keep it after baby is born. It will give you something to do for yourself when you take a break from the wonderful world of diapers.

15. Start hoarding the chocolate.

I have stashes all over the house. Chocolate keeps me going through the day, but who needs an excuse anyway?

Anything you would like to add?

~

Editor: Brianna Bemel

About Sophie Legrand

Sophie is the littlest French hobo. After studying American Literature in Paris, she left France in 1998 to first live in Santa Barbara, California, for a year. She then went to Madrid where she started working in publishing, as a literary agent. After 5 years of movida in Spain, she moved to London. There, she was introduced to yoga by two fantastic teachers, who gave her some very good foundations, a sense of precision and a taste for Asian philosophy. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training in Vancouver in 2011 and is now back to England where she is a proud stay-at-home mom and a yoga teacher. She is also a passionate home-cook with a focus on multicultural, tasty and healthy dishes. Her culinary explorations are on L'Artichaut. You can find her on Twitter and on Mindful Mum She also helps looking after Reviews at Elephant Journal.

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15 Responses to “15 Special Tips for My Pregnant Friends.”

  1. [...] posted here: 15 Special Tips For My Pregnant Friends | elephant journal ← Volume Pills Dosage – Not Sure About Parenting? Tips for the [...]

  2. Posted to Elephant Family on Facebook and Twitter.

    Lorin Arnold
    Blogger at The VeganAsana
    Editor for Elephant Food and Elephant Family.

  3. Jen says:

    Thanks for this post. So true about getting all the breastfeeding advice you can beforehand. Here's what I tell my pregnant friends now that I'm on the other side: don't stress about labour too much. It was something I thought about a lot beforehand, but it's over so quickly (relatively!), and the first few days and weeks are so stressful that labour pales in comparison! (** speaking for myself, anyway). Labour is easy, the hard part comes after. I should also say that the stress of those early days passes too. :)

  4. sophie says:

    Thanks for your comment Jen. You’re right to insist on breastfeeding, it’s so essential to be ready.
    As for labour, one thing I could add is: be flexible with your birth plan, it’s the best way to stay relaxed when things don’t go as expected.
    The early days are as stressful as they are magical. Best days of my life!

  5. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the brand new Elephant Family and Education Homepage.

    Lorin Arnold
    Blogger at The VeganAsana
    Please "like" Elephant Family on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

  6. sophie says:

    Thanks Lorin! The page looks great.

  7. Katrina Vines says:

    Wow.. I’m with you about this. Can’t let that happen.. What does Gallaudet symbolize now? It should be all about “deaf world”… Not let any “scientists” do something like trying to fix or change the way we deafies live our lives. We aren’t broken.. We don’t need to be fixed. We don’t need to be treated like guinea pigs when you test your audiological and speech on us. Gallaudet should focus on how to make our lives better. With ASL, technology devices like TTY, CC, pagers, help us get jobs, etc.. That’s what Gallaudet should focus on that.Hmmm… I wonder what Gallaudet would become? No longer a deaf college???…. :

  8. Meghan says:

    Don't forget your pelvic floor check up between 6 to 8 weeks post birth!!! So many of us here in America know nothing about this and the importance of making sure your PF and core muscles did not sustain trauma during pregnancy and labor! (can anyone say diastasis recti?) See a qualified pelvic girdle specialist. I HIGHLY recommend Hollie Neujahr. She is just now in the process of opening an office near Boulder. (303) 260-5092 http://www.n2pt.org

  9. [...] I went 11 days overdue with my baby and the wait was excruciating. Perhaps not quite as excruciating as the labour and birth. Had I really understood how taxing the labour and birth would be and how exhausting the first few weeks with a newborn are, I would have taken a lot more naps. [...]

  10. [...] Even if my egg did not drop once a month, if I were not egg, cycling, I would still feel this way, like a mother, waiting for time to propel itself like an arm, extended, bringing something sweet and heavy and [...]

  11. A bit about #3: Pelvic Floor Exercises
    Not many women really know what these are, and instruction is misleading – especially on how to do Kegels!

    An excerpt from "Sexy Birth" by Dayna Martin, doula and birth specialist:
    Kegels are old school! The whole idea surrounding them is something you can let go of. They will actually make birth more difficult. Doing Kegels all the time will get you a TIGHT, ineffective pelvic floor. Yes, this is mind-blowing to read, but it is well documented and researched. Squatting is much more effective than doing Kegels. I have witnessed women who have done Kegels religiously during pregnancy (because they were recommended), have very difficult pushing stages because the muscles were too tight! You don't have to do them like you are lifting weights. It isn't natural for birth. Relaxed, loose naturally developed muscles are much better for birth. The Kegel fad is behind us! Squatting is the natural exercise to lengthen and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in a balances, natural way."

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