Ask for help.
Seriously do it and put your pride aside! Pregnancy is exhausting no matter which trimester you are in! If you are anything like me you probably have an “I can do it myself” attitude. THAT IS FINE if you do however, you are growing a human or humans and it will drain the life out of you leaving you exhausted or grumpy or both. Set your pride aside and ask for help from family, your partner, children or friends. Ask for help with cooking, cleaning and organizing because you do not want to over exhaust yourself leaving you miserable and you want to be able to enjoy your pregnancy and not worry about things that you need to do.
Ouch. They probably hurt a lot. Again no matter what trimester you are in, they are probably sore, heavy and tender. I always would say “It feels like someone used my breasts as punching bags”. I wish I was being dramatic. From the second I found out I was pregnant they hurt and even now as a nursing mama they are still sore. So just get used to it. All I can suggest is to wear loose fitting clothes, allow the heat to hit your chest in the shower that definitely helped me feel some relief or you can use cold/hot compresses.
Can I eat that?
Just eat it. Unless its raw fish just because it’s gross. Just kidding you can eat fish in moderation and it’s usually safer if it’s been frozen before cooking. But chat with your healthcare provider as they know a lot more than me on diet and what is best when it comes to eating during pregnancy. What I do know is do not limit yourself to eating tasty things because you are “Watching your weight when pregnant” because you will just be miserable. Want chocolate? Eat some. Want some carbs? Eat some because they are tasty. Be careful not to make sugar your diet but if you are healthy and taking prenatals along with fruits and veggies and meats if you eat meat then GO AHEAD and have the chocolate.
Don’t ask if I am pregnant.
Seriously Karen if you ask me if I am pregnant I am going to smack you. OR If I am having twins. Don’t. Look at me and keep on walking because if you ask me if I am “Sure I am not having more than one” I might just lose my mind do something I MAY regret and then we will end up on the show SNAPPED... Who will the cops feel sorry for? A nosy rude bystander or an innocent pregnant person crying.. My biggest pet peeve when pregnant was being asked “are you sure there aren’t more than one in there” Oh crap. Now that you mentioned it what if the 500 ultrasounds I had done were wrong!? Not only that thank you for mentioning how massive I look. That sure helps and makes me feel fantastic about myself. So while you are standing there admiring my roundness and you CONSIDER opening your mouth. Don’t. Don’t be a Karen.
This one is pretty straight forward. I remember feeling exhausted from the second I got a positive pregnancy test until I gave birth. Pregnancy sure is a butt kicker and sadly the only form of relief is a nice nap. Everyone loves naps however, finding the time in your day can be hard. I advise to prioritize your day differently - work around your work schedule and home schedule. Ask for help from your family members if they are available and if they are available put the household tasks on them and take a nap. One thing I regret the most is not napping enough when pregnant, especially in the last trimester. ITake all of the naps. All of them and have zero regrets.
Towards the end of your pregnancy you will have a lot of questions and concerns mainly around if your labor is real or not. Every ache and pain has you thinking “Oh is this it!? Is it time!?” and while you may be excited and hopeful, most of the time it is just false labor. Trust your body and do what you feel is best. If you feel off and want to go get checked out, do just that. If you feel concerned and worried, go in. If you want to start timing the aches and pains and contractions, time them. Do what you feel is best. Real labor feels just that, real. But sometimes real labor doesn't feel as bad as one would think. We all have a different pain tolerance level and you should always check with your provider if you feel that you need to be seen and always trust your gut.
It is okay to feel sad and not perky during pregnancy. I think when we think about pregnancy we assume we are supposed to be upbeat and overwhelmed with happiness. And while pregnancy is wonderful it also can be sad and make us feel sad. We may miss the way we used to feel and look, we may grieve how we felt before getting pregnant and we may feel sad about what we are leaving behind. We are gaining a new life, new adventures, everything is new. It is okay to grieve the way things used to be but remember good is coming.
Holy smokes this was probably my biggest pregnancy complaint. It wasn’t so bad with the first two but with my third, yikes. It sucks because it didn’t matter what I ate or drank because come 2 am my chest was lit up and I was miserable. I suggest having water, tums and maybe something salty by your bedside just in case you have a flare up. Maybe just stop eating all of the things that you like because that is probably the only way of making sure you don’t get 3am heartburn. Just kidding. Sort of. Just know whatever you eat may kick start it. But you also may be super lucky and not get any heartburn at all and that is fantastic but the rest of you, Godspeed.
Invasion of privacy.
Every time you visit your healthcare provider it feels very...personal.. It feels very invasive. Now with each child I definitely felt more at ease every time id be seen but it still felt like they were just in your business. Yes it is important to make sure things are normal and not concerning but know that you can say “I don’t feel like getting checked.” Just say not today. There are so many different situations that can make being seen uncomfortable and if it makes you uncomfortable to speak up and let them know you are opting out of a check or you would prefer a specific gender of doctor. Speak up it is your body and if you feel just fine about the checks and exams then that is great too, but do what feels best for you. Every time.
Just enjoy yourself.
Pregnancy is a roller coaster but try to enjoy every little step. The first trimester can be rough as a lot of women experience morning sickness and that sucks. It can make you feel miserable and sometimes it makes you question if it is all really worth it. [it is] But in the moment it is so hard to enjoy yourself! As the months creep by and your baby starts to grow and rely less on your energy and more on the placenta you should start to feel better. Once you start feeling better just enjoy yourself and your changing body. You are growing a human or humans, you are amazing so go get a new top and show off your new figure. If you are an adoptive parent or a parent with a surrogate that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy yourself. You are still a parent so treat yourself as such and enjoy your time before your baby arrives.
Kegels are important during pregnancy and especially in the postpartum period as they help strengthen the pelvic floor. As you may know and feel, the pelvic floor begins to weaken and it can cause discomfort and kegels can prevent or control urinary incontinence. A kegal is done by tightening the muscles that you relax in order to urinate. Flexing these muscles help tighten and control the pelvic floor and right now it doesn’t seem like much but over time you are helping yourself out.
Lightning what? It’s honestly one of those things that you have no idea what I am talking about until you experience it on your own. It feels just like the name describes. Lightning in your crotch. A stabbing shooting pain down into your cervix. Sounds so pleasant doesn’t it? This pain is caused by the babies position and the pressure of the baby as he/she descends into the birth canal. I remember this pain used to stop me in my tracks!
Okay. Gross. Sorry for some reason whenever I hear the word “mucus” I am instantly grossed out. As a doula nothing really grosses me out as I have seen SO many things...but the word mucus? No thanks. I have had so many people message me showing me a photo of a gross blob asking me if it’s their plug. I say no. it’s an alien and that they should show their doctor. But really. Some say when you lose your plug you will go into labor soon but losing your plug also could mean nothing as your plug can regenerate.
The pregnancy nausea is no joke. It kicked my butt during all three pregnancies. I was always told that if you have nausea then you have a healthy baby but I have met so many people who say they had zero nausea [lucky] and had healthy pregnancies. So never assume just because you may or may not be ill that something is wrong. Always check with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns. If you do have nausea I suggest crackers, ginger ale if you can stomach it and just riding it out. During my first trimester especially with my third, the nausea was so bad I felt like the days were 100 hours long. But I pulled through and as the weeks passed by the nausea became a thing of the past. Hang in there!
An OB-GYN is a health professional that specializes in reproductive health and sees pregnant people on their journey to having a child. You do not always have to go the Obstetrician route you can choose to have a midwife or a nurse practitioner. Always interview people if you are unsure, go with your gut and do your research and always make you sure you feel certain about your choices especially when it comes to the birth of your child. Your voice matters and you have choices so use that voice and make sure you do what is right for you and yours.
Okay paranoia is for real. I never really had it with my first two pregnancies but during my third it consumed me. I should have spoken with my midwife about how I was feeling but sometimes we just go with the flow and assume how we are feeling is normal. Most of the time they are just that, feelings. But when it becomes a daily struggle always talk with someone because if you don’t it will eat you up. My first two pregnancies were really hard and having lost a pregnancy in the past the paranoia throughout my third pregnancy was a struggle. It is hard not to bounce around feelings but when they become a constant, chat with someone!
Ask them. ASK ALL OF THE QUESTIONS. I think we tend to feel intimidated when we go in to be seen during our pregnancy. That has to stop. This is about YOU and if you have concerns and questions, ask them! Make a list and hey, check it twice. Because your pregnancy and your feelings matter. This is your experience and I always tell people, there are no such thing as dumb questions.
Read books, chat with your provider, talk with your partner [if available] make sure that every choice you make during your pregnancy and labor is solely done because you wanted to. Just because something has been done a certain way for 100 years doesn’t mean it is what is best for you. I made all of my choices during pregnancy based off of what I felt was best for me. I researched everything and made the choice myself and that made me feel extremely empowered. Have the birth you want, within reason. Always make sure that the health of you and your child are put first. We want things the way that we want them but make sure that our wants don’t impact what may be best.
Stop with the body shaming.
We are all guilty of it. Especially during pregnancy. Our bodies are stretching and changing and while we love our growing baby, it is easy to feel all sorts of ways about our body. The aching boobs, the stretching pains, sciatic pain, headaches, stretch marks, dimples forming in not so wonderful places. I could go on. But remember that you are a host for a small human or even more than one human. You are important and although you feel out of sorts and dislike the way that you look, you are beautiful. So stop it. Knock it off and love yourself.
Talk about it.
I have mentioned this time and time again and I will once more, talk about your feelings. Postpartum depression isn’t the only concern as a lot of people suffer from prenatal depression and anxiety. I think we tend to live life and put our feelings on the back burner because we feel it is normal or maybe we were taught to do so. But it isn’t normal to hide our feelings we need to talk about how we feel the good, the bad and the ugly. We want to live healthy happy lives and in order to do so we need to focus on our mental health. Finding a good verbal outlet is important and you should open up to those in your life or seek out elsewhere such as a medical professional or counselor because you are worth it.
Urge to pee. ALL. THE. TIME.
We all know because it starts RIGHT AWAY. Things are moving and grooving which means our bladder is being squished and moved around causing us to feel the need to pee constantly. It is normal unless it hurts to pee then you should definitely chat with your doctor or provider. Stock up on pads because as you grow and everything gets heavier there will be no mercy on your bladder and you may leak here or there. I would throw up, pee my pants. Cough….pee. Sneeze. Yep. Pee.
Celebrate them all, even the super small ones. Everyone’s journey to get pregnant and throughout pregnancy is different and every stage and struggle and trimester should be celebrated. If you have just made it to the second trimester, that is a huge victory and you should celebrate. If you have just overcome morning sickness, celebrate that victory. If you just took a pregnancy test and it came back positive after years of trying, CELEBRATE THAT VICTORY.
The pregnancy waiting game is hard! Especially that last month, it can feel like an eternity. Take the time to rest, especially in the third trimester. As eager as you are to meet your new little one sleep is your friend. Take the time to connect with your partner, family, other children. You will have plenty of bonding time once your little one arrives so take the time during your pregnancy [even if you have a surrogate] take the time to rest and nest and relax. Your world is about to change [in a crazy fun amazing way] take a breather and just relax.
Even if it's just a walk every morning or a quick walk to the mailbox you are moving your legs and keeping your body healthy. It is easy to feel lazy, especially as our bodies grow and change but by keeping moving you are helping your body in a lot of ways. As your belly gets heavier you are putting a lot of pressure on organs and your hips hurt as well as your lower back. By moving, swimming, doing yoga you are working those parts and helping them not feel so sore. Not only that but by keeping active during pregnancy helps you stay toned for labor and helps the postpartum period as well.
You are about to become a parent.
Whether you are giving birth, your partner is, you are adopting or if you have a surrogate, you are having a baby. Congratulations to you and yours and you should know that it is one of the craziest, happiest, scariest things you will ever endure but it is all very much worth it. Love to you and yours.
Just sleep. You’ll thank me later.