There is so much going on during pregnancy and so much to get ready before your little bundle arrives that it can be easy to overlook your own needs. Whether it’s remembering to take a minute to relax or wanting to keep your career a priority despite the societal pressures to drop the job and be a full-time mom (p.s. you are still a full-time mom even if you decide to work. Don’t let anyone guilt you into feeling differently), finding the time to focus on yourself will do you and your baby-to-be some good.
The American Recall Center asked me to share my 9 Tips for a healthy 9 Months of pregnancy. Now my pre-pregnancy health condition of hyperthyroidism automatically made me high risk. Combine the high-anxiety symptoms of that with the stress of being a newly single mom-to-be and it is truly a blessing to have had such an overall healthy pregnancy, delivery and baby boy in the end.
So here are my 9 tips for 9 months:
1. Try prenatal yoga
I was a dabbler in the yoga world prior to pregnancy, so this was high on my list of things to do once I got the news. Prenatal yoga is much easier than traditional yoga classes as the focus is on relaxation, breathing techniques and stretching that all aim to help you throughout your pregnancy and during delivery. I suffered from extreme lower back pain and my anxiety was through the roof due to my inability to take my thyroid medication; I also didn’t have a spouse or even a family member close by to rub my feet or back. Yoga offered me at least one night of pain-free sleep a week and helped me take control over my mental state.
2. Stay hydrated
You will instinctually increase your water intake once you become pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the extra effort too. Water has so many benefits, such as helping to energize your muscles and improving circulation, so keep a water bottle handy at all times. That baby of yours will be dancing on your bladder either way, you might as well give him a reason to!
3. Dump your doctor if you two don’t mesh
I was new to Atlanta when I found out I was pregnant so I didn’t have an OB/GYN yet. The first doctor I met with made me feel like I couldn’t talk to her about my concerns. She dismissed my prenatal depression as a side effect of my new singledom and rushed me out of the office during appointments. I am a first-time mom and I wanted someone who would answer my questions and treat me like those questions weren’t outrageous. Even if you have been going to the same doctor for years, if you get a bad feeling or don’t quite like the way they are handling your pregnancy, do not feel bad about seeking out someone new. Try another doctor in the same practice first as that will make your administrative changes easier, but if that doesn’t work out, you can and SHOULD switch practices altogether to find the right fit.
4. Take your prenatal vitamins
Take your prenatals daily, but opt for the iron free ones if you have a tough time with nausea, unless your doctor specifically tells you you need the extra iron, of course. Iron can be tough on your stomach so if you’re already battling this pregnancy symptom, don’t make it worse on yourself.
5. Prepare for maternity leave early on
Save yourself the post-partum, return-to-work insanity that will inevitably happen by preparing for maternity leave and your return to work BEFORE the baby comes. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
6. Fill out your baby registry
Ease the financial stress of buying all new baby gear, particularly if you are a single parent like I am, by adding all of your necessities (big and small) to a rewards earning baby registry. Financial health during pregnancy is just as important as your physical health. Your friends and family can buy the things you really need off of your registry and, if you choose one that earns rewards, you will get some money back after your little one is born too.
7. Continue your healthy eating habits
You’re supposed to gain weight during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch all of the healthy eating rules you’ve learned over the years. You should be extra motivated to consume only the best now that you’re carrying around that precious cargo. But on the flip side, don’t aim to lose weight or disregard your cravings completely. Eat a cookie, eat a cookie dipped in pickle juice (I don’t know! It’s your craving, dude.) Eat what you want, but just be conscious of what you’re putting into your body.
8. Focus on the future if things get tough
Don’t let any present stress affect your pregnancy. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all that you have to do, but think about all of the fun things you’re going to get to do with your baby once he’s here instead. Finding the right daycare, building the changing table, stressing about your delivery day; let them all go. None of these things are as important as your little one.
9. Don’t rush your due date
I will be the first to tell you that I wanted my pregnancy done early. I hated being pregnant (I hear you either love it or hate it and there’s not really a whole lot of in between!) Every single day of my last month was torture on my 5’2” frame and I begged for an early induction. My son was born the day before his due date without the need of an induction, and I’m surprisingly happy this was the outcome. Your baby will come when he’s ready, and once he’s here, time will fly by. Don’t rush the birth of your child; savor every back ache, every bought of nausea, every Braxton Hicks contraction.