As my final pregnancy comes to an end (yes, final), I figured I would reflect as well as share some tips on how to enjoy pregnancy (I asked Twitter and got some responses too). I feel like I should have a disclaimer here first though because I don’t want to come across as a pompous asshole who thinks they know everything about being pregnant. I don’t. I’m lucky. I have easy pregnancies and babies that never want to leave my uterus…
Every pregnancy is different. Every single one of my pregnancies HAS been different. Women have different bodies and different metabolisms. Pregnancy is a mixed bag. You never know how it’s going to effect your appetite, your weight gain, your workouts, and your hormones. I’m sharing what has worked for me. It may not be what works for you – BUT I also feel like it never hurts to try (unless your Dr. tells you not to!).
1. Stay active.
This is obviously a given coming from me. But really, if I want to pinpoint anything that has helped me feel good and look good during pregnancy it’s staying active. This doesn’t mean intense workouts.
It means anything that gets you off your butt. I definitely recommend talking to your Dr. about physical activity before you do anything – but unless you’re high risk or on bed rest there should be no reason to skip the gym, the pool, or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Different Doctors follow different guidelines for intensity and heart rate, but I think the general rule of thumb these days is — if you can talk through the exercise, then you’re safe.
Now, I’m not going to pretend like it’s easy to stay active (Umm, I’ve written like 4 posts where I whine about it). It’s especially hard if you are experiencing morning sickness or if you’re experiencing a lot of pain/pressure, but believe me it’s SO WORTH IT. I know with my nausea that once I actually got going I felt better than laying in bed wishing I could die (<–not an exaggeration).
I also know that keeping up with working out at this point is going to help me get through labor and delivery. I would love for it to actually help me go into labor on my own, but that hasn’t actually happened with any of my pregnancies, so we’ll see.
Working out also stabilizes my hormones and my mood swings (see #5) and helps regulate my sleep. I ALWAYS sleep better the night after a good workout.
2. Skip the flowy clothes.
@crzyrunninglegs don't wear your husbands clothing. You can still dress and cute with a massive belly.
— Kristen Barrett (@runforwine) April 17, 2013
@crzyrunninglegs Dress to be comfy but also to feel cute – it is possible to have both!
— Jen (@runnerjen521) April 17, 2013
Maternity clothes have come a long way — even in the past 7 years since my first pregnancy. I mean they sell long pants now – do you know how life changing that is? Having a baby bump is very fashionable these days, apparently. But, this doesn’t mean stores still aren’t selling tent clothing. AVOID THE TENTS.
There is no reason to look twice as pregnant as you are. Excuse my obnoxious humblebrag, but I have received a lot of compliments about “looking great.” I can tell you for sure that I do not always feel great. Most of the time I feel like a big old blob, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to hide in big baggy clothes. In fact, I feel surprisingly feel best in the tighter clothes. Like this dress ($9):
And this dress (also $9).
And these shirts ($8 and $5).
The verdict is in, I take waaaaay too many pictures of myself.
You’ve got to accentuate the positives (I’m talking about the girls here too)!!
Over the years I have accumulated a large stash of maternity clothes and the ones I go back to again and again are the ones that actually make me look pregnant and fit properly– not like I just ate a gigantic sandwich or are showing my hoo-hah to the rest of the world (FYI: there comes a point where dresses don’t work unless they are long or fitted). Don’t forget the importance of a good fitting bra. It doesn’t have to be expensive (I get mine at Target for $10), but it needs to lift those ladies up. If they are bigger (and chances are they are!) – enjoy it and show them off. Believe me, they aren’t going to look the same after you pop out the kid (even if you don’t breastfeed <–sorry to break it to you).
A few people have asked where I’ve gotten my clothes and I doubt you will be surprised…. My go tos are Target, Old Navy, Gap, and Motherhood Maternity (in that order). I also borrow clothes from friends. I don’t spend a lot of them. In fact, I refuse to pay full price for anything maternity. I don’t have fanci designer jeans. I actually probably don’t have anything that costs more than $35. The key is shopping the sales and having a Gap credit card (it’s the only retail card I own and it’s worth it for maternity and kids clothes alone!).
3. Eat in moderation, and don’t be afraid to indulge.
I love eating. I don’t post a lot about food on here (and that’s not changing any time soon) – mainly because I don’t generally think that much about what I eat. I think I eat fairly healthy. I try to focus on whole foods, good fats, high fiber, and lots of fruits/veggies. This works for me and it’s what I crave. However, I am not going to pretend I didn’t eat 3 slices of pizza for dinner on Monday. Or eat a pan of coffee cake throughout the week. I just try to balance it out, not make it about binging, and just enjoy splurging.
I don’t know a lot of people who consider pregnancy an excuse to hit the buffet 24/7 — but I do know a few. I also know people who get so caught up in gaining weight that it really sucks the joy out of their whole pregnancy.
I think, with all things related to food, you really have to find a happy medium. Eat when you’re hungry. Give in to cravings, but don’t overindulge. Drink a lot of water. I think the biggest thing is…Don’t focus on weight gain as much as focusing on WHAT you’re eating.
You still might gain 40+ pounds – but will you feel guilty about it? Probably not – and will you eventually lose it? Yep.
Oh and also? Drink a glass of wine or beer every now and then (if you’re into that sort of thing). Don’t chug it. Sip it and savor it.
4. Enjoy it.
@crzyrunninglegs Get pedicures. Often. When I was so huge and miserable, weekly pedicures were my only joy, even as my feet swelled 3 sizes
— Jackie Jovi (@momjoviblog) April 18, 2013
Pregnancy has it’s ups and down. Not everyone loves it. I don’t even love it ALL the time. I mean, have I mentioned that I miss wine? But it can also be a really exciting time and you should just go with it.
People are nicer to you. People hold the door open for you and ask you how you are feeling. You are supposed to gain (a reasonable amount of ) weight. As Jackie tweeted – you have an excuse to get frequent pedicures. I mean, really what’s not to love? If you look past the swelling, the super senses (seriously you can smell everything), the veins, the stretch marks, and the morning sickness (that lasts all day and sometimes come back at the end of pregnancy) — it’s really a great time. I know I’m selling it aren’t I? But seriously, it’s a period of time you experience very few times in your life (unless you are a Duggar) and in the grand scheme of things it’s a very, very short period of time. Try to make the most of it because I bet you $100 that even if you hate it, you’ll look at a pregnant woman a year after you give birth and you’ll miss that damn belly.
5. Blame EVERYTHING on hormones.
I mean EVERYTHING.
6. Have the baby.
@crzyrunninglegs have the fucking baby
— Kara Kramer (@Kara975) April 17, 2013
Obviously, I’m still working on this one, but really the best way to enjoy your pregnancy is to do everything you can and then finally admit it’s time to pop it out into the world. There’s a lot of fear in labor and delivery – but you know what? It’s ONE DAY. Don’t spend you whole pregnancy freaking out over one day. Think about the birth you might want to experience and then come up with at least 15 backup plans. At least ONE of them is going to work. And then you’ll experience one of the best moments ever in your whole life. Seriously. Whatever you’re fearing? It’s worth it.
Your turn — how did you make the best of your pregnancy?? Any tips you want to share?