Once you decide to get pregnant or are newly pregnant, you may find your time occupied by google searches for mommy blogs and forums, seeking advice wherever possible. You will also find that people will likely give you unsolicited advice, and you will hear a million different things from different people. Try to trust your body and your partner throughout the process. Most likely your body will not have gone through such a dramatic transformation since puberty and you will constantly be wondering, is this normal?? I learned quite a few things from my pregnancy that I would like to share. A lot of this may be obvious but here goes...
1. You might be really sick in the beginning (duh, right?)... But I'm talking miserable, extreme hangover all the time kind of sick. Of course I had always heard of 'morning sickness' but I was never warned of just how horrible it could be. I vividly remember thinking that I would only have one child because I was surely never going through that hell again. But it does pass... hopefully around week 13.
2. You may feel and look fat before you get 'pregnant cute'.
3. You will pee all the time in the first trimester and the third trimester. That includes in the middle of the night. Oh, and don't be shocked the first time you sneeze and accidentally pee yourself.
4. Second trimester is awesome! You may even feel like you're on a constant high like I did. You have your energy back, you start to show and feel baby move, and you surpass the halfway point.
5. Feeling your baby move inside you is the most incredible feeling in the world. Some people don't like the feeling because it is something they have no control over it, but I loved it.
6. Toward the end, you won't be able to find a comfortable position for very long coupled with peeing 3+ times at night, so you will inevitably be very tired.
7. Heartburn in the third trimester is no joke. Don't eat anything 3 hours before bed or you may be up all night miserable. Drinking cold (dietary) aloe vera gel worked best for me to remedy this.
1. Let me preface this by saying this is just MY personal opinion and of course it is a hot topic but I recommend getting the epidural. There is NO evidence that it is harmful to your baby; new evidence actually suggests women who get epidurals have less postpartum depression. Doctors that I work with actually believe it is safer to get an epidural on the off chance an unexpected operative delivery is needed in a hurry. On average, if it slows down labor it is only by about one hour, but it can actually speed up labor as you are able to relax. It allows you to enjoy the process of labor. Plus, from my experience as a Labor & Delivery RN, patients who don't get epidurals often opt for IV pain medication which IS actually (potentially) harmful to the baby as opposed to the epidural. This is why it always drives me crazy when poorly informed women don't want an epidural but want five doses of Fentanyl through their IV thinking that is better for their baby. If you are going totally naturally for your own personal reasons then by all means go for it. I know women who have had natural labors that would not do it any other way and feel an incredible sense of pride and accomplishment. That is awesome and if that is important to you then you should absolutely go that route. But there is nothing wrong with getting an epidural and your child will not love you any less for it. Unfortunately there aren't any badges of honor for labor.
2. Of course you should talk to your doctor before taking my advice, but I started taking Evening Primrose Oil and Raspberry Leaf Tea at 38 weeks as a recommendation from my acupuncturist. I took 2000mg EPO orally and 1000mg vaginally each day and drank the tea 3 times a day. While it did not induce my labor as some suggest, once I was in actual labor my contractions were very effective on their own. I dilated smoothly without stalling out. I have nothing to compare it to but I attribute some of my easy labor to these natural supplements.
3. Do perineal massage in the weeks prior to labor. I slacked off in this department because it was uncomfortable but the next time around I will be better about it. This helps reduce your risk of tearing or needed an episiotomy.
4. Many hospitals hopefully do this now anyway, but be sure to do skin-to-skin with your baby directly on your chest immediately after birth until after he or she feeds for the first time. Research, both empirical and from my own patient experiences, shows that babies who get immediate skin-to-skin contact with mom have less temperature regulation issues, blood sugar problems, breathing problems, and mom's milk comes in faster.
5. I chose to encapsulate my placenta. I still get razzed about this by coworkers but I am so happy that I did this. With a family history of postpartum depression, I didn't want to take any chances. There are many benefits to placenta encapsulation (I won't go into them all) including aiding in milk supply, hormonal balance, and helping energy levels. I would recommend encapsulation to anyone. This means that my placenta was dried and made into capsules. No, I didn't make a smoothie out of my raw placenta. The pills don't really taste like anything. You start by taking about 12 a day and gradually taper off. I still have leftover pills that I occasionally take when I need a boost in milk supply or am having hormonal energy issues.
Throughout the process of pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period, it is easy to get wrapped up in the negativity... You may feel crappy, look fat, your body is doing things it never has, and you worry you will never be the same. But unless you are planning on having 19+ kids, you will probably only get to experience this time a few times. Attitude is everything. If you maintain an appreciative and positive mindset, you will enjoy your pregnancy. Most importantly, your baby is receiving and experiencing your emotions in some capacity so if not for yourself, be positive for your baby.