10 Steps to a Positively Pleasant Pregnancy
Learn how to make the best of this incredible journey
Enjoy Those Hormones!
Shouldn’t pregnancy be a wonderful adventure—new energy, new motivations, heightened senses, new challenges, and a chance for a little fun? Yet how often do we only hear the negatives of morning sickness, mood swings, and the “of course it’s painful” childbirth? Certainly pregnancy—like any life-altering endeavor—will have its stresses and low spots, but the journey can be full of wonder and joy. Here are some ideas to enhance the adventure.
True, the changing hormones can make you moody, but they also bring about some wonderful changes. You may find your hair and nails grow thicker and stronger. Take advantage of that! Grow out your hair or cut it into a simple, easy-to-care-for cut. Avoid perms and colors, since your hormones may make the chemicals react differently, and the chemicals could be bad for the baby. Avoid any drastically different cut, too, unless you’re sure you’ll love it.
Keep It in Check
Things seem just wrong? It could be your pregnant body is trying to send your brain a message. Check your diet and general health; are you getting moderate exercise, eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, and taking prenatal vitamins?
If everything’s looking fine health-wise, try a little soul searching. Pregnancy is a wonderful time to reassess priorities and make positive changes in your life. “Francine,” who was living in a mouse-infested house with her on-again-off-again lover, unemployed, in debt, and caring for five aggressive dogs, had plenty to be moody about, but never cared enough to make changes. When she found out she was pregnant, however, she had new motivation to get out of debt, end a bad relationship, and move into a clean, healthy home.
This is the time to put your feet up, take those late-afternoon naps, and, yes, even indulge in the occasional guilt-free pickles and ice cream. Go to a day spa and get pampered, or experience a prenatal massage—good for you and Baby!
Don’t feel guilty about accepting help. Take that offered bus seat. Let your husband do those jobs he doesn’t want you doing during pregnancy. Promise yourself to pass on those good deeds to another pregnant woman later.
Satisfy Your Senses
If you’ve ever tried to cook fish while pregnant, you know what enhanced senses can do! Yet those same senses can give you greater awareness of the world and yourself. Mom Ginny Bettendorf says colors were brighter and she felt more connected to people during her pregnancy. Many women will feel more sexual, especially in the second trimester. Enjoy! (And if the drive has waned, enjoy cuddling close with your sweetie.)
Love Your Body
Even if your body more closely resembles National Geographic than nude and pregnant Demi Moore, you can and should enjoy it. Invest in a few quality maternity outfits that suit your coloring and style. Forget the muumuu styles and flaunt that belly with a few tighter outfits, or even a half shirt that shows your belly if that suits your personality. (Stretch marks? Try a temporary tattoo for fun!) Get your spouse or a friend to play photographer and have a photo shoot—indulge in costume changes, creative angles, and new poses; put on a swimsuit and photograph your silhouette; or (if you’re really daring) pose for a few nudes.
Revitalize Your Relationships
Your new (or renewing) role as a mom and your parents’ roles as grandparents give you a means to reconnect or better your relationship. “Sharing the mothering experience brought back memories for my mom and helped me understand what she went through with five kids,” says Kathy Ward, mother of three.
This is also an important time to connect with your spouse, but don’t just spend all your time talking about the baby and parenting issues. Add a little romance, even if it’s just going out for a decaf latte after Lamaze class.
Find Your Sisters
Suddenly, you have something in common with other women you may never have had a chance to meet. Check with your hospital, midwife, online community, or community center for mom groups to find other women to share your experiences, ups and downs, and to tap for advice and support later on.
Don’t forget spiritual support as well. Many women find that the miracle inside them opens them up to a deeper faith. Attend your place of worship, pray, read, and spend some quiet time just open and connected to the Spirit—regardless of your particular religious belief.
Bond with Baby-to-Be
Finally, start a relationship with that beautiful being growing inside you. Taking time to learn how he responds to your voice, music, and even foods can give you insight into his health, temperament, and even personality.
Celebrate the Firsts
Pregnancy is full of awe-inspiring firsts: the first sonogram and hearing the baby’s strong and fast heartbeat; the first kick and that incredible little flutter (oh, and the hiccups!); the first time your partner touches your belly with awe and maybe even sings to the little one he hasn’t even seen yet. And of course, the moment of truth: the sweat, the effort, yes, the pain, then that sound—a tiny squall growing into a howl that seems impossible for someone so small.
As that baby is placed in your arms, you know, up and down, the ride was worth it.
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