Myth: When you become pregnant, you need only hide your tummy.
Truth: There are a lot of things to consider. You’re married for a while and you start to notice that you’re not feeling well. You have no appetite, among other things. So you go to your doctor and you get the good news: you’re pregnant! Wonderful, but what do you do now?
From me, you get the truth.
Yes, I’ll be teaching you what to wear and how to look your best while pregnant and post-partum, but the first and most important thing is to be healthy. The healthier you are, the easier it is to look great.
Find a good caregiver. This could be an obstetrician, a nurse, or a midwife. Whoever you choose, make sure that the person is well-trained and well-educated, but who will also work well with you, answer your questions, and address your concerns. Pregnant or not, your first resource for any medical information should be a medical professional.
Do research. A good caregiver will point you in the right direction for your own research. He/she will recommend books and websites where you can learn more about pregnancy and childbirth. You can also talk to other mothers and learn about their birth experiences and what they have to share. Just be aware that every mother’s experience is different, and while your friend might have her pregnancy go one way, another friend might have hers go in a different way.
Your mother and mother-in-law are good resources too, but remember that they gave birth in a different time with different technology and different techniques. My mother had a procedure done that was routine in her time and she was shocked to hear that my doctors don’t do it (I didn’t need it). However, it’s still good to hear about their experiences and you might learn something good.
Every decision you make for yourself and the baby needs to be an informed decision, so it’s good to know as much as possible about what to expect.
Eat right. You are “eating for two,” but this doesn’t mean that you simply eat double. You do need to eat more and gain weight as appropriate. It’s best if you stick with real, healthful food and just add more to your everyday diet. And if you get a craving for a real food, listen to your body and eat it. Cravings come because your body wants a nutrient, so give yourself that nutrient. The crazy cravings that are seen on TV, such as pickles with ice cream, do happen in real life, but they’re rare. It’s more common to crave one food at a time. If you crave junk food, ask yourself what nutrient you may be craving and work from there. But don’t deprive yourself entirely. A tiny bit of junk here and there as a treat will not hurt.
In the first trimester you may have morning sickness. According to my doctor, that happens when your blood sugar drops. Since you’ve been sleeping at night and not eating, you’re most likely to have the nausea in the morning, hence the term “morning sickness.” The easiest way to deal with the nausea is to eat and drink. And the good news is that mild-to-moderate morning sickness is a good sign that the pregnancy is going well.
Exercise. Unless you have a condition that doesn’t allow for it, mild-to-moderate exercise is good for you and for the baby. It keeps you both healthy and gives you more energy and stamina. I loved yoga and I still do, but you might prefer walking or low-impact aerobics or something else that works. There are medical journals that say that exercise helps reduce the risks of complications during pregnancy and birth. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
Don’t neglect basic grooming. I know that you’re tired and nauseated and you’re going to the bathroom every two minutes, but you still need to take care of yourself. Make sure you brush your teeth, wash your face, and apply lip balm and light moisturizer with sunscreen each morning. Before bedtime, remove any makeup, brush your teeth, wash your face, apply lip balm and eye cream and any other lotions and potions that you need. Don’t forget to make time to shower and take care of your hair. If you wear your hair in its natural state, it’s so much easier.
As I said before, the healthier you are, the easier it is to look great. When you’re pregnant, you deserve to look great just as much as you do otherwise.
To be continued…