Finding out you’re expecting is wonderful, but not all women love being pregnant. If you’ve had a baby before, perhaps you’re already dreading those aches, pains and inconveniences you know are coming, not to mention the changes you’ll have to make to your lifestyle. You might even experience depression, anxiety, or residual trauma from a previous pregnancy that makes it difficult for you to enjoy the experience.
Pregnancy is a magical time, but expecting yourself to enjoy every minute is unrealistic. Instead, you should try to accept the highs and lows of becoming a mom, while focusing on the positives as much as you can. This is easier said than done, however, so here are ten easy tips to help you make the best of the next nine months.
Pregnancy scans can be so magical that they make the other uncomfortable symptoms worthwhile. However, you’ll often go months between visits to your OBGYN so you might want to stay informed in the meantime. Not only will doing this help decrease anxiety about what’s going on in your body, but it will also give you something fun to share with your partner or loved ones about your baby’s development. You can calculate pregnancy weeks to find out about your baby’s growth, well as the symptoms to expect at each stage.
Embrace Your Heightened Senses
Hormone changes in pregnancy mean all your senses will be heightened, especially in the first trimester. It is this reason why some pregnant women find they can’t stand certain smells or that they feel suddenly repulsed by foods they used to love. While this symptom can annoying, it can also help you appreciate the colors, scents and visual wonders of your environment. Take a walk through a sunny meadow, or stop to smell the freshly cut grass. When you’re at home, try to make your surroundings as pleasant and relaxing as possible, perhaps by burning candles, infusing essential oils or leaving your back door open to let in the scents of the garden.
Reduce the Pressure
Nesting is a typical side effect of pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard. For the first few months of your baby’s life, he or she will need very little, so try to give yourself a break. Being organized is one thing, but you can’t (and won’t) have everything worked out before the baby comes, so don’t put undue pressure on yourself. It’s much more important that you get the rest you need and you prepare emotionally for the new arrival.
Let Go of Guilt
You are growing a baby, so you should not feel guilty about putting yourself first. Nap when you need to nap, and if you have to go home early from work, don’t feel guilty about it. Ask your partner if you need extra support during your pregnancy, as you may need someone to help you with cooking and housework for a while. Before you know it, this time will be over, and you’ll be dealing with the demands of a newborn, so make the most of any time you get to take care of yourself without feeling guilty.
Get a Massage
Massage can help ease the pains and discomforts of pregnancy, so why not book yourself in for regular sessions? If you can’t afford a professional massage, ask your partner to do it for you. Simple acts of self-care will go a long way toward helping you relax and ease symptoms of stress and anxiety.
You don’t have to be a meditation guru to give hypnobirthing a try, and no one’s saying you have to go all-natural when it comes to labor day. However, the relaxation tips and breathing techniques you learn from the practice can help you frame the birth in a positive light and feel more in control. Head to a hypnobirthing class or use a CD or app at home.
Make New Friends
Being pregnant automatically creates common ground between you and other moms, so use this opportunity to make some new friends. These days, there are plenty of apps you can download to help you reach moms in your area, or else you can attend pre-natal classes. Not only will you feel less lonely in your journey into motherhood, but you could also make some new friends for life.
Bond With Your Partner
Being pregnant can make you feel incredibly vulnerable, plus the many hormonal and emotional changes you’re experiencing could make you more sensitive. Instead of seeing this is a negative side effect of pregnancy, why not view the positives? Now is the perfect time to bond with your partner and share your anxieties. Commit to regular date nights and try to take a trip together before the baby arrives, as the closer you are now, the easier it will be to support each other when you have a newborn to look after.
Eating well and staying physically active in pregnancy will help both you and your baby stay healthy and increase your chances of a straightforward birth. Pregnancy is a great time to make healthy changes, if not for yourself then for your growing baby. Research healthy recipes and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Treat yourself to a smoothie maker and use it to get your five-a-day. Gentle exercises like yoga or Pilates are perfect for expectant moms, so take this opportunity to learn a new activity.
Ditch the Scales
Although doctors give rough guidelines for ideal pregnancy weight gain, every woman is different, and now is not the time to obsess over the number on the scales. Most of what you gain will come off after you give birth, and as long as you eat well and stay active, you will lose the rest gradually. If you’re worried about gaining too much weight, talk to your doctor about ways to keep your health in check. Otherwise, you should try to take the pressure off and focus on how you feel instead of how you look.