a complimentary guide to the perfect pregnancy
OK, maybe not the perfect pregnancy. But better? Yah, better. Better works.
After having Claire and Luca, I have realized that there is a way to have a much more pleasant go around with having babies. I’m still kind of mad at myself that it took me until pregnancy number 3 to figure it out, but hey, at least I did, right?
Take it from me. I’ve been preptually pregnant or nursing for the past 4 years. I’ll step on the elevator at work and I’ll see someone whom I see fairly seldom and they’ll say to me, “Weren’t you just pregnant?” or “Didn’t you have that baby yet?” or my very favorite, “I’ve been in outpatient for 2 years. You still haven’t had that baby yet?”
So here you go. Here’s what I’ve learned so you can, too!
1. Not stretching is just plain dumb.
Yup. That’s right. Not limbering yourself up is a bad, bad mistake. I made this with Claire and had constant back pain. And it wasn’t low back pain, it was the between-the-shoulders-I-want-to-rip-off-my-back back pain. And the worst part is, is that it seems next to impossible to stretch it out.
Ha. I was SO wrong.
Remedy: By grabbing onto a pole or door frame or something you can get a good grip on, you’re going to make yourself look like a > sign. You’ll feel the tugging right between your shoulder blades. Oh yah. It feels good.
2. Constipation is inevitable.
Yes. I went there. I said constipation. I’m a nurse for crying out loud. I use words like this on a daily basis. And people feel comfortable telling me if they are or not. So I went there.
It happens. Imagine having something the weight and size of a bowling ball pressing on all your organs and tell me if YOU can poop. It ain’t happening.
My issue was that I’d let it get to the point of making me ridiculously uncomfortable that I’d feel short of breath and have rib pain from the pressure. (I’m talking when I was in my third trimester. Prior to that it was just bloating. Yuck all the same.) It’s uncomfortable!
Remedy: Colace, probiotics and the amazingly, mind blowing downward-facing dog.
I take a probiotic daily. Trust me, it works. Colace is also your friend. For real.
But the real magic is some yoga. It gets that baby off your organs, lets some stuff move past and makes your hamstrings feel pretty darn good. If you’re unfamiliar, partake in this photo:
3. Belly bands. They’re more than Spanx for pregnancy.
Bella Bands. They are amazing. I didn’t use these for either previous pregnancies. I decided this time I’d give it a try since I work out so often. I figured I’d need the belly support. Not only did it help my belly, but it saved my lower back on my 12 hour work shifts.
They are convenient if you aren’t ready to go into maternity pants, too. You just leave your button unbuttoned and put the spandex over top. Nice and easy.
But if you want some serious support, I highly recommend this belly band. It’s got some serious back and lower belly support. (I recommend getting it in the true size you were. I got the 6/8 and it fits perfectly.) I use it every day I exercise, and up until about a month ago, I was still able to run without my back feeling like it was going to break in half. (I had to stop running because I’d get about a mile and then I’d almost pee myself.)
With Claire I was all, “Meh! I’ll do squats and stuff. I’m sooo in shape!”
With Luca I was more like, “Yay Denise Austin for preggo maternity video! I love the cheesiness!”
This time I’m so, “Gym! I love the gym! I love to move! I love to sweat!!”
Why the change? Well, Claire’s pregnancy was OK. Luca’s was a vast improvement and this time I sometimes forget that I’m pregnant. And I seriously attest this to regular exercise.
Pros: I sleep at night. Instead of my ass growing, it’s actually getting more toned. Yay! I have more energy. I’m less constipated. I feel amazing. I’ll lose my baby weight a trillion times faster than before. I’ll be ready for the Marathon Relay team in May. I’m totally the captain because Matt said so. Did I mention I feel amazing? I do.
Cons: The kids catch random germs and nastiness from the other kids at the gym day care.
It’s all good. I’m just building up their immune systems.
While I know most OBs will tell you, “Don’t start running if you didn’t already before you were pregnant.” And it’s SO true. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a bump on the log because you weren’t once an exercise Nazi. Yes, while I’m able (and allowed!) to exercise a bit more aggressively than other pregnant people, it’s only because I’ve been going to the gym before I was pregnant. I also know my limits very well.
However, with Luca, I got a great DVD that was just enough that made me feel good, just not overly challenged. I recommend doing it. Why suffer?
5. Sleep is good. And you really can put it into a savings bank.
When I was pregnant with Claire, I thought to myself: SLEEP! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SLEEP NOW!!! And I did. And when she was born, I wasn’t super sleep deprived as I should have been.
With Luca, I didn’t sleep much. I wanted to stay up until 11 because I could. When he was born, I hated myself.
You really can prepare yourself for months of sleep deprivation by banking your sleep. Seriously. It didn’t matter that I was up every 2-3 hours with Claire for the first 5 (yes I said 5) months. I was still much more alert and happy than I was with Luca. I was exhausted. And he even slept better.
So bank that sleep.
6. It’s OK to talk about it.
I was SO scared to talk to Matt or anyone about how I felt about becoming a Mom. And wasn’t I pleasantly surprised at how easily I took to it? I figured, I was smart to keep my silly insecurities to myself.
Then came Luca. And the PPD. And again, I didn’t talk about it until I was a pathetic piece of Mommy staring at the wall and flipping out at the most random things.
If I had taken the time to talk to Matt or ANYONE about what I was feeling, perhaps then I would have been able to cope a bit easier with the coming changes. Just a hunch. I’m not saying that my PPD wouldn’t have happened, because it probably would have, I’m saying that I would have seen the signs much earlier and would have sought help sooner.
And as silly as the thoughts and feelings are that went through my head, nothing can compare with the thoughts and feelings that went through my head after I was too far gone. And those silly thoughts were pretty normal, too.
Will it hurt?
Am I going to break the baby?
How will I know if the baby’s hungry? Or just dirty? Or gassy? Or just mad at me?
Will my belly ever not be like a belly of jelly again?
The answers? Yes. No. You just do. And if you work at it, you’ll be hot once more.
So. Ladies and Gents, that’s my take on the perfect pregnancy. Or at least what I’ve learned and why this one is flipping fantastic. While it’s only 9 months, it’s still a long ass time of giving up your body and all that goes with it. And if you breast feed, well, there goes another year or so of giving up your body. It’s enough to make a crazy person sane.
Like I said – I’ve been preptually pregnant or nursing for the past 4 years. Really.