I am seven months pregnant with my first baby. This is the first time I’ve been pregnant and I’ll be 34 when I have this kid. I’m happy to be older having a baby because I’ve had a chance to do many things and grow stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. I think these things have an influence on how my pregnancy has gone so far as I would say I haven’t had a super hard time in my pregnancy so far and I’m almost at the end. I didn’t get the crazy morning sickness, no swelling, no excessive weight gain or gestational diabetes and I’m planning on a natural birth. I tried thinking of the reasons my pregnancy has been so easy compared to other experiences, and I can’t help but think it’s been due to a few key reasons that I’ll list below.
Here are my tips for an easier pregnancy:
1. Do Yoga & Exercise
If you are pregnant, start doing it and even better yet, if you aren’t pregnant, start doing it. Yoga is one of the best tools you can equip yourself with. You will learn postures to alleviate pain, calm your mind, and prepare your body for all the changes it will go through during pregnancy, from back pain, stretching ligaments, or just plain calming that monkey mind. Yoga is key! You have to do it and start it as early as possible. If you don’t do yoga, then walk. Everyday. 30 minutes. Go on Youtube and do a prenatal workout or yoga. You don’t have to go to the gym. You could stay right in your home. Know that if you exercise, you keep energy flowing and condition your body to stay strong. You are going to need to be strong for your childbirth. Don’t be afraid to move your ass. You don’t have to run a marathon but you can’t blob out on the couch everyday. Baby needs oxygen and endorphins too. I would say just chill in the first trimester though as the baby is implanting still and you probably won’t feel so hot because you might be nauseous and tired all the time, but once your little one is firmly secured in your womb and you are feeling better, you are good to go with the moves.
2. Eat plant based and drink a fuck ton of water
I know you have heard this a lot. Eat right. But really. Eating right is going to help you have an easier time in pregnancy because if you eat the right stuff, your body is going to function optimally. It is essential to get your vitamins from green plants. Kale, spinach, collards, all have essential vitamins and minerals and protein. There are so many things that they test you for in pregnancy via your blood and piss. They are looking for high sugar levels and gestational diabetes, protein in your urine, utis, you name it. Eating plant based and drinking tons of water is going to help you avoid bloating, heartburn, preeclampsia, swollen limbs, and give the baby optimal nutrients.
Yea, you need extra protein but you can get protein from sources other than meat because if you eat too much meat, you will probably be filled with salt and fat and this could make you bloat and swell. Eat the plants first. Have a bit of meat and dairy if you need it and avoid processed sugar. Have some control. This is a chance to strengthen your mind muscles that you are going to need in labor and as a parent in general. You don’t have to give in to cravings and if you have cravings, it probably means something is out of balance in your body. Yea, drink a fuck ton of water. The baby needs it. You need it. Don’t play with your water intake. Drink at least 3 liters a day. This helps with hydration of course but also peeing a lot means that you are keeping your urinary tract clean and you will get less cramping and Braxton hicks if you are well hydrated.
3. Talk about it
You are going to have tons of emotions and thoughts as a pregnant person. Sometimes people don’t always want to hear you and your long list of worries because they don’t have time. It’s important to express yourself even if you don’t always have someone to talk to and you can do this in a number of ways–a personal pregnancy journal or vlog, or join a mom online group like “Momlife” or an actual support group where you can meet other mommies to be. Prenatal yoga or exercise classes are a great place to meet new mamas. You will also meet them in your prenatal birth classes and such. It’s also very important to make time to talk with your partner about everything under the sun. You guys need to get on the same page about this pregnancy and squash as much drama as you can to get closer. Believe me, my partner and I are not perfection, but we take the time to talk about our concerns and issues. It’ll bring you closer. Don’t be afraid to open up, otherwise it’ll be another thing you are holding onto that could make your pregnancy and birth tough. Let it go. Talk it out.
4. Hole Up
This is a tip about getting close to your partner and establishing your family unit. Sure, you are part of a bigger family, but really you are starting your own colony here. You and your partner. That’s it. That means that you don’t have to do things the way others did or listen to other people who think they know what’s best for you. Only you and your partner know what’s best for you. Getting solid with your partner is key. Sometimes staying away from others and their opinions and energies is the best way to do this. It doesn’t have to be lonely because not all solitude need be lonely. You and your partner need to hole up and get close. If not now then when? Eventually you will come out of this hole and be joined with family and friends and this little baby who will always be a part of you two. So, it’s important to be alone, love the quiet, get close, be a team. Remember the sacred act of lovemaking that created this life. Only you and another made this happen. Not his/her mom or his/her friends. Just you two.
5. Be Positive
There is a lot of fear mongering around pregnancy and childbirth. People love to tell you all sorts of shit that goes wrong or complications people have and what you need to do. Honestly, all you need to do is have a plan in your mind and heart for what you want, and hold strong to that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tuned out people when they start talking about things that aren’t completely positive and uplifting. You don’t need to listen to people who tell you “how it is” and assume that’s how it’s going to be for you. They don’t know. Chances are what your mind is thinking of will happen. If you mind is worried about this or that always, chances are that thing you fear the most is going to happen. Don’t let outside forces control your pregnancy and birth outcome. Hold strong to what it is you want. You want to feel good in your pregnancy? Tell yourself that you are strong and born for this. You want to believe that everything is fine and well in your world? It is. Hold the positive thoughts and forget about everything else. This is a part of controlling your own experience. People can say what they want. You can too.
6. Get Educated
You just have to. Otherwise you will be at the mercy of people’s past experiences and the over culture’s. Just because your mom and grandma had gestational diabetes and medicated births doesn’t mean you have to!! Education is one way to eliminate fear in pregnancy and childbirth. Read everything that interests you. It’ll help keep your mind from going down the worried paths and help inform you about options for labor, healthy pregnancy, and know that this is something people have been doing for centuries without medical aid and intervention.
Well, I hope this was informative, thought-provoking, helpful, any or all of the above. I am overjoyed to share my experiences with anyone who is going through pregnancy or just wants to come along for the ride. It doesn’t have to be hard. I think being healthy and doing alternative things has a lot to do with how your pregnancy will turn out. I’m not perfect. I’m just a person who likes doing things differently because I don’t agree with societal norms. There are instances where this pays off and in pregnancy, it seems to be one of them.
Books and resources I recommend:
“The Business of being born” documentary
Ina May Gaskin’s “Ina May’s guide to childbirth.”
“The Vaccine book” by Robert W. Sears M.D.
“Husband coached childbirth” by Dr. Robert Bradley
“Dr. Spock’s baby and childcare,” by Benjamin Spock M.D.