5 Essential First-time Mom Tips for Pregnancy
Congratulations! Can you believe it? You’re going to be a mom! For first-time parents (and seasoned parents), you’re likely experiencing a mix of emotions right now – both happy and overwhelmed. There is a lot that goes into preparing for your newborn and going through pregnancy.
Throughout this journey, you will find yourself constantly searching for ways to be better equipped for this next step. This process, while not meant to feel stressful, can often leave women feeling underprepared. The decisions made throughout pregnancy are vast. Our pro-tip is to take a step back and remember that however you prepare, your little one will be in great hands because they have you.
We want to make your life easier by providing you with the need-to-know on all things first-time parenting, with special attention to the time leading up to birth. To ease your way into parenthood, we’ve put together a starter guide that you can easily follow to get a jumpstart.
#1: Be Gentle On Your Body
This is a big one, and something to celebrate! Your body is going to change (yes, you’re growing a mini human inside of you). It’s important to be gentle on your body and remind yourself that during this time of growth your body is doing amazing things.
Here are a few things that will happen to your body that may take some adjustment:
On average, the CDC says that women who are a normal weight pre-pregnancy can expect to gain about 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. No two pregnancies are alike, as each woman is very different, so you may experience something slightly different.
As your stomach grows, your ability to move around as easily may start to differ as well. Picture this: a pregnant woman enjoying her favorite TV drama on the couch with a snack. It’s not uncommon to see women setting a plate on their new tummy – it’s much comfier and easier to access than leaning over to a coffee table each time you want to grab another grape or piece of cheese.
Aches and Pains
You knew this one was coming. Between morning sickness and added stress on the body from weight gain, you will start to feel it. Small body aches or joint pain are common, especially with less movement. It’s important to rest during times of pain and get some movement when you’re feeling good!
Ultimately, it’s important to give your body the time it needs to heal from its changing state. Each woman is unique, be body positive and remember not to compare yourself to others.
#2: Create a Sustainable Exercise and Nutrition Plan
Now that we’ve tackled how to relax, let’s get into what you should be doing when not resting. Focusing on your health is critical during pregnancy. We aren’t suggesting you join a gym and start training for a marathon, but daily walks, yoga, and light dumbbell weight lifting can all contribute positively to an easier and healthier pregnancy journey.
Movement matters! Mayo Clinic suggests, “for most pregnant women, at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is recommended on most, if not all, days of the week.” Walking around the neighborhood, or even inside your own house, is a great way to meet that goal. High-intensity exercises are to be generally avoided, but listen to your own body.
Like anyone, pregnant or not, a balanced diet is critical to your health. The difference this time is you are responsible for not only nourishing your own body, but helping to grow a newborn as well. For some, the word diet can feel overwhelming and bring about negative connotations. We are merely suggesting that you incorporate vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, and proteins into your meals.
Now that you know what to eat, the question is – what should you avoid? There are some general guidelines on foods to avoid during pregnancy, many of which tend to be things we enjoy in our everyday lives.
Here are the top 8 foods to avoid when pregnant:
- Seafood High in Mercury
- Raw Seafood
- Raw/Undercooked Meat, Poultry, and Eggs
- Unpasteurized Foods
- Unwashed Produce
- Excess Caffeine
- Processed Foods
In addition to these, it is also important to avoid certain additives like nitrates. These can be found in processed meats, like hotdogs, bacon, and deli meat. Sodium nitrates are linked to some potentially harmful health effects and are to be avoided, or limited, during pregnancy.
After nailing down your nutritious food choices, it’s also important to remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is the key to staying healthy. It helps “regulate body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, prevents infections, delivers nutrients to cells, and keeps organs functioning properly,” according to Harvard University research.
#3: Understand the Birth Process and Make a Birth Plan
Knowing what to expect when it comes time to deliver your baby is so important. By being prepared, your mind has a real-life expectation of what will occur, rather than having to worry about how this process will work. For many women, their only knowledge of delivery is information they’ve heard from family and friends or what they have seen on TV. Next time you find yourself with your OBGYN or roaming through a bookstore, don’t be afraid to familiarize yourself.
As you will come to find out, each woman’s birth process is different. This is why it’s important to know the basics rather than take only the experiences of those closest to you as fact.
Some important information to consider is:
- How you plan to give birth
- Whether or not you would like pain medication
- What you may want or need during labor
It’s no surprise that as much as you plan for events like this, there is always a chance that your plan will be derailed. Babies love to move around, requiring some women to have an urgent C-section rather than a traditional vaginal birth. We recommend you make yourself aware of both options, just in case you find yourself switching last minute. You’ll feel a sense of relief knowing what this means and what will happen next.
Most people know that baby’s umbilical cords are cut after birth, but did you know that delayed cord clamping and cord blood banking are two options available alongside that process? Many families are unaware of the benefits to cord blood banking and the life-saving ability that your child’s stem cells can have in the future. This is just one example of the depth to being prepared for delivery and why you need a plan going in!
Other factors to consider:
- What should you pack in your hospital bag?
- Where will you give birth?
- Who do you want present?
#4: Take Your Questions To Your Doctor, Not Google or TikTok
Google has a lot of information to offer, that’s how you likely found this article, however not all information is good information. Pregnancy is a vast subject, with thousands of articles, books, videos, and subject matter experts. With social media at an all time high, and TikTok being the clear leader in that race, there has been an unimaginable amount of new content created to help guide women through the pregnancy process. In recent studies, it has been found that the younger generation is now not only using TikTok as a form of entertainment, but also as a search engine. More and more people are typing their questions into search bars on social media and Google than ever before.
While this makes sense, it’s important to remember that the credibility of information is not always guaranteed. If you have questions about your body, health, pregnancy journey, or general birth process, it’s best to talk with your doctor. They are the most qualified people to guide you through this process and will ensure you receive the best care.
So when should you look at social media content or content found through Google? This information has its place and can certainly be invaluable to you throughout this time.
Here are a few things that you may find helpful:
- Parenting tips for first-time parents.
- Best breastfeeding equipment.
- What to pack in the hospital bag?
- Pets and babies, how will they interact?
#5: Start Baby Shopping
You made it to the fun part! A baby on the way means an endless amount of new items to enter your home. From strollers and car seats, to cribs and blankets, you have a whole new world of items to consider. This can be extremely overwhelming, but also one of the more exciting parts of pregnancy. Once you do research on what is the best room humidifier, baby bathtub, and pacifier, you’ll be one step closer to the shopping experience.
The hardest part of baby shopping is the research process. With so many companies creating the same type of products, it can be hard to weed through the quality of each. This is a great opportunity to talk with friends, family, or colleagues and see what they have used. Use product reviews to your advantage – you can learn so much about a company or product from reading what others experienced. Take this shopping period in strides, you’ll need a lot (and it can add up)!
Be gentle on yourself, come up with a plan for staying healthy, start to become familiar with the birth process, make sure your doctor hears ALL of your questions, start baby shopping, and most importantly, enjoy the journey! In the end, it’s all worth it.
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