How To: Get Through a Pregnancy

Get Through a Pregnancy

I am writing this to first pregnant moms. I am 25 weeks along and I have some advice as to getting through an uncomfortable pregnancy.

Step 1: Sleep

I am 25 weeks along with my first baby and the biggest thing that I have learned in order to have an easier pregnancy is to sleep. In the next pregnancy's I will not have the same luxury and so I am taking advantage of that right now. I sleep whenever I am tired. Some women can't do that because of work and other activities, but they need to find time to sleep. Throughout the pregnancy, sleeping gets more and more difficult (yes, I know it will get worse). I can certainly feel the difference from 8 hours of sleep to 10 hours of sleep. Before I was pregnant I could be effective on 4 hours of sleep, but that certainly changed when I got pregnant. Find the amount of sleep that works best for you and make sure you find time to get that right amount. Don't be afraid to take a nap if you have time. It will make you happier and healthier.

Step 2: Invest in a Body Pillow

I am so glad that my husband had this idea during the beginning of my pregnancy. He started noticing that I was putting my leg on him while I slept. He noticed that I had to cuddle with him to get to sleep (not just because I wanted to snuggle, but due to pure comfort) He suggested a body pillow (so that both of us would be more comfortable). It was genius! I put the pillow between my legs each night and this reduces the cramps and pains I have when I wake up. I can feel the difference between the nights that I sleep with it and I don't. If the pillow falls off I wake up with cramps, nausea and even gas. I have gotten really good at keeping it in the right position.

Step 3: Don't Forget Your Husband

Both men and women know the contribution that men make in the "making of a human." Jim Gaffigan has a comedic take on men's contribution. Watch it on YouTube.

However, as women we shouldn't use that against men. It's not like they chose to only be the sperm donor. If you really feel like your husband (or significant other) is not participating enough then you should talk to him! He wants to make your life easier and he wants to help in anyway possible, because he is aware of your dominant contribution to making his child. Don't forget to talk to your husband and to make him feel included (if he wants to). The baby may be inside you, but it's his baby too and he wants to feel as if he is part of the decision making. He might not care, and you might be able to make all the decisions anyways. He just wants to feel as if he does have a say your his child's life.

Step 4: Keep Having Sex

There are times in pregnancy where you are not supposed to have sex. Talk to your OBGYN, or mid-wife to discuss whether or not you are able to have sex during your pregnancy. Your relationship is very important during pregnancy. You are very emotional and hormonal and you NEED to avoid as much drama and conflict. As for me, I am not very rational sometimes, so if I do get in an argument with my husband...well I just don't make any sense. You can't argue while you're naked ;) Your husband feels more connected with you during physical intimacy and so that's not something you should give up. If you're having problems "getting into the mode" you should consider doing things that make you feel beautiful. Do your hair, buy a new outfit or even wear some sexy lingerie. Don't be insecure...your husband thinks you are gorgeous!!

Step 5: Tylenol, Zofran and Tums

There is very little that can be taken while pregnant, but the things that you CAN will!! I was sick until about 21 weeks. I lucked out in comparison to some women who are sick their entire pregnancy. The only way that I could get through the day was Zofran (it's an anti-nausea prescription). Ask you doctor! Even on this wonderful stuff I still threw up about once a day, but that's better than the 3-4 times a day which was my original amount. In my next pregnancy I will get on Zofran RIGHT when I find out that I am pregnant.

Tylenol is for the cramps. Tylenol is one of the only pain medications that can be taken over the counter during pregnancy. I have to have Tylenol before I go to sleep, when I walk too much, and after sex. I use it to get more comfortable. I also have to take it when my hips are burning from the stretching. If I wait too long to take Tylenol, the cramps turn into nausea.

Tums are amazing if you deal with heartburn. If you start feeling tightness in your chest (as if somebody put their fist in your chest) that is acid-reflux and you might want to try something that is stronger (pepcid) which is also safe during pregnancy.

Step 6: Don't Get Overwhelmed; Make a List

I had a panic attack last night, because I was thinking about all of the things that I had to do between now and my due date (3 months away). My husband says that we have time, but as a woman I am trying to begin nesting! I am trying to clean out the storage, clean our closets, open our room up so when can put a crib in there. When I was thinking about doing everything AND being a full time graduate student I had a minor panic attack. My husband said "take one day at a time." I realized that he was right! If I think about everything I need to do in three months OF COURSE that is going to seem like a lot. I made a list of everything I needed to do before baby comes and then separated them into months. I also made a list of everything that I needed to buy for my baby (if I don't get those things from my baby shower). I realized I am going to have to make goals for each day to get through this with as little as stress as possible.

Step 7: Don't Think the Worst if You Spot

I have spotted twice during my pregnancy and BOTH times my mind went to the worst thing possible. I was certain that I was going to lose my son. The spotting wasn't even bad, it just was a little pink on the toilet paper. It turns out that both spotting was due to stress as well as a Urinary Tract Infection. I know it's easy to freak out, but that won't solve anything. Call your doctor immediately and they will get you in as quickly as possible to assess the situation. However, if you are bleeding a lot, or more than just spotting, go to the emergency room.

Step 8: Don't Try to Be Superwoman

I know this is something that I have dealt with. I want to be the best wife and the best mother possible. My definition of "best wife" is to do all of the shopping, clean the house, do the laundry, be great in bed, make dinner, have a full time job, be enrolled in full time graduate school as well as prepare everything for baby. I shortly realized that I couldn't do it all. I started crying one day after coming home from work, because I didn't do the laundry that morning, I had no time to make dinner and I still had about three hours of homework left. My husband told me that there is a reason why he is there. He doesn't expect me to do everything. And he was right. I realized that we didn't need the extra money as much as I had thought and we talked and found out that school was more important to both of us. Sit down with your husband and divide the chores. Tell him that whoever makes dinner doesn't have to do dishes. Or, whoever put the clothes in the washer and changes them into the dryer doesn't have to fold them. Explain to your husband you wish you could do everything, but you can't do everything and remain stress free for your child.

Step 9: Go on a Trip Away Together

I knew that it was very important for me to have a trip where I could get away before my third trimester and after my first trimester. I was too sick my first trimester to do anything and it's not safe to travel and leave your home when you are in your third trimester. Sit down with your significant other and plan out a vacation you are going to take. It doesn't have to be extravagant, or expensive. My husband and I decided to rent a hotel and stay at the beach for two nights. We had so much fun, just us two. It was good to be able to not have any responsibilities for those few days. My husband and I won't be going away just us two for a very long time. We wanted to take advantage of the freedom.

Step 10: Remember Your Husband Thinks You're Beautiful

I look in the mirror and I am not happy. I never thought I would be self-conscious during pregnancy. Whenever women would say "I am so fat" I would think "uh, of course, you are pregnant." But, I catch myself still standing on the scale and still being very conscious about what I look like. My husband always told me that I had a hot body and now I just am lumpy and large. Remember that you won't always be pregnant and you will get your body back. Remember that you have to look the way you do to be healthy for your child. I know that I am eating healthy and doing what I can to maintain a healthy body weight. Your husband doesn't expect you to still have that hot and sexy body. He views your body in a whole new light, but he finds you more beautiful than ever. My husband always tells me that I have a glow and that I am the most beautiful pregnant woman ever. If you are feeling insecure, don't be afraid to explain your feelings with your partner.

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