When the pregnancy test comes back positive, you’ve begun a life-altering journey. As the baby grows and changes through each stage of pregnancy, you go through changes, too: in your body, emotions, and lifestyle. But when you’re pregnant, everyone from your mother-in-law to strangers on the bus seem super-eager to share totally unasked for advice, opinions, and labor horror stories with you. At some point, you’ll learn how to smile and nod politely while tuning them out. But there are actually are a few tips that pregnant women really do need to hear. While the following advice still isn’t welcome from total strangers, keep these things in mind when you’re expecting:
Not everyone gets morning sickness.
If you are newly pregnant, you may be wondering if you will get to experience the widely-discussed pregnancy phenomenon also known as puking your guts out. The good news? Some pregnant women skip right over the morning sickness and jump right into that second trimester energy spurt. The bad news? The majority of pregnant women will feel some sort of nausea in the first trimester.
If you do get sick, there are ways around it.
A lot of women silently suffer through morning sickness, considering it just a part of pregnancy, but the truth is there are things you can do to help relieve the plight of pregnant puking. One common culprit for morning sickness can actually be your prenatal vitamins: do an experiment by skipping a morning to see if that helps your morning sickness. If you notice a difference, talk to your healthcare provider as he or she may be able to prescribe a different type of vitamin that might not make you so sick. Other tricks of the trade include nibbling on saltines, trying a nausea bracelet, or – if the sickness is very severe – the doctor may even try an anti-nausea medication.
Enjoy this time of preparation
All too soon your pregnancy will be over and you’ll be a new mother, with all the responsibilities of being a mum and a partner! You may have other responsibilities, too, in your professional or personal life. This is a time to concentrate on your couple relationship and the many changes you will be experiencing in the near future.
Pregnancy Is Hard—and it’s OK to Not Love It
People seem to have this urge—nay, need!—to remind pregnant women this is the most beautiful experience imaginable. Bringing life into the world is magnificent, but that doesn’t mean pregnancy is all wonderful. There’s no doubt what’s going on in your body is truly amazing, but it would be nice to get a heads up about just how unpleasant it can actually feel sometimes. Don’t think you’re a terrible mother already because you can’t stand the constant bathroom breaks, aching back muscles, and massive indigestion. Pregnancy is hard on a woman—any woman—and no one really enjoys every minute of it. You can love your unborn baby without loving everything that comes along with growing him for nine months.
Everyone Loathes Stranger Belly Rubs
No, you’re not a horrible person for secretly thinking belly rubbers should keep their hands to themselves! While it’s heartwarming that so many people appreciate the beauty of creating new life, it’s just awkward when people you barely know (or don’t know at all!) get all touchy-feely with your belly.
It’s Totally Normal to Have Issues With Your Pregnant Body
Random people will tell you to embrace your new curves and enjoy the miracle growing inside you—but your old (now-way-too-small) jeans and your scale can make it really difficult to “enjoy,” as can the normal aches and pains that growing a human being means for your body. As your shape changes, you may start to feel a little uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally, which is totally normal. Even if you look great to everyone else, you may just feel a little off. How could you not? You have a human being growing inside your belly. Newsflash: It’s okay to not love your new shape, or the way it’s making you feel.
Know that every woman experiences labor and birth differently.
Every, every woman experiences contractions and pushing completely differently. I have literally seen women cruise into the hospital dilated all the way to 10 without so much as breaking a sweat and watched others writhe in agony when they were barely dilated to 1 cm. Women are built differently and everyone’s pain tolerance is different, plain and simple.
There’s no such thing as “bouncing back” after a baby.
Allow me to expound on this one. It’s my theory that there are two types of women in the world: those who have a baby and have no trouble fitting back into their pre-pregnancy clothes and those who have to work very, very hard at losing the baby weight. And no matter which category you fall into, the truth is, sometimes, your body completely changes after a baby, even if you find yourself back to your pre-baby weight. Your hips may shift, your feet may grow, and overall, you may find that “bouncing back” really means welcoming your new mama body instead.
You’ll Be An Emotional Wreck After Delivery
If there’s one thing you can expect after delivery, it’s an emotional roller coaster ride. Whether it’s postpartum depression, the baby blues, not feeling bonded to your baby right away, or just a few days or weeks of feeling out-of-sorts, post-delivery time is rough on everyone. Your body has gone thorough so much in such a short time and it’s perfectly normal to experience an array of uncontrollable emotions. A heads up about this would be more helpful advice than hearing yet another person tell you that you’re having a girl because they can tell just by looking at you.
Buy yourself same nice maternity clothes.
If you’re anything like me, you hate spending money on a wardrobe that feels like something you will only wear for a few months. But take it from me — invest in a few key maternity pieces that will make you feel great and comfortable. It’s so worth it in the end. You deserve to feel great about yourself during such a major change in your life. And if you play your cards right, you can pick pieces that will help you transition into the post-partum phase as well. Key pieces for any maternity wardrobe include long, stretch tank tops for layering, at least one maxi dress, a nice pair of maternity jeans, and a bigger bra! Which leads me to…
It might be a while before you fit into your “regular” clothes again.
When I had my first baby, I eagerly packed my hospital bag with one of my pre-pregnancy outfits… and quickly got a rude awakening when I couldn’t even pull my pants over my thighs, let alone zip the darn things. My advice? Stick to maternity clothes for your big arrival home. There’s no sugar coating it—getting your pre-pregnancy body back is no easy task for most people. Pregnant women need to be prepared for the hard work that lies ahead. Telling them they’ll bounce right back will only wreak havoc on their self-esteem when they’re three months post-baby and nowhere near ready to slide into those skinny jeans again
Your Belly After Delivery is (Temporarily) Horrifying
While we’re on the topic of post-delivery, here’s a friendly warning that you’ll still look 6 months pregnant in the days after your baby comes out. (Remember Kate Middleton’s postpartum pooch? That’s a best-case scenario.) Your belly, perhaps once bearing actual, visible abdominal muscles, will feel like raw bread dough. Do not make the mistake of packing non-maternity jeans in your hospital bag. Do understand that the look and feel of your belly will improve with time.