Monday, November 2, 2020

1. Drink lots of water

I know, I know, you've heard this a million times, and so have I, but it's because it's super important to stay hydrated--now more than ever! Pregnant or not, our body needs to stay hydrated. This will help you avoid the headaches that pregnancy brings along.

Staying hydrated will also help you when you have to get your blood taken several times during your pregnancy and have to pee in a cup the morning before every OB visit during your third trimester. Drinking lots of water will also help to reduce swelling, keep your energy levels up, help your skin stay softer & healthier, keep you cooler (hello pregnancy hot flashes!), and it will also help decrease the likelihood of constipation...which, just prepare for. Miralax may or may not be your best friend during pregnancy...it definitely has been for me. haha!

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2. Take a prenatal vitamin

It's recommended to take a prenatal vitamin as soon as you find out you're pregnant. I ordered mine the day I found out I was pregnant. I loved these vegetarian vitamins. Not going to lie, they're huge pills, but it has the exact extra vitamins that I need since I'm a vegetarian! Definitely talk to your doctor, and be sure to share which brand/vitamin you decide to take in case they have a better option specifically for you.

3. Get moving!

As much as you don't want to, get off your booty and move! I'm not going to lie, during my first trimester, I had no desire to move from the couch. I was so sick and could barely walk around my house without getting sick, but once I started to feel better around 18-20 weeks, I found that the more I moved throughout the day, the better I felt.

I'm currently 33 weeks pregnant writing this post, and I'm telling you, my retail management job has saved me during pregnancy. Has it been hard to be on my feet for 8 hours a day--totally, but I've found that I have more energy, feel less sore, and have not experienced any swelling so far. I take mini-breaks throughout the day (my team calls them Mama breaks), and I'll sit for about 10-15 minutes besides my 30-minute break, but other than that, I'm on my feet and walking around.

I realize that not everyone has a retail job and can't be on their feet moving around all day, but my best advice to you, if you have a desk job, is to get up every hour and go for a mini walk around your office or house. On your lunch break, try and get outside for a walk, or be sure to go for a walk around the neighborhood once you're home. I promise you, it will make such a difference!

4. Use a belly oil & belly butter

Get yourself some belly oil and belly butter. I started using it religiously during my second trimester, and even more so in my third trimester! I have been love, loving Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter, Rock the Bump Belly Butter by Honest, and Glow On Body Oil by Honest. All three products are cruelty-free, clean beauty, and fragrance & paraben-free. When choosing these products, I wanted the best, because I wanted to be sure that what I was putting on my belly (and don't forget your boobs, too!), was filled with good-for-you ingredients that were also going to work! So far, I can say I don't have any noticeable stretch marks, and I'm hoping & praying it stays that way.

I will apply my belly oil & belly butter after my bath/shower at night. Keeping your body moisturized not only helps with stretch marks, but it helps reduce the itching that you might experience when your belly & boobs are growing!

5. Invest in comfy underwear

As your pregnancy progresses, your body changes so much. I never thought that I would need to get bigger underwear, but let's just say, when you're not comfortable in your underwear, you're not comfortable at all! I got these high-rise undies from Target, and they are life-changing. They are such a soft material, and they stretch perfectly on the bump. I sized up to a Medium (normally XS/S), and they fit me perfectly!

6. Vitamin B6 will be your best friend.

During my first and second trimester, I couldn't get out of bed without taking a 25 MG Vitamin B6 pill. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any extra vitamin, but taking 25 MG of Vitamin B6 three times a day was what my doctor recommended and helped tremendously when I was dealing with severe nausea and morning sickness. I took these vitamins on top of a prescription for nausea and morning sickness and eventually was able to wean off the prescription and only take the Vitamin B6. Once I hit 20 weeks or so, I didn't need to take them anymore as my morning sickness (more like all-day sickness), finally subsided.

7. Sleep when you're tired

If you're tired at 8PM after work, go to sleep at 8PM and don't even feel bad for doing so. Your body is literally growing a human being--that ish is tiring! The other night, I went to sleep at 8PM and didn't have to wake up until 9AM for work. You can bet that I kept my booty in bed as long as I could--except for the ten times I had to wake up to pee in the middle of the night. haha!

On my days off from work, I try to let myself take a nap and catch up on sleep, too! I remember during my first trimester, I was tired all the time and would sleep 10-12 hours per night. In my second trimester, I had a burst of energy--hello golden trimester--and wouldn't sleep as much at night, and now that I'm in my third trimester, I'm really feeling my body slow down and get tired around dinner time. During your third trimester, getting comfortable gets harder and harder as your belly grows, but get yourself comfy on your left side, and snooze away. I've even found that napping on the couch while sitting up is super comfy, too!

It's important to allow yourself to relax, and try not to let nesting take over your entire evening--trust me, I know it's hard. There have been nights where it's midnight and I'm obsessing over organizing baby boy's onesies in some crazy color & size order (because yes, he'll totally care if his onesies are in the right order haha!), but Chris has seriously come in and walked me to the bedroom and said, "Go to sleep!", otherwise, I wouldn't stop!

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8. Utilize your bursts of energy wisely!

Feel like nesting?! Go for it, but like I said, don't let it consume you and take over your entire evening...and life. You will most definitely have days and nights where you feel like doing anything and everything, and you want to be smart with how you're utilizing that burst of energy. I recommend keeping a running list of everything that you need to get done before your sweet baby is born so that you can prioritize what you do when you have that burst of energy.

9. Write down everything important--trust me

From your to-do lists to simple reminders like what you need at the grocery store--write it down. Have a doctor's appointment? Write it down. They're not kidding when they say baby/prego brain is real, because gosh, is it ever. I remember saying to myself during the beginning of my pregnancy that it couldn't be that bad. Yeah, definitely eating my own words now, because the little gremlin growing inside of me has sucked all of my nutrients and also half of my brain. haha!

Chris and I have synced lists on our phones so that we can both add things to the grocery list or our to-do list, and it helps so much. Oftentimes, I have the hardest time remembering something simple, and I get frustrated, but having things written down helps so much and reduces my stress and forgetfulness.

At work, I write myself tons of sticky notes to keep myself on track. Thank God I work with all women, and they totally understand prego brain, but gosh, there are some days where I can't believe the things I'm forgetting!! Take notes, keep lists, and for your sake and your partner's, write. everything. down.

10. Download a pregnancy App (or two...or four!)

My phone is filled with pregnancy apps. I love following along with each week in every app. They all say pretty much the same thing, but anytime I can learn about my growing baby and what changes my body will be going through during that week, I'm all for it!

I started out with the app Flo. This is the app I actually used to get pregnant and found it very accurate! I also love the apps Ovia Pregnancy, The Bump, and What To Expect. My doctor's office also has an app specifically made by their practice, so of course, I downloaded that one, too! Be sure to check with your doctor's office to see if they have one, too.

11. Eat healthy snacks throughout the day

Eating small snacks throughout the day is key vs. three larger meals. In the morning on my way to work, I'll usually snack on a granola bar or dry cereal along with a Chai Tea latte. I've never been a huge breakfast person, so even during pregnancy, this has been plenty for me. Around 11AM, I get hungry and will eat a banana or Nutri-Grain bar. I eat lunch at 1PM almost every day, and I have had the same lunch for the past four months--a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, cheese & crackers with fruit (usually grapes or blueberries), and then I eat Annie's vegan gummy snacks. Every once in awhile, I'll sneak in a couple tootsie rolls or mini Kit-Kats, because, balance.

I usually don't have to eat anything before dinner, but by the time dinner rolls around at 7PM, I'm super hungry. I'm a vegetarian, so my dinners are completely different than what you might eat, but I'll try to eat a meal with lots of veggies & protein. Around 9 or 10PM, I need another snack before I'm able to fall asleep. Peanut butter and crackers, more fruit, or a bowl of cereal have been filling life-savers for me. I low key feel like a hypocrite as I'm eating a slice of chocolate cake right now at 11PM, but what baby boy wants, baby boy gets. haha!

Eating healthy during pregnancy is all about balance. Read that again--it's all about balance! Don't keep yourself from a pregnancy craving or two--they're fun to indulge in, just don't indulge too much. The other day, I was craving Pizza Hut breadsticks--in fact, I was craving them so badly, half of my team was trying to find an open Pizza Hut near our work. haha!! As long as you keep up with your healthy snacks and aren't seeing an unhealthy jump in your weight, I say go for it and enjoy pregnancy.

12. Include your partner in the pregnancy as much as possible

When you're pregnant, you feel every flutter, kick, and hiccup that your little one has. Mamas, we naturally feel more connected to our baby, because we're carrying them for nine months! We are growing a human, and we created that sweet babe. Our partners don't have the luxury of feeling every flutter and movement, so it's important to include them in both the big details and the little.

Since I've been pregnant during Covid, Chris wasn't allowed to go to any OB visit except for the 20-week anatomy scan. This was the first time he heard baby boy's heartbeat other than over FaceTime or in a video. This moment was so magical, and it was so amazing to see our baby together for the first time.

Anytime baby boy is being super active, I tell Chris so that he can feel him moving. Now that I'm farther along, it's easier for Chris to feel him moving and even see him moving! The other night, baby boy had the hiccups for 10 minutes straight, and we both just watched my belly shake with every hiccup our sweet boy had.

It's important to include your partner not only in feeling connected to your baby but also in the planning process, too! Chris painted his nursery accent wall, put together his crib, and we decorated his nursery together. He's also been amazing at helping me wash and fold all of his clothes, blankets, and toys in preparation for when baby boy is here. Chris helping with all of these things along the way has helped him feel connected and needed, because oh gosh, there is no way I could do any of it without him!

13. Don't waste your money on tons of maternity clothes

Save your money, and don't buy everything maternity in sight. I know it's exciting to dress your growing bump, but Mama, you don't need it all. My best advice is to invest in 1-2 pairs of maternity jeans, a pair of maternity leggings, maternity & nursing bras, 1-2 maternity dresses, and 1-2 maternity tanks & tees. I have loved the quality & prices of Old Navy maternity items. I have these maternity jeans, these tanks, and this dress from Old Navy.

I also got this tee from Amazon, and love the quality of it, too! Other than these few things, I haven't really bought anything else maternity. I did buy two maternity tees/tanks off the clearance rack at Target, but they weren't necessary, I just love a good deal.

From Target, I highly recommend these maternity/nursing bras. Trust me when I say, you won't want to wear a normal bra anymore. You're going to be super sensitive and simply want comfort. Everything else clothes-wise that I have purchased during pregnancy has been a size up in these pajamas, and these to die for sweatpants that I live in at home!

14. Get a pregnancy pillow

I was a whopping 8 or 10 weeks when I bought my pregnancy pillow for what I thought was a baby bump. haha! Not going to lie, having my pregnancy pillow so early on in pregnancy was amazing. I just felt comfier, and it helped me get used to having to sleep on my left side. During my second trimester, I kept having back pain and RLS, so I wasn't able to use my pregnancy pillow for about two months, but as soon as my bump grew overnight towards the end of my second trimester, I needed my pregnancy pillow again. Now that I'm in my third trimester, I can't sleep without it.

I elevate my pillows and pregnancy pillow so that I'm sleeping a little higher than normal and the pillow helps support my body and ever-growing bump. I love, love the pregnancy pillow that I got because it has a smaller section that you can unzip. I currently don't have it attached, because then I take up the entire bed, and I don't find that I need the extra small section attached anymore. I did use the smaller section by itself in between my knees/legs when I found that I wasn't able to use the whole pillow towards the beginning of pregnancy.

A pregnancy pillow is going to be your new snuggle buddy, so spend the $40 for comfort through the night--you're going to need it!

15. Give yourself grace

I think this is the most important tip of my whole post. Give yourself grace, and then more grace. This has been something I have to remind myself on a daily basis. I was getting so frustrated with myself because prego brain was getting the best of me, I'm not able to get a lot done around the house, and I'm starting to slow down at work.

As long as you're giving 100% of what you can give now, you're still giving 100%. It may not be what 100% looked like before you got pregnant, and that's okay. My boss helped me realize this, and for that, I'll be eternally grateful. I was so hard on myself until I realized that. So, Mama, give yourself grace, slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy every moment--yes, even the moments when you feel like absolute crap. It's all part of the journey, and you'll look back after what feels like the blink of an eye, and realize that in just a few weeks, your baby will be here. I cannot wait for that moment, and I know you're ready for that amazing moment, too!

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