Being pregnant can be overwhelming, to put it mildly. There is a shitton of information out there regarding what to eat, drink, do, wear, buy, use, and avoid. It will hurt your brain and stress you out if you let it.
I think, in general, if you don’t do anything blatantly dangerous or unhealthy, e.g. drink a 6 pack of PBR a night, sniff paint fumes, take up amateur lion taming, etc. you can figure out what works and feels right to you, and you and your baby will probably be just fine. Obviously, listen to your chosen medical professional, too.
Having been pregnant for almost 40 weeks now, I do have some observations regarding what worked for me and what didn’t. One thing I have learned is that the pregnancy experience varies widely, so these tips might be totally unhelpful for you.
But, throughout these last nine months I have enjoyed hearing about the pregnancy experiences of other women in as specific detail as possible, even if I ultimately rejected what they had to say. So here are some thoughts on what I have found helpful/unhelpful while preggo.
I stocked up on delicious but healthy beverages for hydration and to make myself feel better about not being able to drink wine. This is a good one.
Yoga I took prenatal yoga classes at Seattle Holistic Center, and I really enjoyed them. I found prenatal yoga to be very gentle and non sweat inducing which would usually bore and annoy me but was actually quite soothing and restorative while pregnant. I’m fairly convinced that a lot of the poses help prepare your body for labor, which will be hard to quantify, but believing all the yoga I did will make a difference is probably like 80% of the battle, anyway.
I’m not a share my feelings with strangers and chant mantras kind of person and there is a little bit of this going down in the classes I attend, but I kind of liked it. The spiritual elements helped me connect with and think about my baby in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Chiropractor At about 24 weeks pregnant I started having heinous SI joint pain on one side of my lower back/butt. By the end of each day, I could barely walk. I’m not great with physical impairment and injuries and this really fucked me up mentally- I started to freak out a little bit, imagining that I would be couch bound for months and turn into a sluglike Jabba the Hut type creature who never left the house. I was totally skeptical of chiropractic care, but I was desperate, and saw Dr. Devine until I exhausted my insurance coverage (20 visits total).
Not gonna lie, the chiropractic experience is kind of weird (is this dude cracking my back for five minutes on a creepy table really doing anything?). However, Dr. Devine either cured me or the pain disappeared completely all on it’s own, and the latter seems unlikely to me given how severe the issue was. Highly recommend giving a chiropractor a try if you experience any back/neck/other pain during pregnancy.
Ignoring most food rules OMG, the food rules one hears while pregnant. No lunchmeat! No sushi! No soft cheese! These rules mostly stem from fear of foodborne illness, particularly listeria. Right….if you read the news, like, ever, you know that listeria, salmonella, etc. can come from anywhere. Yes, it is probably wise to avoid shady grocery store sushi and also smart to watch mercury levels of the seafood you consume but you can’t convince me that fresh, high grade, wild caught salmon sashimi from a reputable restaurant is an unhealthy choice for pregnant women.
Not allowed, ate it anyway.
Maybe this thrusts me into bad mother territory, but I ate/eat sushi, smoked fish, turkey sandwiches, oysters, and all sorts of soft cheese while pregnant, in moderation, and I have been fine. It may make sense to follow the food rules during the first trimester since the theory is that if you contract food poisoning you may be more likely to miscarriage, but if you eat a spicy tuna roll at 8 months pregnant is your baby going to die? Doubtful.
Did Not Work/Need
Pregnancy pillow I heard many raves about those ginormous pregnancy pillows that cost like $80. I intended to acquire one at some point but never got around to it, and found that making my own nest comprised of multiple regular pillows shoved I already owned worked just fine.
So many pillows!
Jury Is Out
Dates There are studies (possibly with small sample sizes rendering the results a bit questionable) that show that consuming dates made labor easier for women who did so. I’ve been eating 4-6 dates a day for a couple weeks. I like them on their own or blended into a smoothie. We’ll see how labor goes…if nothing else they are giving me extra fiber and something sweet to eat that isn’t full of refined sugar like all the shit I really want to eat.
Also helpful to me/my raging pregnancy sweet tooth: keeping sweet shit that isn’t candy around.
Stretch mark oil I slathered on Bio-Oil or Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil twice a day starting in the second trimester and still don’t have any stretch marks. HOWEVER I also had pretty minimal stretch marks to begin with so I don’t think I’m particularly prone to them, and my bump has remained relatively small. But I don’t think lubing up your skin really well can hurt when it comes to helping it stretch. It just kinda makes sense to me: soft things expand more easily.
Coconut oil is great for dry, itchy pregnancy skin.
Pregnancy tea I’ve been downing 2 or 3 cups of this a day (Traditional Medicinals, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Yogi and probably others make this-I purchase it at Whole Foods or Central Co-Op). Supposedly it helps strengthen your uterus and prep your cervix and stuff. Again, we shall see how labor goes. At the very least it’s keeping me hydrated and giving me something more interesting than water to drink.