23 Top Tips for Moms-to-Be About Pregnancy: Honest Advice From Moms Who Have Been There by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead

Wit and Wisdom
3 months ago
23 Top Tips for Moms-to-Be About Pregnancy: Honest Advice From Moms Who Have Been There

I think my fellow moms know what I mean when I say that pregnancy seems to inspire all manner of unsolicited advice, from family and friends to coworkers and even strangers. Pregnancy can be overwhelming enough without having to deal with unwanted advice. That said, some advice can be truly helpful, especially if it comes from moms who have been there, those who know exactly what you’re going through and genuinely want to help. I asked mothers with children of all ages what advice they would give to moms expecting their first babies. These tips are our gift to you.

  • Don’t compare your pregnancy to anyone else’s. Every pregnancy is different, so don’t expect to have the same experience as your mother, sister, or friend.
  • If it helps to read all those baby books stacked on your night stand and all those articles you’ve been bookmarking at 2 a.m., go for it. But if it gets to be too much, just stop reading them.
  • Know that “morning sickness” could mean morning, noon and night sickness, but it will pass. In the meantime, eat whatever makes you feel better; this really differs from person to person.
  • Always trust yourself. You know what is best for your baby better than anyone.
  • Don’t stress over how much weight you’re gaining; just focus on being healthy.
  • Rest when you can and spend time with your partner when you can, because once the baby comes, you won’t have as much time for either.
  • Be prepared for heartburn. No one told me about heartburn! Eating smaller meals more frequently can help.
  • Take a breastfeeding class. Even if you don’t expect to breastfeed, it is good to know how to comfortably care for yourself when your milk comes in, and if you do decide to breastfeed your baby, the tips you learn could make a big difference.
  • If you have a low-risk pregnancy, know that midwives are an option. They are knowledgeable as well as compassionate and nurturing. I suggest looking for a midwife who is in practice with an OB, so there’s backup in case something more high-risk occurs.
  • Request diapers for your baby shower. Clothes and toys are cute but diapers are the one thing you can never have too much of. Ask for different sizes, too; you won’t need newborn diapers for long. Also, ask guests to bring a book in lieu of a card; this is a great way to start baby’s library.
  • Cook some meals and freeze them. You’ll be happy to have some pre-made dinners to heat up once Baby arrives.
  • Expect the unexpected throughout your pregnancy. Things may not be how you pictured them, but everything will be a part of the beautiful, messy, tumultuous, joyful, emotional journey of motherhood.
  • Write a birth plan and share it with your doctor and the hospital staff but be flexible in case things don’t go as planned.
  • If your baby’s father is in your life, involve him in your pregnancy. Encourage him to talk to the baby and give belly rubs. Bring him to prenatal appointments and classes. This will help him to bond with the baby. Dads often feel helpless during pregnancy; involving them will give them something to do and make them feel a part of the experience.
  • Try to enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can. Remind yourself that this will be the only time that you don’t have to share your baby with the world. Rub your belly, talk and sing to your baby. Try to bask in the miracle of pregnancy even when it’s hard, even when you’re uncomfortable. You will respect the power of your body (and spirit) more than ever before!
  • Some people seem to think that a pregnant belly is an open invitation to touch you – including strangers! Feel free to tell them to back off. It’s your body and your baby.
  • Don’t feel badly about setting boundaries. It’s your pregnancy and your baby so you get to call the shots. Your baby’s name, whether or not you find out – or reveal – the gender, who gets to be in the delivery room – it’s all your call. If anyone has a problem with it, that’s on them. And this goes for when you bring your baby home, too. If you don’t want visitors for the first week, say so. If you want people to wash their hands when they enter your home, that’s your prerogative. Your baby, your rules.
  • As a wise OB once said, “You’ve fulfilled your obligation to suffer during childbirth after your first contraction, so don’t feel guilty getting an epidural.” Seriously. Childbirth is really painful. If you want pain meds, get pain meds. Everyone gets the same prize at the end, whether she got an epidural or not.
  • Ask for help when you need it (and everyone needs help).
  • Take care of yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s quite the opposite; you can’t take care of your baby if you aren’t physically and emotionally healthy.
  • Know that the “baby blues” are experienced by a large percentage of women during the two weeks following delivery, and they mimic depression. Be prepared and make sure it doesn’t go beyond those two weeks, as it could be a sign of postpartum depression. When in doubt, see your doctor.
  • Do you plan to breastfeed or formula feed? That’s your personal choice. Pacifier? No pacifier? It’s up to you. Cloth or disposable diapers? Your call. Plan to use the “cry it out” approach? You’ve got some time to decide. But whatever you decide, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it “wrong.” You need to do what’s best for you, your baby, and your family.
  • If you ever have a moment of doubt, when you’re exhausted and un-showered, wearing the yoga pants you slept in, remember this: your baby thinks you’re the most beautiful, perfect creature on the planet. Your baby is comforted by your touch and soothed by the sound of your voice. And know that it gets easier. Really. If it didn’t get easier, no one would ever have a second child (and lots of women do!). 

Welcome to a most special tribe. Know that you are not alone. We moms are all in this together. Thanks to the 30Seconds tribe members who contributed to this post: Elisa All SchmitzKim Clark JohnsonSam HarrisMolly LairdHeather Murphy-FritzTracy Neubauer-CunninghamKate Ray and Janine Trala.

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Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
This is so awesome! What a great list. Wish I would have known all of this when I was pregnant. Thank you for compiling the wisdom of all these wonderful moms, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead !
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I wish I had known all of this too, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds ! What great advice from our community!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Thanks, Julie. I enjoyed putting it together. Hope it helps someone!

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