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Monday, April 09, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: Pregnancy Survival Guide

Are any of you pregnant right now, or hoping to be soon? Inspired by my friend Abbey's pregnancy guide, I figured I'd share a few things that I found helpful during my own pregnancy, and please share your tips, as well! Here goes...


BOOKS

Usually I love reading and research, but I was surprised to find that pregnancy guide books made me anxious. Most of the books I flipped through seemed biased toward natural childbirth (and I knew I'd probably want an epidural) or unnecessarily scary ("What can go wrong during your fifth month? Let's discuss!"). So, I just stopped reading them, which felt super bold at the time! Instead, I followed my doctor's instructions (no wine, no hot tubs, etc.) and then followed my natural instincts. It was great to listen to my body for cues about eating and sleeping, use common sense, and try to trust that everything would be fine. If I had specific questions, I'd ask my friends, my mom or my doctor. (Did you find a pregnancy book you liked, though? If so, I'd love to hear...)

(Also, as I've mentioned before, Great With Child, the memoir about pregnancy, motherhood and marriage, was also wonderfully reassuring.)

(P.S. If you think you'd like to have a natural birth, a few my friends absolutely loved the book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.)

FOOD & DRINK

* Did you have any cravings while pregnant? I wanted BEEF! My friend wanted anything salty, and my mom said she craved eggs when she was pregnant with my sister and me. What about you?

* Certain types of fish have high levels of mercury, and pregnant women are supposed to avoid or cut down on them. Just stick this handy fish list in your wallet to consult when ordering in restaurants and doing grocery shopping.

* Coconut water is great for morning sickness. A glass has more potassium than three bananas, and it's super refreshing. We ended up buying it in bulk.

* I'm a big fan of white wine, and, I have to admit, I missed it when I was pregnant. So, one night while pregnant and pining for a glass, Alex brought out a martini glass filled with coconut water. It made me laugh and feel like a grown-up again. Izze Fortified Sparkling Juice is also good if you have friends over and want something to sip along with them.

* Herbal tea. Ever night before bed, I'd have a steaming cup of Bengal Spice tea. It's super cinnamon-y! And it was nice to have that cozy ritual every night.

BEAUTY

Pregnant women always look incredibly beautiful, but when feeling bloated or tired, I'd do these little things to help myself feel beautiful...

* Bright lipstick. An easy way to instantly transform your look is to wear lipstick. My two absolute favorite lip colors this spring are Poppy King for J.Crew (it's that bright coral that the J.Crew models wear!) and NARS Niagara, a soft peachy pink that brightens up your whole face.

* Natural sunscreen, to keep your skin protected and chemical-free. My favorites are here.

CLOTHES

Great maternity shops: HATCH has gorgeous statement pieces, and I also like GAP, Target, LOFT, Boden and ASOS for lovely basics.

Plus a few specific pieces to consider...

* A nice dress. For date nights, parties, work events and weddings, you might like to have at least one maternity dress that makes you feel great. (I had a purple wrap dress from GAP, and this one is lovely.)

* Maternity Spanx! At first, I thought these sounded weird, but they are AWESOME. Your belly gets tons of room, but the Spanx slim and smooth everything else to make you look great, especially when wearing a dress. (You can also get this cool Spanx shaper.)

* Belly band. Your pants sit below your round belly, so you can wear a soft belly band to cover any skin that peeks out between your pants and your shirt.

* A long cardigan, which is flattering, cozy, and feels like a big hug. I wore this exact one almost every day of my pregnancy.

* Maternity underwear (or just a few pairs of cotton underwear in larger sizes), so you don't stretch out your fancy underwears while you're pregnant. (Apparently they can be saggy afterwards! A friend told me that, and I'm so grateful she did!)

* Slip-on shoes, since it becomes tricky to bend over your giant belly to tie shoelaces. Chic ballet flats and cute Bensimon shoes are great go-tos.

AWESOME THINGS TO MAKE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE

* Sleeping with a giant belly can be tricky, so I LOVED LOVED LOVED the maternity pillow in the middle months of pregnancy. They look crazy, but I swear by them. You can wrap your arms and legs around them and sleep soundly through the night. Alex joked that it was like having a third person in our bed, but it was soooo worth it. I even lugged my giant pillow on a cross-country trip to California!

* Long walks with books on tape. Walking is great, low-impact exercise, and it's much more fun with a book to listen to. Ruth Reichl wrote an incredibly entertaining memoir about being the New York Times food critic and dressing up in crazy costumes so restaurateurs wouldn't recognize her--and she reads it herself. So does Tina Fey!

* Acupuncture. Many moms-to-be say that acupuncture helps with aches, pains, headaches, morning sickness, fertility, inducing labor, whatever you may need...Toward the end of my pregnancy, Toby was facing forward in my belly--sunny-side up!--but he should have been facing back. My doctor was concerned that I'd have a more difficult labor if he didn't turn himself around. On a friend's recommendation, I went to the wonderful Sharon Yeung at Five Seasons Healing for an acupuncture session, which was incredibly relaxing and soothing. And by next doctor's appointment, Toby had turned!

TWO PREGNANCY OBSERVATIONS THAT SURPRISED ME

* Baby kicks feel like bubbles at first. I hadn't realized that Toby had been kicking until a nurse told me that--then I started noticing them all the time!

* "Nesting" seems like a real thing. Movies and TV shows joke that pregnant women will suddenly become obsessed with preparing the house for the baby's arrival. And maybe it's true! One night, I literally sat up in bed at midnight and turned to Alex and was like, "We have to do the nursery right now." I was totally ready to bound out of bed and start hammering the crib. Did you experience anything like that?

EMOTIONS

Expect some crazy moments and let yourself experience them. While pregnant, I was sometimes so emotional, I'd just start crying for no reason! I hadn't expected that. You don't always feel like yourself, and being pregnant (and all it entails) can be overwhelming at times. Two of my cousins were also pregnant when I was, and the one thing that we ALL went through were a wide range of emotions. (I remember my sweet cousin Livvy emailed to me, "Do you find yourself feeling very shaky and crying at the drop of a hat...or no?" and my other cousin Emma wrote, "Are you excited or very scared about being a Mummy?" Such sweet--and leading--questions!:) Know that it's totally OK (and normal) to feel nervous now and again. As my friend Abbey once pointed out, you're growing a soul. And all the pregnancy aches and pains are worth it 1,000 times over once you're holding your sweet baby in your arms.

Most of all, sending you a kiss and a pat on your beautiful bellies! Pregnancy is an amazing thing, and as my mom would say, "Take gentle care of yourself." Lots of love to you. xoxo

What pregnancy tips would you share? Any cravings? Things that make you feel better? Funny observations? Did people pat your belly all the time? :)
P.S. What to register for your new baby, and two moms who look adorable with a bump.

(Top and bottom photos from my belly shots; beef chili photo by Smitten Kitchen; red lipstick photo by Garance Dore; little girl photo by Our Labor of Love; bubble photo by Richard Heeks)

214 comments:

1 – 200 of 214   Newer›   Newest»
.Tinacious Me. said...

great a what informative post! Love these belly shots! :D
xo, Tina
TINACIOUS.ME

allmussedup said...

This was beautiful. Thank you for your sweet, winsome thoughts...I really can't wait to experience all this someday soon.

Dena said...

Ha. I made the underwear mistake. I had no clue I was stretching them out so bad!

Emily said...

Nesting is definitely real! I'm gestating my second son and the urge may be even stronger this time around because it's not just a nursery, it's the playroom and generally "upgrading" things I know we'll need this time to make room for two boys!

Joanna Goddard said...

dena, i know, isn't it nuts!! haha, and bras too -- my old bras are so saggy now! :)

Joanna Goddard said...

emily, that's so exciting:)

vickichristine said...

Love this post! I'm 18 weeks now and completely baby obsessed. Thanks! Oh! Also, I just read Teresa Strasser's pregnancy memoir and it was so funny. What a big difference from other preggo books - which I've stopped reading as well. It does feel bold and rather amazing to just follow my own instincts. :)

Ashley said...

Great post! I am hoping to be able to use these ideas and hints in the next year. =)

I am curious, did you abide by all the "food rules" other than fish (which you mentioned)? Apparently now there's a "ban" on cold cuts, unpasturized cheese, and other things that I eat regularily. My mom ate all of these things and I turned out ok (I think!). I always wonder what Italian/French women eat if these things are off the list. What was your opinion on these "rules"?

www.tenandthree.com

Heidi said...

o this is so great! the only pregnancy book that I've picked up is "belly laughs" by Jenny McCarthy- ha! just because it made me feel anything but anxious! everything else is (as you said) overwhelming to me. I'm so glad someone else felt the same way!

kyracross said...

This post couldn't have come at a more perfect time for me. I am 22 weeks and am starting to feel anxious and a little dramatic at times. Thanks so much for posting all the good tips. I can use as many as I can get these days!

ps - I have done the same things with books. I started to feel guilty last night for not reading them - but you made me feel better today :)

JSKF said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My sister is 24 weeks along and her belly is just big enough that her normal clothes don't really fit. She wasn't sure where to even start to find cute maternity clothes. This guide is a big help for that and many other things. It's also great for me to read so I know more about what she is going through.

Joanna Goddard said...

ashley, i followed most of the food rules, but i actually did eat cheese in my second and third trimesters. i read a LOT about it, and apparently it the risk is incredibly low since in the United States cheeses are aged for 6 weeks, so you pretty much know that the cheese doesn't have listeria (the bacteria you want to avoid). so i felt comfortable eating them.

but it's definitely up to every mother to figure out what she thinks is best!! :)

Joanna Goddard said...

JSKF, congrats to your sister!! :)

Sara said...

I am in my last few weeks of pregnancy, and I have found that it has been super helpful to read positive birth stories. They give you a feeling of confidence, strength, and oneness with all birthing women. I enjoyed both books by Ina May Gaskin and the birth stories over on Marvelous Kiddo's blog. xoxo

Ashley said...

Thanks for your response, Joanna! I totally agree with you - each woman must do what is right for her and her babe. I just wish that there wasn't such a "fear culture" for pregnant women.

ww.tenandthree.com

Julia said...

Regarding the natural sunscreens, any advice on avoiding that whitish/purplish cast they seem to leave (...or maybe that's just me)?

C. said...

It's funny how quickly you forget those little things about pregnancy! Husband and I might be going back for #2 soon and I'm looking forward to some aspects!

The number one thing that helped me survive my pregnancy was my online group. I joined a 'due in group' on a parenting forum online. It's a group of women who are all due within a month or so of each other, so you're all experiencing the same things at the same time. There was nothing more comforting than logging on to chat about how crappy (or great) you felt, what the baby was doing, what your doctors and midwives were telling you... and once the babies start being born you can all post photos and birth stories to each other, and it helped to get us all through those last few months.
We're all still close and now share photos and stories of our kids. :)

As for cravings, I couldn't get enough ice cubes. I would freeze the ice cube tray halfway so the cubes were nice and small and then stand in front of the freezer munching them like a lunatic. I'd visit our friend's houses and immediately ask to see their ice cube supply, and get upset if anyone else had too much ice in their drink because it meant less for me (weirdo).

:)

Joanna Goddard said...

c, ice cubes = so funny/strange! i wonder why!

ryan said...

I couldn't agree more with the long cardigan! And I love the lipstick idea. I'm in my 36th week right now and put together an early pregnancy survival guide here:

http://aforeverhouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/pregnancy-survival-kit.html

C. said...

Re the ice cubes, someone told me it meant you were low in iron, but my iron was tested and found to be normal. The cravings lasted until my little girl was about 3 months old and then just disappeared!

Joanna Goddard said...

julia, yes, i know what you mean. the natural sunscreens can make you look like a ghost. i'm going to try to scout out one that absorbs more easily!! stay tuned....

sarahlynnstern said...

I'm 7 months pregnant with my first child and I read your blog every day! Motherhood monday posts are the best. Thanks for this post, I especially relate to the wide spectrum of emotions part! I had intense cravings for grapefruit and carrot soup in my first and second trimesters! And the registry list has been so helpful too. Thanks for such a great blog Joanna!
xoxo

bethpdx said...

I used to go to Sharon Yeung when I lived in NYC, too! She's truly amazing. I did acupuncture again (this time in Porltand, OR, where I now live) when I was 4 days overdue with my little guy. I went into labor later that night!

Michelle Kendrick Hartney said...

Great post Joanna! I had mad cravings for mac n cheese during my first trimester, and then for the rest of the pregnancy wanted fresh squeezed orange juice and any and all fruits. Towards the end I had this mad craving to smell eucalyptus to the point that I dabbed eucalyptus oil on a cotton ball and kept it in my pocket at all times. (I felt like a weirdo but it made me feel better to have it on me all the time.)

Jennifer said...

This is a great encouragement. I'm 31 weeks today, waiting on my little boy:) I totally relate to the book thing- it gets really hard to read all of the scary and terrifying things that can go bad, and personal advice seems to be the way to go. Everyone's birth story is different, so you just have to take it all with a grain of salt, even the published stories. Thanks for sharing your helpful thoughts!
~Jennifer


jtandthesea

grafxcowgirl said...

Thanks - I've been following all your pregancy tips for 9 months now! We're heading to the hospital tonight to get induction started!

Ariana said...

iced mint tea saved me during morning sickness and I second the investment in a couple cute maternity pieces - I splurged on citizens jeans - wore them every day.

request to you J - we're now in the process of adopting our second and would love to see a post on that for all the mamas out there who grow their families without a belly :)

mommyiscoocoo said...

The book Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott is awesome for pregnant moms. It is a realistic picture of what is going to happen with your new baby.

Pregnancy massage is AWESOME for back pain. Forget onesies! If people ask, tell them you'd like spa gift certificates.

I was a big nester!!! I once overheard my husband telling people, "her nesting is fascinating. I go to bed and when I wake up everything is rearranged and in baskets. I have no idea where she is getting all of these baskets!"

auste said...

Thanks for this survival guide! I'm just finishing off my first trimester and with my favorite jeans not buttoning up anymore I'm just beginning to look for some maternity basics - I LOVE your tip to wear lipstick and take the time to blow-dry. It's amazing what a difference that can make, right? At least I'll look cute when I break down in tears from my pants not fitting (the emotional rollercoaster is out of control!)... oh, and Great With Child was just beautiful - I plan on re-reading closer to our due date :)

BriannEm said...

I loved having this book: Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth by the Boston Women's Health Collective. It's kind of clinical. And it's not really the kind of book that you read through from cover to cover.
But whenever I had a (what I thought was stupid) question it was a great reference to clear up any confusion.

Cle said...

I'm 12 weeks along and I have already tossed the "what to expect when you are expecting" - ugh! It was not fun to read, and just made me anxious. I also HATE those online birth cohort forums. It is nice to have sites like this one with someone's actual experiences and kind encouragement.

I craved a lot of cucumbers and other crunchy foods about a month ago. Now my food cravings seem to have evened out but I still have aversions to lots of stuff, including all Thai food, which I formerly LOVED. I'm also dying of thirst all the time but find I hate drinking water. So weird. Maybe I'll try to the coconut water. I did discover a newfound love of Kombucha when I was horribly bloated and things weren't moving like normal in my GI tract. Now my husband and I drink it 1-2 times a week. Yum.

Anonymous said...

about the coconut water and morning sickness thing, I grew up in a country where we regularly drink fresh coconut water, and I always found it a perfect hangover cure. it was my go-to in my teenage partying days.

Brenna said...

I just started my second trimester with my first baby. I look forward to your motherhood monday posts every week. I'm the only one pregnant right now of all my friends and family so its nice to read that all these thoughts running though my head are normal. Excited, scared, nervous, overjoyed, annoyed. Tips are wonderful right now too as I'm starting to look into the maternity clothes and such part of this journey.

Thank you for all that you share.

Brenna

Joanna said...

I just found out I'm pregnant last week. It's all unknown and thus a bit scary (as well as exciting of course), so this is a great read! Thanks, Joanna!

Tina said...

Motherhood Mondays are my fave! The JCrew lipstick; great find! I think you might enjoy the note I wrote after I had my 3rd baby last summer regarding unexpected emotions & predicaments that arise in childbirth & new motherhood. Would love for you to give it a look: http://tinyurl.com/3qbb455

Chantel B. said...

Oh Joanna! Thank you for such a great post! I am currently 17 weeks pregnant and definitely feel like I don't always know what I'm doing :) Also being my first, it's hard not to worry sometimes about EVERYTHING and I find as time moves forward I actually become less calm and more anxious. I will put these tips to good use (especially the one about walking with an audio book-genius!).

A.Kelley said...

Aww! This is so helpful! I'm in my 2nd trimester and have to wholeheartedly agree that the maternity pillow is a MUST.


I've heard that L'Occitane Shea Butter will prevent stretch marks (http://usa.loccitane.com/FO/Certified-Organic-Pure-Shea-Butter,p01BK150K0.htm) I've been slathering it on daily and it seems to be working!

Thank you for such helpful tips! If anybody knows how to survive a hot summer in the south while pregnant I'm all ears!

Betsy said...

I used one pregnancy book: The Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy. Clear, normal, and had the answer to EVERY question I had (and I had a lot, since I was 40 with my first and every other pregnancy book had me convinced that I was having a two-headed baby.)

I drank cranberry juice + club soda from a giant wine glass every night - sometimes in the tub.

antique engagement rings said...

This is such a cute picture... love it!

Eloquent English said...

WOW these are all totally wonderful things! I'm not pregnant, but we are talking about trying in the next year or so and these are all great tips! I'm def keeping these in the memory bank! xoxo A-

Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

all great tips! I'm pregnant with baby number two and I'm way more laid back this time around. I just fell right into the routine of what to do. Those belly bands have made all the difference for me! The tea you mentioned sounds heavenly!

Sarah @ Williamsburg Baby said...

So far, I've been feeling pretty great...it's interesting that I find I like my body MORE pregnant (or I am more forgiving of it.) At 22+ weeks I am loving watermelon, magos, bike rides, sleep, and walks around the neighborhood. I do miss margaritas though. I have been reading the baby boards but they do tend to make me nervous...also read Ann Lamott's Operating Instructions and Some Assembly Required which were lovely and honest.

lydia of boy howdy daily said...

Super post! I have almost hit the 20 week mark. I had a pretty major hemorrhage @ 9 weeks, and this pregnancy has taught me to just let go of a lot of things...not worth worrying over! I am finally just starting to enjoy being pregnant.

Brooke said...

I love your blog, read it every day! My husband and I have a little girl, Mallory, and she is about four months shy of two. She is the light of lives (as I am sure all little ones are), and we are (have been) trying for the past four months to get pregnant with our second. I had NO trouble at all getting pregnant with Mallory, so it is very humbling and quite discouraging as each month passes. But I have faith that it will happen when it should. I love your comments. I, too, opted out of the "What to Expect..." kind of books despite my whole-hearted support of epidurals and the like. They were not good for me in any way. I stayed more with funny, anecdotal books like Jenny McCarthy's "Belly Laughs" and "Sippy Cups are for Chardonnay". They were wonderful, honest and so sincere in their approach to impending Mommyhood. Have a great day!

Melinda Babb said...

I sincerely appreciate this post. I am almost in my 13 week and I feel a range of everything. I'm always telling my husband that I just don't feel like myself. I go from being mortified of labor to telling myself, "oh, I can do it." And then, yes, cry (no bawl) for no reason at the drop of a hat. I'm not really craving anything yet. I still struggle with a bit of nausea so I'm really forcing myself to eat on a regular basis. I know what you mean about all the information. I get so overwhelmed that I feel like I'm going to do harm to my baby. I'm small so I need to eat like 20 times a day, or eating this or that will hurt your baby, or if you don't drink enough liquids it can cause a miscarriage. How scarey!! I finally just started asking my mom and OB because I was scared to even have a cough drop. Thanks again for your encouraging words. I need that.
~Mel
http://teambabb.blogspot.com

ClareJR said...

What a great post! We have a little boy who is 8 months old, so I still remember my pregnancy very well. I never did think about reading many of those books (except for recommendations about furniture, strollers, etc.), but I loved finding out about The Baby Project on NPR's website. They followed a few women who were due right around my due date, and I loved hearing about their different perspectives and stories. Because there were so many, I didn't get too annoyed at any one agenda, and found myself identifying with some of the contributors.
I also craved beef! - specifically hamburgers. And I would keep my fridge stocked with sparkling water so that I had something to drink out of a wine glass at the end of the day.

brett baker said...

I'm 25 weeks pregnant, and I've hardly followed any of the "rules"...merp. I've always felt like moderation is best, and that worrying too much about those types of things was much worse than, say, eating sushi every now and then. I drink caffeinated tea every day. I eat brie. I eat sushi. I even have a glass of wine every few days! At my 22-week ultrasound, my doc said that our babe was "one of the healthiest he'd seen in awhile." I felt really blessed, but also feel like it's because I haven't treated my baby like he's an invalid--he's been exposed to lots of different foods, and I think it's helped more than hurt. Babies are much more resilient than we give them credit for, I think. They're so busy doubling their weight and growing organs and doing all sorts of other miraculous things; the way I see it, a little glass of wine is just a blip on their radars! :)

Chessa! said...

I wore hanky panky throughout my pregnancy and they were my fave. I just wore the ones that I normally wear and then when the baby was about 4 months old and they wouldn't stay up anymore I through them all away and got new ones. They are so comfortable and it feels like you aren't wearing anything at all.

I actually couldn't even smell red meat when I was pregnant. I turned 33 when I was 5 months along and my husband took me and my parents to a very special restaurant for dinner and I was so excited to have this giant steak and when it came I wanted to die. I couldn't even LOOK at it. I felt so guilty. What I missed the most was sushi but I did indulge in the occasional glass of red wine. I'd just sip it and it was so good. My doctor said it was fine every once in a while and I really craved it. But my number one craving was pizza and avocados...random but true.

I agree with you 150% about exercise. I actually did pilates once a week and worked out (ie. walks or recumbent bike and extreemly light weights) 2 or 3 days a week. I was determined to be healthy and fit. I still gained almost 50 (!!!) pounds but I felt fantastic. I walked everywhere in the city and I didn't get any stretch marks and I honestly believe that between that and nursing and just continuing to eat healthy and not overdo it helped me to lose the weight. Speaking of stretch marks, I constantly smelled like cocoa butter. I rubbed it on myself day and night. I also loved this skin oil by clarins that another mom told me about and I splurged on it and loved it. To this day whenever I smell it it reminds me of when I was pregnant. :)

Rebecca said...

My husband and I just started trying. I am soaking up as much information as I can and anxiously hoping it will happen for us soon! Thanks for sharing!

valerie said...

Great post! I craved beef too when I was pregnant...so much that I sometimes joke that my son was made from hamburgers :) Books about pregnancy made me anxious as well, especially any that outlined the dangers of the chemicals around us...living in NYC, what was I to do?? My mother in law gave me one of those body pillows and it was amazing. I would have appreciated it even more if I hadn't been so worried about possible flame retardants and chemicals in it. Sigh. (I do not recommend reading the complete organic pregnancy book, for what it's worth!)

Jenna E said...

Love this post, thanks! I am absolutely LOVING being pregnant. I am now 6 months and noticed my face has gotten fatter out of nowhere, and I don't love that :p. I have had a very easy pregnancy thus far and I get so annoyed when other pregnant mommas are so negative about everything and don't stop complaining. Like "Ugh why do people always want to touch my belly" Or "I am sick people telling me I look like I am about to pop". I think pregnant woman have become way too sensitive. We must embrace this beautiful journey we are going through and take it all in stride. People try for years to get pregnant so just feel grateful you are lucky enough to be blessed with such a miracle. Whoah where did that rant come from? lol Anyways, I am staying clear or most books too, just reading more of what to do when the baby comes!! Can't wait

Gabster said...

I am 18 weeks pregnant and I bought on week 9 :what to expect" and it made me nervous... so I haven't opened it since.!

Brandilyn said...

i'm having a baby this week! i loved this post, though, because i've LOVED being pregnant and am feeling nostalgic for it ending. my only craving has been brown rice and cheese sticks...how weird! i eat probably 3 c of brown rice every day, though, and 4 or 5 cheese sticks. it's all i want.

Kiana said...

Hi Joanna! I´m six months pregnant with my first baby and I have a few things to add. First of all, as general advice to everyone in the world---do NOT tell a pregnant woman what she should be eating or drinking. I have found this to be the most annoying thing. People try to scare you from practically everything. I´ve eaten sushi, feta cheese, had red wine and beer, drink green tea, and have tuna on a regular basis. What people need to understand is that different cultures come into play when a woman is pregnant and your own cultural bias is not helpful for other women. I live in Spain where diet rules for pregnant women are different than they are in the U.S. Yet all of my American friends and relatives feel the need to constantly tell me what I should eat as though I don´t have a doctor here whose job it is to inform me. My second piece of general advice is to not be too informed. I haven´t read a single pregnancy book which most people find downright scandalous. I have a low risk pregnancy and if I have a specific issue or questions,I´ll ask my doctor or look it up online. I don´t need an excuse to be more neurotic than I usually am. Thanks so much for posting this!

Jessica Sliman said...

Ice here too! I am not a water drinker but I couldn't get enough of ice water. I loved partially melted ice. And then to top it off, the hospital had these little crushed ice circle-like things. A good craving to have, I think :) Umm...and then I also craved iceCREAM. Go figure.

Stephanie said...

I'm due in 8 weeks! Holy cow, writing that down hits home that it's so close! I LOVE "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth", but it is definitely more on the natural childbirth side of labor and promotes having confidence in yourself and not subscribing to the American stereotypes of labor. I've found the birth stories to be extremely moving and motivating.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy and cannot wait to welcome this little person (we don't know the gender) in June. I have looked forward to this time in my life since I was a little girl and it is already everything I hoped it would be and more.

Oh, and my biggest craving has been jarred peaches from Trader Joes--I cannot wait until actual peach season! I would go through 3 or 4 jars a week if I could.

Kim said...

Great post! I'm 35 weeks with no 2 and reality just hit. Wish we could get Hatch here in the UK. Got a wedding to go to and struggling to sort anything half decent to wear. Plus, pregnancy when you have a toddler is a totally different ball game than first time round. It has flown by.

Anonymous said...

A friend recommended me to read books on babycare and nursing rather than books on pregnancy and birth. She said unless you feel 100% comfortable with caring for your newborn, you would have to familiarize yourself with basic info beforehand. This is because you will neither have the brains nor the time to read ---you won't be able to digest what you read. I find that advice very useful.

Courtney said...

My husband refers to my body pillow as my second husband. Fair enough!

The other thing I'd say is to buy a fun new water bottle to motivate yourself to drink tons of water. I didn't drink enough water and ended up with some early contractions. Luckily they went away, but I got some very stern warnings about my hydration levels from my midwife.

Anonymous said...

This post made me so sad. I want so very much to be a mother and wish for nothing more than a positive pregnancy test! :-( Hopefully someday this list will come in handy! :-(

Villette Jewelry said...

I am due any day now!!! Anxiously awaiting my little girl's arrival. I found that walking every day and trying to stay as positive as possible (this coming from a person who believes in prepare for the worst, hope for the best) helped me stay happy throughout my pregnancy.

Whitney said...

I think my favorite pregnancy tip is to take lots of pictures! I forgot quickly what it felt like to be pregnant - even what I looked like when I was pregnant. Looking back on the photos helps me to remember those sweet moments. Even when you're feeling like a rather large whale... snap some pics :) You'll be glad you did!

Paloma A said...

Joanna ! This post comforted me a lot ! I´m 18 wks pregnant and share the same feelings ! I crave for pasta! cheers from brazil ! !!

clarity enhanced diamonds said...

I love this... great post

Ehvery said...

You and your words are so beautiful Joanna!

Mia.stizzo@gmail.com said...

I had my first baby 3 months ago and agree firsthand with a chunk of your list, namely item number one. I hated those books so much! I also took what other mothers would tell me with a grain of salt. Everyone wants to tell you about the horrible stretchmarks they got, or how long it took them to lose the weight. I heard lots of, "oh just waits" from people. Just wait until this gross thing happens, just wait until you start swelling, or just wait until you gain 34985329457 pounds. Every pregnancy is so different and so individual. Trust yourself and your instincts, and employ common sense. And don't let anyone make you feel bad about doing whatever it is you think you need to do (so long as you aren't doing any long term harm)...pour yourself a small cup of coffee if you are extra tired one day, have a couple pieces of salami if you are craving it, and for god sakes get an epidural if you aren't into the natural thing. It's your body and your baby.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this couldn't have come at a better time since I just found out Friday that I'm pregnant! Oh jeez, I'm thinking it was a mistake that we bought What to Expect that same day, b/c it does seem like a scary book and I'm having trouble getting motivated to read it! :)

lisa said...

thank you thank you! i am 12 weeks along with our first baby. we are naturally very excited but have no idea what to expect. I used to eat fairly healthy, especially before getting pregnant. But ever since becoming pregnant, all I seem to crave is junk food! All i want to eat is pizza, cheese, or tacos! Also, my friend gave me some Burt's Bee's body oil to help prevent stretch marks. I'm not quite far along enough yet to know if it's helping, but it smells amazing and makes my skin feel super smooth!

lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I loved having the chart that showed how the baby was progressing in my belly. We gave the belly nicknames like calabash shrimp, etc as she grew. I also loved reading anything (non-pregnancy-related) and especially the first 3 months. I have had a history of miscarriage and it was fun to jump into someone else's story so I wouldn't feel so anxious about the baby. The only pregnancy book I loved was "feed the belly". With my second girl, I was a very nausous and quite a picky eater so this helped guide me to better nutrition. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I'm 10 weeks along and we're still waiting to tell anyone, so I'm still in this weird limbo of knowing that I'm pregnant but no one knows so it doesn't really seem real yet...no ms, just very very tired and sometimes a bit dizzy. I've been craving CHEESE, EGGS, and basically anything salty. It's ridiculous. Like poster Lisa above, I'm normally a very healthy person but right now I'd give anything for a big plate of crispy fries with cheese!

Laura said...

I agree with you about the pregnancy books. Most of them were such downers; i.e. "By now, you're probably swollen, gassy, nauseous, and very ugly." I didn't feel any of those things, so I ignored them. I did read a lot of books about labor and breastfeeding, and found those to be much more helpful. I also ignored nearly all the food rules, only avoiding mercury-laden fish and strictly limiting (though not eliminating) alcohol; as my husband put it, if women couldn't drink coffee or eat smoked fish or soft cheese while pregnant, there would be no babies in Europe! The best tip I have for pregnant women is don't tell anyone your due date (give them a general idea, like "mid-September"), and better yet, try to forget it yourself: it is such an imperfect calculation, and you will be much more relaxed near the end of your pregnancy when you realize that s/he is on her own timetable!

Just White said...

Soooo true!!!!
I expierenced very similar things!!!! Reading the books and the internet made me so paranoid that I had to live it. I only stick with one book. Cleaning the nest! Gosh you made me laugh, so true again!!!!
At the beggining I felt fat so I wore big clothes but later on I felt so lucky to be slim and carry and amazing belly that I just wore jeans and a tight shirt to show my baby to be around everyone!!! I missed my belly afterwards, and you?

Meredith said...

Haha, I love the mental image of you sitting up in bed at midnight saying "We have to do the nursery RIGHT NOW." Poor Alex! :)

I like to get "The Three Martini Playdate" for new parents or parents-to-be--hopefully it makes them laugh a little and stress less!

Anna Claire said...

I totally agree with not reading pregnancy books! Nearly all of them are fear-mongering or just kind of preachy. Trust yourself, your doc and your friends and mom.

And secondly, don't sweat the small stuff. Don't worry about having the "perfect" pregnancy or documenting it exactly right, etc. etc. Just relax and try to enjoy yourself if you can...the best part is the baby at the end of it :)

Unfurled said...

i gave birth 10 days ago and didn't even really believe in acupuncture before i got it. i had a an easy pregnancy and a six hour labor! i think it really helped.

Posh Pearl said...

This is such a great post! I just gave birth to my little girl (St. Paddy's Day baby!) and home now enjoying her. I'm so in love with my little one!! Reading your post brought back some sweet memories of her being in my belly!

My little one was prone to hiccups in the 3rd trimester. She would have hiccups every night around 9:30pm...and the funny thing is that it really felt like hiccups inside my belly!

Chai, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate are my comforts during my pregnancy. I had to have them everyday especially the chocolate. I had to have 1 piece of chocolate everyday or it will not be a happy day for me.

Big Hugs!

A Girl, Her Camera said...

I craved fruit which was really odd because I have zero sweet tooth and never eat fruit because of it. But I would go to town on anything citric and could.not.get.enough.WATERMELON. I ate so much fruit I was convinced I'd give birth to Carmen Miranda.

I also didn't read much because the information was overwhelming and anxiety-producing. I consulted with my doctor, my mother and my gut and with that I was fine.

One thing I really really hated was hearing people tell me either their birth horror stories (or someone else's horror story) or whose only advice was Do Now Because Never Again! (i.e., sleep now because you'll never sleep again, enjoy your alone time with your husband now because you won't get it again, etc.) I found the negativity annoying. Sleep now is different and alone time with my husband is different, but it's all still there and probably more precious than ever.

Your life changes when you have a baby, but you expect that and adapt to it. Despite the challenges, marveling at the kid that you created is pretty darn cool.

.aubrey c. said...

I am about 22 weeks pregnant and I love reading about how others deal with it or what they use and are going through, its like a fun club that we get to be in for 9 months!

http://gandacummings.blogspot.com

Ana Degenaar said...

My mom gave me the best advice ever. Only surround yourself with pretty things. I watched feel-good movies, read happy books, ate nutritious and delicious things and tried to keep positive that morning sickness had to end at some point. I craved pasta SO bad I once ate a bowl of pasta meant for 4 people. The times...

Lauren C.T. said...

Thanks for this post. I don't need the info for myself - yet - but I am going to pass along a link to this to *someone who shall go unnamed.* <3

Bren said...

I'm currently in my last trimester. I have been one of the few who has enjoyed my pregnancy because I didn't get the worst of symptoms. Being pregnant enhances those things you couldn't stand before. (The only thing that repelled me was Chinese buffets).

The only book I have been reading is the What to Expect When You're Expecting. I mostly follow my doctor's orders. I would love to have a natural birth (just like my sisters), but my doctor said I'm more in the high-risk category. In the end, all I ever want is my baby to be delivered safely. I take everyday as a new day and not worry about the upcoming events.

I still eat fried chicken and a little bit of spicy food here and there, which I crave all the time.

The things that make feel better is when I can feel the baby kick. Or when my husband talks and rubs my belly. I feel like we already have our little baby out here with us. Fashion wise, I like to wear cute earrings because I feel more feminine. I also wear eyeliner to bring out my brown eyes.

People have been telling me that they could not tell I was pregnant. I'm petite. I don't mind people rubbing my belly, it makes me feel like one of those lucky fat Buddha statues. I need all the luck I can get! Some people have told me that pregnancy looks good on me.

I would advice other women who want to become or are pregnant to just take it day by day and follow doctor's instructions. And not to stress yourself. Enjoy every day and take good care of yourself (physically and mentally).

Mari said...

great tips! thanks... i've never been pregnant, but one day i'll be, for sure :)

Notes from Holly St. said...

It's so true about the nesting thing! My husband and I were in Italy when I was just over three months pregnant and I remember lying awake at night in our hotel room and being so anxious to get back home to get the nursery ready and organize other rooms in the house for the baby. I was a nut case!

Also, about the emotions...I remember thinking that I was surprisingly not hormonal at all during my pregnancy and I would always ask my husband if he agreed and he would tell me, "no, you're still your old self. you haven't changed emotionally at all." A few months after my daughter was born, I thought back to how the way I was during my pregnancy and realized that I was so overly sensitive the whole time and hadn't even noticed. When I asked my husband about it again he told me that I was, in fact, an emotional wreck but he just didn't tell me so I wouldn't have another melt down. lol oh , pregnancy...

Amy P said...

I love what your mom says - 'take gentle care of yourself.' So thoughtful and sweet :) From everything you've written, it sounds like you have amazing parents who raised you and your sister well.

I was so excited for the nesting phase but ended up feeling in limbo living at my parents house the month she was born - we were between our old city and moving into a new house in our new city. Loved the extra help; missed the nesting and 'settled in' feeling!

Alisha E. said...

Great tips, Joanna! I had my first baby (a boy!) 3 months ago, and I really felt energized by your positive yet realistic Motherhood Monday posts. During my pregnancy,the blog: treschicmama.com gave me great style inspiration.
Best wishes to all you mamas-to-be out there. It's so fun to read about your excitement and anticipation--it really was the most thrilling moment of my life. XO

Katrina said...

I'm currently 8.5 months pregnant and I'm surprised to say I really haven't had many cravings! The only food-related things I've noticed are that I'm much more into sugary foods (my husbands family loves sugar, mine is more salt-loving) and that I can tolerate and even love spicy foods now (again, the babydaddy's family loves jalepenos whereas my family sticks with mild or even spice-less salsa). I guess she just takes after her daddy in the diet category! Let's hope that with her sweet tooth she also has his athletic tendencies, too!

Brittany Lauren said...

Beautiful post! Very refreshing and helpful :)
Hope to be a Mama by the end of the year!

Lucy said...

Bringing Up Bebe...great book!! I agree, other pregnancy books made me crazy, especially Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven. I flat out stopped eating meat after I read it which is SO not me! Back to eating meat, occasional small sips of wine and ready to raise this baby like a small Parisian!

Anonymous said...

I am in my 7th month and my first year at a stressful job in a new city with no friends or support system other than my husband. I try to balance that life with the excitement and joy of having a little baby to snuggle in a few months.
Compartamentalizing has helped...hope to use this technique during childbirth.
Bright lipstick and swimming have been my life savers thus far. No cravings other than oranges and repulsed by meat since my first trimester.
Getting dressed. That's hard since I don't want to buy a ton of maternity clothes but have become more obsessed with shopping now than i have been since college. Old navy basic t shits and cute skinny jeans and a good pair of shoes.

Carrie said...

I am almost 11 weeks pregnant, and I love your list! I've been using a Snoogle since the beginning (just for kicks, I've always liked sleeping with pillows between my knees anyway) and it's amazing! I sleep better than I ever did before getting pregnant, and I know it'll be even better when I start getting more of a belly.

I will also say that my cravings have been all over the place, but overall I crave salt more than anything, and I LOVE french fries right now. I am also really in to Caesar salads, and as a vegetarian (no fish even) I hadn't had one in forever! I now look for them at restaurants and always ask if they use pasteurized eggs (just to be safe).

As far as morning sickness, I didn't really have it! My doctor was nice enough to give me Zofran & Phenergan in case I did, but I got super lucky. I have had friends who suffered, though, and I know that with my next pregnancy it could be different... But I am so thankful that this time around I seem to have been spared!

I also did not realize that my anxiety would get worse when I got pregnant, but it really did... I have GAD and panic disorder, and my hormones going all haywire made these things 10x worse. I am lucky to have supportive & amazing doctors & psychiatrist/psychologists who've helped me through this time, and would STRONGLY recommend that women who have any issues with anxiety or depression get help! Your baby will do much better if your anxiety or depression is being controlled in one way or another.

Good luck to all you mamas out there :)

Melissa Blake said...

I enjoyed this guide even though I'm not pregnant. Kudos to strong mamas! xoxo

Anonymous said...

I have been reading and loving your blog for some time! So refreshing with great advice- and found out this very mornings was pregnant with our second. My first is only 11 months old and we started unbelievably looking ahead - thinking we want them to be close in age and why not "not-not try". Happened so much faster than we even thought possible! Trying to enjoy the moment and stick to our guns- it felt right and is meant to be :). But I think we are in for one wild ride with two so close in age !!!!

Anonymous said...

This is maybe the best post ever. I love your insights and tips. thank-you so much, Joanna!

Lady Grey said...

This is great, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I craved eggs, too. Totally loved them, but the smell of hamburger cooking made me feel sick. So idiosyncratic!

Anonymous said...

These insights are so helpful. You should write a book.

kelseamarie said...

Let's see.. in the past week we've had posts on: maternity clothes, a surprising sex tip, gender reveal parties, and a pregnancy guide...

Trying to tell us something, Joanna?

;)

Pam said...

These are great tips! I have a 7 week old, so I was pregnant very recently. I have to say, I got that pregnancy pillow, but I hated it! We only have a queen sized bed and my husband and I could never cuddle with it in the bed!

I also lived in long cardigans that can be worn when not pregnant and I nested like CRAZY!!

Along with the titles you and other commenters mentioned as far as positive birth stories, the Birth Without Fear website www.birthwithoutfearblog.com is a good one, too.

Naomi Jacob said...

I'm not pregnant, but we're thinking about it! This was the first non-scary description of pregnancy I've ever read. It made me feel like there's hope it won't be miserable!

The J'adore Blog

Lisa said...

Awe, Joanna! I'm neither pregnant, nor do I have plans on becoming pregnant any time soon, but this post just brightened my day. I love the photos of you and Alex. How sweet!

Aja Lake [the gold hat.] said...

a priceless guide!
check out a cup of jo on the gold hat.

xx,
Aja Lake
the gold hat.

Your Mom said...

I bought a ton of books when I first found out I was pregnant and threw them all away before I was halfway done!

I made huge jugs of iced blueberry herbal tea every single day. My baby loves blueberries now :)

Nesting is SUCH A REAL THING. I didn't really believe it at first, but when it kicked in, it kicked in strong.

Great post! Thanks!

http://laurenlouann.blogspot.com/

Amanda (Dear Frances) said...

This was the most validating pregnancy related thing I have read since finding out my own good news in early January - we are expecting our first in September!

What resonated for me most here was your comment about books - I am normally an obsessive researcher of EVERYTHING, and I here I find myself almost 5 months pregnant, not having opened a single book. What little research I have done has either driven me mad with contradictory advice and warnings, or freaked me out. So like you, I am putting my faith in my doctor, mom, friends and own common sense. I feel like I am able to spend more time and energy focusing on the exciting parts of pregnancy and having a baby.

I also have been really surprised by the super heavy emotion attacks that seem come out of nowhere. I guess I thought those happened mostly in the first trimester, but I think that now that I am showing a bit, and feel those little bubble kicks, and the whole idea of having a baby feels so much more "real" I am more prone to weepy moments without warning - a song I've heard a million times suddenly seems more beautiful and poignant than before, wrought with meaning, and stories on NPR strike a chord and leave me weeping over people's plight, or their good deeds. Random TV shows. It all seems so deep, personal and touching now!

Thanks for such a wonderful post, and all the honest and genuine Motherhood Mondays posts you write!

Johanna said...

Love this post! I am preggers with #2 and one thing I swear by is prenatal yoga. It stretches you out and works out all your kinks. Somehow I walk out feeling lighter despite the real truth...ha!

Amanda (Dear Frances) said...

PS - disclaimer about the no books comment above: I *am* very much enjoying Naomi Wolf's "Misconceptions: Truth, Lies and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood." I'd put it in the same category as Great with Child. I bought it about 6 years ago for a friend who was pregnant for the first time, and I had to force myself to put it down so that I could finally give it to her as a gift. She recently got it for me as a gift and says she has given it to every pregnant friend / relative since reading it. http://www.amazon.com/Misconceptions-Truth-Unexpected-Journey-Motherhood/dp/0385497458/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334023553&sr=1-1

Lora said...

I love your Motherhood Monday posts! I'm a mom to a 13 month old boy and my big pregnancy craving was Oreos with a huge glass of milk. Just seeing a bag at the grocery store makes me nostalgic and reminds me of that special time. It sure goes by quick, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I love how your friend put it- you are growing a soul! I'm still awhile off from having kids yet, but I loved this post! Thanks, Jo

Tara said...

Joanna,

I love Tizo3 sunscreen for the face (not sure if they make a body version?) but my dermatologist turned me onto it because it's slightly tinted so you don't look like a ghost!!

Love your site :)

Tara

elisa said...

Cocnut water is great in the hot months, too, for staying hydrated. My third tri went from June - Aug in Baltimore. I drank coconut water by the bucket!

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

Such great information. I was so young when I was pregnant (19!) so I just devoured every bit of writing on pregnancy that I could get my hands on. It really made things scary at times, but I just didn't trust my instincts. I think that when the second time comes around, I will trust myself more.

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

I'm 34wks pregnant with my second and have definitely started wearing bright lipstick! I HATE feeling that frumpiness that comes with growing out of clothes.

Last time around I cut all my hair off and this time I went from brown to platinum blonde. It's just fun to mess around with.

I'm one of those sick all through pregnancy gals and so cravings have never been an issue for me. I thought I was underweight my whole last pregnancy because I only gained 17lbs total but when my eight and a half pound baby came I realized that's just how my body works! I am not letting everyone stress me out about eating and weight at all this time around!

moonshinejunkyard said...

i am 26 weeks along with my first child after trying for years to get pregnant and it is the most exciting and wonderful experience of my life! i love your refreshing positive attitude and totally agree with other commenters who say they get sick of people complaining about pregnancy. even the little inconveniences and uncomfortable moments are treasures, not to totally geek out, but you're getting a human life out of this! or as your friend would say, "growing a soul," i for one cannot imagine anything more powerful or beautiful!

i have been working on my own little "compendium" of pregnancy tidbits on my blog; it's in parts: http://moonshinejunkyard.blogspot.com/2012/03/heathers-pregnancy-compendium-part-4.html
and i think i am about to post the last section tonight. there are so many fun changes and discoveries!

i love how women totally come together for these topics, even many who are not pregnant. it's such a powerful act that it seems almost universally magnetic, although i totally respect women who have no interest in becoming pregnant as well and honor the many ways that women can "birth" ideas, stories, concepts and creative endeavors.

thanks for always being such a thoughtful blogger and mama!

amynicole said...

Joanna, you truly are the greatest!

I remember waking up at 3am telling my husband the baby wanted really fluffy waffles, a thick chocolate milk shake and chewy sweedish fish! Let's just say he didn't let me cave into my cravings often :) Guacamole and soda always sounded amazing! I would crave taquitoes, but they (and any meat product) would make me so very sick after.

My baby boy will make 4 months this Saturday! I love being a momma and feel so blessed to be caring for such a sweet soul! I definitely miss being pregnant too! Am I crazy?! :)

Anonymous said...

Joanna,

Love your inspiring motherhood posts!

What creams would you recommend for those belly itches and stretch marks?

Love, J :)

Chris said...

Hi Joanna, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

Marjolein said...

Dear all,
I just got a beautiful baby boy. While I was pregnant I read a very positive book called 'Hypnobirthing' by Marie Mongan. http://www.hypnobirthing.com/
It comes with a cd with relaxation practices and I absolutely loved it. I am sure it contributed to the very relaxed and loving birth of our son. I highly recommend it to any pregnant sister :o)
Love,
Marjolein
The Netherlands

Anonymous said...

You encourage me so much! Thanks for the list.

-5 weeks

Lisa said...

This was great - thanks! I'm 14 weeks and already sick and tired of the "What to expect when you're expecting" oeuvre - those advice books make me feel like there's nothing a new mother can do right!

I'm craving licorice and (haha) white wine, and currently scouring the internet for shoes without laces.

Zala said...

When I was pregnant I was a bit anemic and my doctor suggested a glass of red wine (or two) each week. :) It seems that being European does have its perks. :)

conmibolsoacuestas said...

I want! but the stork does not listen :(

big kiss

Sammi said...

What a great article Joanna. I totally am nowhere near even thinking about having a baby, but this advice is great. My cousin is having a really tough time with her pregnancy so I think I'll send this on to her just to reassure her.

claire101 said...

I'm 41 weeks today and trying not to feel too stressed about being overdue - in fact my midwife recommended I had a beer or two last night to relax... hoorah for European attitudes!

self-indulgent geek said...

So happy for you guys!

Jessica Cole said...

I'm 3 months pregnant with my second child and there's going to be a 4 year age gap. We hadn't planned for it to be that long but I'm super glad we've waited now! I'm more chilled out with this pregnancy and just enjoying the "Am I showing yet?" bit! I nearly might be...!
My sister in law had a baby last October so we're sharing maternity clothes, hooray for Topshop and Gap! I'd say buy a few beautiful pieces where you feel instantly glamorous the moment you put it on, but it has to be easy to wear! Surround yourself with beuatiful people and you're bound to feel great. And also, just relax! You have the next 18 years to get through, the 9 months gestation is the easy bit!! x

p.s. bio oil for having super soft skin. It fades stretch marks really quickly. You can't get rid of stretch marks and whether you get them or not depends mostly on genetics, unfortunately.

Jessica Cole said...

Oooh a good tip I forgot, about 2 or 3 weeks before our first baby was born I batch cooked a load of really GOOD homecooked meals for the freezer. That way for the first month we could still eat our favourite meals and relatively heathily but we didn't actually have to cook anything! Bonus

--r said...

yes. twenty-two weeks now, so more than halfway there with my second. this time i'm constantly craving walnuts, or a big bowl of salty mixed nuts.
i couldn't live without my comfy running shoes (particularly when i'm chasing my three year old around the playground, or walking 3.5 miles to try to get him to sleep in the stroller!) happy feet make for a much happier momma.
if i were going to recommend a splurge for the mom-to-be, it would be to have someone come over to clean. i dream of having someone else come and scrub my floors and clean the carpets.

Melanie from Sydney said...

Lovely comments and some advice I will use. I am currently 28 weeks and have had my ups and downs including bleeding from week 9 to 18. Advice would be, don't google things and read forums, they scare you and make you think the worst.
And I agree, listen to your own body. We know what we can and cannot eat, we know what we need to eat and our limitations. Don't push yourself and just enjoy it.
I am currently nesting and getting the house prepared for my little girl who has been in the making for a while. I was going to wait, but then at 20 weeks thought, I might only get this chance, so lets enjoy and get ready for my most precious little person.

Mindy Day said...

Joanna you are making me very broody! My boyfriend came in and saw all the hundreds of baby internet tabs I had up and looked worried! he will be having words with you :)

madilla said...

25 weeks pregnant with my second. Can't wait! I've been blessed with a super fast and wonderful birth the first time (16 months ago) so I'm really looking forward to it. Especially cause now we are expecting a girl. All I can say is you have to go with the waves. Like swimming in the ocean, that's how it felt.
For the ones already brooding we have a super fun giveaway at "Approaching joy"! Need to get organized? Go check it out.

S said...

Thanks for this! I'm in my 21st week and just found out we're having a boy (your article on expecting boys was also so true and I loved it).
My tips so far? Avoid reading too much - I had no morning sickness at all, and scared myself silly by reading that it meant I was likely to miscarry.
Google with caution!

LT said...

Oh my Joanna, I love this post (and I love your Motherhood Mondays posts). I'm 5.5 months pregnant with my FIRST, we've been trying for years and went thru infertility treatments to finally get here, even though they couldn't find a reason for our inability to conceive on our own. I'm SO happy to be pregnant, and I have loved every minute of it (I even got a kick out of morning sickness because I was so happy to finally be pregnant!). Recently I have been having some pretty nasty back pain, and issues with my ribs popping out of place and this has gotten me a little down lately. I go to the chiropractor and get prenatal massage, but I've put a once-a-week limit on those (pricey!), though I'm in pain on a daily basis. Long-story-short, your 'growing a soul', and comment about the 1,000 aches and pains being worth it once our son is here made my teary (hormones!), and has helped with some perspective today. I will remember that every time I'm a little blue about the pain, because it is SO worth it! Loved the maternity clothes link too!

Anonymous said...

This was just what I needed so thank you! I am pregnant right now. I have to say that so many of the pregnancy books (and even some of the new parent books) I have been recommended talk to women like they are brain dead. Additionally, they cover so many scary scenarios. I find them both infuriating and anxiety producing. I felt like a bad mom-to-be not wanting to read them more. I'm glad it is not just me.

Kate said...

I'm lucky to not be emotional AT ALL during this pregnancy (my first). I'm 8 months this week. I do completely agree with you about the books though. A nice friend handed down 4 to me as soon as we got pregnant. I started reading because I thought I was supposed to, but I put them down within a week and haven't picked them back up. I thought all the gloom and doom about what could go wrong was crazy! So, I'm just pregnant. I figure most things I experience are normal and if anything concerns me, I ask my super not crazy doctor. It's been perfect for me!

Natasha and Jesse said...

Thank you! I'm 27 weeks along with our first baby- a boy!

I agree with not reading all the pregnancy books (or Googling everything!). It's good at first I think, but my dh and I have noticed as the pregnancy has progressed that they just give too much information and cause too much worry. We have both stopped reading them.

I had awful morning sickness and wish I knew about the coconut water. I will have to keep that in mind for next time.

The only things I've really craved are salt (which I've had to try to cut back on for health reasons), milk, sweets (which I try to limit too!), and rabbit pellet ice. I'm pretty sure I will crave watermelon, but we haven't bought any yet since it's not in season. Oh, and pizza always sounds good to me. :)

I love feeling the baby kick since it reassures me that he's still doing well. I also love it when my husband rubs and talks to my belly. It makes me cry!

earthskyandawagonwheel said...

your posts always align perfectly with my life happenings! I have six weeks till my due date and I just went to the library today to pick up Ina May's guide to childbirth. Like you, I was turned off by the books out there and have based my pregnancy solely on natural instincts and advice from my best friend, my only friend with a child. Her first words of advice-- have lots of sex and watch lots of movies! I did revisit the book, The Red Tent for some strength and wisdom from women in the past. I've enjoyed my yoga and beach walks and I give in to daily naps with no guilt! Pure coconut oil is my go-to belly cream.

!da said...

Love this post. I'm midways in my pregnancy, and I'm always hungry for good advice. So thank you!

Kerry said...

Totally agree with you about the books but I do have to recommend one- Bringing Up Bebe. I'm actually not a parent but an Early Childhood teacher (infants to 6 year olds) and highly recommend this book for new time or even second/third time around parents. It's written by an American parent who lives in Paris, not a Parisian bragging :)

Estelle said...

Hi,

I am now 31 weeks pregnant. I always look forward to reading the development of the baby week by week and to take photos of the growing bump.
I really enjoy being pregnant; it is such a blessing!! My tip: Be thankful for it!!
Of course I have also been very lucky in that I have had no symptoms whatsoever, no morning sickness, no cravings, no stretch marks (I don't even put any cream), no gaining weight other than my bump, not even people trying to touch my bump.
I didn't read books either and also prefer to just ask my mom and other moms.

Kind regards,

LadyTurz said...

I'm 33 weeks pregnant now with my first (a girl!), and TOTALLY feeling everything you've said! Baby books are making me anxious, I cry about nothing, am OBSESSED with making sure her room is set up, etc.
Mostly I feel so lucky and happy to be pregnant, and EXCITED beyond words! But yes, there are things that hit me unexpectedly even though everyone tells you they'll happen... back pain being #1! I had no idea how relentless it would be!

Lindsey S. said...

Joanne, I just found out i was pregnant with my second chid today. and instead of going to any due date calculating site first i came to yours hoping your motherhood monday would be about pregnancy!!! ha! (i didn't have time to check in on you yesterday)

Thanks for the great post. A nice refresher course ;)

L

Stephanie said...

As an expectant mom, I definitely agree with you on so many things!! Loved reading this!!

Stephanie

Linds said...

My due date was totally yesterday. I have to shout out a big amen to your list. I love reading your blog.

♥♥betoul♥♥ said...

this list is amazing, and so are you! im 3 1/2 months pregnant and after reading your post i felt a bit teary - damn hormones- lol especially when i realised at the end of all this i will have a beautiful baby, its amazing to think what our bodies are capable of :)
xx

Anonymous said...

My obstetrician's only advice was: NO heroin and NO bungee jumping. Too easy!! :-)

Carla said...

I'm due in about five...four..three.. I'm really ready to pop! The only tip I have is to remove your wedding/engagement bands if your fingers start to swell. As much as I love my rings, they are starting to chafe. But I can't remove them anymore because my fingers are too fat :)

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winter blue said...

Thanks Jo! I have troubles meeting the 7-8 servings of fruit and vegetables you are supposed to eat. It's just so much! Any tips? Or just eat healthy and not worry?
xo

Dani said...

Love these suggestions, especially lipstick- something I'll have to try for next time! A few of my faves:

- Forever 21 maternity jeggings! They are under the Love 21 brand, cost $12.80 and I still wear them now (5 months postpartum)

- Mother's Special Blend oil- used it religiously, never missed a night, and I have zero stretch marks.

- I second you on the pillow! I was doing a crazy shuffle every night with a small throw pillow behind to keep me propped on my side, one between my legs and another under my belly. The whole setup having to be redone every time I rolled over or got up to tinkle... Around 27 weeks my husband bought me the Leachco Back n Belly and I felt guilty to spend that much on a pillow at first, until I saw how much better I slept! Do it ladies, worth every penny.

- I know some like the message boards for other expecting mums due your month, but I say AVOID! It's inevitable that there will be sadness or accidents (before I stopped reading them a woman on mine fell down the stairs and miscarried), they will just bring you down! I read a ton of birth stories to be educated, took no childbirth classes, and just went with my instincts!

- oh one book I would recommend for nutrition info is Real Food for Mother & Baby :)

Stephany said...

Unless I missed something recently (possible...in which case I'm going to look stupid), all these pregnancy posts have got me guessing that there's another Cup of Jo baby on the way? Hm...!

Amanda said...

I'm 27 weeks as of yesterday. I love your Motherhood Monday posts! So many people have lent me their pregnancy books and most of them are just awful. The only one I've found any use for is What To Expect When Expecting and even that has plenty of info I just skip over. Babycenter.com is a great resource though.

My can't get enough of pickles and jalapenos. I could eat them everyday (and probably do). I have that same "handy fish list" bookmarked on my iphone so I can pull it up whenever I'm eating out.

I've tried to avoid buying maternity clothes and so far I've found I can still wear a lot of pre-pregancy dresses and jeans (with the help of a belly band). Though I am very happy to have found Target maternity t-shirts and leggings. I was really surprised that the most uncomfortable clothing i have are specifically made for maternity - I've totally outgrown the bras and maternity jeans I bought early on.

The snoogle pillow saved my marriage. No more sleepless nights for me or my husband. Now my crazy nesting instincts are what drive him crazy instead.

I don't feel like I've had too many mood swings until recently. But now I can cry at the drop of a hat. And for sure anytime I see that Google+ ad where the father loses all the pictures of his newborn. The best thing has got to be feeling my little baby girl kick. It is definitely one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I just by chance happened upon your blog and im really enjoying the tips and great writing .
Im 17 weeks and 1 day today :):) and ive noticed im a moody soul of late for little or no reason.Im on the lookout for really nice maternity wear too ill need it real soon the way im growing. The Hatch looks great.
Keep up the good work :)

Paala said...

Thanks for posting this! I really appreciate your fashion section so I added that to my own pregnancy & birth advice post. Hope you don't mind! http://doublethink.us.com/paala/2012/03/27/pregnancy-birth-advice/

R.Anne said...

Hello everyone,


I'm laughing because I am currently just 8 weeks along, and I came here to CoJ for a distraction!

Thank you for the book recommendations- they seem much better than all the ones I have read so far.

Big-ups on the sparkling juice recommendation- I don't usually go for fizzy drink, but it does seem to quell nausea (and mine is so bad, I need all the replacement fluids- and medicine- I can get). On that point- you can get medicine for nausea and vomiting, and it's better than being dehydrated and unable to function.

In Australia I have heard a funny anti-nausea tip. We have fizzy life-saver type lollies called Fruit Tingles, and apparently they are a good "natural"(if you want to call acidic artificially coloured candy natural) remedy for morning sickness. I wonder if you have them in the USA and if Mums use them there, too?

Thanks again, Jo!

R.Anne said...

One small thing I forgot to say...

I'm not a huge fan of the image chosen for the Food & Drink part. Something like lemonade icy poles would've been easier to glimpse as I scrolled down. Not very nutritious but I think they saved my life last week.

Did someone say picky?

n said...

Prenatal yoga - 3 times a week! And lots of swimming. I am currently 39 weeks pregnant and in disbelief I am about to birth a human being! I also had "labor preparation acupuncture" and several chiropractic massages and adjustments throughout. My doctor says i'm 4 cm dilated and I haven't felt a single contraction yet! So far I feel fantastic-hopefully all of the preparations will be worth it and I can have an easy and speedy delivery.

Xenotees said...

This is wonderful- I'm sending the link to my little sister Annie, who is pregnant with her first!

ink said...

do you have any recommendations for good non-scary books for dads-to-be? my husband was given a book by one of his male coworkers. I flipped through it and all it talked about was what to expect from your wife during each trimester. BORING (he's never going to get through it). I was hoping for something that would address any scary "Oh my God I'm going to be a dad" feelings as well as give hints/tips on how to handle issues that come up with each trimester. Did Alex read anything to prepare himself?

Rini said...

Thanks for that post. I'm a big fan of your blog.
It's like having a big sister or a good friend. <3

I'm in week 23 and I'm feeling great. My only cravings are Evian water, fruits and I have a sweet tooth now, which I didn't have before. I'm in love with the French Ladurée Macrons - do you know that in N.Y.?

I'm trying to go to the gym everyday which helps me a lot to feel comfortable with my figure and it is good against the back pain which I have right now because of the growing of Little One.

I can still go jogging, which I really enjoy.

I don't drink alcohol since it's not good. This is a fact and you never know what it does to the nervous system of your baby. And it's not hard to skip it for 9 months. There are many mocktails you can drink. I really miss beer. But sometimes I just smell at the bottle and that helps a little. I make a lot of homemade ice teas (with white tea). They are really tasty. What I also like is adding fresh peppermint leaves to apple juice - simple but delicious. And it looks good. Or frozen raspberries into lemonade...

I'll definitely go for a epidural. What's the thing about having pain the natural way? I would never go to the dentist to pull a teeth without narcosis, although this would be very natural, too, no?

No books!
No forums!
I tried but I found out as well, that they just scare me. There are only horror stories what might happen and what might rip and so :(
You can not choose how your birth will be, so why scare yourself before. I hope everything will go well, I would never wanted to have a c-section. I'm really scared of this. Is it true, that you can choose a c-section in the US? It's not allowed in Europe. They only do it in case of emergency.

I found out that especially women, who are not mums yet, are telling you what to do, eat or telling you birth horror stories. I have no clue, why is that so?

I'm looking forward to next Motherhood-Monday!

xoxo

http://touchkajal.blogspot.com

studiocitro said...

I just had a baby in December and I am LOVING IT!!!!! I so regret waiting until I was 33 to have my first. I would love to have ... 5 kids if I were younger and money wasn't an issue. I am surprised at how much I am loving motherhood since I never was the mommy type ;)

meikechristina said...

hi joanna, i've been following your blog since the beginning of my pregnancy and i love it. thank you for all the wonderful ideas, insights and inspiration. i live in germany but i've been to nyc twice and it's so nice to imagine you over there and keep up with my english at the same time (i'm an english teacher). again, thanks for all that!

syeds said...

During pregnancy outdoor with hubby makes women happy. But now-a-days, husbands are becoming selfish., they never give time to wives to take them out for a walk or enjoyment with fresh ear.


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In Australia I have heard a funny anti-nausea tip. We have fizzy life-saver type lollies called Fruit Tingles, and apparently they are a good "natural"(if you want to call acidic artificially coloured candy natural) remedy for morning sickness. I wonder if you have them in the USA and if Mums use them there, too?

Thanks for share this great and interesting article with us, this topic is really important.

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thanks for share this great post with us.

Maya said...

Geat post even for someone (like me) who is hopefully soon "non bio mom/social mom", though we are still working towards pregnancy! But I'm already reading everything thats related to it!

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I'm so glad I came across this post! Thank you for sharing! =]

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Jenny Norton said...

Love this post! I'm 18 weeks now and completely baby obsessed. Thanks! Oh! Also, I just read Teresa Strasser's pregnancy memoir and it was so funny. What a big difference from other preggo books - which I've stopped reading as well. It does feel bold and rather amazing to just follow my own instincts. :)

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Sarah Vine said...

I haven't managed to read all the posts so I don't know if someone has said this already. (There are so may comments!!! You've really hit the mark with this post!) However I just thought you should know that the amounts of potassium in coconut water can be dangerous if it's not balanced out with drinking water in between. I am a doula and I didn't know this, until one birth a couple of weeks ago where the mother was drinking only coconut water. The staff freaked that she was in danger of OD-ing with potassium, which can cause muscle weakness, vomiting, and in extreme cases, the heart can stop beating. I suppose, as with any food while pregnant or breastfeeding, the best advise is moderation in everything! Blessings, Sarah Vine. sarahvine.wordpress.com

Morgan Johnston said...

I find myself sitting here, reading this, and bawling for no reason other than I am pregnant and this is so sweet. This is my first pregnancy, and I am in my first trimester and it has been so hard! Sick around the clock, uncomfortable all the time, and LITERALLY overnight...NONE OF MY PANTS FIT ME ANYMORE. I always dreamed of pregnancy as the most perfect and glowingly beautiful time of my life- after all that's what all my mommy friends tell me. They forgot to mention that it all kicks in second trimester!

I crave cream cheese, baked potatoes, french fries, and bloody rare beef. The protein in peanut butter really helps with sickness if you can get it in soon enough! And my God send are Chimes Ginger Chews. I ordered a five pound box on Amazon. Best purchase ever.

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