Today’s guest post is by Betsy Finn. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two boys, and two cats (Betsy’s story). You can read more of her thoughts on life and creative musings at BPhotoArt.com. There, Betsy blogs about a hodgepodge of topics including fine art and portrait photography, parenting, capturing memories, and finding contentment in the journey of life. You can also find Betsy on Facebook,Twitter,Google+,Pinterest,and Instagram.
There are so many resources online for pregnant moms — and most focus on what you “need” to do while pregnant. For my first pregnancy, we “followed the rules” and did all the stuff that the pregnancy books recommend. My second? We didn’t. We did what what worked for our family. Here’s my list of 10 things you don’t need to do while pregnant, from a mom who’s been there and done that:
1. Don’t give in to the “prenatal” exercise fad.
My first pregnancy, I took prenatal yoga. With my second, I found a pilates class. Instead of gearing exercises towards the pregnant body, the pilates class focused on strengthening my core and adapting exercises, as needed, so that I could do them while pregnant. I wish I’d taken pilates sooner; working my core muscles throughout pregnancy made my changing physique much more manageable.
2. Don’t register for everything under the sun.
As parents-to-be, we thought that we were being reasonable about our baby registry. We didn’t put a lot of extras on the list, and kept it more to essentials. Despite our attempts to be minimalistic, as our first son grew I found myself donating numerous unneeded baby items that we had thought were essential. A baby wipe warmer? Sounds like a good idea, sure, but we never used it. Crib nightlight and music machine? Neat — until you realize it turns off abruptly and wakes up the baby.
3. Don’t forget to document your pregnancy with pictures.
With my first pregnancy, baby’s growth was well documented with snapshots, but for round two, I just wanted nice maternity portraits. I’m a photographer though, so maybe I’m biased on this one.
4. Don’t overpack for the hospital.
I don’t remember what we packed in our hospital back for the first time around. But the second time, I overpacked. What did we use from my extensive checklist? tennis balls for counter-pressure and an aromatherapy diffuser. That’s it. nothing more. One good suggestion I did find? Separate your things into “labor” and “postpartum” bags — and leave the second bag in the car..
5. Don’t try to learn everything about pregnancy.
Do yourself a favor and don’t read all those pregnancy books. I read them with my first pregnancy, but later realized you can get the important information from your doctor (or online).
6. Don’t put life on hold.
Sure, there are some things you can’t do while pregnant. No alcohol, no lunchmeat, no rare/raw meats… no raw sushi. But find a way to still enjoy your pregnant months (e.g. virgin daiquiris, cooked sushi).
7. Don’t be afraid to “pester” your doctor with questions or concerns.
That’s what your doctor is there for. After my first birth experience, I switched OB/GYNs, and my new one was much more receptive to my many questions.
8. Don’t scoff at hand-me-downs!
Brand new baby stuff is expensive…especially when you consider how little they get worn. Most used baby clothes are practically brand new. So, if you are offered hand-me-downs from a relative or friend — accept!
9. Don’t wait until you are pregnant to start getting healthy.
Between my first and second pregnancies, — a postpartum health issue required me to make some dietary changes (which led to weight loss and improved health). Being healthier before my second pregnancy allowed me to be more active towards the end of my second pregnancy.
10. Don’t be stubborn, accept help when needed!
I admit it. I like being independent. But when you’re pregnant, there are certain things you shouldn’t do: lifting heavy things and cat litter duty, for example I was reluctant to ask for help — it’s important to remember, you feel like more of an imposition than you actually are.
So, there you have it. Ten things you don’t need to do while pregnant. Those are my suggestions as a mom who’s been through it. Neither of my pregnancies and neither of my birth experiences were identical. There is no one size fits all approach to pregnancy, birth, or even life in general. You have to find what works for you and run with it. Take what works, and leave the rest.