Now obviously there are a million books you can buy that will supposedly tell you every little thing about pregnancy. I know, I have a few of them. I also know that as much as you intend on reading them, you will more than likely never get around to it or at least never finish them once you start. I have books beside my bed and the last part I remember reading was week 19 and I'm now 33 weeks. It seems kind of pointless to go back now and read about all the weeks in between when I've already experienced them. And to be honest, I'm kind of scared to read ahead about what's coming. I've managed to avoid having a labour freak out so far and don't want to give myself a huge number of reasons to have one now. I've kind of taken a go with the flow attitude for this pregnancy (which is not what I thought I would do).
I tried the pregnancy books, numerous magazines (I have heaps and after a while they all seem to say the same things), online forums, google, midwife advice, advice from strangers and advice from friends. Given all of this input I decided to ignore at least 50% of it and Ive kind of winged the rest of it. I know I'm no expert at being pregnant (so maybe take this with a grain of salt), but I have come up with my own top 10 pregnancy survival tips based on my experience.
My pregnancy survival tips
1. Don't google!
Seriously do not do it! At the start of my pregnancy all I wanted to do was google everything and trust me its a very big mistake. The majority of information you will find on google is bad - complications, reasons for miscarriage, problems the baby can have etc. All it did was make me think about everything that could go wrong. I got a huge complex that everything that could go wrong would happen to me. I didnt enjoy the first few weeks of my pregnancy because I was so stressed out. If you have any concerns talk to your doctor first and foremost, not Dr Google.
2. Graze like a cow
Sounds a bit degrading and at the time I received this advice from my Dr I was a bit offended that he was referring to me as a cow, but it is definitely good advice. He meant eat smaller meals more often. It was the only thing that got me through my morning sickness (which was actually all day sickness). I survived that by hiding a box of biscuits in my work cabinet and sneaking two or three every half hour when there were no customers around. I got busted a few times, but I didn't care. Now that Im at the end of the pregnancy this advice is becoming relevant again. Heartburn has become a major issue for me. Everything gives me heartburn and the only way to minimise it is to eat smaller meals (and if that fails continuously chew on antacids like lollies).
3. Trust your instincts
No matter how much information you are told by others, the person who has the best connection with your baby is you. Always trust your own instincts, even if you have never been pregnant before. You will instinctively know when something is wrong. If you are worried about something seek help. You will also know when things are right. Its amazing how much your instincts kick in and your body knows what to do and think even though you have never been through it all before. When my baby sat on my sciatic nerve I knew all I had to do was lay down and get her to move, even though the first aid people at work were all freaking out and telling me they needed to call an ambulance. Your maternal instincts naturally take over.
4. Find a support network
Like Ive said there are many avenues that will lead you to the wrong advice. As much as you should avoid these, you will also need a support network. I originally tried to find this in online forums on baby websites, but like google this just lead me to becoming paranoid about everything that could go wrong. Early on T imposed a ban on google, online forums and youtube - pretty much everything on the net that was about babies. It was kind of a good thing. I pretty much stuck to it, but I've found my best source of support has been a facebook group of women who are all now pregnant after infertility. I knew some of them from my infertility journey over the last few years and for me it has been amazing being able to share advice, opinions, fears and milestones with people who understand the journey I have been through. There is no judgement which is awesome (because sometimes you feel like everyone is judging every decision you make when pregnant). Your support network may come in the form of family members, colleagues or close friends. It doesn't matter as long as you have somewhere you can go to when you need reassurance.
5. Buy a pregnancy pillow
I got mine pretty early on and I'm glad I did. They are pretty expensive, but well worth it as you will be using them for some time. Trust me sleep gets quite uncomfortable, especially when you are forced to sleep on your side. Having something to cuddle into and rest on really helps. I guarantee you will end up snuggling with your pillow way more than you do with your partner. T likes it so much that he steals my pillow when I get up and go to the toilet. If you don't get a proper pregnancy pillow at least get a pillow for between your legs as it will help with leg cramps and fluid retention.
6. Sleep when you can
I worked fulltime up until my body broke down at 30 weeks so I didn't really get to sleep whenever I wanted to. However, on days off I had the overwhelming need to have nanna naps. OMG Nanna naps are the best thing ever. I advise you to have them whenever and wherever you can. Now that Im on maternity leave even though Im doing less my need for naps has increased, probably because I'm a lot bigger and carrying around this weight is a lot more exhausting. Also sleep at night will soon become a thing of the past as pregnancy insomnia kicks in. I have it bad. Sleeping through the day when you get a chance will at least allow your body to get some rest.
7. Do your exercises
Yes nobody likes to talk about pelvic floor exercises, but seriously do them. I used to think oh yea it will be easy to remember, but I have still forgotten 80% of the time. Now that I have PSD it is even more crucial for me to do them as my pelvis is already out of alignment and my muscles are already stretching too much. Maybe if I did them more often earlier I wouldn't be in this situation, or at least it wouldn't be as severe.
8. Make lists
Lists have saved my life. After I had a breakdown at a baby shop the only thing that made me realise I could cope was to write out a list of what I needed. Trying to keep everything swirling around in my brain is just too confusing and leads to emotional outbursts when I cant remember everything at the same time. In the first week of my maternity leave I wrote a list of all the organising I want to get done before the baby comes (its 4 pages long) and even though I havent been able to do it all yet, it has broken it down into smaller tasks and seems a lot more achievable now. Yes I am still a planner, can you tell?
9. Take belly photos
I thought I would go crazy with this and do a photo each week just to make sure my belly was growing. I havent been quite that crazy, I take a new one about every three weeks. I feel a bit guilty for not over documenting my pregnancy so far, given that it took me so long to get here. But, I am glad that I will have photos to look back on later. If you get a chance I would seriously recommend a professional maternity photoshoot.
10. Connect with your belly
Take the time to connect with your belly. Right now it is a special bond that only you get to experience with your baby. Talk to your baby (I sometimes do this at random moments when shes kicking or rolling and I get weird looks, but people are used to it now). Touch and rub your belly. I find the best time to do this is when I am rubbing cream into my belly morning and night. Take some quiet time to sit and really concentrate on your baby's movements. I usually put my hand in between my belly and my pillow at night and feel her movements and kicks - sometimes I feel her hand or foot stretch out and push into me. Its amazing like being able to hold her before shes here.
Hopefully some of this advice has been helpful and hasn't been filtered to your ignore it box.
Do you have any other advice you would add?