12/30/14 Pregnancy tips

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I am by no means an expert on pregnancy now that I've gone through it and come out the other side a mother but there were, in retrospect, a few things I think truly helped me avoid some of the more uncomfortable aspects associated with a burgeoning baby bump. I figured I'd share them here in case by chance they may help you or someone else you may know. Also, if I ever find myself in the bun baking business again, it probably isn't a bad idea to note what worked the first time around. 

First, drink lots and lots of water. I'm talking 3 liters of the good stuff...daily. The best advice my doctor gave me was to literally measure it out. Go buy yourself one of those liter size bottles of water and re-fill it 3 times a day. You'd be amazed at how much water it is but also how quickly you get used to drinking said amount of water. Besides the medical benefits of doing so, drinking such a significant amount really helped me avoid cankles and constipation. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I saw one of the nurses quite frequently during my weekly visits to the office, and I recall her telling me that she always knows which ladies aren't drinking enough by the size of their ankles. I can't make this stuff up.

Speaking of constipation, do NOT overdose on bread. Be mindful of how many carbs you're eating. For instance, cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, a piece of bread and butter as a mid-afternoon snack and pasta for dinner (because who feels like actually cooking?) will not do wonders for the time you spend in the loo. If by chance you have a bad day (meaning you've practically overdosed on carbs), just make sure it's not followed by a string of very bad days. Maybe tomorrow have a salad for lunch instead of the sandwich? Or soup? Or try to, at the very least, make sure it's whole wheat. I made the mistake of buying a loaf of potato bread once and proceeded to go on a bread and butter binge for a few days. It was glorious tasting but also led to the one and only bout of extended time in the bathroom I experienced. I think I may have used the expression "birthed a bowling ball" afterwards. TMI? Okay, yes, that was probably a TMI moment. Anyway, you get the picture. I learned my lesson reaaaally quickly after that experience. Avoiding the terrible C also allowed me to avoid the even more terrible H you hear women complain about - hemorrhoids!

So that's water and food. Now let's talk poundage. I'll be real here and tell you that I gained 26 lbs over the course of my pregnancy, which is right on par with what my doctor's office recommended. Even more miraculously, I was able to avoid an emotional breakdown about weight gain. Everyone is different but what worked for me was weighing myself once a week. I didn't get too caught up with the numbers since they'll fluctuate a bit but it kept me in check. Another strategy? Keep an eye on the arms! Your midsection and thighs (and butt if you have a good one... I do not) will become useless indicators of weight gain the moment you find yourself pregnant because that area is busy doing all kinds of phenomenal things. Arms though, they're different. If you're gaining weight in your arms, you're gaining weight everywhere so it may be time to eat healthy for a few days. No one wants a fat arm. You know yourself better than anyone and for me this is just one of those areas I could spot in the mirror every morning pretty easily. If my daily splurge on ice cream started getting out of hand, I just made sure to eat a bit healthier for the next few days to keep things in check. Eating healthy is not the same as doing on a diet, mind you.

Ok, the other bit if I'm being honest, is that I didn't use pregnancy as an excuse to eat as unhealthy and as much as I wanted. Truth be told, the first three months I let myself eat whatever I could because nausea had pretty much stolen my appetite. I'm pretty sure I lived on an excess of sugar - all fruits and ice cream - because nothing else sounded remotely appetizing. Once that second trimester hit though and I started feeling more normal (it really does happen!), I tried to eat like I did pre-pregnancy with maybe a daily splurge thrown in for good measure. 300 extra calories a day is not that much people. And remember, whatever you eat is what the baby eats. I'm pretty sure baby would benefit more from a healthy, organic mix of foods than the stuff they serve at those drive-thru's. Not sure if I was just blessed or if it was due to all of my healthy eating habits, but I never dealt with heartburn. Now, no one said a splurge here and there is terrible, but let's not get carried away and eat gobs of grease and fat every day! Plus, who doesn't love hearing someone tell you how great you look? I'd much rather enjoy a pregnancy where I feel good about myself everyday than one where I feel like a beached whale. You still do have to get up and get dressed when you're pregnant.

Trying to avoid that emotional breakdown? You know the one, where you throw an adult tantrum because nothing in your wardrobe fits. Planning in advance helps. I made the mistake of buying a bunch of cute maternity tops pretty early on in my pregnancy but didn't actually get around to wearing them until I hit 5-6 months. There will be quite a window where you'll probably be able to get by wearing loose fitting shirts like flowy blouses. I never had one of those tear-filled "but nothing fits me anymore!" moments because I had taken the initiative to stock my closet with a few looser alternatives ahead of time. I think this was a lifesaver and probably spared my husband from quite a few eye roll moments. Also, if you're blessed enough to be able to fit into your regular jeans throughout your entire pregnancy, bravo! I still suggest you go out and try a pair of maternity jeans on because you really don't want to miss out on how heavenly comfortable those babies are!

A few last random thoughts - invest in shaving cream and new razor blades. It will help you avoid skin tags. They do happen and can happen ANYWHERE.

You don't need to buy a $55 pregnancy pillow if you're okay barricading yourself in with regular pillows.

Your boobs are going to change. Sure, you've read that it happens but when it actually does, and you're all pumped full of those extra hormones, it may still freak you out a little. Just know that everyone experiences it. Try less mirror time until you've gotten used to your new ladies in waiting.

UPDATE: All of the above was written way back when I was still pregnant and waiting to welcome little Miss Evelyn Rose to the world. I would also add to this list, in retrospect...do your kegals mamas! There was an incident where I sort of, kind of, totally peed myself laughing a few days after the birth. Not a tinkle either. Full blown peed my pants. It was more funny than traumatizing but still, if I could go back in time, I would have done a few more kegals in my baby baking days. 

Hope this helps ladies! If you have any other pieces of advice, I'd love to hear them :) And in the end, just remember, it's all worth it!