Top 5 things I would tell and expecting mother.
Being pregnant is a whole new world - and learning experience. Our own boys were our first pregnancy. I researched as much as I could on the Internet about nutrition, development, health - and, well, everything related to pregnancy. There were a few things I missed (or dismissed) that I wish I hadn't. I get a lot of emails asking for advice on what to do, buy, and otherwise think about during pregnancy. I've come up with my "Top 5 " suggestions that are words of advice I pass on to first time pregnant moms!
1. The first thing I would have done different with our own pregnancy is meet with a nutritionist as soon as we found out we were pregnant. This is also the most important tip I can think of. I know it sounds like a hassle, but it's well worth it. Many health plans provide a nutritionist as part of their programs - take advantage of this!!!! Protein and water needs are different for pregnancy moms, especially moms with high risk or multiple pregnancies. Make SURE you discuss your nutritional needs with a specialist who understands and is familiar with your specific pregnancy condition (for instance, a nutritionist who understands the ins and out of cardiac health may not be familiar with the nuances of pregnancy nutrition). No one at our ob/gyns had really talked about the nutritional needs we faced having twins. They said 'drink your water and add calcium, iron, protein', but they never talked about amounts of what I should be adding, what exactly I should be eating, or the best way to "add" these items to my diet to make sure I was getting enough - and I didn't know enough to ask specifics. I thought I was doing great, for instance, by taking my vitamins, eating a healthy diet and drinking eight pints (yes, that's pints, not glasses) of water a day - only to find out that that was about half of what I should have been drinking, and that my protein intake was a fraction of what it should have been for a mom pregnant with multiples! By eating right - and eating the right portions of protein, water, and other pregnancy essentials, you can avoid (or at least limit) common pregnancy complications like pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, and other health risks.
Don't underestimate the importance of exercise, either! Talk with your doctor about how much and what kind of exercise is best for you (water aerobics is a great way to get a workout without hurting your back, or straining yourself too much!)
2. Buy comfortable maternity clothes. It's not only your belly that changes shape while you're pregnant, your breasts, arms, hips, legs all change shapes. This requires a change in your wardrobe. Maternity styles these days are fun, comfortable, and stylish. There are a few things to be careful of, especially if you're looking for t-shirts:
a. One size fits all (or most) DOESN'T. In the real world, a woman
who wears a size 10 cannot fit into a size 6. And no matter how big your belly grows, it's doubtful that if you started your singleton pregnancy as a medium that you'll be able to fit into something that someone who wears a size xl wears comfortably. The same holds true for maternity sizes.
b. Be careful of "the material stretches to fit your growing belly" clothes. It's one thing to buy dresses, shirts, pants, and other clothes that tie in the front, back or sides to make the shirt fit closer during the first months, and "expand" during your pregnancy (my favorite overalls had three sets of fasteners on each side so that the overalls grew with me). However, many maternity t-shirt sellers try to sell regular mens or womens clothes under the guise of maternity designs. These fit a pregnant woman about as well as the "One size fits most". Also, you don't want to restrict your tummy in tight-fitting clothes, or overheat your already hormonal body thermostat by wearing spandex clothing that keeps the heat in (unless, of course, that's your goal!). Be wary of the shirts that have latex or spandex in the material - as you reach the last trimester, most of the elastic materials will "break". Most pregnant women are a little self-conscious of how they look, and having broken bans of elastic or a 'worn' patch around their belly or hips doesn't help that image.
3. Stock up on diapers and baby wipes! Start buying a package of
diapers or wipes every week - and watch for those closeout specials! Buy newborn up to size 3 or more. It's AMAZING how quickly this consumes your baby budget essential. We had stocked up on sizes for newborns to 1-2, but those were all used within two months. By buying a pack every week - or stocking up every time there's a great sale - for four or five months, you'll be able to spread your diaper spending over a longer period of time. Concentrate on 'older' clothing too - from 6 months on up. They outgrow the little stuff all too soon, and you're left with a mound of clothes that are practically new.
4. Don't stock up on formula. Your baby's needs may be different
than expected. We found that one of our boys didn't tolerate one brand well, but thrived under another. We had a small supply of formula (I intended on breast feeding, but knew that with multiples we would probably need to supplement with formula), and, of course, it was the wrong brand.
5. Stock up on disposables - from disposable plates, silverware and
cups to paper towels to ready-made-meals in the freezer. It is a lot easier to toss a plate than it is to scrape, rinse, put in the dishwasher, and then put away. This is especially helpful if you have older kids in the home, or if you have someone over to help. There's a wide variety of disposable cookware too. If you're stocking the freezer with pre-made meals (or friends and family are bringing meals to help your new family) the aluminum foil pans are great for enchiladas, casseroles, and other dishes. There are several brands of disposable (or reusable) plastic containers as well. These are great to have on hand for leftovers. The 'ready made meals' selection in most grocery
stores has expanded to include all sorts of dinners for the family - stock up on these as well. Prep is a snap, and cleanup is almost as easy! You'll have a lot more time for other important things - like sleep - if you don't have to worry about making meals or cleaning up the kitchen!
Stock up on the disposable cleaning supplies for the home, too. Many of the major manufacturers have disposable cleaning wipes with disinfectant that make cleaning your kitchen and bathroom a breeze, and the new handy-mops (like Swiffer) are a great way to quickly clean your floor without pulling out the mop, bucket, and cleaning chemicals!
Read more tips and tricks to surviving pregnancy by visiting our Articles page!
Collin and Evan's Mommy
P.S. Have questions of your own, or advice for other parents? Post your question or tip on our Forum!