As I head into the end of this pregnancy, I’ve been thinking about the things I wish I’d known about the first time around. I can’t really call myself any kind of expert on being pregnant, but I’ve done it three times now and I’ve learned about so many tips and tricks from many wise women along the way. Here are a couple of things I wish I had known about from the beginning that make pregnancy easier for me (or at least less uncomfortable).
- Ditch the saltines. Ok, so maybe I don’t even follow this one all the time when I’m feeling sick. But during my second pregnancy, my midwife told me to combat morning sickness, I really should try to avoid just eating so many carbs (but… but… carbs!) and try to eat protein when I’m feeling nauseous. And the annoying thing is that she was totally right. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it cured me of morning/afternoon/evening sickness, but I really did feel better when I snacked on protein instead of crackers (or cold pizza. or donuts. or mall pretzels.)
- Lemongrass oil for Restless Leg Syndrome Who knew? Apparently the awesome midwife I’ve been seeing with this pregnancy. She suggested giving it a try after I complained about that tingly, uncomfortable feeling in my legs that was making it hard to fall asleep. I dilute a couple drops in a carrier oil and rub it on my legs before bed and it seems to really help take the edge off. I’m no essential oil expert, so don’t sue me or anything if it doesn’t work for you (you should consult and expert), but it worked for me.
- Epsom Salt Baths and Arnica for Aches and Pains Dude. Dude. Dude. Epsom baths were a total game changer for me. Towards the end of pregnancy I get so achey all over and really the only thing that can make me feel better is getting in a bath with Epsom salts. As a bonus, the magnesium that you absorb through your skin can help with those pesky leg cramps that are so common in pregnancy. And if a specific spot (i.e. my back, my neck or shoulders) are getting achey halfway through the day, rubbing a little arnica on the area helps immensely.(Why yes, that is Joey lovingly caressing my baby belly while Grace punches it. It sums up so much, so perfectly, I think.)
- Chiropractic Care I put off going to see a chiropractor for a long time because I thought it was too expensive and looked at it like a luxury. But after the first time I got adjusted when I was pregnant I changed my tune and was all, “Take all my money!” and “Can I just live in your office?” Not only did it help my aching back, but it eased the migraines that I often get and I’m convinced that it made my second labor a lot easier because I was so well-adjusted. Another bonus is that if you find a chiro who is familiar with the Webster technique, they can help you get baby into a good position if they are breech or in a sub-optimal position. Chiropractors are my spirit animal.
- Papaya Enzyme Chewables for Heartburn I always get pretty nasty heartburn during pregnancy right from the get-go. The first time I munched on Tums all. the. time. But they didn’t help a ton, and I wasn’t crazy about all the sugar and food coloring I was consuming. The second time around someone told me about these Papaya enzyme chews and they were a game changer. They actually worked and they don’t have the yucky stuff I objected to in the Tums. And they taste pretty good!
- Witch hazel Men and children, cover your ears. Ladies, if you’ve been pregnant, you know there’s just a lot going on down there, both before and after you give birth. Whatever it is, just put some witch hazel on it. It doesn’t matter what. Just put witch hazel on it. You’re welcome.
- A Doula Man, how I wish I’d have had a doula the first time around, I think it would have saved me a whole lot of grief. I honestly didn’t even consider having one, because it was expensive (I’m SO cheap, y’all), and I kind of thought that doulas were only for hippies who didn’t want drugs. (Which I totally now am, probably as one of the side effects of my terrible first birth experience. Irony.) My experience with my second birth was a thousand times better and I think having a doula was a MAJOR part of that. Seriously. Get one. If you’re in the Chicago area, look no further- Lindsey is the best. If you’re not, check out doulamatch.net so you can find someone in your area.
Ok, are you ready for the one thing I wish I hadn’t known about my first pregnancy? This book. It’s the worst. It will tell you literally every. possible. thing. that can go wrong in pregnancy with both you and your baby and scare the crud out of you. If you want the week-by-week of how your babe is growing and all the stuff you really should know, there are plenty of better books about that- or better yet, phone apps. And if you really want to get excited about giving birth, I recommend reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It’s encouraging and helpful, and you get to laugh at all the crazy hippie anecdotes along the way. So worth a read.
So, what things did you discover on your second, third, fourth pregnancies that you wish you’d known about earlier? What did I miss? What do I need to know about? Hit me with your best stuff!
*Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum because she rocks and it’s Friday. Go check it out and see what everyone else is up to!*