Life with baby on the inside
June 24, 2012 5:39 PM   Subscribe

What did you change in your day-to-day life during your pregnancy?

I'm five weeks pregnant! Yay! I've combed through the pregnancy-related Asks here and have gotten great advice for things to do to make my life easier after the baby arrives, books to read, things that make for a great interaction with medical professionals, and your thoughts on delivery. Now I want to add personal experiences from the hive mind on what day-to-day pregnant life was like.

Some background:
- We have not told anyone (except my sister, who knew we were trying) and are planning to keep it quiet until week 8 or 9 (um, except the part where I'm currently announcing it to the internet at large).
- I'm making a doctor's appointment for Friday, when my husband can attend with me.
- I'm 27 and my husband is 28. I'm in reasonably good health but am one-half point into the "overweight" BMI category.
- I've been on a prenatal multivitamin and DHA for two months, and I also take a Vitamin D supplement daily. I have stopped drinking alcohol, cut back on caffeine, cut out sushi, and will be avoiding lunch meats and unpasteurized cheese.
- I walk for about half an hour a day and take the stairs instead of the elevator. I'm planning to add prenatal yoga this week.
- All of my personal care items except deodorant and nail polish are organic. Laundry detergent is Seventh Generation. Some cleaning supplies are natural, some are traditional chemical crap.
- We have a six-month-old foster child (who we've had since she was a month old), so advice like "sleep really late on weekends!" doesn't really apply; also, we have experience with the new-parent stuff, starting at four weeks; also, we have new-baby gear and clothes all set.
- The hospital my ob/gyn works with has a respected birthing center and nurse midwives on staff.

So, my questions are as follows:
- What did you wish you had known at the very beginning of your pregnancy, and throughout it?
- What did you change in your everyday life/ what changed without your input?
- What online resources did you like that were targeted at educated, not-idiotic women?
- It's likely our foster daughter will still be with us when the baby arrives. What advice do you have on parenting children 14 months apart?
posted by SeedStitch to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I ate more milkshakes, and it was awesome. I drank lots of water. I ate spinach by the fistful, like it was medicine (which it was). I slept. I allowed myself to feel tired and/or funky, and act accordingly. I enjoyed the hell out of elastic waistbands and maternity jeans. I tried not to worry. It was wonderful. And, really, more milkshakes. As many as possible.
posted by nkknkk at 5:52 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

What changed without my input: I got tireder, I got meaner, I got stupider, I got slower. What did I change? I gave myself a break. Sometime staying home to watch TV or take a nap is the best!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:54 PM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Congratulations!

Try your best to remember that it is a great time to be cherished, but not at the risk of it becoming the center of your life. It sounds like you're really well prepared, so just go with it.

-I loved the Amalah pregnancy calendar. Not too precious, but no doom and gloom either.
-I wrote a letter every month to my daughter, something I continue even now (she's two)
-People will be assholes about names, in retrospect I wouldn't share about possible names
-If you don't want people touching your belly, you're going to have to speak up.
-Do what you can to focus on the child instead of the birth, this is really difficult to do (similar to how hard it is to focus on a marriage when planning a wedding instead of fretting about flowers and menus)
-Be ready to get, um... less smart. Seriously I got dumb. I remember being in a room with a patient and totally blanking on something very very basic
-Look at goodwill or thrift stores for maternity wear. Try to get basics, because you might wear them again. You'll also need some bigger shoes.
-Amazon prime is your friend.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 5:57 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and your bra size will change, so get measured every couple months to avoid discomfort.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:00 PM on June 24, 2012

Best answer: The whole telling-your-friends-at-12-weeks thing is something to seriously reconsider. I told close friends and colleagues (most of whom I'm pretty close with) at five weeks and do not regret it at all. I miscarried and the support and love of my friends has been invaluable.

On a more pragmatic note, letting people around you know will make life better for you if morning sickness and preggo bladder become a problem. My morning sickness got markedly worse the later into the first trimester I got, so there was really no hiding it after a while.

Ditto on the stupid. I was pedalling furiously to remember fairly basic things. That's normal, you're a big soup bowl of hormones at the moment, and something's got to give.
posted by Jilder at 6:07 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

I've had babies closer together than that. My tip is get a mother's helper or reliable sitter so you can get extra rest. Because getting two babies to nap at the same time can be a challenge.

On the bright side the older one will be too little to really be jealous. I never had to deal with sibling jealousy and all three of mine were born pretty close together.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:13 PM on June 24, 2012

I made it a point to rub my wife's legs and back every day. It made her feel better and it made me feel more involved.
posted by Silvertree at 6:16 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm six and a half months in, so I'm not done yet, but I can tell you that I am much more tired and uncomfortable than I thought I would be at this point. (Grain of salt: I'm 38.)

I have a distinctly finite store of energy, and have to plan my week so that there is only one other thing besides work that I do each day. I can do some housecleaning OR cook dinner; I can go out to eat OR go to a movie. I am sore and achy and moving slow, and must to make allowances accordingly.
posted by Specklet at 6:18 PM on June 24, 2012

Mostly my life did not change. I did plan to commute by bike until I got too big to do so, but the first trimester kicked my ass and I had to stop around week 7 and take long naps every day. I did NOT stop eating sushi, lunch meats, or soft cheeses. That's really an American thing, not at all universal and the risks are very low. I also had wine on occasion, though I didn't finish it often.
One thing I wish I had known from the start was how much it would end up mattering to me to have a natural birth. I started out thinking that as long as I had a healthy baby the type of birth did not matter and it slowly started mattering more and more, until I fired my OBGYN 5 weeks before my due date and hiring a midwife to do a non-hospital birth. I very much wished I had been with her from the start. Nemail me if you want more details.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:21 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I ate continuously from 7:45am until about 2:30pm, at which point I got really tired and just wanted to have a nap. I always slept for about 45 minutes when I got home from work. I kept fruit and nuts and good snacks around me all the time and my weight was really good and felt fantastic throughout. Congrats and enjoy!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:22 PM on June 24, 2012

You won't ever appreciate being able to bend over more than you will by about 30 weeks. Prepare with slip on shoes, moving low things to within reach and finding a stool or something now to make having to do anything near the floor easier later.

I'm 42, overweight for ever, 37 weeks pregnant and have felt great the whole time. Not much has changed in my day to day (well, I am tired and pretty stupid, but whatevs, my partner is picking up a lot of slack), may your mileage not vary too much! :)
posted by tristeza at 6:25 PM on June 24, 2012

Best answer: Stupider and more tired, yes. And you lose some rationality, too. I remember crying and knowing I was crying about something stupid but I just couldn't help it! And then I felt like a walking stereotype and that depressed me so I would cry all the harder!

One big thing that changed was the way I ate. I didn't eat more in terms of quantity, but I ate more frequently. Starting the day with protein (drinkable yogurt the minute I woke up) kept morning sickness at bay; keeping my meals small helped with heartburn.

The biggest thing to know going in is that you will not get everything right. (This is also handy in parenthood.) We all pick and choose what's most important to us--for one woman, eating right might be the big thing, for another it may be avoiding toxins. Relax and know you can't have a "perfect pregnancy". Babies get borned. Just do what you can and let the rest go.
posted by wallaby at 6:29 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Make sure you have a good mattress before your back starts giving you grief. Seriously. This was perhaps the best thing my husband and I did during my pregnancy, though my discomforts were for the most part minimal.

NAPS. And perhaps be prepared to start not sleeping through the night. I started only being able to sleep in three hour chunks, and it was Not Cool.

Also, have you signed up for short-term disability insurance (assuming you are working)? Because it covers pregnancy, but not if you sign up for it after your first visit to the doctor. I think. Check the rules with HR. This is actually the one thing I wish I'd known about before getting pregnant, especially as I didn't have anything beyond vacation time and unpaid FMLA for the twelve weeks I took off.
posted by daikaisho at 6:32 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wish someone (anyone!) had talked to me about postpartum care/recovery. Besides the basic "you should go easy on yourself" talk. I got a lot of advice regarding this the day of the birth, but really, that doesn't allow much time to plan. Even without serious PPD, I was a wreck (at least I felt that way). I didn't sleep for a 36 hour period post birth, and most of my crying bouts were due to exhaustion.
I recommend regular prenatal massage. If you find a therapist you like, you might even want them to do labor support massage. Definitely plan for a postpartum massage (lord, how I wish I'd thought of this!). A trained therapist can come in to your home a day or two after birth, and even do some massage while the baby nurses.
I had a glorious natural water birth in a lovely birth center, and it couldn't have gone better. But I was sore as hell for weeks, and felt a little betrayed that no one told me how to take care of myself until it was too late to implement.

If you'll be breastfeeding (I hope you do!) research about that now. I recommend this book. Find a good lactation consultant, take a basics class, join your local La Leche League. This also can be more challenging than people assume, and it's good to get your support lined up.
posted by purpletangerine at 6:49 PM on June 24, 2012

I switched to decaf coffee, drank a lot more water than normal and took a prenatal vitamin. Then I failed the GD test at 24 weeks and had to eat low carb for the rest of my pregnancy. Other than that, not much.
posted by chiababe at 6:49 PM on June 24, 2012

I'm lucky that i didn't get morning sickness, or more tired or stupid (don't hate me!). I kept biking (not far!) until 38 weeks, but i stopped going to my ballet class cuz it was too taxing. So i did alexander technique (starting at about 5 months) and maybe that's why i didn't get backaches or sciatica. I also started acupuncture shortly before that; that was good for my overall health. Generally i tried to eat more, drink water and move around while at work. Snacks included yogourt, trail mix and prunes. I did squats and other little exercises at my desk at work. Kegels while sitting on the subway. I had light pubic joint pain starting at 5 months (from the increasing weight of the fetus) and the squats really helped to alleviate that. We hired a doula who was super helpful during the labour. I was interested in hypnobirthing, my partner not so much so we didn't practice leading up to the birth but we tried to use it during labour, not sure if it helped? I also got my placenta encapsulated; not sure if it's making a difference. :D my baby was right occiput posterior (left occiput anterior is ideal) so i wish i paid more attention to (warning: website is very disorganized but is better than before!). I also got oral vitamin k for my baby but i wonder if i should've just gone with the injection cuz i had to get a prescription from my doc, get it myself, and administer it myself. we also chose to keep the sex a surprise; i think that really worked for us.

Other things i should've started earlier: drink red leaf raspberry tea and do perineal massage late in pregnancy.

Helpful websites include and Generally i just googled whatever question i had and because it's the internet, a ton of info came up.

Generally there is a ton of info and different approaches out there, it can get overwhelming but you will find what works for you.
posted by foxjacket at 6:50 PM on June 24, 2012

As for caring for two young kids, you should look into babywearing for the newborn. Get a moby or a ring sling or something similar to be able to carry the bitty babe hands free while chasing the bigger one around.
posted by chiababe at 6:51 PM on June 24, 2012

Mostly my life did not change. I did plan to commute by bike until I got too big to do so, but the first trimester kicked my ass and I had to stop around week 7 and take long naps every day. I did NOT stop eating sushi, lunch meats, or soft cheeses. That's really an American thing, not at all universal and the risks are very low. I also had wine on occasion, though I didn't finish it often.

Similar story here. I also made sure to have a *lot* of sex, which was good, because that was out of the question, psychologically, for me for a lot longer postpartum than I expected.
posted by gaspode at 7:00 PM on June 24, 2012

At the risk of sounding gross, during the eighth month or so, when your bladder can't contain itself as long as it did before, I started to wear long billowy skirts sans underwear so that I could discretely duck behind a bush and relieve myself without having to squat down or lift up a skirt. Bathrooms aren't always conveniently located, and often they're not clean. Having to go every 30 minutes got really annoying. So I intentionally dressed to make it more convenient to relieve myself.
posted by zagyzebra at 7:08 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The thing that struck me the first time I was pregnant was how just when things seemed to get to the new normal, it changed again. Clothes stopped fitting, maternity clothes started fitting, bras got uncomfortable, you start shopping for maternity bras. Here are the things I wish I had known at the beginning:

1) Stool softeners are your friends. Due to pregnancy hormones, everything sllloooowwwss down and that means constipation. Stool softeners are a great way to combat that. I'm pregnant again and those suckers were on board the minute the second line turned up.

2) you will be really thirsty a lot. I never drank so much water as I did when I was pregnant and it wasn't because I was being proactive. I was thirsty.

3) There is a variety of testing that is offered, some of it more mandatory than others. Research the tests so that when you get to the OB, you can control the discussion. Do you want a nuchal translucency? What about the quad screening? Others like the gestational diabetes screen and the Group B strep test are really important.

4) As for announcing, we told certain groups of people at certain times. Parents - almost right away. Boss? after 6 weeks. Friends, 12 - 14 weeks depending upon closeness.

5) Know what medications you can take. You still have colds, allergies, etc. when you're pregnant and you can't always take the usual stuff that you used to take. Same applies if you end up breast feeding.

Above all, try not to worry. I spent my first pregnancy in a haze of anxiety because we had 2 prior miscarriages and it took us 5 years to get to the point where we had a viable pregnancy. This time around, it's much more enjoyable because I'm letting myself enjoy it.
posted by Leezie at 7:10 PM on June 24, 2012

Count me among the "I napped everyday" at least in the first trimester. I also walked at least a mile every day. And did prenatal aerobics. I count both those things among the reason for a smooth delivery.

posted by dpx.mfx at 7:13 PM on June 24, 2012

I just realized my answer didn't have much to do with your question. Sorry.
In my day to day I noticed that I had a sense portion control for the first time in my life. Mostly due to the terrible "all-day-not-just-in-the-morning sickness." Though, I didn't actually throw up much, I just felt queasy a lot. After that period, I just wanted to eat smaller meals more often.
I discovered a taste for fizzy water that has lingered.
I had great amounts of energy in the 2nd trimester (even about half way into the 3rd).
I was not one that looked obviously pregnant, but those that knew I was, tended to offer A LOT of advice. Take it graciously and with a grain of salt.
posted by purpletangerine at 7:29 PM on June 24, 2012

Response by poster: These are all awesome, please keep them coming! To respond, briefly, to a few:
Milkshakes! Yes!
Ugh, getting dumber sounds terrible.
A good friend's mom is a well-respected lactation consultant and will be on standby.
I use a sling with our foster daughter - any advice on using a sling while pregnant, if the doctor okays it?
I had feta cheese on my salad today and thanks to you all I feel just fine about that.
I hope to have as intervention-free a birth as I can, and I'll be looking into tests to get or not. Any suggestions there?
posted by SeedStitch at 7:31 PM on June 24, 2012

You sound pretty active, so that's good. Keep that up. I did the prenatal yoga classes (fun!) I also continued my reformer Pilates classes until a few days before the delivery. We ended up modifying my position quite a bit by the end, but it really helped me to stay fit. A lot of people will tell you not to do ab exercises while pregnant. While you definitely want to take care not to overexert yourself, or hurt the baby, I found that keeping my core strong was really beneficial during labor, and for recovery. YMMV, but I had no abdominal separation to deal with.
posted by purpletangerine at 7:36 PM on June 24, 2012

Best answer: Testing is a very personal question - with our first, we opted for the NT and quad screening. Unfortunately, it came back with a 1:20 chance of Down Syndrome which led us to have an amnio.

This time around, I'm 36 and we had the NT scan again. Instead of the quad, though, we had Materni21. Much better experience.

I also had lots of ultrasounds with the first, not nearly as many with the second. Most of the u/s with the first were due to anxiety. This time, I've just had three (6 weeks, 13 weeks - NT, and 18 weeks Level II anatomy). Typically, your OB's office will follow a similar schedule.
posted by Leezie at 7:40 PM on June 24, 2012

I got thrush, largely due to hormones changing my mouth PH. It was gross and so was the medicine to swab out my mouth. I recommend eating a lot of live culture yogurt to head that kind of thing off.

More significantly, I got severe pre-eclampsia, leading to the abrupt emergency c-section of what is today an awesome 8-month-old. So...get your blood pressure checked often (every week toward the end) and if it goes up a lot one week, or you suddenly get much puffier or put on a sudden surge of weight, or if you have a sharp pinching pain in your side or the top of your stomach, or if one of your eyes suddenly won't dilate or point in the same direction as the other, go to the hospital ASAP. These are all symptoms I ignored for a week.

On a related note, let people do stuff for you. For me, that was kind of hard, but keep in mind your body is working hard all the time for nine months. It's okay to take it easy--I wish I had done more relaxing and less worrying.

Oh, and don't read ANY stories about labor and delivery on the internet. DON'T.
posted by daisystomper at 10:22 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: One thing that I'd suggest doing during your pregnancy is preparing yourself for the nearly unthinkable--that something will go wrong. I know many people who, for example, really wanted a natural birth...only to end up with an emergency C-section. No matter how much you want a healthy baby/natural birth/breastfeeding forever, make contingency plans in your head for how you'll deal if it doesn't work out. I had a NICU-level sick newborn, plus we had problems breastfeeding, and the psychological stress of this is not what I planned for was overwhelming. I've since been pregnant again (and miscarried)...but I'd already sort of worked out that there was a chance that the pregnancy wouldn't go as planned, and ok, if I miscarry, I can do X and Y. It was a horrible, painful experience, but having acknowledged that it could be an issue and come up with some (really basic) plans made it much easier to deal with.

So, uh, gloom and doom aside... I'm seconding milkshakes, but expanding "milkshake" to mean "whatever you're currently finding delicious". Don't beat yourself up too much about food--I spent about six weeks of my first pregnancy eating nothing but roasted red pepper sandwiches, Dairy Queen's buffalo chicken strips, and frozen hot chocolates. Literally nothing else. And I ended up with a healthy, wonderful kid. (The NICU was physician incompetence; he was later stripped of his license due to related issues.)

Prepare to be far more emotional than usual. Seriously, last time, I cried not once, but at least once a week...because I loved my dog so much. Like, we're eating supper, my dog's lying on my feet, and all of a sudden I'm sobbing because I just love him so much. This is not an exaggeration, nor, unfortunately, were the sobbing bouts limited to overwhelming dog-love. (Burnt supper? Sob. Husband orders pizza? Sob. Child falls off bike and skins knee? Sob. Calling people to discuss business stuff and giving them good news? Sob. Yes. At work. So embarrassing.)

Finally, do Kegels. Lots and lots of Kegels. It's one of the untold secrets of pregnancy--post-partum, you're going to pee a little every time you cough or sneeze or pick up something heavy. Kegels help. Start now.
posted by MeghanC at 2:07 AM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: I was 27 and overweight when I got pregnant. I threw up a lot. For months. I once burst blood vessels in my face from the violence with which I chucked. I was convinced I'd be like me Ma and not throw up at all and have a lovely easy pregnancy. I didn't. It did an absolute number on my body (gall bladder disease is correlated with pregnancy and can mimic liver failure/heart attack/labour if you've never gone through it) and there are some things that are now permanent. Some good (I am fitter and stronger due to the thrapies I needed post-partum and I have a better feel for my body) and some bad (no gall bladder, increased risk of diabetes). Some weren't permanent, like the hugely increased sex drive.

I wasn't prepared for a foetal kick being able to make me pee myself.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:14 AM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: Hmmmm, how things changed.

Well, I was either throwing up or felt sick to my stomach more often than not, so I learned to crawl out of bed very s l o w l y in the morning. Because of this, it was very easy to give up smoking.

I also craved more nutritious items like more steamed veggies and ate less meats. I drank OJ by the metric ton. Between this and vitamins, my hair and nails looked amazing.

I remember that around 16 weeks, I thought I was getting a bladder infection, but I found out that it was just the baby and everything around the baby shifting my bladder. Man, that was an uncomfortable day.

I took pictures of myself around week 41 (when I was SO SO ready to be done).... I was so swollen I couldn't wear rings, bracelets, or shoes of any kind. I was so swollen I had cankles.

Even though I had doulas and had read every pregnancy book on the planet, I was not at ALL prepared for how disgusting your mucous plug looks when it comes out.

Also, keep your options open for labor/delivery. I was set on no pain medications for the baby's sake, but 48 hours of labor will totally change your mind.

Congratulations though! Perhaps you'll be more lucky than I was.
posted by camylanded at 7:11 AM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: Be prepared that early pregnancy (and pregnancy in general) can be a very emotional time. Lots of Big Stuff can come up psychologically as you go through this huge transformation, and you've also got hormones mixing things up. It can be overwhelming at times. My pregnancy has been significantly easier than I expected physically, and significantly harder than I expected emotionally.

On the weight front, I started out significantly more overweight than you did, and the weight management piece of the pregnancy has been much easier than I expected - I ended up losing a ton of weight in my first trimester due to increased metabolism + decreased appetite, and am now finishing my 33rd week at two pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. This, like every single other thing about pregnancy and delivery and parenting, will vary tremendously by individual.

In terms of online resources, altdotlife forums are fantastic.

Best of luck to you!
posted by judith at 7:34 AM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: Oh, and since you have a foster child as well, later in your pregnancy (when you're showing, of course) you will probably get a TON of questions about how it's even possible to have a baby that young and already be pregnant again. Also thirding (or fifthing!) the belly touch thing. You will get much better at setting boundaries with strangers and they'll most likely continue to break those boundaries so don't be afraid to stand your ground.

Also, you'll most likely be super horny all of the time....I remember being insatiable. This is probably one your husband/partner will love. Be prepared for lots of crying, irritableness, and people laughing at the things you say because of your weepy/irritableness. Spicy foods are your friends towards the end!
posted by camylanded at 7:39 AM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: The number one thing I did was cut myself a LOT of slack. Whether that meant I slept ten hours a night, ate Top Ramen because it was the only thing that sounded good, left the house looking like a mess, totally slacked on housekeeping, or cried hysterically for no reason, no big. Growing a baby is hard work, take it easy on yourself.

Don't take everything everybody says about pregnancy to heart, and don't expect anything either - each pregnancy is different. My nausea lingered past the 12 week mark, I didn't get a surge of energy in the second trimester, and I didn't get super horny either.

I wish I had worked on fitting in exercise and healthier food earlier in my pregnancy (I'm 29.5 weeks and only started taking this seriously recently), but it sounds like you're doing well on that front. I also wish I had researched/thought about what I wanted from the birthing experience earlier - I switched to a midwife and birth center around 26 weeks, and just ordered HypnoBabies a few days ago. Pregnancy seemed so slow and long at first (we didn't tell most people until 12 weeks, I didn't start showing until about 16 weeks, didn't feel the baby move until 20 weeks) that it seemed like we had forever to figure stuff out. Then entering the third trimester really lit a fire under my butt.
posted by Safiya at 9:01 AM on June 25, 2012

I am a physician and my only advice to you is, please sign the consent for the epidural, no matter how sure you are that you don't want it.

When you are screaming for the anesthesiologist to come back and let you have the epidural, it will be much harder for them to consent you in that state, and it might be too late to get it done, which will make you even more upset. Just sign the freaking form! You don't have to go through with it later unless you want it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:02 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Things that changed for me without my input:

- Being pregnant made me stop liking food. For most people, this goes away at some point during the pregnancy, but it didn't for me - I'm now only a few days from my due date and I still hate food. Dealing with this has been a hassle (seriously, what kind of idiotic concept is it to no longer want to eat at the time in your life when you need the most calories?). No sooner do I choke down some nasty thing then it's an hour later and I have to figure out some other disgusting thing to eat. My partner and I probably spend 2-3 hours a day figuring out how to stuff me full of something tolerable.

- I've turned into a sex maniac. Being pregnant can cause major changes in libido (either up or down), a lot of books mention this in passing but it can really have a big effect on your life! There's the fluctuating hormones, and the fact that while pregnant you have increased blood flow to your skin. All of your skin. It's like being on viagra for 9 months.

- My emotional responses have changed. It feels to me like I go from 0 to 60 much more quickly: before I would hear a sad story on the radio and think, oh, that's sad. Now the same story will make me sob. On the flip side, I've never laughed so hard. I literally have had to beg my partner to help me because I read something funny on the internet and cannot stop laughing and I can't breathe and everything he does to try to help just makes laugh harder and do you know how weird it feels to not be able to stop laughing?

- I'm more cautious and concerned about safety. I've become a much safer driver (this is a really good thing, I was kind of an aggressive asshole driver before), more cautious about carrying heavy objects, more worried about hygiene, and less macho.

- I'm chronically dehydrated. I drink as much as I can and it's never enough.

- I need a lot more sleep. This started much earlier than I expected, and I've tried to just go with it even though it's hard and I feel lazy all the time. What really helped for me was reading about the physiological changes that happen in pregnancy. For example, your blood volume increases by 50% during pregnancy. Although this takes a while, right at the beginning of pregnancy your circulatory system prepares by making room for that extra blood - but you don't have the blood yet! So the effect is that you are "underfilled" with blood - you only have about 2/3 of the blood that you have space for. The physiological effects are therefore similar to a massive hemorrhage that causes you to lose 1/3 of your blood. The point is that when I was tempted to beat myself up for being so tired, I would consider whether I would insult someone for being lazy and wanting to nap if that person had just lost 1/3 of her blood.

Things that I changed:

- I stopped biking because it got really uncomfortable really quickly. I thought I would like prenatal yoga but actually hated it. I kept doing crossfit because that felt really good, and I think the circuit training and weightlifting really helped me adjust to the physical stress of being pregnant.

- I became much better and saying no and setting boundaries. I lost my fear of giving people horrified looks when they say something insulting. I said no to medical tests that I decided I didn't want, or horrible childbirth stories that I didn't want to hear. For example, I have a history of disordered eating and didn't want to stress about gaining too much/not enough during pregnancy, so I found a doctor who is OK with not weighing me. I haven't checked my weight once during pregnancy.

- I took a hypnobabies class to get ready for childbirth, and it turns out to have been one of the best things I did while pregnant. (I haven't had the kid yet, so I can't tell you how much it helps with birth.) The goal is to learn how to relax during childbirth, and to prepare you listen to a 30 minute relaxation track every day. This has been amazing! I get to feel like I'm doing my homework and preparing for birth while lying on the couch becoming very mellow. It's helped me be less stressed, and it helps me sleep. I'm so glad I did it.

Things I wish I had known at the beginning: I guess the main thing is to realize how most of the advice/orders/recommendations given to pregnant women aren't based on good evidence but on other things, like tradition or fear of lawsuits. Before doing anything that's recommended, feel free to look into it and see if it's really supported by the science. For example, most advice about exercise and pregnancy is based on fear of lawsuits, not science; the book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy discusses actual scientific studies about exercise and pregnant women - turns out intense exercise is highly beneficial during pregnancy, not dangerous. My experience is that the whole experience of pregnancy is filled with superstitious bullshit advice, most of which I've decided to ignore.
posted by medusa at 12:46 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Amalah's pregnancy calendar! I always looked forward to the next week's entry.

I didn't get super-hungry but did constantly snack on crackers to stave off the upset tummy. Not a whole lot changed for me, except I joined the Y and went to the pool a few times a week (when you're late into the pregnancy, the weightlessness of being in a pool will feel amazing). I also went to a few water aerobics classes, because I read somewhere that it was good for me and/or the baby. You'll get good at adjusting to the new normal, and having to re-adjust as things change.
posted by statolith at 12:51 PM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: Here's another greeting from close to the other side! I'm 36w along (9 months to the laypeople).

Things I didn't have control over (that I haven't seen pop up here yet):

- That thing about peeing yourself after the birth? Yeah, that can start BEFORE the birth, too. I've had stress incontinence (almost always when sneezing) occasionally since about 30 weeks along. It's totally aggravating and makes me whine every time it happens. It's also caused me to buy panty liners for the first time since I was about 13. Oh well, what are you going to do? Do your Kegels!

- I haven't had a problem with strangers coming up to me and feeling my belly, actually. I started my pregnancy more overweight than you, and sometimes I wonder if they think I've just got a beer gut instead of a baby in there, so they're not as forward with me? I dunno. I've actually had way more of a problem with friends trying to touch my belly more, especially in a joking way after I've made it clear that I don't want any part of that. I think I'm going to start rubbing theirs the next time it happens, and see how they feel.

- I haven't been sappy-emotional, but I've definitely been more irritable and quick-to-become-irate since I've been pregnant.

- A few weeks ago, I started developing the dreaded swelling, and it's been unrelated to my blood pressure (thank goodness). Making sure the water you drink has some lime slices in it can be helpful! It's a natural diuretic, and my midwife stands behind it 100%.

Other things:

- My partner and I are taking a Bradley Method class right now, and while it's been educational for him and it's nice to get into "baby woo-woo" mode once a week, I've been kind of unimpressed with the adversarial attitude they've been trying to cultivate between the expectant parents and their healthcare providers. Meh, it's almost over. YMMV. I wish I'd taken the hippier, crunchier birth class I originally wanted to take, with lots of influences from prenatal yoga and things like that, but I thought the Bradley class would especially benefit my partner and give him something to do. Oh well.

- I'm trying to prepare myself for the full spectrum of birth possibilities by reading up on people's birth stories, and trying to balance it with natural and unmedicated and more intervention-style medicated. Obviously, the possibilities are endless, and I'd like to have a background in everything.
posted by scarykarrey at 1:11 PM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: I'm 27 and 36 weeks pregnant at the moment. Congratulations!

What I didn't expect:

- the way the body draws upon available resources to build that fetus in the first trimester. I've never been someone to nap in the afternoon, but I had no other choice for three months of my life but to lie on that couch and watch the world go by.

- perfectly normal people can turn into jerks full of ridiculous, outdated or just plain incorrect advice. Most of it unsolicited. You probably already know this though. But god, if one more person tells me about cats suffocating babies, I'm going to choke them.

- likewise I will never ever ever EVER discuss baby names with someone other than my husband. Giving out free licenses to other people that let them think they have any right to decision making for my child is the biggest mistake I've ever made. So much entitled behaviour.

- the peeing. With a newborn or a small child, chances are you've got someone to help you out, at least for a few hours. But no one can relieve you of the burden that is waking up four or five times a night to pee. I haven't slept a full night since October, and every time someone tells me to sleep while I can, I am filled with white hot rage.

- that after the first trimester is done and the fetus has all it's parts and the placenta is built... that I'd actually feel pretty good about myself. My anxiety has dropped to minute levels, I no longer worry about how others perceive my physical imperfections and thanks to having to bend my knees more often (rather than bending over), I'm prone to less aches and pains.

- I didn't expect to get so angry about being hungry. Any time I am more than just slightly hungry, I feel like I want to peel my face off and any kind of self control I have is limited.

- my weight has been a non-issue from the start because it's only changed in small amounts. I thought I'd put on the 25lbs. Instead, it looked more like 193lbs > 188lbs > 199lbs (currently). I could say that this was a conscious effort because I focused more on good whole foods, but unless you're mainlining HFCS and Taco Bell, your weight seems to be something that gets handed over to some unseen power to play with as they wish. Please don't be too hard on yourself, regardless of what happens. You can deal with the consequences later.

- keeping an open mind as to labour and having a plan for as many situations as possible has made everything a lot less stressful. I want a straightforward, low intervention birth, because that's just how I roll. But I have plans for an epidural, I made sure I talked to my OB about forceps/vacuum deliveries and my husband has enough paternity leave arranged in case I have a c-section.

- didn't expect the non-labour cervix checks to hurt so much. Ow ow ow.

So what changed?

- I give myself a break. If I need to do something, I do it. If I don't want to do something, I don't. I give myself more time to get things done. I am far more of a priority to myself than I used to be.

- I amend gratitutious naps and sitting around with walking around my garden. And while I eat a whoooole bunch of icecream these days, I also eat a whooooole bunch of fruit and vegetables. I have yet to be constipated and I put this down to loading up on basic foods when I'm not craving something specific.

- I had to shift a lot more household responsibility onto my husband. I do housework in smaller chunks (sweeping the floor, tidying up, cleaning a sink), while he does the more physical stuff (loading the dishwasher, putting sheets on the bed, taking the recycling out). There's no reason for everything to go to hell, you just have to rebalance the load temporarily to make it more achievable.


- 30 weeks should be your cut off for physical preparations. Prepare for more downtime after that - the baby will be in places you won't expect (I didn't even know my uterus went down that far), sometimes it will be painful, your legs might hurt more and you probably won't be able to bend over. At 35+ weeks, everything just gets plain uncomfortable, and that's when you go back to the couch of napping and turn it into the couch of Netflixing.
posted by saturnine at 1:34 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for the input. I'm marking a few best answers but they've all been helpful. And if you think of anything else, please, drop back in and add it! (And congrats to a whole bunch of you!) I can guarantee I'll be rereading this thread over the next several months.
posted by SeedStitch at 5:45 PM on June 25, 2012

Be prepared for just how different doctors can be as well. My ob never weighed me, I had a cervical check when I was induced and another was attempted (baby head in the way!) and that was it the whole pregnancy, I only peed on a stick after my blood pressure went up and there were any number of 'this happens during labour at hospital' that didn't happen.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:30 AM on June 26, 2012

Response by poster: I just wanted to let you all know (if you check back in or something) that we lost the pregnancy this weekend, but I'm really glad to have taken the advice of people who advised us to tell our family and close friends early on. The support we've gotten has really helped.
posted by SeedStitch at 5:49 AM on August 6, 2012

So, so sorry Seedstitch. Unfortunately know what you're going through. Glad you've gotten support.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:43 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I know a lot of MeFites (like me) appreciate updates in threads, so here's mine: I'm pregnant again, almost 14 weeks, and things are going smoothly. Here are my own observations on making it through the first trimester:
- Holy cow, I've been so tired. I spent two solid months going to bed at 8:30 p.m. This didn't leave enough time between work ad bed for a nap, but that was fine because any time I nap I sleep like shit that night.
- I've been eating whatever sounds appealing, which changes by the minute. I've become much pickier about my sweets, which is good news, and still can't stand the thought or smell of eggs. My weight is about two pounds lower than it was when I started this pregnancy.
- I didn't barf from morning sickness, but I got day-long queasiness and really interesting dizzy/woozy spells - like when you're drinking and suddenly you realize you won't be driving anywhere for a few hours. Occasionally in bed this was accompanied by the spins.
- My SI joint is already killing me. I've been doing physical therapy, but the combination of the hormone relaxin and my hypermobility makes it so I don't feel any improvement.
- I've loved the Amalah pregnancy calendar and milkshakes.
- I've been too tired to bother with any exercise beyond occasionally sweeping the floor, but on Wednesday I'm starting a six-week water Zumba class. Should be good for a laugh, if nothing else.

Thanks, all, for your input and advice. I've been rereading the thread every few weeks to look for new things that suddenly seem relevant.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:00 PM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Congratulations, and best wishes. Glad this is continuing to be helpful. You might also like the pregnancy forums at - there are a number of mefites there, and I found it a wonderful community for ongoing support.
posted by judith at 9:07 PM on December 16, 2012

Oh, wonderful! Best wishes to your little family!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:06 AM on December 17, 2012

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