A specklet has invaded my belly
June 29, 2006 7:12 AM   Subscribe

I find myself in possession of four separate pee tests stating that I'm preggers. So now what?

I'm only doing this once, and I want to enjoy as much of it as possible. What were your favorite pregnancy resources? What are you glad you did/didn't do, , what do you wish you had done/hadn't done, particularly in the first trimester? What did you read that you would give to others?

I know I can ask the same question of the ladies in the lunchroom but I really hate ducks and bunnies and Fertility Friend and all the baby-dance sillyness, and of course I'm not saying anything about this until I get further along. I'm healthy, I don't expect any complications (knock wood), but I'm just wondering what I can do now to ensure a safe, enjoyable pregnancy and a healthy baby.
posted by pomegranate to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
The one thing I did that was recommended by my doctor and a pregnancy class was consume mass quantities of protein. To get enough, I had to drink a milkshake of milk & powdered milk & protein powder and wheat germ and a banana and honey, but I did it every day. They say that more protein gives a developing fetus' brain an edge. I don't know whether that's true or not, but my daughter is very intelligent. It mattered to me.

Oh - and prepare yourself for the first time you hear your baby's heartbeat. You will never forget, or get over, that frantic little whipping noise.
posted by clarkstonian at 7:18 AM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

First, congratulations!

Second, don't go overboard with reading too much. A lot of pregnancy advice books can give conflicting information. Choose a book you think is good and stick with that. My wife choose "What to expect when you're expecting." and liked it.

Third, stay active and eat healthy, but don't be afraid to eat what you want (sweets, pickles, whatever) and rest a lot.
posted by Argyle at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2006

never been pregnant, but congratulations.
posted by Julnyes at 7:30 AM on June 29, 2006

Best answer: Congratulations!

You can join Babycenter.com. I loved getting little emails explaining how the fetus was developing. Babycenter is also a good place to learn about nutrition for the pregnant mother.

If you are planning to breastfeed, definitely join and learn from http://breastfeeding.com/

I also like Dr. Sears website, and still use it for my small kids.

Books I absolutely loved and recommend are:

1. The Nursing Mother's Companion, by Kathleen Huggins

2. Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense, by Ellyn Satter

Both books taught me a ton. If I could give you some advice, start reading them now.

I also love Dr.Sears parenting books, especially his attachment parenting book.

Congratulations again and enjoy your pregnancy!!
posted by LoriFLA at 7:30 AM on June 29, 2006

Consider pre-natal yoga as part of your workout routine.

Your body will tell you what it wants. Listen to it, it's smarter than the books.

Don't go public until after the first trimester.

Relax and enjoy!
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:33 AM on June 29, 2006

Start taking folic acid supplements today. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there, but that is one everyone agrees on.

"The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy" by Vicki Iovine is a quick but quite useful read.
posted by mikepop at 7:33 AM on June 29, 2006

Oh, and check to see what resources your insurance company has. For example, Blue Cross / Blue Shield in California will send you your choice of the more popular baby guide books (including the "What to Expect" series) and $25 cash just for joining the pre-natal portion of its website.
posted by mikepop at 7:36 AM on June 29, 2006

Best answer: Get some exercise while you're pregnant. Whatever feels good to you. Swimming is great, low impact (so good even when you're very pregnant) and relaxing. Even though it's a lot of work to get yourself motivated, you'll feel much better once you do it, and when you're in better shape recovery from labour is easier. I really enjoyed long walks in the park and did that multiple times a week, even when I was a big lumbering beast near the end and it was -40 outside. Yoga is great for a lot of the same reasons.

Even though it gets recommended a lot, I wouldn't bother to read "What to expect you're expecting". It makes everything sound so scary and a strict diet and blahblahblah. I prefer other books that celebrate pregnancy as a normal non-scary process. YMMV.

Trust your instincts and your body. Books are fine (and goodness knows I read a lot of them) but you know yourself better. I found pregnancy a great time to connect with my body and my woman-ness. I became very grounded and earth-mother-ish. You might not have the same experience - some women love being pregnant others hate it. Either way, don't beat yourself up over your reaction. Just go with it, relax into it, let yourself feel what you're feeling. Giver yourself a lot of slack. You might be forgetful or moody or sleepy or ravenous or nauseos or emotional. Remind yourself of what an amazing breath-taking process is happening inside your body. Remind youself that you are doing really hard work invisibly inside. Don't be afraid to ask for the help you need. Your family and friends should be there to support you, and they will. Lean on them.

My #1 suggestion: I highly recommend naps. I had a nap between my work day and suppertime every day. It was luxurious. And here it is 3.5 years later and I still don't get to sleep whenever I want to. Pregnancy gives you a great excuse!
posted by raedyn at 7:43 AM on June 29, 2006

Be forewarned: If you're the over-cautious type, the "What to Expect" series should be re-titled "Here are all the horrible things that can happen, and the unusual diet that a few people think might help. A bit."

So says my wife (and, as well, many popular mommy/daddy bloggers).

Other than that, enjoy being pregnant. There are painful parts (round ligament pain in particular is a bitch), but my wife loved 98% of her pregnancy.

She had "belly pictures" taken, that's something to consider. They're quite beautiful.
posted by Merdryn at 7:45 AM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

I know I can ask the same question of the ladies in the lunchroom but I really hate ducks and bunnies and Fertility Friend and all the baby-dance sillyness

Once you're ready to go public, get over this fear. Yes, you will probably have to drink from a baby bottle at the shower, but baby needs stuff to throw up on and poop in, and that stuff costs money, and all your friends are dying to buy it for you. So go with the flow.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:00 AM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

A really good prenatal vitamin is essential... Rainbow has one.
posted by ewkpates at 8:02 AM on June 29, 2006

I will third the opinion here that the "What to Expect..." series of books are not particularly helpful, and can be downright scary and stressful to read. While it can be informative to read about the changes your body and your baby are going through at different stages, it's also VERY hard to remember that everyone is different, and that it likely is not a medical emergency if you don't hear the heartbeat until week X+1, even though book says you should hear it at week X. (And it gets worse with the What to Expect - The First Year and The Toddler Years books...)

Also, my condolences on being pregnant during the summer. You may find that your body temp runs a few degrees higher while pregnant, so be prepared for that.

"Morning" sickness can be a misnomer. It might last all day, and it might last the whole pregnancy. Sorry. (But, it might not.)

The ligaments stretching, as Merdryn mentioned, will feel like someone is trying to yank your pelvic apart with a jackhammer. Again, sorry. Don't be too alarmed (unless you're really in serious agony.) Warm, not hot, baths and massages might help, as well as trying to remain as active as you feel up to.

Try to eat healthy, although if you have a craving, it's often better for everyone involved (especially those you live with) to just give in to it and not beat yourself up. But try not to go completely overboard consistently.

And remember that you are The Queen now, but as soon as the baby is born, you become simply the uterus that brought forth the baby. So enjoy the attention from family and friends, because the baby will certainly upstage you later.

Sleep extra while you can, because the last good night's sleep you will get for the next 2-3 years will be the last night before your belly finally gets basketball-sized, and you can no longer roll over comfortably.

Also? Those pregnancy hormones really made me want sex A LOT.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:13 AM on June 29, 2006

congratulations - what lovely news, and good luck!
posted by seawallrunner at 8:32 AM on June 29, 2006

Swimming is awesome, as others have mentioned. It's a deceptively exhausting activity, and I had to do it right before bedtime so I could just shower and collapse into sleep.

If your prenatal vitamin makes you sick (which it may, regardless of whether you have morning sickness) you could try taking 2 children's chewables instead. My OB recommended this, and it worked for me.
posted by peep at 8:39 AM on June 29, 2006


You can at least ask the ladies at work where they gave birth ("for a friend") and if they would recommend the birth experience. If you are doing hospital birth with OB/GYN, now is the time to get recommendations for docs in your insurance plan that have privileges at your preferred hospital. You can tour hospitals to determine your preferred location if you don't already have one. If you have good insurance, you will get a "dating ultrasound" at 8 weeks showing a little blob with a flickering heartbeat - pick your doc before then. Otherwise, investigate birth centers and midwives.

Oh, and if there are people out there that would you want to ask for support in the event of complications or miscarriage, do be sure to tell them early. Preferably, tell at least one woman who had been there. I was glad I told the in-laws early for this very reason as they were incredibly supportive. If there is trouble, you don't want to have to go through it alone (or just with your partner).

And don't bother with prenatal yoga until you are visibly showing. You can modify regular yoga until then.

Oh, I was dry as a bone first trimester. Buy lube.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2006

I found the "What to Expect - The First Year" useful (and not too scary) used as a reference book. I kept it on the shelf, and if something came up, checked the index, read the indicated page, and closed the book. This way, you won't just happen to find out that a boy baby might possibly leak milk from its nipples, but if that does start happening, you have a reference where you can look it up and see that it is not a big deal. It also gives you technical names of things that are helpful when searching online for more info.

It also has the "At x months, your baby might be able to do y" sections. These should not be stressed over, but can provide ideas for non-obvious things to try with the baby.
posted by mikepop at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2006

SuperSquirrel writes "'Morning' sickness can be a misnomer. It might last all day, and it might last the whole pregnancy. Sorry. (But, it might not.)"

Or you might not get it at, all my wife didn't.

mikepop writes "I found the 'What to Expect - The First Year' useful (and not too scary) used as a reference book."

This is how we used this book (along with a smaller book the province gave us) and it was quite useful. Really help to defuse the "OMG! the baby is doing X bizarre thing!" "Oh, that's normal" "OK, good."
posted by Mitheral at 9:08 AM on June 29, 2006

If you're only going to do it once I'd recommend looking in to ways of avoiding stretch marks. Giving birth once won't mess you up much but stretch marks are irreversible.

I don't have any solutions I'm afraid, but I am the father of four (all born naturally, sans epidural, the last of which was 12 pound on the nose). Personally I love my wife's stretch marks, but she doesn't believe me and she'd be happier without them.

Whatever trick all the A listers use seems to work. Give Uma a ring.
posted by Glum at 11:45 AM on June 29, 2006

Oh, and if there are people out there that would you want to ask for support in the event of complications or miscarriage, do be sure to tell them early. Preferably, tell at least one woman who had been there. I was glad I told the in-laws early for this very reason as they were incredibly supportive. If there is trouble, you don't want to have to go through it alone (or just with your partner).

This is awesome advice. It's good to wait to go public with your news, but do share it with some trusted friends. In case of problems, it really sucks to have to tell people, "I'm pregnant but I think I'm losing my baby." If something goes wrong (which statistically is pretty common, especially in a first pregnancy), you're going to want support. Trust me. (I feel like Debbie Downer right now. Not my goal at all; I'm just speaking from recent experience.)

Even when everything is going well, it's nice so you have someone to share with. You're going to experience a flood of feelings, not to mention hormones, and someone who's been there can be a big help (so can just having someone to lean on). In the absence of close friends/family, I would recommend message boards like the ones at IVillage. Yes, some of the women are completely obnoxious and use way too many acronyms but there are also a lot of kind people who are going through the same thing as you. (But don't read too much- you can freak yourself out!)

My only other advice is to not obsess. It's common to get a lot of testing done earlier these days (like early transvaginal ultrasounds), but unless your doctor strongly recommends it, skip it. You can make yourself ill fretting over what an ultrasound did or didn't show when in fact it was just too early to tell because in the first trimester, the dates are pretty imprecise. Just relax. It's best for you and the baby.
posted by wallaby at 11:45 AM on June 29, 2006

Don't feel like you have to be in love with every aspect of being pregnant. Sometimes it just plain sucks. There are things that happen in early pregnancy like fatigue, nausea, sensitivity to smells, heartburn, and so on, that are normal and to be expected. If you're lucky you may not have a problem with any of them but if you do, know that it is okay to be frustrated or feel a little negative. It doesn't mean that you aren't going to be a good mother.

Take frequent walks - fresh air is one of the best treatments for any of the early pregnancy symptoms listed above.

If you have a tendency toward migraine headaches, get an appointment with your neurologist NOW. In early pregnancy, migraines can become more common and many of the medications that you might be currently taking, like Naproxyn or Ibuprofen, are not safe. While you're at it, tell you regular doctor about all prescription and OTC medications that you are taking. Some of them are not safe during pregnancy, but your doctor should have a list of acceptable alternates.

You don't have to tell the world that you are pregnant, but you should probably tell a few trusted people. The first trimester can be pretty intense and you will need the support.

posted by echolalia67 at 12:21 PM on June 29, 2006

Congrats. One small piece of advice: try to get some extra omega 3 in your diet - either via fatty fish (salmon is good), or the capsules. Seems like its important for the brain development.
posted by rsanheim at 12:46 PM on June 29, 2006

Best answer: pomegranate, that's wonderful news and I'm really happy for you.

I'm at 37 weeks tomorrow with my first and only baby (at the very advanced age of 38) and here are my best tips for you:

1) Avoid all the books. You're a smart lady, use the internet to look up what you want to know, and avoid the rest. The "terror culture" about pregnancy is huge in this country, and most of what is out there is designed to scare you.

2) Think carefully about what you want in a "birth experience" - in particular, if there is a less traditional Birth Center near you, check it out. I've had issues with my midwives, but all in all I'm still happier with them than I would have been with an MD or OB/GYN, mainly because Midwives are about the natural processes of birth and the OB/GYN folks are more about what can go wrong.

3) Don't buy anything for the baby -- no clothes, no nothing -- until you get to at least 15 or 16 weeks.

4) Prenatal vitamins make lots of women feel more ill. My midwife recommends a combination of 1 cup of Total Cereal (with skim or lowfat milk) and a Flinstones Chewable Vitamin w/iron every morning, and if you check you'll find that gives you almost the exact same nutrition as most pre-natals.

5) If you're sleepy, nap. You can't fight it, so don't try.

6) Make sure you know what you can say "no" to.

7) Enjoy the experience!

email me (its in my profile) if you want to chat or ask questions or anything. Yay you!!
posted by anastasiav at 12:54 PM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


We bought the "What To Expect" series, but gave up pretty quickly for the reasons well expressed above. Mikepop mentioned Vicky Iovine's "Girlfriends" series, and we liked those better. More casual, even funny and flippant. Closer to the attitude we wanted, rather than doom-and-gloom or how-do-I-measure-up stuff.

My $0.02? Accept advice graciously, but don't feel guilty about disregarding most of it. (Heck, disregard this advice, too!) Folks mean well and can't help it. Look at us here!

Speaking of things folks can't help... watch out for the unsolicited tummy rubbers. My wife came close to punching a few of those out!
posted by pzarquon at 1:13 PM on June 29, 2006


To echo what others have said, just relax, go with the flow, and enjoy the experience (as best you can sometimes!). I'm a father of four and with each pregnancy my wife relied less and less on any written material because really the most amazing thing is in your body and how your body changes. You will know what to do.

I understand you are looking for first trimester advice, but this tidbit is for third trimester and beyond: take a birthing class. My wife and I made friends with five or six other couples and the moms got together regularly for play dates and mutual support! She said those dates were tremendous help.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by grefo at 5:02 PM on June 29, 2006

Congratulations! What others said about prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements is, to my mind, very, very important. Rest as much as you can. Enjoy it as much as you can. And do not, repeat, DO NOT listen to any horror stories of other folks' pregnancies - your pregnancy and birthgiving experience will be unique, and, I promise you, quite wonderful!
posted by Lynsey at 7:58 PM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Look into the Bradley method -- that's how I had my two kids. My second kid was born quite unexpectedly on the floor of my apartment before anyone could rush to my assistance (oh yeah) and the Bradley training helped me through it. Their emphasis is that you can do it, that -- assuming all goes well -- birth is not a medical emergency, but a natural process you already know how to do.

It is favored by rich hippies, but don't let that put you off.

I had a midwife-training textbook, Heart & Hands, which I liked a lot.

I was talking to my now 14-year-old son just yesterday about how, when I was pregnant with him (like they tell you to do in What to Expect, as well as Let's Have healthy Children) I counted the nutrients in everything I ate every day, and at 10 pm I'd be going, oh, I can't go to sleep, I need 5 more protein grams and 3 of fiber. Obsessive, and maybe (probably) dumb, but I liked it. But then, I had had to stop smoking, so maybe that's what that was about.

As soon as people, even strangers, learn that you are pregnant, they will tell you about miscarriages, stillbirths, 48-hour labor, Alien, whatever stories they can think of to scare the crap out of you. Just know this.
posted by Methylviolet at 10:11 PM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: First, congratulations! This really will be the most unique and permanently changing experiences you'll ever have.

I've done the whole pregnancy thing more than the average. My advice can be boiled down to five key points:

1. Give consideration to The Brewer Diet.
2. Read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. It's straightforward, statistics based, pro-and-con info on all of the key issues of birthing.
3. Strongly consider hiring a doula for your childbirth, regardless of where it happens.
4. As soon as anyone starts to tell you some horror story about their swelling or their constripation or their protracted labor or their episiotomy, look them right in the eye and say "There is no reason whatsoever for you to tell such a story. Stop." You won't be the rude person in the equation when you do. The whole scaring other women thing sucks, and it needs to be quashed.
5. Relax and enjoy, especially if you think that this is the only time you'll do this.
posted by Dreama at 7:33 AM on June 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

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