This is a list of pregnancy tips, written by various people on the list.
The idea here is to list things that the pregnancy books don't tell you.
This page is intended to be useful to the December List people when they
have future babies, and also for anybody else who may be new to all this.
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Before Getting Pregnant:
- Get checked to see if you are immune to German Measles. Sometimes
vaccinations don't "take". If you're not immune, they can re-vaccinate you
and then you wait 3 months to become pregnant, so that the vaccination
won't harm the baby.
- If you or your partner is Jewish, get checked to see if you are a
Tay-Sachs disease carrier. Testing for this is less accurate once you're
pregnant. 1 in 25 American Jews is a carrier; 1 in 250 non-Jewish Americans
is a carrier. Tay-Sachs is a tragic genetic disease; you don't want
to go through having a Tay-Sachs baby.
- Your sleep needs may increase when you are pregnant. If you can arrange
your life to allow you to get more sleep once you are pregnant, go for it.
This doesn't mean dropping all activities!! It does mean setting up your
schedule so you can take a nap once in a while, or so you can go to bed
early enough to get 10 hours of sleep if you feel like it.
- Go to the dentist for a full checkup and cleaning.
- Avoid potatoes for a month or two before conception. There's some crazy
researcher who thinks potato consumption may be associated with a higher
risk of certain birth defects. She's mostly a nut, but I think she has a
decent case for this, and in any case it surely can't hurt. The time to
avoid potatoes would be from a month or two before conception until maybe
2 months into the first trimester, when the baby's neural tube is formed.
- Keep some reading material in the bathroom. Something you can read in
small bits, like a magazine, is ideal.
- Possibly of interest: go to
www.pregnancytoday.com and join
an e-mail list of women who are due in the same month as you. The December
list is wonderful!
- Tips for swallowing pills when you are nauseous:
- If your nausea comes and goes, wait half an hour to see if you feel
more like swallowing a pill then.
- After putting pills in your mouth, have water ready to swallow really
fast. The worst moments for me are while the pills are sitting in my
- Showers make me queasy for some reason, possibly because I'm a very
energetic shampooer. I used to shower and then take my daily pills
right afterward. It's better to take the pills first.
- Flossing tip: I used to gag on the last two teeth. At first I thought
that the top left section of my mouth was more gag-prone, but eventually
I realized that it was always the last two teeth. By flossing my teeth
in a different sequence each day, I could vary which teeth got less flossing.
- My theory of how to answer when people ask if you prefer a girl or a boy:
Even if you have a preference, don't let on. If you get the other type
of kid from what you asked for, word may one day get back to your kid
that you would have prefered the other kind -- and that hurts!
- Crackers are the conventional wisdom antidote for morning sickness.
I personally liked bread better than crackers when I was queasy. I've
heard other people swear by matzoh, so that may be worth a try too,
although it didn't seem to do much for me. My favorite bread for this
purpose was a Farmer's Bread that tasted very slightly sour (sourdough?)
and had a visible dusting of flour on the outside of the crust.
- Remember that your body is still the same body you've always had. I
spent a lot of first trimester treating myself as if my body had been
taken over by space aliens. Eventually I realized that the same things
that had always been true of me were still true, for example I *still*
didn't like the idea of food first thing in the morning, not even crackers.
- Don't forget to drink lots of water. I tend to forget, or not want any,
especially if I'm feeling yucky. By "yucky" I mean something more like
"heartburn" or a "heavy full-feeling stomach" or "itchy and jumpy", but not
"queasy". Even though I don't usually want water when I feel yucky, that
is when I need water most. And, surprisingly, water often makes it feel
- Experienced moms keep saying that the place to get baby clothes
is at garage sales. You can spend $100 at a store for 3 items, or you can
spend $100 at a garage sale for 3 grocery bags of stuff. One lady on my
December e-mail list says to go to garage sales in rich neighborhoods for
the best baby clothes. We went to a garage sale and spent $35 for four bags
of great baby clothes! Yell if you'd like a list of excellent list of
garage sale tips.
- Don't stress out about food information sheets that tell you to eat
jillions of servings of a zillion specific foods each day. These are
for later in pregnancy when you're hungry enough to eat that much food
in a day. Until you reach that point, don't stress about eating all
those servings of food in a day; just try to make sure that what you do
eat is healthy (not too many gumi worms). :)
- I found I was more energetic when I took multivitamins. I took those
instead of prenatal vitamins. I've read a lot about vitamins and
concluded that I haven't yet found the perfect option. I ended up taking
my same old multivitamin from before pregnancy, rather than prenatal
vitamins, for a variety of reasons.
- If you haven't started already, the beginning of second trimester is a
really good time to start doing Kegel exercises. I took a "wait and see"
approach to doing Kegels, figuring that at some point I'd have some kind
of signal that it was time to start. It turned out that at about 4 or 5
months pregnant, standing became painful. The solution was to do lots of
Kegel exercises. If I'd started sooner, I'd've prevented the problem.
- Lots of women report "not feeling pregnant" early in second trimester
and feeling worried about the baby because of this. It's okay to feel okay!
- The rumor mill says that baby furniture tends to be severely back-ordered,
so now may be the time to go shopping. Dunno about this, though.
- I normally eat 2 meals in a day. Some days in second trimester I'd eat
like that. Other days I'd eat six and go to bed kind of hungry. A
widely varying appetite seems to be normal.
- I didn't start putting on weight beyond my pre-pregnancy weight until
around 18-19 weeks -- almost half-way through pregnancy.
- Lots of women with children have a box of maternity clothes they're
keeping for "just in case" they have another child. If you keep your
ears open, you may find one or two people like this who are willing to
loan these clothes to you. This very unexpectedly happened to me, and
the clothes turned out to be wonderful!
- I dunno why maternity clothes so rarely have pockets. Sometimes I
prefer my big non-maternity clothes just because then I can have pockets.
- You can rent maternity formal attire, rather than spending lots of money
on something you'll only wear once or twice.
- Before investing in 17 identical maternity items, buy only one or two
to be sure you like that style. For example, I really liked pants with
an elastic belly-panel when I first tried them on, but later on I decided
that I prefer things that don't stretch tightly over my belly.
- In general I was happier wearing my same old clothes (well, the baggier
ones) as much as I could, rather than my maternity clothes. My favorite
outfit turns out to be a big t-shirt plus underwear, no pants -- not very
suitable for wearing in public!
- The maternity clothes I did end up wearing a lot are maternity leggings,
a maternity slip, and a maternity turtleneck. (My pre-pregnancy slips
and turtlenecks fit okay too, but they tended to slide upward to above the
bulge). I got some big amorphous dresses at a store that sells clothes
that are made by exploited women from third world countries, and wore
those over a turtleneck and leggings almost all the time. Also, even though
I didn't use it much, I was very glad to have a maternity swimsuit.
- At the end of second trimester I found I'd get out of breath and tired
very easily. This seems to be very common. Exercise seems to help.
So does increasing the amount of iron in your diet.
- If your obstetrician is the kind who always runs late, it might be worth
calling ahead before going to appointments. If you find out that there's
a huge delay, you might be able to arrange to spend the time elsewhere
instead of sitting in a waiting room.
- Morning sickness does NOT just disappear after the first trimester ends!
I was sick until about 20 weeks or so, had 3 good weeks, then broke my
ankle... But, that's just me! :-) The sad thing about it was, I was
counting down to pass that 12th week, then I wouldn't be sick anymore!!!
HA!!! Now I know better!
- if you like wearing jeans, invest in maternity jeans. I didn't for a
long time, trying to tell myself (sternly) that I had enough things I COULD
wear. But, when I found a pair at a maternity outlet while traveling, I
gave in -- and have not been happier. I feel so much more normal wearing
them than leggings (which I don't wear much when not pregnant). I also
found a pair that have an adjustable elastic waist so you can wear them
while you shrink. The elastic has button holes in it, and as you shrink,
you just keep tightening it further down.
- My clothing suggestion is a Mama Coat. They're a little expensive,
but you can wear them while you're pregnant; after the baby's born
you can keep the baby tucked inside the front of the coat; finally,
the front panel zips out, and it's just a lovely, lined coat. I love
- My bikini underwear all still fits fine. If you already wear bikini
underwear you'll probably need no new maternity underwear.
- If the doctors or nurses sit you down and tell you about the signs of,
say, pre-term labor, it is worth paying attention. The doctor talked to
me about it before I had had any contractions at all, so I didn't pay a
lot of attention to what the warning signs to watch for are. Then, a few
days later, boom! -- contractions! At that point I wished I'd paid better
- By third trimester, I was amazed at how unproductive I was at doing my
work. It took a long time for me to realize that this was pregnancy
related. Between eating extra meals each day and constantly running off
on one baby-related errand or another, baby production gets to be time
- If your partner is out of reach of the telephone for any length of time
(eg. a camping trip) it may be worth exploring getting a pager. Your
hospital may offer these free with a deposit for couples that are getting
close to their due date.... Also, you can rent cellular phones pretty
inexpensively for a short period of time.
- Keep detailed notes on exactly what people gave you get at baby showers.
I want to re-thank the person who gave us the great white socks for our baby,
but I have no idea which of the 12 pairs of socks we were given came from
which person. I wish my shower notes said.
Labor and Delivery:
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