Congratulations! You’re pregnant and you’re about to start this wonderful journey. A lot of things are about to happen and getting first time pregnancy advice is one of them.
You’re going to hear advice from your family, friends, medical professionals and complete strangers. Here are some suggestions on how to cut through all the noise and go through this pregnancy with less stress and confusion.
Before we get started on the advice, I want to explain what I mean by ignoring advice. I don’t mean do anything that could harm you or your unborn baby according to sound, evidence based medical guidelines. Instead I want to offer realistic alternatives to some of the traditional advice you’ll hear.
With that out of the way, let’s get started!
Common First Time Pregnancy Rules and Advice
1. Pregnancy Symptoms with Dr. Google
“Is it normal….?”
If you were actively trying to conceive or even if you weren’t, you’re about to get really acquainted with Google. We are super fortunate to live in the age of technology where answers are at our fingertips. ALL the answers. Including sound advice, wives tales and wacky anecdotes.
People will tell you all about their first time pregnancy symptoms, how they knew if they were having a boy or girl and when they labor was coming.
Take it all in with a grain of salt. You don’t have to avoid Google or pregnancy websites and forums. Every woman’s body is different so it can be helpful to get different perspectives. Get as much information as you would like, but if you’re really in doubt, consult your doctor, midwife or doula for the answer to your burning question.
2. Shhh! Keep Your Pregnancy A Secret!
If this is your first pregnancy, its hard to know what to expect. Well I have news for you, this whole time is going to be like that. Pregnancy is not cut and dry, things happen that you didn’t plan for.
Due to the risk of miscarriage or complications being higher in the 1st trimester or before 20 weeks, some people recommend that you keep your pregnancy a secret.
This is completely up to you. There’s no hard and fast rules about when you should people you’re expecting. Do what you feel comfortable with and tell who you want, when you want.
3. You Need A Birth Plan
A birth plan is like your own set of how to instructions for what you want to happen when you deliver your baby. Type A planners rejoice! While it’s true that you’ll want to have a plan of your preferences for labor, delivery and postpartum events, things can easily not go as planned.
With that being said, instead of approaching your labor plan like a set of commandments written in stone, think of it as a flexible arrangement for your birthing experience.
All that will really matter to you on that day is that your baby comes into this world as safely as possible. So if you plan on having a natural birth and end up having to get an epidural, don’t feel bad. Consider the opposite of your expectations and be informed about those options. So you can plan for a vaginal delivery but educate yourself about C-Sections also.
4. Get All Your Sleep In Now
Ahh, in a perfect world every pregnant woman could take it easy and put her feet up for the next 9 months while being waited on hand and foot. If this is your situation, well you’re a lucky mama.
However, the average mom still has responsibilities and life does go on while you’re pregnant. Whatever your obligations may be, school, work or family, you can continue these things unless your healthcare provider advises against it.
Also, know that even if you hibernate through your pregnancy, it will still not make up for the sleep deficit you will have when your baby gets here. Just saying. Enjoy your life as a pregnant mom to be.
5. Now That You’re Pregnant You Can’t Do That!
Of all the first time pregnancy advice, this is an opportunity where a lot of other people will be quick to offer their two cents.
You cant eat that…
You can’t drink that…
You shouldn’t be…
If it’s something that you clearly know if off limits during pregnancy, then it’s totally fine not to do that. For example, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t drink alcohol or do drugs during pregnancy. You’ll want to stick to those guidelines.
However, a lot of other things are in a super gray area. Foods to eat, amount of exercise, caffeine limits, etc. all of that is hotly debated. Remember what I said earlier about finding a trusted healthcare provider for your first time pregnancy questions? It applies here too! Get advice from your provider and do whats best for YOU and YOUR baby.
6. Don’t Eat For Two While Pregnant
Well it IS true that you don’t need to eat for two while you’re pregnant, in fact you just need 300 additional calories a day.
First time moms should take two things into account. First, let me just say that cravings are REAL. When you want something you want it. If you’re eating a normal balanced diet and making sensible choices most of the time, you will be okay. That is excluding any diet restrictions or rules from your healthcare provider. Enjoy your healthy pregnancy foods and indulge in your cravings from time to time.
Secondly, your body is going to do what it’s going to do…regardless. Some women stay small during pregnancy and others gain weight and grow in more places than other. It happens!
Have realistic expectations towards your food cravings and eat a sensible diet and you’ll be just fine.
7. You Have To Get _________ For Baby
As a first time mom, you might want to buy ALL the things. It’s all so cute right? Plus, so and so said their baby couldn’t live without xyz. The reality of it all is that there will be some essentials on your list and then there will be some nice to have items on your list.
If you have a nice support system via family, friends or coworkers, let them help you shop for baby! Some people get a lot of the things they need from their baby shower or gift cards.
You can also buy whatever you want for your baby, but keep the receipt in a safe place and check the store’s return policy. Just because all those other babies loved the 4 Moms Mamaroo Swing doesn’t mean your baby won’t hate it. It ultimately comes down to what baby likes/prefers and there’s no way to tell that until he or she arrives.
Related: How To Have A Baby On A Budget
8. Stock Up On Maternity Clothes
Don’t go throwing all your old clothes out right away. Chances are you may be able to fit into your old clothes throughout your early pregnancy. This varies from woman to woman. Now, pregnancy clothes are super stylish these days so if you have the budget and the time to pick out your maternity wardrobe, by all means do so.
If that doesn’t apply to you, then it’s fine to only get a few essentials. Comfortable bottoms (pants, jeans, shorts, skirts, etc) and shirts that fit your growing bump are the necessities. Everything else is pretty much nice to have. If you do decide to go shopping for maternity clothes, sign up for maternity store emails, they send valuable coupons to save you money!
9. You Can’t Work After You Have The Baby
You’ll start getting asked at some point in your pregnancy if you’ll be returning to work after having your baby. The answer is extremely personal. No one knows how they will feel about employment after having a baby. Some women are anxious to return to their careers and others can’t bear the thought of leaving their little ones.
Regardless of your plan to return to the workforce or become a stay at home mom, do NOT let mom guilt get to you. This is a decision that you have to make for your family.
The only person or people who should have a say in this will be people contributing to you or baby’s well being and support financially.
10. Kiss Your Social Life Goodbye After Baby
I’m not going to sugar coat this at all, your social life will change after having a baby. Change does not mean you won’t have a social life AT ALL, it will just be different. The time you’ll spend on caring for your little one will take up a good chunk of your life, so the activities you’ll want to do in your free time will change.
Naps just might be the new happy hour. You’ll be tired for a while so the things you enjoyed doing before, you might not have energy for. This is not FOREVER. How you spend time with family and friends and the things you do for fun will look different. Thats OK, embrace the change.
What To Do About Unsolicited First Time Mom Advice
With so much first time pregnancy advice floating around out there what can you do? The unsolicited advice wont stop after you’re pregnant either! It will continue throughout your parenting years. What’s a first time mom to do? Here are a couple of things to remember:
- You can start by remembering that this is YOUR pregnancy and YOUR body.
- Trust your instincts, you will know more than you realize as a new mom. Experience will be your best teacher and you’ll get all your own first time mom tips and tricks.
- Be honest with someone if they’re offering advice that is upsetting to you.
- You don’t have to offer your complete and entire medical history to anyone that asks. Use discretion and be vague with your answers.
- End the exchange on your terms. You can say something to the effect of “Thanks for the advice, I’ll take that into consideration.”
Enjoy your pregnancy and here’s to a happy and healthy 9 months!
Need to know what to wear after giving birth in the hospital? Read all about my checklist for help with packing your bag!
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