After carrying a baby and then delivering one, I have come to compile a list of things that should be done when one is pregnant. Though I did some of them but yes….some remained only in the to-do list. It is only 9 months when you have to bear a baby but you have to bear the responsibility of that baby lifelong. It is so important that we mothers are mentally and physically stress-free to get ready for the coming baby. So here’s a list of nine things that a pregnant woman should do to sail through her pregnancy happily.
1. Eat healthy: This is the obvious one and you all must have read about it on every write up dealing with pregnancy. Your baby will be made up of what you eat so yes ladies, see each and everything you put into your mouth. Look for hygienic and nutritious food items and yes, follow your cravings as well. Don’t keep that baby drooling inside but just don’t go overboard with junk (smiles). By eating healthy not only I mean focusing on nutritious items comprising a pregnancy diet but also I mean that you really enjoy your meal. With every bite…..savor the taste….the way you see ‘chocolate ads’ on TV. Once the baby is out, which is not long, you would find difficulty in eating a peaceful and an enjoyable meal. Most of the time my daughter poops as soon as I sit to eat and mostly I find stuffing myself with food the moment she hits a shut eye. So for now, chew that bite nice and long.
2. Exercise for mind and body: As important is food for physical health, exercise is for you and your baby’s physical as well as mental health. As pregnancy brings with it joyous moments for you and your baby…. the weight gain, the hormonal changes, the lifestyle changes give you stress, fatigue, backache, acidity, mood swings etc. One may also find difficulty in carrying out daily activities when your body weight is constantly shooting up each week. It is very important then to have a fit body (reasonable pregnancy weight gain) and fit mind. Choose for yourself a regime that keeps you fit, happy, and of a balanced mind. The kind of exercise that ease you of your pregnancy troubles and brings you relaxation. I, for one, strictly followed prenatal yoga. The breathing exercises proved to be very important during labor.
3. Capture ‘parenthood’: From the time you conceive to the time you deliver, these nine months will pass so fast that this very obvious task will get ignored. Do not wait for the nauseating months to pass, do not wait for pregnancy glow….just capture your pregnancy every day. You are beautiful right now! If I come to think of it, I do not remember my pregnancy very clearly….just some moments ….. but when I see the pictures and my daily diary….I relive my pregnancy entirely. Every other day I pick that diary that contains photos and major moments of how I felt during these nine months and I feel so fresh and happy that I forget my sleepless nights. I know the exact date when my baby kicked inside for the very first time. It is like every time I read, I feel that kick. I know how I reacted when I came to know about my pregnancy, how my husband treated me, my food cravings, pampering….everything is recorded in it. I have supplemented my feelings with pictures of that time as well and now, I am using it as a storybook for my daughter. This record is still maintained and now I add milestones of my daughter in it. For more ideas, the Pinterest is full of pregnancy photo-shoots and creative ideas….go see how you want to be clicked. Just capture your every detail in the way you would like to visit it later either in pictures and/or in writing or some other way. It’s definitely a keepsake.
4. Prepare for that road ahead: When I say plan for the road ahead, I do not just mean that you plan for finances, space, clothes etc. for the baby. Those are the big things which you probably must have taken into account as soon as you conceive. There are myriad things that need immense amount of your time beforehand and trust me when the baby comes, you would not want to spend the little snooze time into planning those things rather than taking a nap yourself. The things that need planning include but are not limited to your baby’s name, nursery, toiletries, clothes according to weather, pediatrician, hospital bag, choosing a hospital, how to breastfeed, how to set a schedule for baby, what colour of potty means what, how will the household work be managed, dealing with post-partum depression, episiotomy, etc. etc. I cannot describe how tiring and burdensome it was for me to research on all these things after I delivered. When my daughter fell asleep I used to search these questions rather than sleeping. I know, stupid me for not having done this before! Start your search now!
5. Pamper some more: Though in Indian scenario, the mother, the mother-in law, the husband and many other relatives take care of the ‘soon to be mommy’ so much that they do not even let her get up. But that is not what is advisable. A healthy pregnancy means an active pregnant woman…I say active but not to the point of getting tired. However do all that you can to pamper yourself….the catch here is ‘yourself’. Given the hormonal changes one encounter in pregnancy and the dreamy scenario of pregnant woman care in bollywood movies, we girls can spoil our pregnancy if we keep expecting pampering from others. Do all that you can to make yourself feel like a princess. Stay active during the day but don’t hesitate in getting a foot rub when tired. Go for those head massages and long baths. Relax in a bathtub (check temperature of water for pregnant women), get a new haircut, showoff that nail art. In short, whatever is luxury and pampering and enjoyment to you, just do that, anything that makes you feel royal for the time being because very soon your entire time will not be entirely yours anymore and you would feel like getting into a 24*7 without a day off job….. so ladies do some pampering…. apart from what you are getting (winks).
6. Get sick of Sleep: Oh yes! Sleep…..because you are not sure how much and what time will you get it once you deliver. I was never very much of a sleeper. Even in my pregnancy during the weekdays, I used to get up at 5-6 am, finish my household work, drive to work at around 10 am, get back at 6 pm and after sitting with my family, having dinner…I used to hit bed at 11 pm….sometimes 12. So even in my pregnancy, I took my regular 7 hour sleep and never napped in afternoon. I remember some of my friends (who already had delivered by then) used to say, “Divya, this is your ninth month…would you take a break for God’s sake….get some rest now”, and as hyperactive as I am, I used to say, “Arre, now after baby I will have nothing but time. I will stop working then.” I know, how dumb of me! There is no comparison on the amount of work one has of bringing up a baby, especially the first year. So, if you do not want to fall in the complaining side of sleeplessness, then get sick of sleep…seriously. Sleep your heart out that by the time baby arrives, at least you can say that over the months you have slept enough that you do not mind some months of sleep deprivation.
7. Read up: We as mothers have to be proactive in learning about baby nurturing. Thanks to abundance of articles on internet, the task is complicated even more. When the baby arrives, you will come across so many small issues that you will find difficulty finding answers for. So start reading now, when you have the liberty of planning your time. I planned for the big things like baby cot, car seat, how to breastfeed etc. but forgot about finding a baby name, knew nothing about baby reflux and burping, etc. I remember I felt like killing myself when my baby used to have a shut eye, and I used to search about different burping positions or baby names or sleeping schedule or baby oil to use etc. My eyes used to be hurting with sleep and obviously post delivery weakness added more to the pain. So girls, talk to fellow moms and find out the common issues they deal with till the baby reaches six months of age. Find answers to these issues to save on time later. Finding answers won’t hurt, however do not believe everything you read. Yes, I know, ironic. You must know the answers to standard questions but do not forget not everything works for every baby and not every piece of advice is worth following so match your knowledge with your baby cues, mommy’s instinct and pediatrician’s advice.
8. Live your ‘Single’ life: I am a firm believer that life does not end with a baby, however there are some things that take a back seat for some time. Going for a movie, watching television, clubbing, dining out, being lazy, shopping, drinking alcohol (sorry, that you can’t do now as well) etc. are some of the tasks that will need to be put away till the time your baby is old enough to be a part of all this or supportive enough to let you enjoy all this. So go out, have fun, do all that you can that would be disturbed by your baby later. Listen to those songs as loud as possible, dance freely, watch action movies because very soon you will be seen tip toeing in your own room and shushing everybody to make that little one snooze a minute longer.
9. Stay Happy: I know this one is so obvious and well known that I am putting it in last, however this one is most ignored also. Nine months, hormonal imbalance, bodily changes, lifestyle changes are all good reasons for anyone to get low sometimes. To add to it, life throws up its own worries sometimes related to husband, finances, mother in law, health, relationships etc. that staying all happy during a pregnancy takes a back seat. Even after doing all the above 8 points, there comes a reason that can pain your heart in that tender time. Deal with it, no matter how worse you may go through. Put your smiling face back. Happiness leads to positivity and it does a great deal of job on your baby’s health. My gynecologist during monthly pre-natal sessions would repeat just this thing. She used to make us visualize that how happy as individuals we are, what all we have to thank for in this life, how lucky we are that we are bringing a new life on this planet, she used to fill entire environment with positivity. All I had to do was do this introspection daily and I could switch back to a happy mood every time I felt low. You also find your way to keep that smile last long….months long.