From the time I put pillows under my shirt and checked out my profile in the mirror, I’ve always looked forward to being pregnant. ‘What a joyful experience being pregnant must be!’ I naively thought. And for the most part, it has been an amazingly wonderful journey. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to sleepless nights spent surfing the internet looking for answers to alleviate the multitude of stresses and anxieties that have plagued my mind over the last 9 months. As far as I’m concerned, any woman who claims to be pregnant and entirely worry-free is highly suspect. So from one neurotic pregnant woman to another, here are some ways to minimize that stress and truly enjoy the miracle of life.
Utterly Yours Pillow
During pregnancy, you’re bound to hear a lot of conflicting information and the best sleeping position is no exception. Don’t sleep on your back. Sleep on your left side, not the right. Uh oh! I woke up and I’m on my back! Did I hurt my baby? The answer, at least according to every doctor I asked (and I asked a bunch) is ‘no’, you didn’t hurt your baby and you would’ve woken up and adjusted if you were about to. But, to alleviate this irrational fear, try the Utterly Yours Pregnancy Pillow. It folds up into a convenient square when not in use, and although my husband isn’t a big fan of the pillow (he likes to spoon), the pillow is compact, the fabrics from which to choose are fashionable and it offers a lot of support to your expanding belly, adjusting in size throughout your entire pregnancy. Visit utterlyyours.com/pregnancypillow.html for more images and to find out where to purchase.
Zobha Maternity Active-Wear
No matter how nauseous you feel or how often you have to dash to the bathroom, the fact remains that staying physically fit throughout pregnancy will not only help your body but your state of mind as well (check with your doctor about how to exercise safely). To look and feel great (no matter how big you feel), sport the fashionable maternity line by Zobha when taking that prenatal yoga class. There are no annoying labels, the seams are stitched flat to minimize chafing and itching and the pre-shrunk Supplex and Lycra material is moisture-wicking, quick drying and breathable. With a supportive built-in bra and a variety of tank and pants styles and colors to choose from, you’ll find yourself wearing this maternity-wear even when the gym isn’t your destination. Visit www.zobha.com to purchase both maternity and everyday workout clothes.
Au Naturale Mom-to-be Kit
There’s nothing like the convenience of having everything you need all in one place and ready to go. Minimus.biz (miminum size, maximum convenience) makes life easy by putting travel-size pregnancy essentials in convenient clear vinyl zippered bags. The Au Naturale Mom-to-be Kit and New Mommy Sleep Aid Kit contain products ranging from Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste and organic lip balm to lavender-scented body lotion. With other useful kits including Hospital Overnight Bags for both mom and dad, you’ll have that much less to worry about when the big day arrives. Visit www.minimus.biz.
Although everyone around you will claim that you’ve got that ‘pregnant glow’, you’ll probably feel like your face looks like it did when you were 13. So as not to stress out about what harsh chemicals I was putting on my skin, I stashed away my dermatologist-prescribed skincare products and stocked up on the pregnancy safe products by Belli. The Acne Clearing Facial Wash is an exfoliating wash; rich in powerful acne-ridding ingredients that leave skin clear and refined, without over-drying. The safest acne solution for pregnancy, Belli’s breakthrough formulation is the first to safely address pregnancy-related acne using lactic acid – an ingredient that is naturally found in the body. Check out www.belliskincare.com for other safe products for expectant and new mothers and their babies. I also recommend their Elasticity Belly Oil. It not only moisturized my potentially stretchmarked skin but the lavender and almond scent relaxed me when my 3rd trimester acid reflux was at its worst.
If you haven’t heard of the Boppy yet, you will soon enough. Known for their uniquely shaped pillows for breastfeeding moms and infants, Boppy also carries a line of prenatal pillows that make those sleepless nights actually bearable. There’s the Pregnancy Wedge and Cuddle Pillow which provide a ton of support and ensure proper alignment, but I used The Total Body Pillow and loved the way it smushed up into a gabillion different formations for different functions (i.e. under the head and between the legs while sleeping, for back support, as a lap pillow, etc.). It hardly takes up any room and a removable soft Pima cotton slipcover makes washing easy. Visit www.boppy.com.
Laugh & Learn DVD Classes
In an ideal world, we’d have enough time, money and attention span to take hours upon hours of classes about pregnancy, childcare, childbirth, and breastfeeding. But even the most ‘together’ woman can have trouble carving out an hour for that much needed mind-clearing prenatal yoga class. Well, rest assured that you can get all of the same great information in the comfort of your own home. Although most of the books and internet searches about pregnancy ended up freaking me out more than relieving my stress, I found the books and videos about childbirth prep to be great confidence-builders. Laugh & Learn DVD Classes on Childbirth, Breastfeeding and Childcare are both informative and entertaining and unlike a live class, you and your partner can rewind as many times as you’d like and watch them in your pajamas at any time of the day. Visit www.laughandlearn.com for more information and to order.
And for the internet-obsessed looking for factual but non-alarmist information about pregnancy (and other health topics) presented in an accessible, not to mention time efficient, fun video format, check out these pregnancy videos or visit www.healthguru.com.
Big City Moms and Baby Bites
Despite our so-called maternal instincts, any first-time mother is bound to have some anxieties and worries about caring for her baby – whether it’s in or out of the womb. It’s nice to know that there are a ton of other women out there going through the exact same thing as you, at the same time as you, and they could live just around the corner.
To find your fellow social butterflies, check out Big City Moms and Baby Bites. These groups offer a multitude of expectant mother events, luncheons and informational seminars given by experts in the parenting field. Be warned: they might overwhelm you at first with the abundance of information they provide (and multitude of products you have to buy) but in the end, they do a world of good in helping you feel that much more prepared to tackle the role of motherhood. Not only do you walk away with valuable gift bags and having had a nice dinner in a social atmosphere, but you may just win some amazing prizes (a $1200 Stoke stroller anyone?) or meet your future best friend. Check out www.babybitesnyc.com and www.bigcitymoms.com to join their e-mailing lists and find out about upcoming events.
An informed doctor, a supportive partner, a network of comforting friends and family and a good prenatal massage therapist may be all you need to keep you happy and worry-free for these 40 crazy weeks of your life. But for most of the preggers population, all rational thought has gone out the window and stress has crept into your life like the 2nd line on a positive pregnancy test. Just know that there is no shortage of places to go and products to try to make those 40 weeks stress-free and full of excitement.