There's tons of reading and prep to do when having a baby. Each day and each week, you read your What to Expect post and find out what's going on inside that belly of yours. What's happening to your body, symptoms, and learn things you've never thought or heard of before. However, there are just a few details that sometimes get missed. This list includes a few of those tips, ideas, and topics that you may share with a fellow mom to be as you go on this mamahood journey together.
1. Start using 100% shea butter on your belly, breasts, and don't forget to do your back. There's properties to Shea butter that increase cell turnover, regeneration, hold in moisture, and increase elasticity. Dump the oils that are blends (cut with cheap oils) and filled with unnatural ingredients. Unless you have found something that really works for you, this is a great thing to have for your growing torso. Start now...way before you pop. Like week number one! Moisturize your nipples everyday as well. Do this every morning and night. You'll be a greasy turkey butterball, but it will be worth it! Don't forget, stretch marks are partly hereditary sometimes, no matter what, you're gonna get them anyways...but this will really help. You'll be surprised how you have way less stretch marks, if any, and you won't be itchy.
2. Fiber intake. Increase you're fiber in the third trimester. If you have to take an iron supplement for any reason, your stool is going to become dry and constipated. Iron is horrendous for doing this to your body. So before you get hemorrhoids during pregnancy, grab that fiber and boost it along with 2-3 liters of water a day to keep all things hydrated and flowing. Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are awful and are hard to go away. So be prepared with fiber before you get them! Plus, labor can cause hemorrhoids so stock your hospital birth bag with Tucks or witch hazel pads and any other supplies as needed to sooth all your down there parts!
3. Perineal massage. That last two weeks...you may want to slab some oil on your perineal area and give it a massage when you can. Circular and firm motions to get the elasticity going. Whatever it takes to possibly avoid an episiotomy and if this helps, it's worth a try! Your doc may do this during labor to help in making sure baby can pass through so don't be surprised.
4. Water water water. Drink at least, at least I say, two liters a day. This keeps swelling down and keeps your glow, actually glowing. Seriously. People will be like "wow you're glowing". You and your baby need lots of water for so many reasons. Just the fact you'll have lesser swelling is a good reason to count them ounces. Switch water up with fresh green juice, spa water, and coconut water as well.
5. Sugar and cravings. Eat what you want to eat! But, try to keep sweets and "junk foods" consumed during the day when you have time to burn it off. Keep these items made from real natural sugars and ingredients so you're consuming less "hard to pronounce" "goodness knows what it is" foods that are found in processed and fast food. So if you're gonna splurge, at least make it quality and organic. You can still have a donut or deli sandwich...there's places using real whole food ingredients without trans fats and without nitrates. If you want a burger, skip McDonald's and go for Shake Shack. One is totally processed and one is made to order from all things you can pronounce. If you want a milk shake don't do Jack n the Box. Try making one at home instead with organic or coconut based ice cream. There's a difference between pure junk and "healthier junk" food. There's such thing as junk that is way way less junky. Keep these cravings moderate and keep you're activity level up to balance things out. Beware of too much sodium. If you're already predisposed to diabetes then you certainly want to avoid most sweets and junk food. Again, water everything down to keep things flushing out of your system.
6. Self care. Don't skip making yourself feel and look good, because this is part of a healthy pregnancy. If you look fresh then you're spirit will be up along with it. Sooth your skin with your favorites masks and moisturizers (easy to do while laying in bed). Splurge on something nice for yourself. Go on a trip or dates with your partner. Get out and meet with friends when you can. Drink fresh green juices and eat all the healthy organic foods. All these will boost your mood, keep you moving, and will help in the transition to motherhood, where (let's face it) you will be adjusting greatly for the first several weeks, maybe even more. So take this time to nurture your baby and yourself the best you can. Next time you're laying in bed browsing your IG feed, slap on that face mask and indulge in a little extra r n r while you're at it.
7. Clean house. Nesting is real for some. This impulse to get things organized and ready before baby comes is actually a blessing you'll be glad you had. So take it and run with it. Laundry, cleaning, scheduling, figuring out work, installing car seats, packing a hospital bag, remodeling your house, choosing a pediatrician, reading up on what to expect. Whatever it may be, bringing your little one home to a more organized setting is going to relieve stress and the burden of having to do all this stuff eventually. So the sooner the better, so in your last week of pregnancy, you can continue your self care and resting. You won't want to be overwhelmed with cleaning and organizing in that final home stretch. Tip: When putting away baby stuff, have a few clear containers that you've labeled by age group and you can put the age appropriate items in each one. This goes with planning a smart baby registry in that you should have an age range of items. Babes grow fast and newborn stuff just doesn't last that long.
8. Teeth hygiene. Brush and floss. A lot. You're susceptible to gingivitis and other issues when you are pregnant. Grab a good toothpaste and mouth wash and ensure you stick to proper cleaning so you avoid any problems. If you don't keep it up you're gums might bleed. That's just not cool!
9. Pee all the time. Even when you think your bladder is empty, it may be not. Lean forward a bit when peeing to let it all out. UTI's are super common in pregnancy and can be asymptomatic so drink tons of water and pee whenever you feel you need to. You might have to pee right now. So go!!
10. Take infant cpr class. So you may have heard to take a birth class. Well if you had to choose, go with infant cpr. You may need to use it (hopefully not) but it's so important to know! It is a great class to take, feel empowered, and maybe save a life of your child or someone else's. Don't feel bad if you can't take a birth class. It will all come to you and you'll have support all around you for delivery day. Infant cpr won't come natural. Lots of babies choke on small food and anything can happen. Don't you want to be knowledgable? Take this class guys! (Now if you can do both. Well obvi then.) Also, a baby 101 type class is excellent to go over all the essentials and because it would be interactive with you're partner, doing this type of class could not only strengthen your bond and excitement, but help your partner be prepared to help you! Hello, less stress.
11. Transitional nursing clothing. Don't buy too many maternity clothes. You have stuff that stretches and fits in your closet. DO buy nursing tops that work for bump to baby, and well beyond. You will need those nursing tanks and hoodies. Not only to breastfeed way easier and more conveniently, but to look normal and put together. Yes, seriously. It's a total game changer. Mom uniform must have. You'll look cute, but then can whip the boob out when ever without having to basically half undress to do so. Stylish nursing tops are key if you're gonna be a nursing & pumping mama that has to do this every three hours. Be prepared to breastfeed with reading up, connecting with other other moms doing it, and knowing where to get lactation help if needed. Prep before baby comes...don't just wing it because it's gonna be hard enough as it is.
12. Cord blood and tissue collection. This has to be done at birth. So if you're even slightly interested to do it, you need to make it a priority to look into. Don't wait past 38 weeks so you can ensure you've done your research and enrolled so your kit will get to you before birth. Carry the kit with you everywhere till d day. Don't leave it in the car if you live in a warm place. If you don't want to privately bank your baby's cord blood and tissue, you can donate it. Donating it helps other people. This is better than just opting to have it thrown away (unless there is a disease already).
13. Baby stuff. Buy lots of wipes (hypoallergenic and sensitive because your baby may react and not like some) and a variety to see what works best. Have your Amazon delivery all set up so you don't need to leave home to order more supplies as needed. Ensure you have an age range of items. Babies grow fast. Don't just concentrate on newborn and 0-3!
14. Groceries. Definitely have your Prime Now activated so you can order groceries, water, and restaurant delivery on the fly. You're not gonna want or have time to shop, so grocery delivery is a mom's best friend. It's so convenient guys. Get this on your phone stat! You can also sign up, pre baby birth, for a meal delivery service in order to get full on yummy smoothies and prepped healthy meals ready to go for you. See what's in your area. Oh, and wine!! There's wine delivery too!
15. Brazilian Bikini Wax. Get the hair off! If you like that hairless feeling then book your appt and have a professional do it for you. It is just impossible to see down there when you have a watermelon tummy. From experience, trying to do it yourself is so difficult and to top it off, the direction of the regrowth of the hair will be all over the place so best to have the experts help you out here. Wax your armpits too while you're at it! You may barely have time for this once baby arrives. Do the waxing right before you think you're due so you're fresh and smooth for D day.
16. Set up all the baby stuff. Again, cleaning, nesting, organizing...well setting up the baby stuff before he arrives is critical to an easier transition. The baby monitor, electric swing, pack n play, baby closet organizers, and swivel bassinet should all be ready to go. Open the diapers, set out the wipes, and have things where they need to be. Assembly of baby products is worse than IKEA and you won't want to have to do it later on. Trust, it will be a pain if you procrastinate on this.
17. Learn how to use your breast pump. Don't just keep it in the box. Even though you may not use it till 3-4 weeks after the birth, you should have an idea how to use your pump. Time is precious with a newborn so YouTube that pump and get everything down as much as you can from assembly, usage, and cleaning. Also, you can get your pump covered by insurance (most of the time) so jump on this!!
18. Car Diaper Caddy. Why are you going to haul around a thirty pound diaper bag every where you go? Get a caddy, and fill it with essentials and emergency things for baby. Diapers, cream, blankie, toy, wipes, liners, extra clothes, socks, nose cleaner, etc. Leave this stuff in the car folks! Consolidate and bring only a few things in your actual bag that you're taking out for the day. If you're at the grocery store, mall, or a park, your car is just there so you can always go to it when needed. It is not necessary to have to have a humongous diaper bag with you at all times. A diaper caddy organizer is very inexpensive and can hold all the supplies you need and save you hassle lugging these items around just to go grab an ice cream cone.
19. Poop and Blood. You're most likely going to poop while giving birth. The docs are so used to this so get it through your mental notes now and move on. Then you'll bleed for a while. Like, it could be a long while. Just stock up on lots of pads and ruinable undies that you can throw away after all this. Nothing is cute down there after pregnancy. Just take it day by day and yea, do those Kegal exercises as well.
20. Folds and sweat. Pregnancy means running hot. You may be sweating in your butt cheeks and under your boobs. Curb the booty sweat by taking out that Desitin diaper cream and using it as needed. Waking up with sweaty folds is not fun so try this hack if necessary. It's worth it to stay dry in certain places. Place a fan in your direction of sleep to add to the drying effect.
21. Birth Positions. There's so many options for birth these days. However, the common goal is to deliver safely, a healthy and happy baby in the most stress free experience for both mom and babe. Complications can occur, and they do, so be prepared with a plan to ensure your baby is safe throughout delivery. Birth positions are not a new, but new topic. Amiright?! So check your hospital (maternity tour if you can) and see what they have in terms of bed and birth plans. Does the labor bed reposition and go vertical, have a birth bar, do the legs go down, are there birth balls, and can you squat if needed? Do they support "rock and roll" positioning for childbirth? Do they support delayed cord clamping, skin to skin, and exclusive breastfeeding? If you are seeking alternative ways to position yourself during childbirth, you can still deliver in a highly monitored setting, and still have the ability to choose many comfortable and natural ways to give birth to your child.
Overall, take what you will from this list and know that YOU are unique. You will have your very own special experience. Not everyone gets sick, has the same issues, and not everyone feels the same way about things. Just roll with it and go with the flow.
Now, good luck mamas!! Keep going, you're doing great!