Sunday, June 24, 2012

First Time Pregnant/Mom Advice

Updated: 11/11/12 three months after giving birth...

So as some of you may know, I will soon be a first time mom. I am very excited.

I have been writing down tips and advice I've been given by other mothers, as well as things I have learned or experienced on my own. I put it all together for future reference on future pregnancies. As a reminder of how I thought or what I did/experienced with my first one. As well as for future first time moms that come to me for advice.

I decided I will share it with everyone now. Some people may disagree with some of the things on the list, but then again advice is given freely, you are the one who decides whether or not to apply it. So here it goes.

at 27 weeks By Christy Schobert

*Know that this is not from an expert or Dr. nor they all work the same for everyone. Make sure that you do your own research and learn what is best for you and your situation. For the most part, the advice found here is for low risk pregnancies.*

Tips, Thoughts, ideas, Advice and Helpful knowledge Pre-During and Post Pregnancy
  • Be sure to start on your pre-natal vitamins at least 3 months before conception. If you are are already pregnant and didn't know about this, don't worry. Just start now. Your body will need all the help it can get. 
  • Continue taking them during pregnancy and after pregnancy. After pregnancy, specially if breastfeeding, your body is still in need of good TLC! your bones will suffer if you are not well taken cared of!
  • Pre-natal vitamins may be more expensive than daily multivitamins, which for the most part contain the same ingredients. So don't break the piggy bank!
  • Be sure to eat a wide variety of foods. Your body will need a lot of protein, calcium, and other stuff
  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Stretch your legs and in between them. Some prenatal yoga as well.
  • Walk, Walk and walk some more!! at least 30 mins a day. This is good, low-impact exercise that you can do through out your pregnancy.
  • Educate yourself on all the different birthing options: Hospitals, birthing centers, Home births, drugs, episiotomies, etc. ~take note that some info out there may be bias towards one method over the other. Do not be naive and lean only towards one side or discard the other completely. Both are good and have their pros and cons. Find what works for you and don't judge those who do it differently. 
  • If you get “morning sickness” try different coping options. Small snacks, big meals for a full stomach(which is what worked for me as opposed to small meals through out the day), ginger ale, swallowing a small piece of ginger, distractions (talking with somebody) etc.
  • Get as much tummy and back sleep as possible before your belly starts growing and it becomes uncomfortable. You may miss it later!
  • Write a birth plan. What and how you want things to happen. Your preferences, your big no-nos. But in all be flexible, open to changes so you are not disappointed if things happen different. Not every birth is without complications.
  • Pitocin (drug to induce) will make labor pains stronger, and if given too soon, will increase chances of tearing. Epidural will reduce contractions and/or you will have a hard time knowing when to push and can also make you more nauseous. Also, it may make your legs go numb for a while (not always though).
  • One small glass of wine or beer will not necessarily hurt you. Women in Europe continue drinking during pregnancy as they did before pregnancy, however they do not have a higher incident of Fetus Alcohol Syndrome than women who avoid alcohol completely. Yet, it is always better to avoid drinking, specially during the first trimester. It is unknown what is the minimum amount needed to cause FAS. Why risk it?
  • As long as your BMI is normal, it is safe to say that you can gain up to 30 lbs. However, be careful not to gain unnecessary weight. You may not be happy with yourself afterwards. (I gained almost 50 lbs and had a really hard time looking myself in the mirror for a while after birth)
  • You can travel by air-plain up until your 8th month/36 weeks, as long as it is a low risk pregnancy.
  • Avoid blue cheese. Chances of acquiring listeria are higher if you do.
  • Drink a lot of water and milk. But not too late into the night, otherwise you will wake up to many times to go to the bathroom.
  • Avoid salt intake. It will make you retain water and swell.
  • LOTS of kegel exercise! It will prepare your birth canal for delivery and reduce chances of tearing.
  • Continue with normal sex life. It will help the birth canal be used to the stretching. It will also help induce labor during your last weeks :) ...and you may not be able to do it for at least 6 weeks after birth! Your husband will appreciate it if he didn't have to go without more than that! :P and it will also be the last 9 months of no interruptions!!
  • Do not spend too much time sitting/standing. If you work sitting, get up and walk every hour. This way you will reduce chances of hemorrhoids and will help blood circulation. 
  • Get your nursery ready before you get too big and are unable to move around as easy.
  • Car seats expire every 5 years and some hospitals have a specific policy about them.
  • Sometimes by the 3rd trimester it may get harder to breath if laying down completely flat. Use more pillows to lift you up.
  • Use a lot of cream every day to reduce chances of stretch marks, specially if you have a darker complexion. Fair skin is more elastic, darker skin does not stretch as easily. 
  • Do not scratch/itch otherwise you'll get more stretch marks. 
  • Don't be surprised if you get hot faster or more often- even during the winter.
  • From 20 weeks up, avoid laying flat on your back. There is a vein/artery behind your right side of the pelvis that carries oxygen and blood flow to your heart and your baby. The weight of the baby could cause it to not flow as it should. Ask your Dr./Midwife more about it. 
  • Sleeping on your right side for too long may also interfere with blood flow. So switch to your left side more.
  • Use a pillow in between your legs. From your crotch down to your ankles. As your belly (and rest of your body!) grows, it may become more uncomfortable to sleep without good support. Use pillows to give support to your belly and your back.
  • If your cat is an indoor cat, that only eats cat food (no birds or anything else found outside the home), your chances of getting toxoplasmosis are very minimal to zero. If you need to change the litter box, do so and immediately after wash your hands with water and soap. You won't get the disease if you do not have direct (with mouth) contact with the feces. However, if you can have somebody else perform this task for you, the better!
    our oldest cat, Leonidas
  • Take naps. Lots of them, specially when you start having a hard time sleeping at night. You need to rest well, your baby (and your body!) will appreciate it!
  • Eat what you crave for. Do not go on a diet unless recommended by your Dr. Eat everything, but in moderation. Don't buy into “you shouldn't eat this or that” unless, again, it is recommended by your Dr. 
  • Have very little tuna. Fish/sushi is fine as long as the fish is not too high in
    mercury (as some types of tuna are). (sounds contradicting the last tip, huh? but it says "very little" it doesn't say "don't do it")
  • DANCE! It is fun, it will keep your body active and agile! It is the best exercise next to walking and swimming.
  • Take time during the day to pay attention to your baby's movement. It's magical! :) once you start feeling his/her movements, they should be somewhere between ten movements per hour....however every baby is different. Just take note of any drastic changes in baby's activity.
  • If you don't feel the movements for over an hour, drink some cold water and wait a few minutes. It should make the baby move. Spicy foods may also help. However, if you go for too long without feeling anything, call your Dr./Midwife. Don't be afraid to sound silly or look over worried. That will not be the case. We all want healthy babies! and your health care provider will know and understand that!
  • Do not panic if your skin burns. It is usually because your muscles are stretching. If it becomes too bad or too persistent, consult your Dr.
  • Bananas help reduce water retention, however they may make you gain weight faster. Fruits in general are good for you, but they are high on sugars!
  • Find good lower back exercises. You will depend on them to reduce pain! And they will help the baby get in position for delivery :).
  • Warm showers will also help with pain management and relax you. Plus, there may not be much time after the baby comes for you to spend an hour sitting taking a warm bath!
  • Make a list of the things you will need to pack for the hospital for you as well as for the baby. It is never too soon, specially because you may forget later!! :P
  • Also, make a “who to call” list. Write down everyone you plan on giving the heads up once you are in labor.
  • When the time gets closer (last month maybe), make some meals that can be frozen. It will give you peace of mind after delivery to know that your family will have some food ready to heat up. You can spend that hour or two that you would spend cooking, with your little one! Also, don't hesitate to ask for help. There is no need to play "Super mom" ~ and people love helping new moms! 
  • Once in labor, you may feel like pooing, DON'T! Most likely it is the baby pushing down and if you push in the toilet he/she may come out! :P
  • Make sure to get good breast support, specially if they grow a lot. Otherwise it may hurt or make it harder to breath while laying down.
  • If you get hemorrhoids, use cold and hot water to reduce it. Just run it through or use a wet towel.
  • Cold water helps reduce swollen body parts.
  • Nausea may come back during the 3rd trimester. But not as bad or long. Unless you are one of the few unlucky ones who have them through out the whole pregnancy (poor my sister, she did!)
  • To reduce chances of tearing, in your 3rd trimester work on stretching exercises for your peritoneum (area btw vagina and anus). Use your fingers (or your spouses if you can't reach) to massage the area and stretch it from inside, pulling down a little.
  • Avoin putting cream on your breasts during the last month, specially if you plan to breastfeed.
  • If possible, at all costs avoid inducement (unless the baby's life is in danger or you are in labor for too long). In most cases, there really is no need for it unless something is going wrong. For most women it makes the whole process more painful (if no epidural is used), and it won't allow your body to naturally get ready for birth, therefore increasing chances of tearing. ~ after over 35 hours of labor, I had to be induced, we started with 1 mg. and OH MY! it made a huge difference in the pain! it was x3 more painful. I could have gone longer without it but my baby was NOT coming out and I did not want to have incontinence problems afterwards. You may read our birth story here.
  • If you can, clean/organize your home more often as time gets closer. It will give you peace of mind and make the need for cleaning less intensive when you are busy with babies.
  • Learn how to measure how dilated you are so that you don't need to hurry to the hospital right away. Using your fingers check how dilated you are. If your water has not broken, you don't need to rush to the hospital until you are about 4 cm (4 fingers) dilated. If delivering at a hospital, they will tell you to not come in until your contractions are 5 mins apart and you are NOT able to speak during contractions. This is a sign of active labor. 
  • Hot weather, hot water and salt intake will make you swell. Avoid it as much as you can/.
  • Drink LOTS of water and milk. (I think I already said this, but if you are pregnant, you may have forgot it already! haha)
  • Put cream everywhere. Belly, hips, calves, butt, thighs  breasts. Stretch marks don't only appear on the belly. Gain weight gradually to reduce the chances of stretch marks.
  • The last moth pay special attention to the baby's schedule. Sometimes they keep that same schedule after birth – during their first couple of weeks.
  • Home births with an experienced midwife are easier, lest traumatic (for some) or invasive, as well as less expensive!! But only for low risk pregnancies. Most of the time you will not be induced or get pain medicine. I know some midwives do provide pain medicine, but not all of them do and it is just local anesthesia as far as I know. If you start at home but then need or want to move to a hospital, make sure to call them ahead of time out of consideration to the staff, so they can get ready. And do not be ashamed of doing the transfer. Your midwife will understand and will (or should!) support your decision. The end result is what matters: healthy baby and healthy mom!
  • Don't feel bad if you start nesting around 20 weeks!! it is your motherly nature (or boredom! ha) and it is ok! In fact, you won't have to worry too much about having it all ready when the day comes because it will already be ready! :)
  • Every woman who has given birth, or has experience taking care of babies (specially newborns) will have a piece of advice. It would be nice of you to listen to them, even if you disagree or plan to do things differently. They all mean well, and just want to help the new mom. I know it may get old at some point, but try to have a good attitude about it. Plus, some of their advice is really good!!
  • Make your husband a part of everything. Even if he says he does not need to be. They will too have a new baby to take care of, and every child is different (in case he already has children). As the head of the home, they need to learn about this things and be part of everything, even diaper changing! Plus, mommy can't do everything. Both of you are the child's parents!
  • Breastfeeding will help you lose weight faster! ~ I lost around 40 lbs in the first 2 months! For C-sections, it may take a little longer since you can't walk much at first.

    four days after giving birth (60lbs over pre-pregnancy weight)
    4 months after giving birth...just look at the difference in my face!! (I had lost over 50lbs)
  • As mentioned above, it may take a few weeks before you can go back to your regular sex life. Be sure to discuss this with your husband.
  • The nurse/midwife will push/squeeze out all the blood left inside your uterus. It may hurt a little. You may bleed for a while after birth. For some it is very heavy and have to use adult diapers. Some are lucky and only need nigh pads (like the ones you use during your period). 
  • Your breast will grow more once milk starts coming in. It is called engorgement. It may hurt some...but it wont be for too long. Take on account that you may be leaking for the first is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but be encouraged! this too shall pass! :)
  • Your first white milk may come around day 5. The first milk is yellowish and it is called colostrum. It is  richer in everything  and helps your baby's tummy be ready for food since he/she will no longer be fed through the umbilical cord!
  • You may get what is called baby blue. Feelings of depression and sadness or frustration. It is normal, your body (and mind) just went through trauma (good trauma!) during birth...and everything is changing...but for good! talk to your husband, family and friends for support! and put your baby down, or give him/her to somebody else when you feel down. Baby may feel your sadness...or you may not feel like taking care of him/her. Just know that it is ok. It happens to most women and this too shall pass!
  • There are 4 different degrees of tearing. I won't go into details, but look it up/ask your Dr. Sometimes regardless of what you do, it can be unavoidable. Or you may be lucky (like my cousin!) and avoid it completely! but if you don't, warm sits baths are amazing in helping you heal; comfry tea leaves were my divine remedy. If you can, also sleep on your tummy - I had 3rd degree tear and used the boppy to help me be more comfortable sitting and sleeping on my belly. You will want to avoid sitting or putting much weight on your bottom. And again, be patient ( I know! easier said than done!) you will heal! I was without discomfort (pain was managed all the time with pain killers!) around week 6 ad fully healed by approx. week 10. LOTS of prayers!! Some heal faster than others. 
  • If you have a girl, she may get her first "period" the first week. I know, WHAT?! haha. No one told us this one and we freaked out when we saw her bleeding! but it is totally normal! and not every baby girl gets it. It is very little, no more than a tip of a tsp size and kind of mucous-like.
  • It took you 9 months to gain all the weight you have gained. Do not panic or be discouraged if it takes you that long to lose it. Eat healthy, exercise if you have the time (you only need 20 mins a day!) and be patient. ~ I am VERY inpatient and was going crazy after only 4 weeks! ha. My husband is an angel was there for me all the time. He would remind me how long it took it e to gain all the weight and that even if I did not lose it all again, he still loved me. Our baby was worth it too! But I know, we women like to not only feel good, but also look good. Again, be patient, set a goal, be active, eat well.    Don't stress too much over it. 
What worked for you? Please feel free to add your pearls of wisdom if there is something missing. New moms will appreciate it!!


  1. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it's time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!
    My site - vitamins to help pregnancy

  2. Hi anonnymous, I try multiple times to contact you through your website, but I can't seem to figure out how. Maybe an email address? Thanks for stopping by!