In order to have a happy and successful pregnancy, these are the things that helped me tremendously all three times:
1. Relax! I know I struggled with this one the most because by nature, I am not a relaxer. I am that person scrubbing things when she is frustrated, stressed out, or even angry. And with fluctuating hormones I found myself one of those three things quite often. Each day, take a half hour or more to sit, put your feet up, read a book, do something that is relaxing. Truly, you won't have as much time for it once baby comes so if you have a knitting project you want to finish? Now is your time!
2. Be comfortable. I know it's fun to shop for new clothes and you want to stay trendy and adorable, even while tremendously pregnant. Now that I've done this three times I cannot stress how much comfort should trump fashion. The only things I highly suggest are a good pair of maternity jeans (with a little room to grow) and a couple of cozy sweaters and versatile t-shirts. Honestly, people want to see your belly so covering it up with fashionable blouses gets in the. Pick out some t-shirts that match some fun jewelry or scarves you already own and there you go. And find some cute flats that won't require you to bend over to put them on when you are in your last trimester!
3. Organize yourself. If this is your first baby, know that the first three months or so after your baby comes home is a bit hectic. A sleep schedule may not be worked out yet and you are still learning the groove of your new days. Organize yourself now so that you can have a calmer life once your sweet baby is born. Learn how to meal plan and come up with grocery lists to help save you money. Do you have friends and family coming to help you with older kids? Make a calendar of kid activities, school, sports, etc so that friends who pop over can see where you could use an extra hand driving a kid to practice or a meal dropped off.
4. Start your nursery early! People often laugh because I am the queen of being prepared. When I knew I was pregnant with Penelope, I started on her room immediately. I have always gone with a good neutral nursery theme because you never know if that 20 week ultrasound is 100% accurate. For her we went with an ocean theme and each month I tackled a new project in her room. It also helped me get excited for her arrival and I felt less stress knowing that heaven forbid, if she were to arrive early I was going to be ready for her.
5. Buy diapers and wipes now! Again, people laughed as I started buying wipes and diapers early on in my pregnancy. Nobody is laughing now that she is almost four months and I have yet to purchase any of these things. I clipped coupons and waited for sales and got rock bottom prices on a variety of wipes and diapers. I think I went through 3 packages of newborn diapers, 5 packages of size 1 diapers, and now we are on size 2's. I was fortunate to have a diaper raffle at my shower and that helped as well!
6. Have a baby shower, even if it isn't your first baby. I know Miss Manners doesn't agree with this, but I do. I feel like every baby should be celebrated. Maybe you don't have as large of a shower as you did with you first, but I feel like showers for your subsequent babies can be just as fun! Maybe you're having a boy this time around and your first was a girl- people can buy boy outfits! Maybe your need a double stroller to accommodate more than one child, there are all kinds of things a second shower is great for. Plus, it's just a really nice way to connect with friends and family before the big day and time becomes a premium.
7. Exercise. With all three of my pregnancies I walked frequently. I would walk 1-3 miles at least three times a week. Especially with Penelope, who was the largest of my babies, she put a lot of pressure on my hips and the walking really helped loosen things up and nuzzle her down where she needed to be. Plus it was a good way to wind down my day, I felt less stressed out about things and I was guaranteed an excellent night of sleep.
8. Nachos every day sounds like a good idea, but it is not. One of my biggest pet peeves is when women declare that they can eat anything they want now that they are pregnant. Nope, you can't. It will come back to haunt you, I promise. Did I indulge? Oh, I absolutely did! But my portion sizes really weren't any larger than they would have been when I wasn't pregnant. Try your best to limit your indulging urges. Watch your salt intake and definitely your sugar.
9. Enjoy every minute. Truly, nine months goes by so fast even when you feel like it's dragging on. I miss feeling my babies move within me almost immediately. Admittedly, I was scared for labor and delivery with my first daughter, but I had no reason to. I really enjoyed labor and delivery, I loved the days in the hospital bonding with my baby, especially the times when it was just baby and I. I can tell you that your baby will grow so quickly and years go by and you realize how fast it went. I think, especially with Penelope, I am taking that piece of advice more seriously. Olivia is almost 10, Jackson is 7, and having a baby now felt scary but truly, I feel like I appreciate my older two children far more now. Not that I didn't before, but it's a good reminder that the years go by and I need to enjoy their moments, too, even when they are moody and hormonal!
I wish you a happy pregnancy, whether it's your first or your tenth. No matter how miserable you feel, it does go by in a blink of an eye and you won't even remember it. Truly.