Thank you for all of the wonderful comments and emails. I love hearing bits about your joys and struggles, too. Labor is intense, right? Understatement of the year, but I know you feel me.
So before I drift into the happy place of forgetfulness (I'm half there already) I wanted to share my personal pregnancy must haves. Perhaps if I have another child I can look back on this list-or maybe my ten friends who are expecting right now will find this useful. Here goes.
This tip comes from my Mom. I suffered from the most intense heartburn during pregnancy. It started around the 20th week and just became progressively worse. First I cut out spicy foods and citrus but slowly came to the realization that even water was giving me heartburn. I gobbled up some TUMS, but they didn't help too much and to be honest I didn't love the idea of taking them. My Mom suggested papaya juice and it immediately gave me relief. I'm warning you-the juice is sort of gross, but it is totally worth it for the heartburn relief.
So there's this magical time of pregnancy-somewhere around 30-32 weeks, where you become quite "full" of the baby. For me even sitting in a normal chair became awkward and somewhat painful. Enter the magic yoga ball. This thing saved me; I could sit on it while doing computer work and sort of bounce and roll on it during false labor. Supposedly, bouncing on it can help with moving the baby into the right position. I'm not so sure, since I bounced A LOT on that thing and Asa came out posterior-but hey-it's worth a shot. Many people use it during labor. I was able to use it during the first 12 hours but the last 12 hours I wanted nothing to do with it. At about six weeks post partum when I was finally healed up in my lower region I was able to start bouncing Asa on it. Since we can't afford a glider or rocker (well, not one that we like anyway) this thing has been a godsend. Asa loves being bounced to sleep.
A Place to Swim
We moved into our new apartment in May. One of the key selling points of the place was that it has a swimming pool. This summer was the hottest on record, so that pool certainly came in handy. But even if you are in a cold climate, I highly encourage you to swim. It's great exercise and it gives temporary relief to your back and shoulders. Sleep can be hard to come by in the last trimester but I found that if I had a good swim my sleep would be a lot better. Birth is like a marathon and it really pays to stay in shape if you can.
I feel like most people have strong opinions about taking birthing classes. Either they loved them or they think that they don't need them. We didn't have a choice-our birthing center makes first time parents take an eight week course of "Bradley"-esque natural childbirth classes. I was skeptical at first, after all I'd read about 10 books already and talked to many moms about their natural childbirth experiences, why would I need a class? Well, I'm really glad we went. Even if you know the information, it always helps to hear it again-and I think it really helped James learn a lot. Even though I felt dorky practicing labor positions it definitely helped prepare James to be my support. And it was nice to have a couple hours a week set aside to focus on the baby. If you are planning a partner supported natural birth I would urge you to take some classes with your partner.
At about the halfway point of pregnancy it became impossible for me to sleep on my back. Hugging a body pillow was pretty much the only way I could get to sleep. It sort of helped prop up my awkward belly. I ended up using the pillow during my last ten hours of labor, too. I don't know what I would've done without that thing. There are expensive "pregnancy" pillows but I just bought a normal body pillow for about $20.
Gap Maternity Leggings
I lived in leggings and dresses during my pregnancy (and for weeks after). In my opinion, Gap has the best ones. They also have great maternity jeans. A word of warning: I bought some maternity clothes at Target and all of them-literally all of them- fell apart within a couple of weeks-no joke! They are a super rip off.
Floradix and Emergen-C
I was anemic during my pregnancy and it got the point where it was pretty bad. The midwives warned that if I didn't get my iron levels up, I'd have to deliver in a hospital since blood loss would be a big deal. I'd been taking iron supplements for weeks with no improvement. Finally I talked to one of the older midwives at the center and she advised me to take my iron with a vitamin C supplement and not eat any calcium source for an hour before or after. Also, she told me to steer clear of decaf tea and coffee because they still have elements in them that block iron absorption. So this magic formula finally worked for me-I wish I would've heard those wise words a lot sooner! My iron supplement of choice was floradix and I used Emergen-C for the extra vitamin C.
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So what were some of your pregnancy must haves? I would love to hear them! Coming up: my must haves for postpartum Moms and my newborn must haves.