- Women's Health
Tips On Creating a Comfortable Pregnancy
Tips & Tricks to Having a Comfortable Pregnancy
This is my self-projecting guide in how I have managed to stay comfortable in the long haul of a pregnancy. For me, expecting twins has taken a lot of ups-and-downs so far. I decided early on that I needed to stay emotionally, financially, psychologically, and physically comfortable because this is a high-risk pregnancy.
Yet, from battling crappy pregnancy symptoms, initially terrible doctors/healthcare system, trying to saving money in a world telling us to spend constantly, while listening to nonstop advise and a terrifying peanut-gallery of unhelpful people things weren't and aren't easy.
I began realizing that this is a journey we - as pregnant women - must make our own. We have to find out what works for us individually. And yet it's really hard to figure it all out without someone trying to shove something down your throat, sell you stuff at HUGE percent markups, doctors either trying to get you to leave their practice because they don't want a high risk pregnancy (which they see as a liability) or good doctors making weird commentary on stuff they aren't expert in, all while random people with 'Know-it-All' advice pop up like lice while there is, conversely, an absence of creative information as to what to do when you REALLY want help and sage words.
So, here I just want to showcase ideas, thoughts, products and things that helped me achieve a mild case of Zen in a process that is often less than peaceful.
Now, at 24 weeks pregnant, my personal journey is only partway done but I have experienced a lot. A lot of it has been great, while another portion really intolerable, and I spent a lot of time searching for answers to help myself so that I CAN enjoy this pregnancy.
Hopefully this might show you just one thing that can help you along the way to comfortable gestating...
Even when things aren't always cozy!
Navigating the Maternity Clothing Market
Don't Let Fabric Get the Best of Your Wallet!
Unless you are independently wealthy or a fashionista that must, I do not advise spending more than $100-$200 on maternity clothing - if anything at all. And even then, look at Good Will or Salvation Army or your local Thrift shop, before you trek to the brand name retail stores (unless your personality dictates it).
I have spent zero dollars on maternity clothes because I first found out how horrible it is to find maternity clothes for regular people, the impossibility of finding reasonably priced maternity clothing for a twin or multiple pregnancy, and I then realized this entire journey was only going to last 9 months, so why were we going to waste this money anyway? Not to mention, everything with the term 'maternity' or 'pregnancy' had a HUGE price increase... Instead, I could put money for clothing aside for the cloth diapers I wanted and which would help us save more in the future. And that is what we did, after we fell flat on our face in the first attempt to get maternity clothing.
You see, back in the beginning of my blossoming when we were naive, my fiancÃ© took me to the largest local mall, dead-set on finding me maternity pants once the bump made it impossible for me to button my jeans comfortably. And we hit the five gagillion stores there like a tidal force thinking this would be fun and easy to accomplish. After all, what girl doesn't like the idea of her man taking her out to go clothing shopping?!
Instead of the glory of maxing out my love's generosity, we both spent hours looking for maternity clothing and the closest we came was a pair of stretch pants that cost $40 and were practically see-through in the back of Sears. He was upset at leaving empty handed, we both were stressed out, and I was point blank exhausted after circling the mall like an unsuccessful vulture. When we got home, the prices online were worse and unless we wanted to trek downstate there was no place to find a boutique or anything.
After recanting my tale, several moms-of-multiples I know pulled me aside and told me flat out that this was not worth the hassle. By third trimester, I - being pregnant with twins - wouldn't fit into 'regular' maternity clothes anyway.
Hand-me-down maternity happens to have been my lifesaver thanks to my best friend and one trip to a thrift shop. Alas, for me the maternity clothing I was gifted have are almost maxed out as I was warned! I am almost to the fundal height of a full term pregnancy at only 24 weeks because I am carrying the twins.
So what DO you do in a world that needs comfortable coverings without wanting to scream? For me, stretchy clothing like tube-top dresses, bathing suit cover-ups, over-sized men's sweatshirts, and sweatpants are it. Add a lot of XXL leggings, cheap eBay tunics and a few over-sized camisoles, and I have a wardrobe items that will survive to be used past pregnancy and a few free items to go back to friends who are planning their future pregnancies.
Also, ditch the heels for comfortable flats and look for sandals in the summer. If you must get close-toed shoes, invest in them a size or two larger since swelling in the end of the 2nd and 3rd trimester makes it difficult for a lot of women to get their feet into 'normal' footwear. And despite my personal dislike for Walmart, their cheap shoe selection is TOTALLY worth it for pregnancy related purchases.
Pregnancy Clothing & Accessories - A Guide
These are some items I have found to be exceptionally handy during pregnancy; even if they are an odd sort of concoction. Make your own selections on items that will suit your pregnancy clothing needs and ALWAYS watch out for marketing that ups pricing for pregnant women in EVERY category (food, drugs, clothing, shoes, contraptions, etc.)...
Love these since real pants hate me right now...
Remember: Pregnancy makes shaving hard so leggings are a nice way to 'cheat' on your shaving schedule!
AWESOME product; works great for me, although I do tuck my jean flaps in too. I loved it and need it to hold my pants up without any other contraption. But it's worth a shot if you want to avoid purchasing maternity pants - even if just to put that off for a bit. Please check your sizing before purchasing at the MAKER's website by Googling Ingrid and Isabel.
Handling Nausea & Vomitting
Dealing with First Trimester Symptoms
You may or may not experience this lovely part of the pregnancy process. If you do, though there are a thousand things people will tell you to do. Most of them won't work or will make it worse if you have friends and family that think we're cookie cutter people. I was advised to eat carbs - like simple saltine crackers and water when I woke.
I vomited religiously when I did that. I vomited if I brushed my teeth. I threw up whenever I was awake it felt like. And there was literally nothing that stopped the nausea completely. I did, however, get relief from a few things. However, my advice is to TRY and eat things that have protein and fat (natural saturated fats that are NOT processed!)... Stay away from tons of carbs because that might backfire, like it did for me. And stay calm. Throwing up is bad and I lost a lot of my weight because I couldn't eat; but the kids took off what they needed from my fat reserves. You cannot stop the vomiting, essentially. If it gets bad (like you cannot eat at all or keep even some fluid down), you are underweight, or you lose too rapidly you NEED to go to the doctor and seek help or intravenous nutrition. There is nothing here that I can say which will help that is, well, legal to advocate for unless you live in California, Washington or Colorado (if you know what I mean!).
What you can alleviate, at least from what I have experienced, is the nausea.
1. Eating regularly and preemptively. The minute hunger hit (that feeling that something's in your throat) there was no relief for me because if I ate during that I was almost guaranteed a good hurl.
I ultimately focused on protein and natural saturated fat items; carbohydrates made me hurl (I went through 2 boxes of Ritz and stopped after hurling up a few boxes of saltines). Avoid chicken if you can, it is very hard to digest I found out... Eggs, fish and pork were my favorites that I could tolerate - although I have trouble with beef even now.
2. Oddly enough - JOLLY RANCHERS! The candies, the popsicles, etc. They were my best line of defense when the nausea was just a nuisance and the weeks of constant vomiting were over. Yes, my mouth tasted like a sticky mine-field, my teeth probably hate me, but it was amazing to be nausea free after days of feeling ill once I made a random investment in them. PLUS they are essentially the same thing as the WAY more expensive Preggo-Candies for relief!
Remember: Avoid wasting money on things that say "Pregnancy" they almost always have 100-300% markup and usually there is a safe alternative all ready on the market without the need to market to you.
3. Acupressure - either the SeaBand wristband or an impromptu marble/bead taped to the pressure point (FIND THE POINT FIRST BEFORE YOU TAPE IT and make sure it works!). Additionally, using it on the leg pressure point seamed to give me more relief. More info here: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-m... -
WARNING: Please DO NOT use LI4 pressure point between the webbing of the hand. This is a point also used in active eastern cultures for induction of abortions or to provoke late menstruation into flow. Use professional guidance with acupressure points. I am not a doctor so you cannot take doctor-ly advice from me. I'm just noting what I've done and what I know to be facts in my reality. There are plenty of doctors out there to give you bad advice but under the protection of their degrees and malpractice insurance! Seek them out.
4. Ginger - Real Ginger Ale or Ginger candy is another option that works like the jolly ranchers. However, while I like it you need to like real ginger in order to tolerate it, in my opinion. For a lot of people it's an option but not necessarily a good one.
Morning Sickness Relief - Because You'll Want to Try SOMETHING!
Get TWO if you can - one for each arm! Otherwise, rotate which arm you use it on. This is the normal adult band - the Mama Acupressure Seaband is the same thing from this company with a larger markup and I did not purchase that because I felt it's the same acupressure point and thus it is unnecessary. Unless you want it in pink.
If you want it in pink, go for it.
Might not be to your palette's liking, but I do love me some ginger candy.
Stretch Mark Prevention and Minimization
A Regimen for Before & After Pregnancy
This drives me insane. I am uncomfortable with stretch marks beyond the norm; they are truly awful in my opinion and I hate them to the point I could cry sometimes. So, after a few around by my belly-button have finally made their announcement in purple triumph over my skin's elasticity I have concocted my own skin regimen after a thousand Google searches and after purchasing an evil looking Derma Roller.
For those other ladies out there who also feel tortured and devastated by stretch marks as they progress in taking over your form while pregnant, I highly advise you do what you can and do not be discouraged. Keep applying lotion, keep massaging, keep being annoying and buying special soaps, but do NOT give up. If you give up right out of the gate you lose the opportunity to mitigate and you WANT to mitigate while the skin is stretching - to massage it and give it bloodflow - if just to help out your belly. I know they say it's all genetics but I'm not buying that; not after seeing what my favorite MSM soap does for my stomach (which stopped my stretch marks DEAD in their progression after three weeks of use and has healed some over amazingly).
Even if that just means lessening the damage done by adding lotions or a few foods high in Vitamin E. At very least you can try something and say you did. Stretch marks are hard to undo and you'll never know if you did any good sometimes; unless you do nothing and it turns into, well, a scene out of a horror movie.
Because I get so weird about stretch marks, this new regimen I use is extreme. If you use it or modify it at all, please use caution since this DOES involve a derma roller that needs to be cleaned with alcohol, a mild bit of pain, and may not be the regimen everyone should use (like if you have an infection going on). You will need to use alcohol to keep the area sterile and safe too.
AND if you have let the stretch marks get hte better of your belly - you can totally use this to help alleviate them now. So there is a bit of an opportunity here to fix what was once broken without scheduling a tummy-tuck (although I am not saying you'll get the same results as drastic plastic surgery, minimization can mean a lot in regards to stretchmarks!).
So here is the regimen:
1. Dry exfoliation with a wash-cloth or skin brush (ONLY 1 minute)
2. Soap and wash with MSM Soap - which is touted as an amazing skin cleaner that has also cleared up all of my Pregnancy Acne too!
3. Another exfoliation with abrasion scrub (I use Equate Face Scrub) for 1-3 minutes
4. *** Clean with alcohol pad and let air dry
Optional: You can use an anesthetic solution here if you are sensitive to the next step!
5. *** Use 1.5mm Derma Roller to lightly puncture skin by rolling across the area at different angles, and - yes - it seems barbaric and it might bleed but blood-flow promotes healing of the stretch marks and allows the moisturizing agents to reach cells NOT usually accessible with just lotions or potions.
6. I then use my home-made custom MSM Lotion, and/or Watt's Lotion for healing Beauty Moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid / Vitamin C / L Arginine. I lotion up to 3x per day. Use whatever lotion you feel comfortable with. And use lots of it.
*** - Do this step only 1x per week! Use the rest of the week to continue exfoliating and applying lotion.
Stretch Mark Care - Tools of Prevention & Minimization
Here are the products I use and recommend...
ABSOLUTE must have for pregnancy. Worked to get rid of my pregnancy acne and for my stretch marks. Work into skin for about 3 minutes with warm water for best results, IMHO.
I use these on the skin and Derma roller before applying the Derma roller. Very cheap and effective.
Helps to numb the area before using the Derma roller or waxing. Read directions.
Stretch Mark Care - MORE Tools of Prevention & Minimization
Here are more tools I use and recommend!
Tremendous moisturizer with great quality properties. I love it and it makes my skin feel awesome.
Best fish oil on the market that I do take while pregnant to avoid the price-tag on DHA & EPA for pregnant women. This is a safe product ... and not only is it AMAZING for pregnancy but does WONDERS for my skin and nails. Works better than the capsules which may or may not dissolve in your body!!! A lot of septic pumps will show you that we pass many of our capsulized pills undigested -- SO USE LIQUID fish oil when applicable! Other pricing and sizing are available.
Absolutely great product that can be consumed or added to your favorite lotions. I adore this product because it is versatile and MSM is all around amazing product for skin and joint health.
Don't Judge The Belly!
It must grow...
This is an amazing time when you grow like crazy out the midsection. And it's also a time for panic for some of us. The reason I do not obsess about how much weight I am gaining or losing is because after a big weight loss less than a year ago, to see it creep around on a scale every morning has the potential to be upsetting. Since, I LOVE my growing babies and want to do the best by those little wiggle-bugs stored inside me (yes, that is still creepy at times), I just won't put myself under the constant stress of weighing in.
It is not worth dragging my scale out to upset me every morning, even if my weight gain has been a minor 5-7 pounds. Babies have taken a lot off of me for the most part (I lost upwards of 15lbs in the first trimester!). They have helped me put that back on plus five pounds. I weigh once every other week at my 2 week checkup since twin pregnancies are high risk and i have to go in regularly anyway.
I am not saying don't weigh yourself if your doctor advises it - but if it becomes a mental burden, or an emotional one, let it go for a while. Why stress? It must grow!
If it's not a problem, or if you want to track yourself because you need to gain weight (yes, you itty-bitty ladies are out there definitely do!) or simply feel like it, then the scales below are the ones I used while dieting and I highly recommend their use.
You're pregnant! Get ready to welcome the belly without regrets and learn to cherish this time; it is the one time where the world relishes the rounding out of the belly. And trust me, I know full well how hard it is to accept the fact you might seem like you're attracting your own gravitational force. Even my fiance has to remind me, occasionally, to reel in the negativity over how large I am getting (And I am getting LARGE! but with good enough reason, now that I am sharing this body with two other persons).
You will LOVE Prunes during Pregnancy!
My mother constantly whines she's constipated or bloated. I have never had constipation as a re-occurring problem... But I also like prunes and water. A lot.
It's not that I have never been constipated; it's just that nature gave us the perfect dried fruit answer ages ago to combat it and I use them because I find prunes yummy...
That and laxatives are terrifying. Years ago a less then awesome incident happened to me involving Ex-Lax. At the time I was a 6th grader - about 12 years old - and about half the weight of an adult. My mother decided to give me some of this said laxative because she was concerned my moodiness was due to constipation.
She gave me the pill and I was not any happier after I came home. Instead of hanging out with friends I was stuck sitting and crying on the toilet through an entire extra recess during final class period. Instead I went home and berated my mother for giving me that pill. To this day I am totally against laxatives for this reason. Even if I find the fact my mother's awfulness is truly amazing and hysterical now.
The reality is, laxatives are not things to play with. Change your diet first, add WATER and some natural fiber to your diet.
But best of all, don't let it get bad!
If you feel at all backed up, grab a few prunes - especially during my pregnancy! They are safe and natural. If you are truly backed up, eat 2 servings of prunes - which is about 10-14 of them. They stay good for a LONG time (months-years) so buy some is a good investment. It may take a few hours but things will race out your colon and exit your rear turnpike happily, completely, and will give you relief.
Eat 2-3 prunes every other day to keep yourself regular, give or take a few depending on needs. Prune juice is even quicker. Again, drink two servings for starters.
For those who absolutely cannot stand prunes - ask your doctor about using Colace. It's another safe route even during pregnancy. But use it sparingly.
Enemas are a last resort and it is best to run them by your doctor too before you do them. They DO work if you need them, since I have used them before (just not during this pregnancy). See what your doctor recommends.
And always realize that what you ingest usually baby ingests too and to always check the classification of your drugs before use. The following is a direct copy of the FDA Classification used in drug formulation from here: http://depts.washington.edu/druginfo/Formulary/Pre...
Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk
to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence
of risk in later trimesters).
Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the
fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant
Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus
and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but
potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women
despite potential risks.
There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse
reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies
in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in
pregnant women despite potential risks.
Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities
and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse
reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the
risks involved in use of the drug in pregnant women clearly outweigh
(And, some are Category N for 'not classified'!)
Drug Categories are easily found for your medications via the power of Google. Use it.
And opt for the prunes!
All time favorite container, hands down, with the best price compared to my local grocery. I LOVE these Sunsweet prunes. Yes.
Yes, it might be baby-food, but they contain simply water and organic prunes which you can eat out of these nifty squeeze packages. I do. They have a great shelf-life, resealable top and I LOVE them if I am on the go and need a snack. GREAT price too.
CamelBak makes the best water bottle on the market in my opinion. I love the bite valve and it helps me get all the water I need in a day which is SO important during pregnancy for good intestinal function, to keep away preterm labor (which can start due to contractions caused by dehydration!), and edema (swelling)!
It's simple, it's complete, it is functional and I love it. I own a blue one and a purple one and I will praise them all day long. Buy one or - if you don't like hard plastic - look below!
ALL of CamelBak's positives PLUS this is the GLASS version of the Camelbak for those who prefer it over hard plastic. I love them a lot. They are new and amazing and will not leech bad things into your drinks ever and if you juice the stink won't cling to it like it does plastic. Again, since it's glass... and it's awesome. So get one!
Riding the Emotional Rollarcoaster
And Learning to Let Go!
It’d break my William’s heart to hear that I spend a few hours every week sobbing myself into the darkest regions of my own psychology. However, I’m really not breaking down. In fact, I try not to cry in front of him because I just simply need to cry and feel bad for a while. I need to travel to those dark awful places in order to crawl back out, shake it off, and move on. Hormones are like randomized fireworks during pregnancy; your diet, your comfort, your freshly exfoliated and moisturized body, and all the wonderful things you are doing are never enough it seems. But you have to learn to LET GO of it and sometimes that means getting a good cry gone. If you bottle it up it will turn into a hose-fest when it is least necessary.
Pregnancy is a trying time, really. There is a huge amount of reflection, projection, and uncertainty. You control an extremely minute amount of what goes on and you do have to be part of the rationale movement of this entire thing. Some people revolt, deny, get upset at the drop of a hat, reel at commentaries, and get generally overloaded.
You will have some of that regardless. However, learning to deal with what you can deal with and identify what you cannot deal with is HIGHLY important.
I initially agreed with William to do all the preemptive blood tests for genetic disorders. Then I had the worst visit with the doctors there who wouldn't even let me ask any questions about a twin pregnancy. I was terrified, upset, hurt and losing my mind. The testing was put off.
Flip to the new, private practice I am going to and I told them I opted out of all the genetic tests because, at the time, there was no sense in me doing any of them. I would not allow an amnio test to be done since with twins my risk would double from 1 in 200 to 2 in 200 (double amnio's needed). And I refused because none of the tests would allow us to do anything in utero without grave risk to the other fetus.
Personal choices are important, just as much as factual ideals are. Some people will want all the testing; others will not. Don't judge, don't regret your decision. Know how much you need to feel comfortable and move on. You can control only a slice of what happens.
Do identify the things you can control such as diet, exercise, birth plan creation WITH your doctor, and what your plan is for when baby arrives. You need to be FLEXIBLE in some subcategories therein - just because you want a c-section doesn't mean you'll get one if Little Timmy decides your 40 minute trip to the doctor is enough time for him to jump out of your body. The same goes for the women who idolize the natural birth - you might not get that option if complications arise.
Research what works for you and then take a deep breath and don't let it get the better of you.
The beauty in this entire process is in the fact nature is taking its course. Enjoy the ride - even if it means you need to quietly break down and build yourself up again.
Got a topic you want me to cover? Like what you see? Let me know!