Prenatal Advice: Part I

I’m a new mom to a 6 month old baby girl and I’m also 8 weeks pregnant. Over the past year, I’ve researched and read everything under the sun about Motherhood. Now that I’ve got a new baby on the brain, too I’m starting this blog series to share my best advice for prenatal care and preparation.

A successful pregnancy has three main components: Diet, Exercise and Education. You’ll want to use this time wisely to prepare for the most important job of your life. Being a Mother is no easy challenge, but we are lucky to live in the digital age, when advice is always at your fingertips. It can be overwhelming at first, so here are my tips for navigating the web of Motherhood and sorting through the details to get the information you need.

You’ve probably already registered for The Bump, purchased a copy of What to Expect when You’re Expecting, and possibly even downloaded the baby bump App. The “bumps” are wonderful for teaching you about how your baby grows and develops throughout pregnancy. What to Expect has some of those details, but mostly covers symptoms you will experience during each month and how to manage them. It also overviews your many different options for your birth plan.

You’ll need lots of rest during your pregnancy, and I recommend filling some of that time by reading. Not only will you feel more prepared for Motherhood, but reading is also a great way to wind down and relax. Since sleep becomes more and more difficult throughout the pregnancy (and non-existent after it), it’s helpful to have a nightly ritual to help ease you to bed.

One of my favorite books was The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. I can tell you for a fact that his Cuddle Cure works! It is a miracle for new babies. This book is wonderful because it helps you understand how to care for a newborn and offers encouragement that you will do a terrific job. His method is especially useful for babies that are born early because they need the “womb-like” environment even more than full term babies. This book says it works for babies up through one year, but it’s really the most effective during the first three months.

Another great series about raising your baby are the two Baby Whisperer books by Tracy Hogg. She details a wonderful plan for child rearing that includes all the developmental necessities for baby while encouraging you to manage your time and live your life! Her method of Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your Time builds a routine for you and baby that will help your baby blossom into a sweet and engaging infant.

Around the second trimester, you’ll want to look into birth classes and select your hospital. We opted to watch Laugh and Learn about Childbirth at home instead of taking the course at the hospital. I borrowed the DVD from the library and we watched it over a few nights on our comfortable couch.
In addition to your childbirth class, I would encourage you to read a book that supplements the method you choose for your birth plan. I’ll share in more detail about my choice to have an unmedicated birth in a future post. For now, I’ll just let you know that I read “Husband Coached Childbirth” by Dr. Bradley and it offered fantastic prenatal advice, an understanding of the Bradley method, and details about every step of labor. Even if you are positive you will want an epidural, the prenatal exercises are beneficial to all Moms and babies.

Of course, you’ll also want to enjoy a humorous account of pregnancy while you’re going through the ups and downs, so pick up a copy of Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs. This book is such a quick, great read that you’ll only be sorry it’s not longer.

I’m a huge fan of the library, and I borrowed nearly all of these books during my pregnancy. I used the online reservation service to save time and pick up the books at my local library. Some books are also available on e-readers so get out that library card and save your money for the baby! That being said, there are two books that you will want to own on your shelf for reference. A pediatric reference and a breastfeeding guide will need to be at your fingertips. I have the American Academy of Pediatrics guide and Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding on my shelf and frequently leaf through them as a first resource for questions.

I hope that you will enjoy reading these books as much as I did, or you will be inspired to find other great books about Motherhood and Childbirth. It truly is a miracle, and being informed in advance is the first way to relax and enjoy every step.


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