Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Birthing Month....Lessons Learned While Pregnant

1. Make compression socks your friend. I taught at a Montessori Preschool until I was 8 months pregnant, so I was on my feet constantly (as in I walked a minimum of 5 miles each during my work-day). At 5 months, I started wearing compression socks (the kind that nurses and Elderly people often wear). They were amazing. I had no swelling in my feet until I was 39 weeks pregnant. I have the same shoe size as I did before I was pregnant. Definitely wear a pair.

2. Start getting addicted to Greek yogurt. I followed the Brewer's Diet and consumed at least 80 grams of protein a day (often it would total 100 grams). I ate at least 3 Greek yogurts (they have twice the amount of protein ass regular yogurt), 1-2 eggs, 2-3 glasses of milk and lots of cheese each day (as well as tons of veggies and fruit).

I admit it, I was very serious about my diet while pregnant - I think that had something to do with my daughter being so strong when she was born. (After she was 3 weeks old, we didn't have to worry about supporting her head. She could sit up on her own at 4 months, crawled at 5 1/2 months and walked at 7 1/2 months. Who knows how much my high protein diet had to do with her development...at least a tiny bit...I think).

3. A doula is worth her weight in gold. We paid $350 for  my doula/birth assistant services and I don't know what I would have done without her. Even if you aren't planning on going the natural childbirth route, a doula can be a huge help.

4. If you're interested in a natural childbirth take a Bradley class. You take classes for 12 weeks, so begin a class when you are 5 months or so. A terrific investment ($350) and a great bonding experience. Our midwives required us to take the class and my husband initially kicked his feet at having to attend. But, we learned so much and gained a tremendous amount of confidence that helped BOTH of us during labor.

5. Educate yourself, if you want to breastfeed. I took a class here, read books, attended a La Leche League meeting and watched several videos and it was still hard.

If you live in the MD/NOVA/DC area, it's definitely worth a trip to check out the Breastfeeding Center. At 33 weeks, I went to the Center and had a FREE hour-long bra fitting. I tried on at least 20 different bras and found out the brand that really works for me. The woman who helped really knew her stuff  and it was so wonderful to have bras that I loved BEFORE the baby was born.

6. Find a Lactation Consultant that does home visits before you are Due. Sure you can go to a free classes at a local hospital and drag your newborn. But it's worth the $100-150 to have them visit you at your own house.

7. Walk, walk, and walk. I walked 5 miles daily until I was 8 months and then 2 miles 5 times a week afterwards. I stopped at 41 1/2 weeks but that was because I was busy trying other things to help convince her that it was time to make her Grand Entrance.

I felt really strong during my pregnancy and I'm sure it was because I refused to sit on the couch and eat sweets (not that I didn't occasionally devour some chocolate cake...but I was constantly being offered super-sugary sweets by my Indian relatives which meant I had to have a lot of self-restraint). Yoga and swimming also helped.

8. Do a belly cast. Yes, plaster does make a mess in your bathroom. And, yes, your partner may complain about doing the cast. But, it is so worth it in the end. Priceless (just like the commerical says).

9. Hire a post-partum doula for a massage afterwards. Your body has just been through the ringer - a massage feels heavenly (my mother was very sweet and treated me to one).

There are my 2 cents (and more)....Hope you can glean something from my experiences. Good-luck and take care of yourself!

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