I was fortunate to have very healthy pregnancies. My first pregnancy was such a breeze. I felt like I could be pregnant forever and I was overdue! Even the morning I started to feel contractions seemed surreal. I was prepared to keep going for another few weeks; baby girl arrived later in the day.
My twin pregnancy was HELL, BUT it was incredibly healthy. I did not have any issues with sugar levels, blood pressure, aches/pains, or sleep. I was in it for the looooong haul because I wanted to carry the babies to full term to ensure their healthiest start at life (37 weeks for twins and 39 weeks for singletons). Go the full 40 weeks if you can mamas! It’s worth it in health benefits for you and baby.
I was the super annoying pregnant lady because it looked like having babies was easy for me. Believe me, carrying twins was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I here are my pregnancy survival tips to make your pregnancy look and feel a bit easier too!
5 Tips to Survive and Thrive in Pregnancy
Prenatal yoga and water aerobics
I enjoy movement in general. I am always up for a hike or bike ride and I can walk literally all day long. But, my usual activities were not cutting it during my pregnancy because I felt strange aches and pains from time to time.
When I felt a tight muscle or pinched nerve, I would rely on prenatal yoga and water aerobics for physical relief (better than a prenatal massage).
Moreover, prenatal yoga prepared my body in the most gentle way to do the thing it was physically built to do (birth children). Prenatal yoga also helped me get restful sleep. My sciatic nerve likes to act up and doing half-pigeon pose with a giant pregnant belly was life-saving.
If you cannot find a prenatal class, there are many options on YouTube. Prenatal Yoga with Adriene is one I highly recommend. The only thing you need is some floor space. Give it a try!
In addition, I really enjoyed pool time and feeling weightless (a rarity when you feel like a beached whale on land). I could get better mobility in the water, stretch my legs, and the workout definitely helped me stay and feel fit.
Eat well because the pounds do not fall off of me after pregnancy
I get the sense some life-long dieters (that’s another issue) view pregnancy as their all-access pass to the buffet for 40 weeks. I’m eating for the baby! Ehhh, not in the way you think. The extra calories you really need for a growing fetus is equivalent to eating an extra healthy snack like a cheese stick and apple.
My twin pregnancy was not a chance to eat a second lunch and second dinner because hello there are two babies to feed! There was an extra cheese stick, yippy. Indulging in brownies and treats was more frequent, but I remembered how life was after my first pregnancy. I was not the magical postnatal mom who fit into her pre-pregnancy clothes immediately after leaving the hospital.
During pregnancy, I ate more or less like I did pre-pregnancy with the added fun of feeling nauseous and having nothing really appeal to me (even chocolate)! I craved citrus all the time, so there was a lot of lemon water. Other than this, I was not overindulging. This way I did not go off the rails to then really struggle to get back to my healthy habits post-delivery with the added stress of having a newborn. Keep your healthy habits throughout and you will feel better during and after pregnancy.
The weight will come off when it will come off, focus on your baby.
I am personally guilty of not following this advice. With my first pregnancy, my doctor told me I should plan to get the baby weight off within the first 6 months or it will most likely never come off. Wow, thanks for the pressure Doc! Now I tell new moms it’s important to be healthy and I totally understand the desire to “get your body back,” but don’t let this be the focus of your time with baby. Focus on your baby, they are growing and changing daily. This is where your attention should be.
Be selfish for the sake of the baby
Pregnancy is the perfect reason to really pamper and baby yourself before your baby bundle arrives. I became very good at saying no to things I really didn’t want to do and just kept this trend going after delivery. Take care of yourself, rest when you need to and don’t add unnecessary stress to your life. Get comfortable saying no and doing things for you, because you are really doing it for you and baby. Putting yourself first will make for a better pregnancy experience and smoother transition into new motherhood. Practice saying “No, I’m sorry I cannot do [X]. I have a conflict.” The conflict could be you need to lay on the couch or snuggle your baby.
Mind over matter – positive thinking goes a long way
When you’ve had a really horrible day, remember this is only for a short period of time. Pregnancy and infancy is such a small blip on the timeline of your life.
When you are in the moment it may feel like an eternity before things will get better. I remember how each night stretched on for millennia. We all struggle with physical ailments, mental and emotional anguish as new parents, but this too shall pass. When you’re in the thick of it you don’t see an end in sight. There is an end and you’ll think back to these moments and wish you enjoyed them more.
There will be a day you will sleep well again. The day will come when you will not have to wipe spit up off your clothes. One day your kid will not need you to do everything for them (like wipe their butts) and you’ll be wistful. Enjoy these moments as best you can.