Finding out you are pregnant — whether it’s with your first or fourth baby — is an exciting, life-changing moment. After that initial rush of feelings comes a long, tiring nine months of pregnancy. The buildup to the arrival of your baby is without a doubt a time of learning — about your body, about being the best parent you can be and about accepting things that are out of your control. There were endless things that occurred during my pregnancies that were out of my hands and numerous tips, tricks and hacks I wish I had known pre-pregnancy, that’s why I’m sharing with you ten need-to-know secrets about being pregnant that I hope will help make your nine months somewhat smoother than mine.
- Yes, Heartburn Is a Major Symptom: No matter how hard you try to avoid it, heartburn will occur — and it will be a beast. Pro tip: If it doesn’t stop after a couple of weeks, go straight for real-deal antacids to ease your pain.
- Say Hello to Stretch Marks: After two pregnancies, I’ve learned there is actually no way to prevent stretch marks from happening — no matter how much you exercise or how much lotion you apply. So, don’t waste your time or burn a hole in your wallet buying various lotions, just embrace it and deal with getting rid of those “beauty” marks postpartum.
- Resist the Urge to Scratch the Web Search Itch: You'll have to fight the urge to Google basically every single thing during your pregnancy. With every crazy symptom, you’ll want to go down the internet search rabbit hole. Whatever you do, fight the urge and wait until you see your doctor — the results of your web searches aren’t pretty and they will terrify you.
- Embrace the Touching, Feeling AND Interrogating: All of it. Everyone and their mother (seriously) will be giving advice on motherhood during those nine months upon seeing you and that belly. They’ll also constantly ask you if you're having a boy or girl, and will likely comment on your body size and shape while pregnant. The attention is crazy and oftentimes uncomfortable. My advice is to just indulge, accept all the love and deal with it with a smile because it’s not going to go away.
- Enjoy the Nesting Period: One of the more exciting parts of pregnancy is getting the nursery ready for your baby’s arrival. I especially love planning out a color scheme, choosing must-have furniture and making sure I have all the changing table essentials ready to go — like JOHNSON’S® baby wash, bath and lotion products. Make a list, check it twice and over prepare for the day you come home with your newborn, because once that happens, it’s full speed ahead with little rest and relaxation.
- Document the Process: You must keep a diary throughout your maternity process — digital or physical (for me, I had a private Twitter account that only my husband could follow). Highlighting the highs and lows of all stages of pregnancy — including all the emotions, illnesses, crazy thoughts, and symptoms — will be so fascinating to look back on when you’re pregnant with another baby for comparison. And it will, without a doubt, be hilarious to re-read to your own kid once they grow up.
- Photograph the Pregnancy Progress: This goes hand in hand with documenting everything. I’m a big fan of weekly belly photos! Every mother knows what a marvel it is to see what the body can do over the course of nine months. Pro-tip: Turn all those photos into a Flipagram after your baby is born for a quick slideshow!
- Turn to New Moms for Recommendations: Yeah, online reviews are thorough and great, but the best advice I’ve received on what vital nursery products and baby gear to buy have come from my new mom friends who have had a baby within the past year. New baby essentials are always coming onto the market, and who better to poll for what actually works than mothers of newborns IRL? No one, that’s who!
- Foot Massages: Major key alert — don’t be afraid to spoil yourself with foot massages frequently, especially during the last month. Your partner owes it to you and they know it. You’ll thank me later.
- Become a Boho Maternity Mama: Skip unfashionable and unflattering maternity clothing and go straight to cute, loose, boho-inspired items. It’s so liberating to know you don’t have to wear traditional “maternity” clothes every single day and can look like a real human even when you’ve got a growing belly.
What did you discover while pregnant that you wish you had known beforehand? Let me know on Twitter, @brit!