Hey mamas! Did you laugh at the title of this post? I thought maybe you would. because obviously the word comfortable should be in big, giant quotation marks. It's wishful thinking to say that you can make your ENTIRE pregnancy comfortable (although mine was pretty awesome), so this is about doing what you can to make it “as comfortable as possible”.
1) Get a pregnancy/body pillow pregnancy
I've written about my snoogle before, but it bears repeating: I don’t care if you think you will be able to sleep the same during pregnancy as before, a pregnancy pillow is worth investing in. Before getting pregnant, I was able to sleep through anything. I was so sure that this would carry over into pregnancy, or at least keep me sleeping better until later in the pregnancy. Then right away in the first trimester, I just found that I wasn’t sleeping as well as I used to. so I went straight to Amazon and bought that snoogle, and haven’t looked back since. It props your back up if you have to sleep on your side, it supports your knees, and it keeps all of you propped up (including belly) when you get further into your third trimester. Sleep is so important when you’re pregnant, so try to find any way you can to get it while you can.
2) Figure out how you’re going to stay active
I can’t tell you how much I hated when people told me how important it was to stay active because of how much faster I would “bounce back” after having the baby. Okay, seriously, shut up. That might be a great motivator for a lot of people, but for me, I don’t care how I look, so the bounce back reason just made me mad because it sounds so selfish.
What I will preach until i’m blue in the face is how important it is to stay active for the purpose of keeping your body strong throughout the whole pregnancy and ready for delivering your baby. Your body works so hard during your whole pregnancy and is shifting around so much, that without some conditioning you’re going to feel it happening more and earlier. I made it to 35 weeks completely ache-free, and I credit that entirely to the fact that I stayed active by doing prenatal workout dvds, walking and stretching. I KNOW that i would have been in more pain sooner had I not been diligent with staying active. It doesn’t matter what you do, but figure out what’s going to work for you!
3) Make a plan for if you get really uncomfortable
As I said above, I made it to 35 weeks ache-free, but when my muscles went, oh boy they went good. Between 35 and 36 weeks, my left hip got some sort of crazy muscle spasm/knot, and walking became a real issue. as in, I was limping everywhere if I had to walk. Not waddling, I was limping because of the physical pain I was in. That was tough for me, because up to that point, I had felt so strong. I decided that I need to try to do something about it. The first step was ordering a backpack to replace my work bag, to even out the weight of carrying everything on one side. the next step was making a visit to the chiropractor to make sure everything was aligning correctly, because early on in the pregnancy I had decided that was going to be my way of treating any discomfort I felt over the next 9 months. For you it might be acupuncture or a chiropractor, prenatal massage or regular pedicures. it doesn’t matter what it is for you, but have a plan in place before you need it.
4) Invest in epsom salts/heating pads/ice packs
Epsom salt baths are the best things in the whole wide world if you’re feeling a little sore or achy. Heating pads and ice packs (especially at night) are a close second and third. Knowing that there are things you can do to make yourself more comfortable is such a comfort in itself. Sometimes it seems silly to be doing all the self-care, especially if you feel like you are in strong warrior mama mode and like you should be invincible, but it is so important. Invest in the things that will bring you physical comfort, and invest in the time it takes to do those things for yourself.
5) Put your feet up – literally
Until my eight month of pregnancy, I had always thought of the phrase, “relax and put your feet up” as more of a metaphor. Then I started to get swollen feet, and started to literally put my feet up. That was a life-changer, let me tell you! It's such a good way to alleviate a sore back, sore hips, sore thighs, and the swollen feet (especially in the summer!). For swollen feet, i also highly recommend drawing the letters of the alphabet with your feet a couple times a day to increase circulation and decrease the swelling a bit.
6) Be okay with slowing down
If you’re anything like me, this will be the hardest thing for you to do. I wanted to be able to keep cooking dinner every night, and doing the dishes, and helping with my share around the house, and I had to listen to my body and my husband and ease up a little bit. Because for the last month of pregnancy I couldn’t keep going at the speed that I had been able to go at the rest of the pregnancy. To wrap my brain around that fact took some doing, but it was such a good decision, and it was okay. Of course it was okay! Because the world will keep on turning even if you can’t do as much.
7) Don't complain
This might make some people annoyed with me, but I believe that if you focus on what’s unpleasant in the process of pregnancy, then you are in for a long nine months my friend. I had a great pregnancy, but there are going to be discomforts along the way for everyone, in some way or another. That’s normal. The fact is, we might as well focus on the good and ignore the bad, because focusing on the bad just brings it right in front of you at all times and that’s not going to help in any way. Focusing on the good, that will help you get your perspective in the right place, and it will make your experience so much more pleasant than the alternative.
8) Have a husband who is amazing in every way
This is the one thing that I can’t give you by recommendation or advice. You have to be lucky enough to have a husband like mine, who will help you and take care of you and tell you it’s okay that you don’t feel great all the time. My husband has continued to amaze me time and again with his ability to take on more than his share, and his willingness to make sure I’m feeling the best i can feel. There is no substitute for the wonderful support of your partner in the journey, there just isn’t. (If you don’t have that in a husband, find it in a partner or a friend or a family member. Find someone to take care of you, because it will change your whole experience.)
I hope this is helpful and gives some good ideas to any mamas out there who might be desperate for ONE new idea on how to take care of themselves when this journey gets tough.
For more tips and advice head to Erin's blog!