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Tips for a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy

Mar 27, 2008
Many of my dear friends are pregnant right now and I often find myself answering questions for them, so I thought I'd share my own experiences and knowledge with you. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, this is your lucky day!

First of all, many of us spend years trying NOT to get pregnant, so when we are finally ready to go for it our bodies aren't always up for the challenge. Don't expect to get pregnant the first time you try (although many people do). The statistic that I often hear quoted from fertility specialists is that 80% of couples will conceive within the first year of trying. Those are pretty good odds!

While a couple is trying to conceive, it is important for both partners to take an active role in the process. Talk to your gynecologist and tell him or her that you are trying to get pregnant. Start taking a prenatal vitamin and take care of yourself (eat healthy foods, regular exercise, no drugs, moderate if any alcohol etc). If after one year of trying to get pregnant you find yourself in the 20% of couples who don't, get a referral to a fertility specialist. Both partners should be tested to check fertility and go from there.

If you do find yourself with two lines on the pregnancy stick (or a plus sign, as some indicate), count your blessings! Now, it is time for a reality check. Pregnancy is not always as glorious as we hope it will be. From the get go your breasts are sore, you are in the bathroom constantly, insomnia can be a problem, you want to crawl in bed at every moment during the day and your skin tends to break out due to hormones. On top of all of these lovely symptoms, you might have rapid mood swings and hate your husband. Sound fun? Just wait until the hemorrhoids set in Laughing On the plus side, your hair and nails will grow like never before and gaining a little weight is a good thing!

All kidding aside, some women have wonderful pregnancies and don't experience any uncomfortable side affects while others are plagued with morning sickness and insomnia throughout. It is hard to know how your body will react, but if you are one of the lucky ones, who feel better than ever during pregnancy, enjoy it!

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

* Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you find out you are pregnant and then schedule and keep regular appointments throughout your pregnancy.
* Take your prenatal vitamins daily and if they do not have Omegas in them, take an Omega supplement as well (I prefer Nordic Naturals as they are tested for metals like mercury).
* If you feel the symptoms of morning sickness (which by the way happens any time during the day, but mostly in the morning) make sure you have crackers near you at all times. Grab a cracker (or four) before you set your feet on the ground in the morning and usually this helps to ward off the queezies. Ginger helps too.
* If your face is breaking out from the increase in hormones, schedule monthly facials and wash your face both in the morning and evening with a gentle cleanser (organic is always best). If you can't wash your face, grab some of those handy face towelettes (Oil of Olay makes great ones!) for a quick wipe down anytime.
* Cramping and some spotting are NORMAL during all stages of pregnancy. However, if you are doubled over in pain from cramping or if bleeding is bright red or more than a pad an hour, call the doctor or go to the ER.
* You will take MANY blood tests and possibly have other more invasive tests such as amnio or CVS tests. Listen carefully to instructions and adhere to them. If the doctor tells you to take it easy, follow their orders (unless you don't care about complications).
* Listen to and trust your instincts with regard to tests, doctors, symptoms, techniques and problems. This will make sense to anyone who has had a baby and probably sound like a foreign language to anyone who hasn't, but just trust your gut when it comes to your pregnancy!
* Take care of yourself, have a pregnancy massage once a month if possible. Allow yourself to take naps and eat a piece of chocolate cake if you want to (every once in a while, not all day). Relax and try to enjoy the miracle of life happening inside of your body. **Many women experience depression during and after pregnancy. If you feel sad, confused, angry or otherwise depressed, you are not alone. Seek the care of a good therapist or support group and get help. Partners need to look out for symptoms in pregnant women as well.**
* If you and your partner are having issues (and many times pregnancy will bring them up) find a therapist that both of you feel comfortable with and make a commitment to strengthening your relationship BEFORE baby arrives. You have to be on the same team when you have a baby and the sooner you commit to this, the easier and more enjoyable your experience will be.

For all of you lovely people who are about to become parents or who would like to be parents someday soon, I congratulate you and wish you the best! Read lots of baby books, take baby classes and have fun with the ride. Remember to take good care of yourself and each other along this journey. Being a unified team provides a healthier and happier environment for you and for your family. Just as a map can help you find your way when you are lost, a good therapist can do the same when you hit the rough patches.

Life is worth living and happiness is worth seeking. Building your family on a solid foundation of happiness starts with you and the choices you make now. Acknowledge this responsibility and embrace it. It is a gift that only you can give to yourself and your family. I wish you much patience and humor in this process, as you will need it!
About the Author
Britt Michaelian, MA is the founder and CEO of Responsible Family Company. Her DVD, Care for Kids: The Essential Guide to Preparing Caregivers educates caregivers about common medical emergencies. Join her newsletter for a free Child Safety Report at http://www.ResponsibleFamily.com
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