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Advice From Outside the Doctor's Office

Aug 17, 2007
You can find plenty of information about being pregnant and the stages of growth your baby goes through. Websites and books will tell you all about what to expect at the doctor's office or about tests you may receive. No one seems to be able to provide some good advice for handling situations such as when friends, family members and sometimes even complete strangers start telling you what you should and shouldn't do, or the activities you 'have to' avoid.

First of all, be prepared to be told all the things you can't do because of your 'delicate' state and have your witty replies ready. Plenty of people will express shock that you're still working, or that you haven't stopped playing tennis or squash, or that you feel like going for a bicycle ride, and they'll be quick to tell you that you should be taking it easy, resting and avoiding any situation where you could get the tiniest bump or scrape.

There's no need to become a couch potato - exercise and activities are good for you and your baby. Of course, high-risk sports or jobs that have hazardous health risks should be eliminated, but that doesn't mean you can't lift, run, walk or do all the things other people do. You could just as easily trip on your own stairs and fall, or slip in the bathtub, but no one's suggesting that you stop going to your bedroom on the second floor or stay dirty for months!

Once your stomach starts to grow and you can't hide evidence that baby will soon be here, be prepared to be touched. Many people want to feel your baby move or unthinkingly separate you and your belly into two separate identities, as if you don't own your body anymore. Complete strangers may ask to touch your stomach or will even reach out to pat your round belly!

There's never any harm intended with touching and it's much as if everyone is tempted to show baby that he or she will be welcome in the world. There's two ways to handle this situation, depending on your personal comfort level.

You can encourage people to help love your baby and let them touch your stomach to feel the movements, or you can politely say that you find your skin too sensitive to endure the touch (or some other wonderful excuse that will get you plenty of sympathy!).

If friends and family are commenting on your size and have gotten you worried that you're putting on too much weight or not enough, remember that the best person to advise you on pregnancy weight is your doctor, so don't worry and ask him or her the next time you have an appointment.

Some people will happily offer predictions on your baby's gender based on your belly size and shape, but keep in mind that there's no sure-fire way to know your child's sex until he or she arrives into the world. Whether you carry low or high or your stomach is shaped a certain way has no bearing on the sex of your infant, nor does it guarantee a boy or girl.

No one means to scare you or hurt your feelings, but people can sometimes do so unintentionally. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt and inform yourself about old wives' tales so that you can set the record straight when friends and family come up with stories that just aren't true.

It's easy to avoid many conversations by simply changing the subject with a smile if you're not sure about what you're being told, and you can always check with your doctor to get reassurance on matters you worry about. Do remember that everyone means well, and people are sometimes just looking out for you in their own way.
About the Author
Andi Michaels owns and writes regularly for Pregnancy And Family Planning where you can find more information and advice on all aspects of having a baby . Go to How to Stay Healthy for information and advice on staying healthy generally
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