By Mimi Greenwood Knight
It isn’t the same for every woman, but I absolutely adored being pregnant. I loved the special attention from family, friends, and strangers and the instant feeling connected with other pregnant women I encountered. I loved dreaming and planning about a future with my daughter and the sense of unity with women who’d been living this miracle for millennia. I loved feeling my baby move inside me, and as my belly grew, I never felt more attractive.
Research by the National Institutes of Health shows that eating a healthy diet during pregnancy can reduce the risk of several common complications and make the next nine months more enjoyable. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to develop healthy eating habits, start a moderate exercise program, take up meditation, and look for a pregnancy-modified yoga class. Avoid alcohol and (even secondhand) smoke, limit caffeine, and be diligent about dental check-ups.
Your mental health is essential to you and your baby. Give yourself permission to take it easy during your pregnancy. Nap during the day. Visit a day spa. Sleep late. Put your feet up. Linger in the shower. Invest in a body pillow for your last trimester. Don’t neglect social time with friends and consider hiring help for meals and housework if you need it.
Give prenatal massage a try. Research shows that, when performed correctly, prenatal massage can ease muscle stress, swelling, and back pain, improve circulation, and foster relaxation and peace of mind.
Pregnancy can also be an exciting time for your sex life as hormones are altered, senses heightened, and there’s no concern about getting pregnant. If conventional sex becomes difficult or uncomfortable, get creative. Many women find the nine months of pregnancy to be some of the sexiest of their lives.
Staying active during pregnancy can reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling, boost your mood and energy levels, help you sleep better, prevent excess weight gain, and promote muscle tone, strength, and endurance. Look for a gentle swim workout or prenatal aerobics, or yoga class, many of which will include exercises to assist you in labor later.
Most women gain between 25 and 35 pounds throughout pregnancy. If you’re eating a sensible diet and getting adequate exercise, you should gain the weight your baby needs and lose it when they no longer need it. So, don’t fixate on weight gain. Worrying about it isn’t good for you or your little one.
Your baby will be here before you know it, and your life will never be the same — in all the best ways imaginable.
DID YOU KNOW?
During the first month, your baby grows from the size of a poppy seed to the size of an apple seed. In subsequent months they’ll be approximately the size of:
- Month two, a kidney bean
- Month three, a baseball
- Four, an avocado
- Five, a banana
- Six, a mango
- Seven, an eggplant
- Eight, a pineapple
- Nine, a smallish watermelon