April 04, 2010

Essentials for a Happy Pregnancy

I wrote this August 2009, before I gave birth.

Now that this crazy ride is nearly over, I've compiled a list of things that helped me get through it. Feel free to add more if you think there's something missing.

-There is actually something to be said for setting up the nursery *before* even getting pregnant. I always found this odd, but I do see some logic in it. This way, the pregnant-to-be person can actually help with painting, lifting heavy nursery furniture and putting it all together. I've also always found it easier to accumulate things over time (and find good deals) than to go on a giant baby shopping spree. But YMMV.
I was not able to help at all with putting together the change table, and that bothered me as I'm actually more handy than my husband is, but well, in the end we have the same result.

Non-herbal remedies:
-Tums (for heartburn and indigestion. Rolaids are verboten. You can only take Tums and hey, they have calcium!)
-Gas-X (I've never had such bad gas pain as my first trimester. I seriously would have exploded without it.)
-Dicletin (by prescription only) For me, it was a godsend to keep the nausea away and function without suddenly hurling on people.
-Tylenol if you get a fever or have pain. There are literally no other options.
-Anusol suppositories or cream for hemorrhoids. Store brands are just as effective, but the cream smells like crap. Though considering where it's going, I guess it doesn't matter.

Herbal or vitamin remedies:
-Ginger! Ginger in all it's forms, roots, tea, candies, whatever. Just eat/drink it. Effective for keeping away the indigestion and nausea of the first trimester; I ate so much ginger, I should have bought stock in it.
-Raspberry leaf tea. Also helps with nausea, but try not to drink too much in the first trimester (some say it causes miscarriage. I have no clue). I say err on the side of caution and drink it during the second and third.
-Vitamin B6 - Dicletin is just B6 with an antihistamine added. If you can get away with just extra B6 (in addition to your pre-natal vitamin) go right ahead. If I knew I was going somewhere important in the day, I took Dicletin. If I just stayed home, I just took the B6. So it gives you options.
-A handful of almonds before bed is supposed to help stop acid reflux. No clue since I haven't had that problem. You can also try milk, crackers, or in my friend's case, Seven 11 Slushies were the only thing that worked for her. Find your remedy and stick to it!
-Witch hazel to soothe hemorrhoids.
-Almond oil to prevent stretch marks (or Bio-Oil if you don't like greasy). Almond oil is also good for perineal massage.

-I would not have survived without my Snoogle. It's the best invention in the world!
-Belly wedges. I have four different ones, but stick mostly to the softest one. Depends on your belly. Great for preventing round ligament pain.
-If you need a sleeping pill, Unisom is the only safe one to take. You cannot take melatonin. If you're like me though, you'll be so exhausted you won't need any help. I did have some sleepless nights, but not enough to make me want to drug myself.
-One of those bedside rails for elderly people. I took my dad's. It rocks! Not sure how I'd get out of bed without it.

-A person to help lift, carry and reach things you are unable to. (You're not supposed to carry more than 25lbs in each arm.) Work within your limits, you don't want to contract the uterus, so no sit-ups either.
-Something to put your feet up on to prevent swelling.
-Panty liners to catch the constant flow of cleaning goop coming out of your vagina. Could be TMI, but trust me, you will soak through your undies and pants without one. Seriously. You cannot use tampons/cups while pregnant.
-A patient person to run errands for you (like get you food) when you are unable to.
-Your fave take-out places on speed dial because cooking becomes a horrible chore some days.
-Have some washable nursing pads available early. If you're like me and start leaking at 20 weeks, they're nice to have.
-Rubber bands - attach them through the loop and hook of your pre-pregnancy pants and keep wearing them!
-Blinders and earplugs for when you go out and get stopped by strangers in the street who insist on telling you completely ridiculous things. Most notably, those who think it's their duty to quickly tell you how painful and horrible labour is.
-Get used to people staring at you constantly, no matter what you're doing.
-If your bathtub/shower does not have a handle/grip inside, consider getting one of those suction cup ones, along with a non-slip mat. If my bath could fit it, I'd be using my dad's old shower chair, too.
-A handheld mirror to see your vulva, if you're so inclined. I haven't seen mine in months and I miss it.
-If you like to shave, towards the end you'll need someone else to trim and shave your pubic region or legs. On the other hand, you may also find you simply don't care anymore.
-Condoms for sex if you find the prostaglandins in sperm are causing too many contractions.
-Find a good deodorant because not only does your odor change, but you sweat more.

And lots of patience because you'll need it!

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