Updated weekly. Usually on Tuesdays. Unless some small person eats my blog post.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Making Babies: Part One

Recently, I learned that a dear friend of mine is expecting her first. Like most first-time mothers, she's about as calm as a cornered rabbit. Unfortunately, it's compounded by the fact that she's known me through my four pregnancies (two miscarriages, one at 16 weeks; one normal pregnancy; one pregnancy with complications of preterm labor, IUGR, and ogliohydraminos). I imagine that fact alone about doubles her maternal twitchiness. After spending three straight days of answering her every little question (thank goodness for unlimited texting), I though I'd post what little wisdoms I've collected that would've been handy the first time around. Just to make myself sound that much smarter, I'll be breaking this up into handy-dandy sections. Today's section shall be:


1. First things first. Please be in a stable relationship before you decide to have a baby. Those midnight feedings are lonely enough without knowing you're going to have to get up for every other feeding, too.

2. If you don't already have healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine, get into a habit now! I had the best of intentions the first time around to eat well "when I was pregnant," but had no habits to build on. Instead, I craved a lot of soft serve ice cream. The second time, when I was eating healthier overall already, I found my sweets cravings much more controllable and my weight gain was better.

3. Get to know the rhythms of your body! Make sure you chart the beginning of each of your periods so you know how long your cycle normally is. It can also be helpful to learn how to track your basal body temperature, check and track your cervical mucus (read more about that here), and/or check your actual cervix (read more about that here). These are not things I did before my first pregnancy, but if I could contact past-me I would certainly tell her to learn them!

Learning these things can also come in handy later in pregnancy, too, when you're trying to decide if you're really in labor or not. Remember, your body belongs to YOU, and while doctors know plenty about bodies in general, only you live in your body. Doctors are wonderful, helpful, knowledgeble people, but they work on generalities. The more you know of how your own body works the better off you'll be.

4. Start taking a prenatal vitamin.

5. Do your best not to obsess. If you find yourself thinking about having a baby too often, find a new hobby and develop yourself as an individual. It probably won't distract you, but it'll be good for you anyway. ^_-

6. Be aware that once you start trying you're very likely to think you're pregnant every month. Remember how you've been charting your cycles? This is where it becomes important: Do not test until 3 days after your expected period start date. If you can, wait until 5 days after. I know this is hard. I know a lot of tests say they can tell you "Up to 5 days before your period!" Don't do it, for 2 reasons.
A. If you aren't one of the 60% of women who can actually get a positive 5 days before your period, you'll depress yourself unnecessarily as well as waste tests. You'll find yourself using 2 or 3 tests per cycle, and that can add up both emotionally and monetarily.
B. If you are going to experience what is called a "chemical pregnancy" (meaning the egg or the sperm was faulty), you'll often miscarry within a week of your normal period (please note that I only said usually. Making it that far is no guarantee, I'm afraid). Before early pregnancy tests, women just thought they were experiencing late periods. Now, with early tests, a lot of women get that faint positive and then have to deal with the emotional repercussions of knowing you had a miscarriage. Please don't do that to yourself.

7. Buy paper cups. Using those is a heck of a lot easier than trying to pee on that dumb stick!

8. Keep your sense of humor. Babies are supposed to be fun!

Okay, most of that was a rehash of everything you've heard before. However, I promise it'll get more original as we go along. Stay tuned!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.Creative Commons License
This work by Carolynn Dyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.