When I was pregnant, the best way to deal with my anxiety was to ignore pregnancy books.
Despite what you might think, that approach worked a treat. In saying that, I did attend a pre-natal course, but only because I felt I had to (and because my partner made me).
But mostly I went through my pregnancy pretty ignorant of what was actually happening in my body, and I somehow managed to block out all the less pleasant details in the process.
Head in the sand approach worked well for me
This attitude is not for everyone. I kid you not, I have met plenty of new mums who read over thirty pregnancy and parenting books easily. Interestingly, they felt more nervous and overwhelmed once they had their baby, whereas I drew on my own resources and relied on my instinct and common sense. Qualities I certainly didn’t even know I possessed.
Super simple pregnancy plan
Indeed if you’re like me and happy to learn only the basics to get you by, use this simple pregnancy to-do list. Read it and store it on your phone, so you have it handy. And if your squeamishness gets the better of you, when thinking about changes happening in your body. Then focus on this. It will tell you what you need to do every month to prepare yourself for your little one’s entry into the world.
As not to overwhelm you, I have divided the pregnancy to-do list into the three trimesters. Only read each trimester when you have gone through the one before.
Your month by month pregnancy to-do list of the first trimester
Month 1 (or from whenever your pregnancy test is positive)
Get your first check-up
- Once you have spotted the double blue lines, make an appointment with your local health provider. She will confirm your condition, estimate your pregnancy due date, and explain all the different options for pre-birth care available to you.
Stay healthy: kick bad habits & start good ones
Disclaimer: I’m no health care professional, and don’t claim to be. So please go to your doctor for health advice. I’m just passing on information that was given to me, and it served me well.
- If you haven’t done so already, ditch the fags and booze. I don’t need to explain this one.
- Go decaf on coffee and tea and check out which herbal teas are safe to drink.
- Step away from the charcuterie and cheese section of your local deli. The list of foods to avoid when pregnant is pretty substantial; no brie, Parma-ham, blue cheese, salami, pâté, do I need to go on? Find out what other foods you cannot eat as there are many more.
- Take folic acid supplements to reduce the risk of some birth defects.
- Check with your local pharmacist if you need to be taking any other pregnancy vitamins.
- If you’re not a healthy eater, now is the time to turn that around. Drink plenty of water and make sure you eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Forego takeaways and unhealthy snacks.
- Take up exercise: light to moderate three times a week is best. If you’re not a gym bunny, head for the swimming pool or go for long walks. Because getting out in the fresh air is a great way to clear your head and feel better about yourself. Try and fit walks in during lunchtime, that way you can come home at night and relax, knowing that you’ve had your daily exercise.
Sleep is essential when you’re pregnant
- Pay attention to your sleeping habits. Tiredness is a key pregnancy symptom. So give in to it and go to bed when you start nodding off in front of the telly. You’ll get a better sleep when you go to bed early instead of fighting to stay awake and only falling asleep after midnight.
- A vital part of pregnancy is prenatal tests. In fact, contact your doctor, find out what schedule she recommends, and book in the first ultrasound and other tests you may need.
Start thinking about the delivery
- Not to freak you out but start to think about the delivery. How and where would you like to give birth? And what about pain relief; have you started to think about this? If you have no idea where to even start, then talk to a trusted friend who has been through it all before. Ask her what she went for and how she felt about that. Would she recommend it?
Maybe it didn’t work out well for her and she might advise you to do the opposite. Or what about your mum? She might be a good person to talk about this; she will be thrilled you asked her. Even though it has been a while, (ok, not that long!) and times have changed, the basics are still the same.
But do your research before you decide. You still have time to work this out.
Combat morning sickness with these remedies
- If you’re experiencing morning sickness, be kind to yourself. Ask your pregnant friends to see how they coped with this. Some women swear by dry crackers, others prefer ginger biscuits, and chamomile tea worked for me.
Give in to sleep
- Again, keep an eye on your sleeping. If you feel tired early in the evenings, go to bed. You’ll find you get a better sleep when you give in to it, rather than fighting to stay awake on the sofa and going to sleep well after midnight.
Make date nights a habit before baby comes along
- While the pregnancy is (mainly) all about you and baby, don’t forget your partner. Make sure you have some alone time. So go to a gig, take a trip to the cinema, or book a weekend/holiday away while you still can.
It’s an exciting time for you both. Going away will give you both a chance to decompress and enjoy great chats about the future of your little family.
Find eco-friendly alternatives and go natural
- Now is an excellent time to go through the ingredients of cleaning products you might be using at home or work. Where possible, opt for eco-friendly alternatives, and if you must do cleaning, make sure you wear rubber gloves and have proper ventilation.
- If you get highlights, check with your hairdresser. You may need to change to a more natural dye.
- Also, screen your beauty products for their use of chemicals. There are plenty of reasonably priced skincare & makeup products out there, which are chemical-free, vegan, and not tested on animals.
Gradually replace your old ones when they’re used up, and you might find you never want to go back to them once you’ve gone all-natural.
Don’t be a stranger to your dentist
- Look after your teeth. Pregnancy takes a toll on them, so make the dentist your friend during the next few months and after the birth. Your teeth will thank you for it.
Check out your maternity leave options
- Find out what the maternity leave policy is at your place of work. If you’re a freelancer, investigate your insurance policies and find out how long you can take off. Also, check to see if you’re entitled to any government benefits. It’s certainly good to be prepared.