Today’s article is written by one of the best people I know, my younger sister, Michaela Turk.
She recently had her first baby, and shared with myself and out other sisters that she had put together a little list of things to know about pregnancy–since she’s the first out of the 4 of us to embark on the kids/pregnancy journey.
Pregnancy Tips + Tricks
So, without further ado, here are some of Michaela’s pregnancy tips and tricks…
Upsize your wedding ring ½ size.
The engagement ring will keep it in place, but you can comfortably wear it once you’re a little swollen (and may have to take the engagement ring off).
Pick a good prenatal multivitamin and stick with it.
I found it much easier to have it delivered every month. That way you won’t have to worry about researching and finding the best one each time you run out (which, yes, I did for too many months). I focused on ones with DHA (important for brain development, especially in the 1st and 3rd trimesters), folate (which is supposed to be better absorbed by your body than folic acid), and choline (which you can easily add into your diet by a ton of different foods including eggs, dairy, peanut butter, meat, fish, and some veggies) so this one was less crucial for me.
Bonus points for taking a prenatal multi as soon as there’s a possibility of getting pregnant. The first few months of baby’s development are crucial, and most women don’t know they’re even pregnant until they’re 4-6 weeks along. Make sure that baby has the nutrients they need to start their development from the beginning, especially since it’s hard to get proper nutrition when you’re nauseated/ sick.
Speaking of: don’t try to completely overhaul your diet immediately.
Especially in the first trimester when you may be battling morning sickness, you can make it much harder on yourself trying to choke down foods you wouldn’t normally even eat. I sat at our kitchen table many mornings trying to force-feed myself avocado toast with eggs because I knew it was nutritious. While I love it now, that’s a STRONG taste for 5:00 in the morning. Stick with simple foods that you can tolerate, and build in the nutrients as you’re able. This is also why reserves of nutrients from months of taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy is important.
Your body will do some crazy things, and that’s okay. Remember: it’s not your body for these next months. You’ve heard the common ones: morning sickness, shortness of breath, swelling. But I was shocked at the strange conditions that developed that nobody ever talks about. Side note: I didn’t look at the scale at the doctor’s office or weigh myself at home. If there’s a weight gain concern (too much or too little), your provider is most likely aware of it and should discuss it with you.
Beware of the Google Trap.
With your body changing in so many ways, it’s normal to get curious–especially when you “just want to make sure it’s nothing to worry about” (I’ll admit it, I’m guilty!).
I noticed that for everything I looked up, there was someone with a blog who experienced the worst case scenario, which does nothing but cause unnecessary worry. Try to stick to reputable sources, and before going down a dark hole, call your provider. That’s what they’re for.
Make lists. Pregnancy brain hit me pretty hard. I started writing everything down, making lists in my phone so I would always have them with me. In the early months of pregnancy, you likely won’t be seeing your provider more than once a month, so I started a list of non-urgent things to discuss, as they came up during the month.
Start moisturizing IMMEDIATELY.
Hydrated skin stretches better, itches less, and is less likely to develop stretch marks. Once a day is fine, but once you start growing, twice daily is better. Stretch marks are heavily genetic, so there’s only so much you can do to prevent them.
If it makes you feel like a *queen* to use the $40 belly oil in a nice bottle- go for it! Otherwise, Organic Argan oil is naturally high in Vitamin E (which helps give skin its elasticity) and lots of other moisturizers out there will provide increased elasticity without breaking the bank.
Wear compression socks.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Try to stop varicose veins before they happen. While not specifically dangerous, they can be painful, unsightly, and in rare cases can form blood clots (always check with your provider if you have concerns). This will also help prevent distal swelling, which can be another common issue in pregnancy, especially towards the end.
Think *easy to get on.* Those compression leggings and skinny jeans (hey millennials 👋🏼) are cute in the second trimester when you may not be used to your growing and changing body and want to feel *tucked in,* but later on, the less time you spend bent over your ever-growing bump trying to get something tight over your foot/lower leg the better. In my experience, come 35 weeks, I didn’t care what I was wearing as long as all the important parts were covered!
The swelling was something I didn’t see coming. Besides taking off my engagement ring, I felt pretty normal until about week 39. A slight increase in fluid is to be expected, but a sudden, dramatic increase (specifically in your hands, feet, or face) could be cause for concern, so always talk to your provider about any new swelling. Things that worked for me: drinking tons of water with lemon (as recommended by my Midwife), obviously wearing compression socks, and STAYING ACTIVE. Even just moving around to fold laundry or walking to get the mail helps keep your circulation up and prevents fluid from pooling.
When sitting, elevate those feet, and bonus points if your partner wants to massage them (there are tons of videos online about prenatal foot massage at home). When the time comes (usually around 39 weeks) there are also pressure points that can be utilized during the massage that are said to induce labor, but again— talk to your provider before attempting to induce.
Registered Nurse turned mama, in May. In the words of my coworker, “I know just enough to be dangerous.” I live in Cleveland with my husband, my four-legged child, and my human child. Lately, my days look a little bit different than before. I enjoy telling my baby how much I’m obsessed with her, drinking iced coffee, looking up new recipes (which now need to be dairy and soy free–shoutout to my baby, Avery) and taking walks when the Northern Ohio weather cooperates. Cincinnati>Nashville>Cleveland… but Cincy has my 💖.