Little man and I recently celebrated our “9 months in, 9 months out!” milestone, so I thought it was an appropriate time to share the key things that were instrumental in making my NYC pregnancy as successful as possible. I’ll caveat this article by saying that every person is wildly different, and what worked for me may be the exact opposite of what your body + emotional needs may be! This is simply what I found to be best for me, and I encourage other expecting NYC mammas-to-be to pick and choose what works best for them, too.
1. Get A Doula
The Doula Concierge: So the thing about NYC is…a lot of us are transplants, read: don’t have family anywhere in the vicinity. While I’m certainly not one of those women who rave about the benefits of a natural birth (epidural, right here!), I knew I wanted a female presence I felt comfortable talking to both during the pregnancy and that would cheerlead/advocate for me while in the delivery room. Searching for a doula online was a pretty overwhelming process…until I thankfully stumbled across The Doula Concierge. The website has you fill out a preference form about the kind of birth you hope to have as well as the kind of support you’d like by your side. After doing this (plus a phone conversation with the owner, Stephanie Heintzeler), you are matched with potential doulas who fit what you’re looking for, price point and all. When I met Erin from Doulight NYC, I knew it was a match made in heaven. She’s kind, knowledgable, energetic…just the kind of support my husband and I wanted by our side in the hospital.
2. Say NO To Morning Sickness
Diclegis: On 6 weeks of being preggos (to the day!) I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck…and that feeling certainly didn’t go away after the morning! (Who made up the term “morning sickness”, anyways?! ALL DAY sickness is more like it!) I suffered a few days basically not being able to leave the bathroom, and then thought, “enough of this! It’s 2015, there has to be something my doctor can recommend!” And thankfully, there was. A medication called Diclegis basically saved my life from feeling like I had a non-stop hangover from hell, and got me back on my feet again.
Hopefully, this isn’t something you’ll have to suffer from (a lot of women never have a day of nausea!), but if it is, I couldn’t recommend the medication enough!
3. Test For Peace Of Mind
MaterniT21: I’ll preface this by saying that my career (before becoming a domestic engineer + blogger;-) was in special education, so I worked with children with severe disabilities (and their caretakers) on a regular basis. Now, testing is not something that is going to even matter to some parents, but for me, it was the only way I was going to be able to have a peaceful, sane pregnancy without constant mind wanders of if my risk score was high or low. So if you’re of the same camp (but maybe don’t fit the other criteria usually posed by doctors, such as advanced maternal age or family history), know that you can still absolutely request/demand a test to be done early on (which insurance will cover a large portion of!)…ours was at 10 weeks, and within a week, we had the results I needed to have a (more) peaceful pregnancy.
4. Pregnancy + Parenting Books That Rock
Let’s be honest, I started reading these long before I actually go pregnant. (Being prepared is half the victory, right?!) I read A LOT. And lots I wouldn’t actually recommend others read. Below are the books I really found super helpful, chock full of practical tips and tricks I have actually used both during the pregnancy and after, that I would totally recommend to any friend also going through pregnancy/parenting.
Mama Glow: Probably my favorite book I read about pregnancy, this is one to pick up specifically if you’re into vegetables and yoga and saying yes to good vibes even during morning sickness;-)
Bringing Up Bebe: We’ve all heard the French do it better…fashion, food, and you guessed it, child rearing. This book more than anything gave me confidence that, hey, people have been having babies since the dawn of time, I can’t mess up too much;-) Also some great practical tips that have come in helpful post-delivery, such as “le pause” (i.e. pause before running into your baby’s room when he is crying, he could very well put himself right back to sleep), getting baby on a regulated meal cycle, and the importance of unstructured play.
The Birth Partner: Upon my doula’s recommendation, I got this book for my hubby. As he said, by feeling over prepared for the main event, it actually made the labor/delivery part feel like a breeze!;-)
Happiest Baby On The Block: There are 5 tips this book covers. Swaddling didn’t work for our little man but the “shhh” method totally did. Again, it’s great to have strategies in your back pocket, and then pick and choose what works for you!
More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting: This book helped me feel grounded about bringing a baby into NYC specifically. Every time I go anywhere outside of NYC, I’m reminded of how different life in New York is, so I could only imagine raising a child here would be the same. Obviously we love the city and are so thankful to have the opportunity to raise little man here, but this book highlighted beautifully important parenting components that help me keep a level head when raising a child in NYC, such as instead of focusing on raising a child that is happy 110% of the time, it’s more important to raise a child of value…and with this comes respect, calmness, and yes, even joy;-) Amish parenting in NYC, how do you like that!
5. Apps To Use Everyday
While there’s a plethora of apps out there, there were only two I found super beneficial and used on a regular basis.
What To Expect: The first thing I did every morning was log onto this guy, getting up to date articles and info that were applicable to where I was at that moment in pregnancy. Every week it would keep me abreast of how big baby was (comparing it to whatever fruit it was the size of!), as well as developmental milestones, symptoms I may be experiencing, and what to expect at upcoming doctor appointments.
Pedometer++: The first few months of being pregnant, the last thing I felt like doing was getting out of bed, much less exercise classes. However, knowing how important getting moving was for both me and baby, I installed a simple Pedometer app onto my phone, with the goal of walking 10,000 steps every day (roughly 4.5 miles.) This way, even if I skipped yoga, I knew I was still getting some form of light exercise in, ultimately making for a smoother ride for late pregnancy and delivery.
6. Avoiding Stretch Marks
I did a lot of research about the best way to prevent these little suckers (although unfortunately, it’s a lot to do with genetics), but the best preventative care method I came up with that worked is pure African Shea Butter. I bought a tub from Amazon for $6, and every night after my bath lathered it over every inch of skin. Besides just preventing stretch marks, I’ve also noticed a huge difference in the softness of my skin compared to using lotion…food for thought!
7. Maternity Clothes That Don’t Completely Suck
Ok, early on in pregnancy, I was in the camp of, “No way am I wasting money on maternity clothes that will be worn once!”…and then around month 5 totally changed my tune, because, yowzers! NOTHING fit. Here’s a few spots I grabbed some essentials that also don’t scream “maternity clothes!”
ASOS: For work attire, cute dresses, swimwear, and special event pieces!
AG: A bit on the higher side (one pair will set you back around $200!), but these jeans are AMAZING, and with the stretch belly can be worn throughout the entire pregnancy and post-pregnancy, too! Seriously, the best investment I made.
Gap: Workout clothes from here were a lifesaver. They don’t break the bank, and while you can certainly shop maternity, I found going up a size in their normal gear works just as well, too!
H&M: For cheap tees…just go a few sizes up!
Meg: While not even a maternity store, this cute East Village staple creates the most comfy bamboo cotton, loose fitting dresses I basically lived in all last summer. I love them because they can be worn long after baby has exited.
8. Find Local Support Groups That Work For You
Prenatal Yoga Center: I attended yoga classes here, which were a great way to let you vent about any aches and pains you have, and have your instructor modify poses accordingly. Also, if you’re super chatty you can definitely meet other expecting mammas in the area! Probably the best thing we did here though was the Partner Yoga and Massage Class, which my husband and I had the best time at!
UES Mommas: A Facebook group that let’s Manhattan moms post questions relating to anything and everything pregnancy/kid related. I posted a question regarding best local pediatricians in my hood, and within minutes had about 10 responses, and found our AMAZING ped this way! So much easier than trolling the internet!
9. Treat Yourself!
Finally, one of the most important things I learned through the process of both trying to get pregnant and then pregnancy, is to be gentle and kind with yourself. These are things we often do in regard to other people, but how often do we sit and really contemplate our needs as a priority? So, I totally change perspective and put myself/baby first. This included things like:
Not over-scheduling/overcommitting to activities. Giving myself permission to say no.
Really taking the time to think about what I was putting into my body (…honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever thought about food so much as I did during the few months I was pregnant! And side note, the first 3 months the last thing I felt like doing was cooking…even the smell from certain ingredients could set me over the edge. So I took advantage of NYC living and ordered from Seamless…A LOT. Seriously, there were days I ordered breakfast, lunch, and dinner from there…crazy! But a true advantage to being preggos in the Big Apple.)
Making sure I got the daily amount of exercise I was committed to getting. There were days I could be REALLY obnoxious about this. Like, if it was getting close to midnight and I was only at 8,000 steps for the day, I would literally drag my husband out for a walk, or stomp around the living room for 20 minutes until I got them all in. Priorities:-)
If my body was telling me I was sleepy, take a nap!
And finally, indulge in mini treats, like pedis, facials, and pre-natal massages. These don’t have to be expensive (you guys know I’m the biggest fan of the $25 massage!), and plus when you think about all the money you’re not spending on wine/happy hour for a year, well! There’s your play money!;-)
Would love to know…any tips/tricks that helped you get through your pregnancy in NYC or elsewhere? Share below!
p.s. in case you missed it, my pregnancy interview featured on Well Rounded!