Prevention & Recovery

What pregnant women wished they knew before they got pregnant

By: Helen Racanelli

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

What pregnant women wished they knew before they got pregnant

By: Helen Racanelli
Pregnancy is one of those few situations in life that will fill you with a fluctuating hormonal stew of dread, happiness, anxiety, bliss and – to top it off – a heaping helping of physical discomfort as the nine months wear on.

So, before all of that happens, try to get the most out of the prenatal period and early stages of pregnancy with tips from moms like me who have been there before.

Enjoy your favourite foods while you still can
"I wish I'd known how much heartburn and nausea I'd have and also how tiny my meals would become as my belly grew larger," says Tracy (some names have been changed) from London, Ont. "It was a challenge to eat enough. It probably didn't help that the major food craving I had was for spicy Indian food, often four or five times per week!" she says.

Can't eat because of morning sickness or nausea? Try chocolate milk
"The CEO at the company I was working at told me his wife had also had nausea and heartburn, and that she'd practically lived on chocolate milk during her second and third trimesters and – bingo! – that was the miracle liquid diet for me, too," says Tracy. "I loved icy, icy chocolate milk. It got me through the home stretch of my pregnancy, but I wish I'd discovered it a lot earlier in."

Stop obsessing, and put down the book
"I wish I knew not to worry so much," says Lyla, a Canadian expat living in New Haven, Conn. "That, and to not read any parenting books! Learn to follow your own intuition and not rules made up by other people," she says of both the prenatal and, especially, parenting experience. Indeed, many pregnant women and would-be-pregnant women get whipped into a frenzy of neurosis reading every pregnancy book they can find. In a word: Don't. If you must, trust your doctor or a new mom whose judgment you respect to suggest one good book.

Page 1 of – On page 2, discover the one wardrobe item you'll wear all through pregnancy and after Baby's arrival.Get a pair of yoga pants now
I wish I had thought of asking for a pair of high-waisted Lululemon yoga pants to wear after I had the baby. Expensive, but they last and they're reversible. When I was pregnant, I didn't know what to choose when friends asked if there was something in particular I wanted just for myself, as I'm not really a spa-type, and, I never gave a thought as to what I would wear when the baby finally came. All my prenatal clothes were too dressy and too small, and I had zero nice-looking stretchy pants to wear.

If anyone asks if they can splurge on something just for you, as coworkers sometimes do, my advice is to ask for a pair of top-quality black yoga pants that are one size larger than your normal size.

Maybe you don't do yoga, or they're more casual than your usual style – that's not the point. They'll come in handy for doctor's office visits when you can't zip into your jeans yet, they hold in your post-pregnancy tummy nicely, and stand up well to constant machine-washing.

Take the free hospital classes
Another thing I wish I did when I was pregnant was to take the free classes and seminars that my hospital offered on breastfeeding (like so many women, I had a very difficult time initially) and even breathing techniques.

I was overly confident in my ability to handle all the drama that comes along with labour and latching onto a baby, and I suspect that if I took the classes, which were conveniently offered at lunchtime and only an hour long, things might have been a little easier.

Embrace an adventure vacation
"I wish I'd known how much raising a child would suck all my time and energy away," says Claire from Hamilton. "And it started in pregnancy when I was exhausted all the time. Had I known I'd be looking at close to nine years of exhaustion, I probably would have had a blowout vacation with all the crazy outdoorsy activities I love compressed into one giant two-week orgy of diving, sea kayaking, surfing lessons, hiking and whatnot. I do get to scuba dive and kayak, and I have taken the odd surfing lesson, but everything gets broken into a tiny pocket of adventure time while we're on a family vacation and my child is with a babysitter. So it's three hours of a surfing lesson, not a one-week surf camp (and obviously the results are so much more lacklustre); two mornings of diving, not an entire week of three-tank dives – and the rest is family time. I do love the family time and love travelling with my child and spouse, but I just wish I'd taken one blowout vacation before I was a mom, or mom-to-be."

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Prevention & Recovery

What pregnant women wished they knew before they got pregnant