While sentimentality is the biggest (and best) reason to document your pregnancy, the photos and notes you take leading up to your baby's arrival can be helpful for a subsequent pregnancy. "Birth notes can help to normalize your second pregnancy and build confidence," says Lisa Weston, president of the Association of Ontario Midwives. Here are some creative ways to help you remember the whole nine months.
1. Hire a professional photographer
Professional photographers know how to make you look your best as a glowing mom-to-be. Talk to friends and family, and search the web to find a photographer whose style you like.
"Schedule a consultation before setting up an appointment," says Byker. "If you can, meet in person. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with the photographer so she can pull you out of your shell." Thirty-two to 34 weeks is the ideal time to have professional photos taken. "You'll have a big enough bump, but you'll reduce the chances of baby coming early and missing your shoot," says Byker.
2. Document the growth of your bump
Smartphone apps make it easy to take weekly or monthly photos of your baby belly. Byker recommends posing once a month in the same room—just ensure the lighting is consistent—and using an app like CineMama, which has a belly grid to help you line up your bump. That means you can always take the shot in the exact same place, allowing you to precisely monitor your growth. Afterward, you can even add titles and a soundtrack, and turn your pregnancy into a sharable movie.
Posegram is another great app that helps you achieve the most flattering angle, while Blinkbuggy enables you to share notes along with your bump photos.
3. Start a pregnancy blog
More and more women are choosing to share their pregnancy trials and tribulations with the world online. "Before you start a blog, ask yourself why you are doing it," says Amy Morrison, creator of PregnantChicken.com. The mom of two started her blog as a place where pregnant women can focus on the joys of pregnancy.
"I always wanted to help people with my blog," says Morrison. However, if you're simply writing for yourself, Morrison wouldn't suggest the blog route. "It's a lot of work and you're lifting the tarp on your life. Once it's out there, it's hard to reel it back in," she says.
4. Keep a pregnancy journal
If your goal is to capture the true feelings of your pregnancy for yourself and close family, a pregnancy journal is your best option. Keep a handwritten copy or simply type notes on your computer. "If you'd like, you can even scan certain handwritten pages and share them in Instagram and then add them to a pregnancy book with an app like Artifact Uprising," says Byker.
"I also love pregnancy journals as an opportunity to connect with your baby,” adds Byker. "You can jot down things like your one wish for your baby, what characteristics of your partner you hope your baby has, and the one thing you can’t wait to show your baby about the world."
5. Create pregnancy keepsakes
Keepsakes, such as belly casting or pictures of your bump with belly paint or natural henna, can be a fun way to document your pregnancy. Even measuring tape can make a great memento. "Simply make marks on a tape measure to see how your belly grew month by month," says Byker.