I sometimes still can’t believe that I’m 6 months pregnant! This is my first time so I’m definitely not an expert in anything. Being the control freak that I am (yes, I admit it), I was very uncomfortable with not knowing things. HUHUBELLS.
I am thankful to my mommy friends who messaged me, answered my weird questions, and just supported me through this very confusing yet exciting time in my life.
So compiling the tips from my mommy friends + my measly 6 months experience, I have put together 6 things I have learned so far so that 1.) I don’t forget for my next pregnancy, 2.) I could possibly help other moms-to-be who are as clueless as I am (or as I was), 3.) My son could read this in the future and appreciate me even more (haha Hi Miguel Joaquin!)
1.) Choosing an OB GYN – this was more tricky for me than I expected. I have NEVER visited an OB in my life. It was part of my “challenge list” last year especially when we started planning for a baby towards the end of last year but I never got to it because a.) I was scared, b.) I was scared so I made myself believe I was too busy.
See, I’m not afraid of many things. I am not afraid of heights, snakes, spiders, the dark, cramped spaces, repeating patterns, eating alone, strangers, public speaking, etc. But I have (had! More on that next time) a debilitating (and borderline irrational) fear of needles and medical procedures.
So when I was looking around for an OB, I asked my friends these very specific questions: “Will she inject me?”, “Will she do pap smear right away?”, “Do I really need trans vaginal ultrasound?”. I did say my fears were irrational!
When I met my first OB, she was a bit dismissive of my fears and was really no-nonsense. I’m sure that works for a lot of people, but it did not make me feel at ease. My second OB was the complete opposite! She acknowledged my fears but thoroughly explained why I needed to go through all the medical procedures for my baby. She was patient, kind, but also very direct. I found my OB soulmate!
When choosing an OB, I realised how important it is to be confident and comfortable with the doctor, and not just to have an OB for the sake of needing one. Pregnancy and giving birth, especially for first time moms, could be overwhelming and scary. It really helps that the doctor you see every month is someone you look forward to seeing, who can answer your questions, acknowledge your fears, and could patiently explain things to you.
2.) To Maternity Clothes or not to Maternity Clothes – thanks to Bianca Gonzalez-Intal’s blog post on Pregnancy Must-Haves, I was a bit more informed and confident about my choice to not get any Maternity clothes. I also arrived at that decision because I really really dislike waste and things that don’t last a long time (like maternity clothes that I’ll only be wearing for a few months in my life – yes, even through multiple pregnancies if ever). Even before pregnancy, I maintained a very streamlined closet of pieces I absolutely love. I only have a few pieces on rotation and they all come together well. I don’t waste time staring at a closet full of clothes and say “I have nothing to wear”.
But the reality was that my tummy was growing, so of course, not all of those clothes (um, like crop tops) could stand the test of the next few months. I had to set aside budget and strategically shop for clothes that will fit my growing belly and will still fit and look great after giving birth.
Luckily, I found great brands that I LOVE! My criteria – 1.) I could dress them up or down, 2.) They are comfy and could fit and even flatter my baby bump, 3.) They could be used when breastfeeding, 4.) I could still wear them with joy and pride after giving birth and getting back in shape, 5.) Great quality and workmanship, 6.) BONUS (we need more options!) if they are made using sustainable materials, support causes, adheres to fair trade standards.
A few of the brands I love (price range for most of the blouses and dresses PHP 900 – PHP 4000):
Elin.ph – they specialise in Maternity and Nursing clothes that are stylish and flexible enough to be worn even after pregnancy! My must-have here is the foldover leggings. I got them and wore them during my first trimester (so hardly any bump yet) and they really look like your ordinary leggings. Now that my bump has grown, these leggings are still my best friends (I got a few pairs). I could wear them with tunics or long blouses without looking frumpy.
Anika – this talented young designer (Anika Martirez) designs and makes clothes that are easy, breezy, and light. She does not specifically design for pregnant women but this pregnant woman (and the baby) LOVES her pieces!
Harlan + Holden – So I just recently found out that this is a Filipino company! If I knew that earlier, I would have shopped there already! At least I know now. Their pieces are easy to match, easy to wear, and still very stylish. And it seems like a lot of their pieces could fit the bump too!
3.) Mommy Snacks – I love snacking. When I got pregnant though, snacking was no longer just a nice-to-have, it became a requirement. And because I kind of grew up eating a lot of the bad stuff (cup noodles, high MSG snacks, dirty ice cream, street food), I found it really hard to eat the healthier stuff. As in I feel deprived and sad every time I choose a banana over cup noodles. But I choose the healthier alternatives anyway because of my baby. So when I got introduced to Mommy Treats through The Parenting Emporium, I felt like I won the lottery! Their snacks are REALLY good, and not the “It tastes good for a healthy product” token kind of good. They are really delicious! AND, they are calorie controlled and have ingredients that could help increase milk supply.
If you have more tips and brands for healthy (but delicious, please consider delicious) snacks for moms and moms-to-be, do comment below or message me through social media (any, except Twitter, I still can’t get the hang of that).
4.) Traveling while pregnant – I am really lucky to have a relatively easy pregnancy. No recurring morning sickness, no cravings, no headaches, and no dizziness. Even before we found out that we were having a baby, I already had 2 US trips scheduled. Mark and I were very cautious so we visited our OB to get clearance for the trips. Both OBs we visited were not concerned about the trips after examining me and the location of the baby in my womb (among other things that I can’t explain as well as they did).
The first US trip was okay because I was with Mark and a few other entrepreneurs, thanks to our PLDT Be the Boss Award (R2R was a finalist for social entrepreneurship). But the second trip was a bit concerning as I was going to travel alone.I gathered all the tips I could from mommy friends like Patty Laurel-Filart, who I bombarded with lots of travel questions (thanks Patty!). Here are a few tips for those who plan to travel while pregnant:
- Get clearance from your doctor! Better be safe especially when you have a more delicate pregnancy
- Wear comfy clothes and comfy shoes that you could easily move around in
- Choose an aisle seat – very important since you’ll be making frequent trips to the restroom
- Bring snacks! If you don’t like airline snacks, bring comfort snacks that are healthy and delicious (yup, very important to me)
- Ask for help, especially when traveling alone. Even when my bump was not yet too obvious then, I would ask strangers to help me with my bags. People are generally more protective and caring when they find out you are pregnant. =)
- Don’t forget to bring all your vitamins + just-in-case prescription from your OB in case you get sick abroad
5.) Eating for two – Don’t eat for 2 full sized human beings! haha I know it goes without saying but lots of people around you might remind you that it’s okay to eat more (a lot more) because you are eating for 2! My OB reminded me that while it’s true that I’m eating for two, the other one I’m eating for is very small. My son does not need that extra rice. I also don’t need that extra rice. You don’t want a super big baby that is hard to push out and you don’t want to gain the extra pounds that will be harder to lose after the baby comes out (not to mention the other health considerations when gaining too much)
6.) Handling advice (solicited and unsolicited) – Another tough one! Lots of well-meaning people will be giving you advice once they find out that you are expecting. It means that they care for you and there were things that worked for them that they want to share with you. It is easy to get overwhelmed, guilty, and anxious with the deluge of well-meaning tips (like this blog entry for example!). But when all is said and done, it is still your pregnancy, your journey. You could listen to advice, read all the books, attend all the seminars, and google everything (another tip: google does not have all the answers), but if you feel inadequate or anxious because of all the standards you feel you have to reach as a new mom, your journey will be a tougher one. And it may not be good for you or your baby. So make sure that you follow the advice that makes you feel at peace, happy, and at ease! Listen to your body and your baby! You guys are in this together after all. =)
Good luck to all of us!