This one could very easily tick some people off, so I’ll say this beforehand: Nurse Practitioners are very well-trained, intelligent individuals and by no means is this meant to insult anyone. That being said, you or your insurance is paying for you to meet with a Doctor. Often, and even quite a bit in my own experience, your appointment ends up being with a Nurse Practitioner. The problem with that is . . . “That means that the person giving the medical advice has not been to medical school. Instead, he or she has been trained as a nurse and is merely fulfilling the role of a doctor in this general medical practice . . . [you] still get charged a doctor’s rates, but . . . do not get to meet with the real doctor” (Tapscott 1). Overall, the point is, when you schedule your appointments, you need to specifically ask to meet with your Doctor and not a Nurse Practitioner. There’s nothing wrong with meeting with a Nurse Practitioner for some of your appointments, however, just make sure you’re meeting with your Doctor for a good amount of your appointments as well––like I said before, that is who you’re actually paying to meet with, and technically a Doctor has gone to medical school much longer. Many people don’t realize this, so don’t let yourself get shorted.
2. Warning for this one–––this is kind of disgusting, which is probably why no one mentions it, but it’s true and wouldn’t hurt to know beforehand:
Whatever pooping was like for you before you got pregnant, expect it to get two to five times worse (and by worse I mean messier or not as easy). My suggestion is to get wet wipes to go along with your toilet paper. They’re cheap, they last a while, and they make the whole process faster, easier, cleaner. Otherwise, if you just use toilet paper, a lot of times it starts to feel like you can’t ever use enough.
3. Download a baby app on your phone.
Myself and a lot of other people I know have the app called “My Pregnancy.” I think it’s the most helpful, it’s free, it gives you a week by week update and advice, and there’s a website too. So, any questions you have you can search for answers from doctor’s opinions to numerous other mother’s thoughts/experiences.
4. A lot of people, even better, most of them people who have never even been pregnant or seen an OBGYN, think they know what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re pregnant, and they’re not afraid to tell you what they think.
My suggestion––don’t be afraid to tell them what you know right back. I had someone say something to me for drinking coffee. They said, “Is there caffeine in that?” I said, “Yep.” Their response, “You can’t drink that.” My response, “Yes, actually, I can.” My OBGYN’s suggestion for my migraines, since I can’t take any medication, was to drink something caffeinated. On top of that, both my OBGYN and my Nurse Practitioner have said (without me even asking) that it’s okay to drink a small amount of caffeine and up to one soda a day is also okay. Regardless, I try to avoid soda in general because it’s not as good for you (which is why my caffeine choice was coffee)––it has nothing to do with being pregnant. However, if you feel like drinking a soda or a coffee or whatever other stress reliever you made need on occasion, don’t let somebody who has no idea what they’re talking about make you feel bad.
5. Start exercising early!
The more you exercise in the first trimester, the easier and safer it is to exercise in the second and third trimester. The longer you go without exercising, the more out of shape you get and fast. Trust me, you’re going to want to be able to exercise in the second and third trimester because that’s when you start gaining weight and with weight gain comes stretch marks. The sooner you start exercising, the less of a beating your body will take, which in turn makes it that much easier to get back to normal after the baby. Don’t put it off! I put it off my first trimester, I’m starting to see the effects, and it’s extremely hard to do the littlest bit of exercise at this point because of it.
6. Your body will change––chances are you’re going to gain weight, get stretch marks, and your nipples will get bigger (along with your breasts), but there is also good news:
No matter what people say works, I don’t think that any amount of oil or lotion you put on is going to completely prevent stretch marks or change the elasticity of your skin, considering your skin’s elasticity is genetic. Some people say cocoa butter or this and that oil worked for them, but the truth is it was probably primarily their genetics that worked for them. (Or refer back to 5., exercising will help keep your body in much better shape than if you don’t do anything. Whether you’re pregnant or not, if you gain weight you can gain stretch marks. It’s the same idea). However, use or try whatever you want because it can’t hurt. I’m just saying prepare for your body changing because not everything will go/look great. The good news is chances are your body will change back, for the most part, if you eat somewhat healthy and do some sort of exercise during and after pregnancy.
Also, chances are you will have to buy bigger bras. I went to buy new bras somewhere around 2-3 months and they still fit fine. How much your bra size will change is going to vary from person to person, but my suggestion is, no matter what you think will fit, try bras on. I made the mistake of guestimating, and I was WAY off. Don’t be afraid to spend some money on a few bras that fit you, because that’s what you’ll be wearing the rest of your pregnancy. I bought a couple at first, and whenever I realized I was staying the same, I went and bought more.
This is the same with finding maternity clothes in general. You’re going to have to do it eventually (around 2-3 mo). Find 2-3 pairs of jeans and/or 2-3 pairs of shorts that fit loose (I suggest a size up from what you normally wear . . . tight gets uncomfortable fast) and have the maternity waste band, and that should work for your entire pregnancy. As far as shirts go, there are lots of maternity shirts and chances are you probably have a lot of shirts that will already work too. Just avoid shirts that are tight fitting and ride up––they only get worse.
7. Prenatal vitamins are not a joke.
People can spend all day arguing about what prenatal vitamin is the best and what you should be taking, etc. The truth is, in my opinion, all that really matters is that you’re taking some sort of prenatal vitamin. To state it as vaguely as possible; they help lower so many chances of so many things you want to avoid for your baby’s health and well-being––why not take them. I’m not saying don’t research and find what you think is the best of the best. I’m simply saying if you don’t want to do the research or can’t afford the most expensive, just make sure you are taking a prenatal vitamin.
8. Pregnancy isn’t the same for everyone, but there are some generalities:
In general, the first trimester is the roughest. Chances are you’ll have morning sickness at any time of the day, some foods might start to sound disgusting to you, and you’ll be way more tired than you’re used to. My advice is to embrace it. If you feel like you’re going to get sick, go get sick. You’ll feel better. If something sounds gross to you, avoid it. If you’re tired, find time to take a nap. In a few weeks when you hit the second trimester, most likely you’ll feel pretty much back to normal again.
9. From now on, always brace yourself when you sneeze or cough.
Otherwise, you’ll probably pee yourself a little or feel like something just exploded in your stomach. Either way, if you forget, don’t be alarmed.
I dedicate this post to my close friend, Kayla Cantrell. Love you and congratulations on becoming a mom.