Pregnancy comes with a whole lot of joys – hope and excitement for your new baby, glowing skin and hair, baby showers, and nursery planning. Some things are a little less joyful – the aches and pains, the clothes that no longer fit, the worry and anxiety, and weird food cravings. Getting comfortable while pregnant, especially during summer and even more especially during a global pandemic, can be difficult. Here are a few tips to keep you comfy, physically and emotionally.
Fix: Uncomfortable Clothing
One of the earliest annoyances you’ll notice during your pregnancy is that your clothes no longer fit or are no longer comfortable. There are many, many lines of clothing brands that provide maternity clothes which will stretch where you need them to, but these are often much more costly than their standard counterparts.
Splurge on maternity bras and pregnancy bands. These products will last you well past your pregnancy and into post-partum recovery. The bras are often wireless and offer support without digging into your skin. Plus, many of them are also nursing bras which useful before and after you give birth as lactation can start as early as the second trimester. Pregnancy bands can be used to help lengthen the amount of time you’re able to wear your current pants. You’ll be able to unbutton your jeans and still keep them up with the soft, stretchy material.
Wait on maternity shirts and pants. While super comfortable, maternity clothes can be expensive. Buy a few cute shirts and pants, but don’t go overboard. Until your third trimester, most of your shirts will likely still fit just fine. A few good pairs of leggings will last you throughout the pregnancy as well. Plus, since it’s summer, a few flowy dresses can be worn now and years after you give birth.
Take advantage of the quarantine, too. Remember, you’re likely home more often than not. Sweatpants, basketball shorts, and oversized t-shirts are perfect for pregnancy. If you don’t have your own, raid the closets of your dad, brother, significant other, or friends.
Fix: Aches and Pains
With pregnancy comes swollen joints, lower back pain, headaches, and muscle strain. It’s no surprise since your body is changing and adjusting to carry extra weight and accommodate a whole new person. However, many ways we deal with pain regularly can’t be used during pregnancy. The key to managing pain during pregnancy is natural relief and medication moderation.
It’s important to speak with your doctor about the medications you can or cannot take during pregnancy as all pregnancies are different and some conditions can handle meds while others can’t.
Definitely safe methods of pain management include light exercise, heating pads, massage, and physical therapy. Exercise can help with blood flow which will lower your chance of swollen joints. Yoga or stretches can help ease muscle aches and pains, too. Use a heating pad on your lower back to ease muscle pain there, though avoid using it too often on your belly during your third trimester. If your pain is chronic or unmanageable, you can consult your doctor about physical therapy or chiropractic care.
It is usually considered safe to take over the counter medications like Tylenol, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen. During the first two trimesters, these medications are just fine so long as they aren’t taken in excess. In the third trimester, you should avoid Aspirin or Ibuprofen when possible as they can increase bleeding during labor and delivery.
Fix: Trouble Sleeping
Many people have trouble sleeping all throughout their pregnancy. Whether it’s because you constantly have to pee, your baby won’t stop moving around, or you just can get comfortable – you’re likely going to have an issue getting a restful sleep at some point during your pregnancy.
In early pregnancy, avoid drinking in excess after dinner. Staying hydrated is very important while pregnant, but stop liquid intake a few hours before bed. Hopefully, this will help you empty your overactive bladder earlier in the day and let you sleep longer.
In your second and third trimester, you will have a very active baby. Kicking, rolling, and stretching occurs mostly at night. This is because your activity during the day helps lull your little one to sleep. You can help train yourself to sleep through the night by exercising regularly and keeping a strict sleep schedule.
Your last trimester, particularly the last month or two, are the worst for sleeping. It’s difficult to get comfortable no matter what you do. Some advice: sleep on a firm mattress, sleep on your side, and buy a body pillow. The firm mattress will support your belly and help keep you feeling more stable. By sleeping on your side, you can prevent uncomfortable pressure on your lower back. A body pillow can help lift your belly for even more stability. If body pillows aren’t an option, a couple regular pillows will do. Put one under your belly and one between your knees to keep your hips aligned.
New moms are especially nervous and worried during pregnancy. This is compounded by the current pandemic. No force on the earth can keep an anxious mother from googling symptoms during pregnancy, but keep your doctor on speed dial. Discuss your concerns with your OB/GYN who is trained in early identification of serious problems.
If anxiety is an issue you’ve dealt with outside of pregnancy, you may already be on medication for it. Many meds for anxiety aren’t pregnancy-safe, but not all of them. Speak with your OB/GYN and your regular practitioner to decide whether you should switch medications or stop them all together. Ask your doctor for research on your specific medication and its effects on pregnancy if you want to review it yourself.
During a quarantine, it can feel like you are isolated from the world. Help keep stress down by having phone or video calls with people who live outside of your home. Set up weekly video calls with your coworkers, if you’re working at home, and make time for phone calls with family members. They will help you feel more normal.
Managing stress during pregnancy can be hard, but remember it’s okay to be a little selfish right now! Binge some Netflix, make puzzles, keep a journal, give yourself a manicure, and take extra-long showers. You deserve it! You’re making a whole new person!
Fix: Weird Instincts
Along with pregnancy comes strange cravings and instincts. Some of them don’t make a lot of sense, but it’s okay to give in most of the time.
If you are craving an abundance of sugar or other bad-for-you foods and drinks, monitor your intake to make sure you are balancing your meals, but don’t ignore them altogether. It can only make those cravings stronger.
Nesting is another strong instinct during your last month or two of pregnancy. Take advantage of it! You’re likely going to get more cleaning and organizing done in those last two months than you ever have before. Extreme nesting can even be an early indicator of labor so pay attention! If you’re like me, you’ll be making a random pumpkin pie in the early hours of the morning and giving birth 20 hours later.
Hopefully these tips will keep you comfortable during your pregnancy, and help you enjoy it even more!