Baby on board? Congratulations! When you aren’t losing your lunch or having your stomach touched by strangers, pregnancy can be a pretty magical experience. If you’re about to be a mom for the first time, or if you’re simply looking for tips to make a subsequent pregnancy easier, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve compiled 16 articles full of advice, support and reassurance for moms-to-be. Whether you need some third trimester sleep tips or a little post-baby body realness, we’ve got you covered.
Sleeping comfortably during your third trimester of pregnancy is pretty much a pipe dream, thanks to a wild assortment of ailments including leg cramps, heartburn and the frequent need to pee. But there is a way you can sleep a bit more comfortably during this stage.
“When I found out that I was pregnant the first time, I spent a lot of time reading up on what I could expect over the next few months, and most of it was just sunshine and positive stories,” the illustrator told HuffPost.
“However as the weeks passed, I experienced some of the more negative side effects of being pregnant, and I never saw anyone write much about that.”
“The biggest thing I learned was that nothing could prepare me for the stuff I was about to experience after giving birth — from my daughter’s first night home to the baby blues. Now, six months into this motherhood experience, I am here to share a few things I know and wish like hell someone would have given me a heads up about.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, once recommended that when feasible, health care providers wait to administer epidurals until the cervix has dilated to 4 or 5 centimeters. But in 2006, it reversed that stance. So when is the right time to give a laboring woman an epidural to help with the pain of childbirth?
“Our findings should be reassuring to women experiencing these symptoms, as the risk for a pregnancy loss is greatly reduced in women with these symptoms.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women without obstetric or medical complications exercise at least 30 minutes a day most – if not all – days a week, just like the rest of the population. Regular runners, the organization says, can keep running, though they might have to modify their routines.
“When I was in my first trimester, I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep, because all I could think about was iceberg lettuce dipped in sour cream. I could practically taste it, the image was so vivid.” — Ashley
“Sure, you might look at my page and see images like the left and think this mama works out all the time and she must eat healthy all the time... Well I’m here to tell you NO that’s not how things go and I don’t believe anyone should live without a little bit of life’s indulgences!”
In the last decade, awareness about postpartum depression and anxiety has blossomed. A somewhat separate, but equally serious type of maternal depression has yet to garner the same type of attention. Depression during pregnancy, often called prenatal or antenatal depression, affects roughly 15 to 25 percent of expectant mothers, upending the neat cultural narrative that pregnancy is a time of excitement and joy for all women.
Your body just did something amazing—and while you know your breasts are different and that it can take some time to heal down there, here are some other effects you may face.
“I’m sharing this to show moms that sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re thin, ate right and exercised during pregnancy, sometimes your body grows in such a way that simply doesn’t allow you to ‘bounce back’ in friggen 3 weeks.”
Give yourself room to do things that help relieve stress and give you pleasure—whether it’s a few hours to see a movie with your friend/partner or some quiet time to take a nap or a pass to devour that brownie hot fudge sundae you’ve been craving for so long. If you find the anxiety still hard to bear, seek emotional support through a professional therapist.
Women are usually told that getting pregnant later in life is worse for both the mother and the baby. But when it comes to a mother’s well-being and her child’s social-emotional development, there are significant advantages of getting pregnant later in life.
Scientists have long known that exercising during pregnancy may be good for expectant mothers and boost their unborn children’s heart health and brain activity. But the physical activity could also have some significant lasting effects, research suggests.
An airplane’s recirculated cabin air certainly doesn’t leave you feeling hydrated. Add in your body’s pregnancy needs, and it’s likely you’ll quickly become parched at 30,000 feet. While it’s essential to drink plenty of water at all times during pregnancy, it’s especially important during travel.
These celeb photos prove that maternity fashion can be fun and, most importantly, fearless. No woman should feel the pressure to dress a certain way just because she’s pregnant.
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.