The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Pregnancy and Preparing for your Baby

The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Pregnancy

Following on from the success of my most popular post –tips for surviving summer pregnancy, it only seems natural to follow up with an ultimate guide for surviving pregnancy. As well as all the essential tips to plan and organise for a new baby.

Pregnancy can be a bumpy ride, with no two pregnancies the same.

Even the differences between subsequent pregnancies can be surprising, when you think you know what you’re in for but suddenly there are whole new symptoms and experiences to leave you pregnant, confused and uncomfortable.

Having just finished my second pregnancy, I was surprised how different my pregnancies were. I was convinced I was having a boy the second time, but nope… both girls, so the difference in pregnancies couldn’t be attributed to gender. Just the luck of the draw!

The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Pregnancy and Preparing for your Baby

The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Pregnancy

MORNING SICKNESS

Not everyone is plagued by morning sickness, however some women are unlucky enough to have all day morning sickness. For most, it eases up around the end of the first trimester but for others, morning sickness lasts throughout pregnancy.

Morning sickness is caused by the pregnancy hormone HCG. In really severe cases, morning sickness may be a condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which needs medical attention.

Preventing Morning Sickness

  • Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day – hunger can worsen morning sickness symptoms
  • Avoid overtiredness and get lots of sleep
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid strong, adverse smells
  • Try ginger tablets
  • Wear an acupressure band such as those used for seasickness
  • Drink peppermint tea
  • Seek medical assistance

For my first pregnancy, my morning sickness subsided around 16 weeks and was sporadic. With my second pregnancy, I was in a constant state of nausea, so my GP prescribed medication to manage my morning sickness nausea. It did the job!

HEARTBURN & INDIGESTION

Heartburn and indigestion are common pregnancy symptoms, with heartburn causing a burning sensation in the throat and chest, and indigestion causing severe bloating and possible nausea.

Teamed with morning sickness, they are an unpleasant and uncomfortable combination. Both are caused by the relaxing of muscles in the body during pregnancy, as the result of pregnancy hormones.

Preventing Heartburn and Indigestion

  • Small meals, several times a day
  • Avoid foods that seem to worsen your symptoms
  • Avoid caffeine, rich, spicy or acidic foods
  • Eat slowly
  • Ensure comfortable, upright position after meals
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Take over the counter antacid tablets, with doctor approval
  • Eat at last three hours before bed to avoid lying down too soon
  • Try drinking milk

Until my second pregnancy, I had no idea what indigestion or heartburn felt like, however my first trimester revealed how horrible this is. I had agonising bloating, stomach pains and a burning sensation in my throat that tasted like I had been licking an ashtray. It was revolting and extremely unpleasant. Antacid tablets were very helpful.

CONSTIPATION

This one is pretty self-explanatory in terms of unpleasantness, but constipation during pregnancy is common. Thank those hormonal changes again for this inconvenient and at times painful pregnancy ailment and post birth too, due to your body using up so much extra water.

Preventing Constipation in Pregnancy

  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat high fibre foods
  • Add prunes and dried figs to meals or eat on their own
  • Consult doctor or pharmacist if considering laxative or similar medical assistance

BACK PAIN

Carrying all that extra weight around while growing a small person can cause havoc on the body and back pain during pregnancy is common. The loosening ligaments and relaxed muscles also contribute to back pain and can sometimes require specialised intervention to support your back during pregnancy.

Preventing Back Pain During Pregnancy

  • Avoiding standing or walking for excessive periods
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Focus on maintaining correct posture
  • Have a pregnancy massage by a qualified professional
  • See a physiotherapist
  • Wear pregnancy support garments
  • Move slowly when turning in bed or getting out of chairs
  • Use a handheld massager for targeting back pain

FLUID RETENTION

Pregnancy can be a little like flying a long haul flight as fluid retention in pregnancy is common. Worse during summer pregnancy, you may be prone to swollen ankles especially, as a result of the increase in fluid in the body during pregnancy.

Fluid retention can also be a sign of high blood pressure, so persistent fluid retention is worth getting checked out.

Here are some ways to help prevent fluid retention:

  • Don’t stand or walk for excessive periods
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Avoid salty foods
  • Incorporate diuretic foods into your diet – celery, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, beetroot etc
  • Cut out caffeine
  • Recline with feet up (aim to be on your left side during pregnancy)

INSOMNIA

Not sleeping during pregnancy is a frustrating experience. There are plenty of reasons it happens. None of them makes us any happier. It’s pretty awful timing too since everyone warns you about the no sleep with a newborn stage that is coming, telling you to sleep while you still can.

While some things may help you sleep during pregnancy, this can be one of the toughest ones to remedy.

Improving Sleep During Pregnancy

  • Make yourself comfortable
  • Get a body pillow or pregnancy pillow
  • Have downtime before bed
  • Do something relaxing – read a book, have a shower or bath, massage
  • Loose clothing
  • No caffeine or sugary foods before bed
  • Don’t eat just before going to bed
  • No exercise before bed
  • Make time for self-care

Restless legs was one of the worst things that plagued me during pregnancy. It’s horrendous because you feel like you need to keep moving, which makes sleep impossible.

I found doing some leg stretches and a light walk before bed could help – which goes against the tips for improved sleep, however, in my case, restless legs were the main reason for not sleeping, rather than insomnia. This is just one of the common pregnancy problems.

FREQUENT URINATION

Another one that can’t be avoided and there isn’t much you can do about it, but you will definitely know the feeling of frequent urination during pregnancy, pretty much immediately. It’s often one of the first signs of pregnancy for many.

There are certain times during pregnancy that are worse for frequent urination, especially near the start as a result of the HCG hormone, then again towards the end when there is a heavy baby sitting on your bladder. So fun… not!

Managing Frequent Urination in Pregnancy

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy toilet access
  • Always use the toilet before heading out
  • Don’t limit your water intake to reduce your urination – you need that fluid
  • Tilt forward once you finishing urination – it can help empty that last part of your bladder

OTHER TIPS FOR SURVIVING PREGNANCY

  • Make yourself as comfortable as possible
  • Invest in some maternity clothes essentials
  • Rest often
  • Do some light, pregnancy-safe exercise such as squats and pregnancy yoga
  • Consider a low maintenance hair cut
  • Ask for help when you need a break
  • Eat well – here are some easy healthy lunch ideas
  • Talk to people about your fears and anxiety for birth and motherhood
  • Go to bed as early as you like and take naps if you need to
  • Snack often
  • Take a babymoon
  • Eat lots of leafy greens (folate is important for baby development)
  • Get fresh air
  • Take a pregnancy prenatal vitamin daily
  • Keep up with your required medical appointments
  • Don’t change kitty litter – Cat poo carries a bacteria that is harmful to unborn babies
  • Eat a banana a day to help prevent leg cramps
  • Do your pelvic floor exercises
  • Go swimming as it’s great low impact exercise
  • Plan ahead to reduce stress
  • Talk to your partner so you are on the same page
  • ENJOY IT!

PLANNING FOR YOUR BABY

Best Pregnancy Books:

And be sure to check out these great books on helping to prepare your child for becoming a big brother or sister.

Online Learning

You can do prenatal classes from home. This is perfect if you have older children or work commitments and are finding it difficult to attend classes in person. You can join the online classes at any time and work through it at your own pace.

Saving Money and Getting Organised:

Pregnancy is an amazing time of life simply due to the reward at the end. Babies make all those awful symptoms totally worth it, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t do anything to help make your pregnancy more comfortable.

What are your tips for staying comfortable during pregnancy?

10 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Pregnancy”

  1. Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    Rest! Getting rest is vital in pregnancy but not always easy to achieve with all the niggly symptoms and with other children to look after. I know when I got proper rest I felt like I could better manage each day so that’s my number 1 survival tip!

    1. So true! Everything is harder when exhausted. We are lucky to have another bub who is already sleeping at least 6 hours at night then back down for more sleep after a feed. Started a bit rough though lol sleep is a huge must!

  2. Toni @ Finding Myself Young

    Oh god my heartburn was soooo bad at the end and I’d never experienced it before in my life. I was chewing rennies all the time just to be able to eat and sleep without feeling gross. I don’t know if there’s any truth to the old wives tale that heartburn equals a hairy baby, but I definitely had the heartburn + a hairy baby so maybe it is true.

    1. Our midwife was so quick to dismiss that during labour this time but I had heartburn for the first time ever with Violet & agree, it was awful. She came out with a head full of hair. Lily was bald and I had no issue lol

  3. Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy

    Oh wow, you took me right back there! I really do wonder what it’s going to be like my second time. I was extremely lucky to not suffer from morning sickness but towards the end of my pregnancy I did suffer from bad lower back pain to the point I had to wear a supportive brace. The reflux late in my pregnancy was absolutely horrible and having a summer baby, well my feet and legs looked like a bloody elephants!!!

    1. Sounds like our first pregnancy was very similar except I had a bit of mild morning sickness the first couple of months. But yep, summer baby, horrid back pain. Reflux has only been this time around so fingers crossed you don’t end up like me and having a horrid second pregnancy instead x

  4. Oh my goodness. Just reading that list had me feeling exhausted. Its so easy to forget just how hard it is to be pregnant. Heartburn was the KILLER for me in both pregnancies. I had to get medication for it the second time as I just couldn’t cope. Bron

    1. Second pregnancies seem to almost always be worse. Makes sense… We may have been reluctant to go again otherwise lol that & birth are putting me off having a 3rd, but my baby growing up so quick makes me wonder if I’m done…

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