Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Pregnant Women

I can’t believe how fast my little one is growing! Around this time last year, I found out I was pregnant with her. So, that made me reflect on my pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. But there are also things that aren’t so glorious about it.

The people that surround a pregnant woman during those nine months can really impact her experience.

Here are a few things you probably should or shouldn’t say or do to a pregnant woman (in no particular order):

10. Don’t – ask how she’s feeling.

I know you’re trying to be polite. You might even genuinely care. But trust me, you don’t wanna hear the truth.

It would go a little something like this:

I feel awful!

I don’t recognize my body anymore.

So many odors make me wanna vomit.

I’m actually nauseous right now and currently trying not to throw up on you.

I’m exhausted. My body is constantly doing the same amount of work as a marathon runner. I just want to stay in bed until it’s time to push this baby out.

I can’t see my feet.

There are strange smells coming from places I shouldn’t mention…

Shall I go on?

Do – ask if there’s anything you can do to make her more comfortable. And if there is, do it to the best of your ability!

9. Don’t – randomly come up to her and rub her belly.

I personally didn’t mind this.

However, some women HATE it.

Do – ask first or don’t do it at all.

8. Don’t – spontaneously tell her horror stories about your own or someone else’s pregnancy/labor experience.

She’s currently pregnant and soon about to birth a baby. She does NOT want to hear about how you were in so much pain that you wanted to die.

Unless she asked you…

Then, by all means, tell her every nitty gritty detail, because she really does want to know.

Do – encourage her! Let her know that she’s doing a great job with her pregnancy and that she can get through the labor and birth of her beautiful baby.

7. Don’t – tell her “It’s okay, it’ll be over soon and you’ll have a precious baby at the end, so it’ll all be worth it.”

Just don’t. “Soon” isn’t right now so it’s not helpful. Depending on her stage of pregnancy, she’s most likely super ready for it to all be over and is on the verge of tears at any given moment.

Do – tell her you’ll be there for moral support, emotional support, and physical support every step of the way.

6. Don’t – ask when she’s gonna have another one.

She might want another, she might not.

She probably doesn’t even know yet.

She definitely doesn’t wanna talk about it while currently pregnant. You’ll find out if/when she’s ready for you to know.

Do – mind your business. 🙂

5. Don’t – Treat her like she can’t do anything.

She’s pregnant, not an invalid.

Do – give her freedom to do things by herself that she would normally do before she became pregnant (within reason, if safe).

4. Don’t – Get annoyed when she asks for help with something, no matter how small. She can’t do everything she used to do, and many simple tasks are downright exhausting now.

(Yes, this contradicts the previous point. We’re complicated beings because of the being(s) we’re creating. Deal with it.)

Do – help her out without complaint.

3. Don’t – Ask how many babies she’s having and if she’s sure.

I’ve seen multiple friends of mine post statuses saying that a random person asked them how many babies they’re having, and when answered the person further asked “Are you sure?!”

Whether joking or not, I’m sure I don’t have to explain what’s wrong with that.

Some women carry better than others. One woman at 15 weeks might look how another does at 30 weeks, it doesn’t mean she’s having multiple babies. Don’t be rude.

Do – not ever say something like that to a pregnant woman.

2. Don’t – Say she doesn’t look that bad for a pregnant woman.

*heavy sigh*

Do – compliment how good we look pregnant; because we’re all a smidge extra self conscious.

1. Don’t – Constantly ask if she’s in labor yet. Please. Please. PLEASE. Just don’t. She’ll probably calmly respond but inside she’ll be screaming unpleasant things at you. It’s beyond annoying. No woman who is close to her delivery date wants to constantly be harassed about her labor progression. She could be 3cm dilated for days or weeks. Don’t keep asking “Is the baby here yet?” “Is it time?!” Or anything of that nature.

Do – wait patiently for the announcement of the baby’s birth. I promise you, if Mom can wait, so can you.

Overall, just be kind to pregnant women. They need and deserve it. 🙂

Love,

Meg

P.S. This isn’t meant to be a personal attack on anyone who might have inadvertently done any number of these things to me or to any other pregnant woman. It’s just helpful information for those who might not understand how much of a rollercoaster pregnancy is and offers a few ways to support the pregnant momma through it all.

Labor is Almost Never What You Expect

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had an entire labor experience mentally planned out.
I visualized myself and my husband walking to the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital.
I saw my vitals being checked
My labor progression status being assessed
I saw us waking to the birthing suite that contained the hydrotherapy tub.
I envisioned myself birthing my baby girl in that tub almost effortlessly…
Here, you may wonder how I thought I’d ever walk anywhere while in intense labor.
Well, I studied hypnobirthing during my pregnancy, so I envisioned myself breathing through each phase calmly and confidently.
I had heard the term “hypnobirthing” briefly during nursing school, but hadn’t thought about it much since then.
So, I looked it up and read that basically…(and I’m seriously paraphrasing here)…
-Hypnobirthing is a natural method of labor and delivery that focuses on putting the mind, body, and baby in charge of everything instead of allowing the healthcare professionals to call all the shots.
-In essence, hypnobirthing allows you to tap into your natural instincts of how to birth your baby. Your body knows what to do. Your baby knows what to do. So everything should happen according to those two factors.
-There’s no need to experience pain, because pain is just a direct result of your fear of the entire experience, based on what you’ve heard from family/friends and seen on television growing up. (Crazy idea, I know. I thought so, too)
-Women have given birth naturally for centuries before the influence of western medicine. Hypnobirthing is a way to tap into that natural process by calming the body and mind, and using different breathing and visual techniques.
[Side note: I don’t think all western medicine techniques are unnecessary, as I ended up using many myself. I’m just summarizing what I read in the book “Hypnobirthing: the Mongan Method. A Natural Approach In a Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing” by Marie F. Mongan.]
I read on and decided that this all sounded great to me!
I practice yoga and meditation (not as often as I should).
I try to eat healthy and mind what I put into my body.
So this natural method of childbirth seemed to be right up my alley.
In addition to the book, I also bought the audio tracks on my Amazon Music app and listened to them almost nightly from week 30, on.
I won’t lie and say that my labor was painless.
During pregnancy, I watched many YouTube videos of women claiming that hypnobirthing works tremendously and that they didn’t experience any pain at all during labor and the birthing of their baby, only slight discomfort.
Well, in the beginning, that was my experience also. I actually didn’t even know that I was in early labor. I only went to the hospital because I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and realized that I didn’t feel my baby moving, and that I hadn’t felt her move in a few hours.
When I got to the hospital and was assessed, the midwife told me that everything was fine, and in fact, I was in early labor; 5cm dilated, 90% effaced.
Wow!
There I was at home earlier that same day thinking I was still just having Braxton Hicks contractions.
I guess I should’ve figured it out when I was feeling them every 10 minutes all day long.
But, it didn’t click. I blame preggo brain.
My husband, Jay, and I even went outside for a long walk in the park that day. My goal was to get things going, but I didn’t know that I actually did.
At the hospital, I kept breathing through my labor contractions as Jay watched them on the monitor. He’d make a face every time he saw one coming in anticipation of my agony, but I didn’t show any.
So, to that extent, I would say that hypnobirthing was partially effective for me.
Until
I was still in labor come Sunday morning (2 days later). I tried everything to make my labor progress more quickly.
Jay and I walked the halls.
I sat on the birthing ball and did exercises, which I must say were much more painful during labor than they were at home a few days prior!
I did squats.
I tried nipple stimulation with a breast pump- which did work initially by making my contractions stronger and closer together, but then the contractions started to spread further apart again.
I drank Red Raspberry Leaf tea-some people swear by it…it did NOTHING for me.
My Lena Beans was just not ready to come out yet…
After about 28 hours of labor, the midwife asked if I wanted to try Pitocin to speed things along.
Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin-the natural hormone released in a woman’s body during labor to create contractions and birth a baby.
She would give me Pitocin through my I.V. to speed things along.
I said no initially.
I waited it out for about an hour but then exhaustion set in hard.
I had been up for over 48 hours. The contractions were starting to get intense but still not close enough together to be in “active labor”. The breathing techniques I had learned over the past few weeks weren’t helping me manage the pain anymore. I was more than ready for this part to be over.
I kept thinking about the midwife’s suggestion.
So, I caved. I allowed Pitocin administration.
That kicked my contractions into high gear.
And I mean HIGH!
It was more than I could bear at that point.
I told my husband I wanted an epidural and he went to get the nurse right away.
His total support with me in this decision meant everything. Honestly, I was afraid that I ‘d look weak if I got an epidural.
For moms who openly plan to go natural, there’s such a stigma on getting an epidural. I had even told myself years ago that I would never ever get one after being traumatized in nursing school from seeing one administered firsthand.
But let me tell you, when you’ve been up for days, laboring for hours and hours, you may very well reach a point of pure exhaustion bordering insanity. I’m half joking but kinda serious because I was also dealing with PUPPP. Look it up. It’s AWFUL. That alone made me wanna get my baby out ASAP so I could have some relief.
Back to my point…I finally asked for an epidural, which I couldn’t receive for at least 40 minutes because I had to get the standard fluid bolus through my I.V. first. (So ladies, if you think you want an epidural during your labor, try your best to give the staff notice a good 45 minutes ahead of time.)
I experienced a super intense contraction during the epidural insertion, but I had to be very still to avoid paralysis.
Being extremely still while a huge needle is going into your back is hard enough.
Add an intense contraction on top of that? Whew.
We women are unstoppable goddesses.
Once the epidural was in and the medicine kicked in, I was extremely relaxed.
I didn’t feel A SINGLE THING.
At that point, the idea of natural birth went out the window and I decided that epidurals were the best invention on the planet. I had to remind myself that the main goal is to birth my baby by any means necessary.
[Another side note: I encourage any woman to go natural if that’s what you truly desire. It is possible! And I’m sure it’s very rewarding when achieved. This is just my story of what ended up happening to me, so don’t let it discourage you in any way. You have your own body and hopefully a baby that is much more eager to join this world than mine was.]
The midwife encouraged my husband and I to take a nap since we’d been up for so long.
And did we!
We knocked out for 2 hours until I was checked again.
The midwife said I was almost there, and to let her know when I felt like I had to have a bowel movement.
Another two hours later, I felt like Lena had moved down further, so I called the midwife in to assess me again.
I was right. It was go time!
At this point I was too in the zone to even show my excitement. I was in shock that it was really time to push…that I was really about to meet my little girl, but I could barely even keep my eyes open. Outside of exhaustion I believe I was in a hypnotic state at that point thanks to the hypnobirthing audio tracks I’d listened to endlessly for weeks.
I pushed with each subsequent contraction and 20 minutes later, my baby girl was born!
Then there were a few complications postpartum and I just laid there while the midwives worked to stabilize me.
Soooo yea
No hydrotherapy tub like I’d imagined
No smooth-sailing labor
That entire experience was more than I ever imagined it to be!
This may sound like a complete nightmare to you, but even as I retell my story, I have happiness in my heart about it all.
Everything I went through gave my husband and I the greatest gift we could ever imagine, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the money in the world.
Pain is only temporary and the joy you experience after you birth your miracle baby is priceless.
However your Labor and Delivery experience goes, you will look back on it fondly and smile at the thought of your precious one(s).
Be brave. Be strong. Be confident.
You got this!
Love,
Meg