Pregnancy can stress the limits of your endurance- both emotional and physical. Too often, we focus on the inconveniences and aches of pregnancy. Instead, it should — and can — be a time filled with good health, motivation, contemplation, re-evaluation and just plain fun.
Here are 15 ways to enjoy the opportunities pregnancy provides so you can really savor this special time in your life.
1. Take advantage of your status.
Never again will more people be so willing to help you. Accept that bus seat and being led to the front of the queue at the bank. Rather than feel guilty, resolve to pass the favors on to another pregnant woman later.
2. Go easy on nesting.
Setting up a nursery and shopping for a new baby can be fun, but don't let it overwhelm you. All your baby will really need is shelter, basic clothing, diapers, food and you.
3. Look your best.
Invest in a couple of special maternity outfits, including some pretty lingerie. Wear flattering colors and styles. Get beauty treatments often. Have a glamor photo.
4. Evaluate your life.
Suddenly, climbing the corporate ladder may not seem so important. Perhaps your lifestyle feels "off" now that you are bringing a child into it. Take advantage of any doubts or discontentment to do some soul-searching, and be prepared for shifts in your priorities.
5. Be queen for a day (for nine months).
Trash your to-do lists. Nap without guilt. Go to a day spa. Take extra showers. Take your shoes off and put your feet up. Sleep late and slow down on housework if need be.
6. Get motivated to live more healthy.
Sometimes we'll do things for someone else that we won't do for ourselves. You have several months to develop healthy eating habits, start a moderate exercise program, take up meditation or do whatever else makes your body a better home for both you and your baby.
7. Reconnect with your parents.
More than ever, you have something in common with your parents. Use that fact to improve communication with them as sharing the mothering experience can bring you closer together.
8. Spice up your sex life.
Pregnancy can be a very sexy time — hormones are altered, senses are heightened, concern over getting pregnant is gone. Because conventional sex may be uncomfortable, now is a great time to get creative. Experiment with novel positions, new lingerie, different lighting. You may discover "treats" you and your partner can enjoy even after the baby is born. If the sparks have dwindled, keep the embers alive with cuddles and communication; the fire will rekindle.
9. Experiment with your hair.
Changing hormones may make your hair stronger and thicker. Pregnancy can be the perfect time to grow out your hair.
10. Get information.
Arming yourself with knowledge can decrease anxiety; just don't over study, or you'll defeat the purpose. Go to childbirth and baby care classes. Ask your doctor, midwife or mother-friends to recommend a good pregnancy book. Surf the Internet for moms' chat rooms and information about pregnancy and parenting. Remember: Always double-check medical information with a reliable source.
11. Lean on your partner.
During pregnancy, the focus is on the woman, and the man often gets left out. Sometimes your partner doesn’t know how to involve himself. Bring him to your OB appointments, attend childbirth classes together. Let him pamper you, and ask for what you need, whether it's a back rub, a shoulder or a sounding board.
12. Share the joy.
Ask other women what they love about pregnancy. Talk with your doctor or midwife about the beautiful births they've attended. Avoid horror stories. If someone insists on sharing an awful experience, ask, "Would you do it again?" Often, women with the worst stories have several more babies.
13. Go courting.
Use the limited time you and your partner have to be alone together to deepen and strengthen your relationship. Go on dates. Take weekend getaways. Share your hopes and fears about parenting and how the baby will change your relationship. Pregnancy is a time when you can go quite far in a relationship
14. Try new types of exercise.
While this isn't the time to take up skating or train for a marathon, it is the time to learn firsthand what a soothing, gentle workout swimming or yoga can be. And prenatal aerobics often incorporates exercises that can assist you in labor.
15. Get off the scale.
Pregnancy isn't the time to obsess about every pound gained. Don't go overboard and gain more than your doctor recommends, but do enjoy your increased appetite. If you are gaining more weight than is desirable, standing on the scale won't help; instead, concentrate on developing healthy habits.