My Pregnancy Survival Guide

April 16, 2009


I thought it was time for a pregnancy bump reveal. There’s a little boy in there!  We are so excited and can’t believe we only have 5.5 weeks to go.

When I first got pregnant I was overwhelmed by how little “good” or “common sense” information about pregnancy was available on the internet (or in books for that matter).  Now that I’ve got 8.5 months of pregnancy under my belt (literally!) I thought I’d share my common sense survival guide to pregnancy. Of course this is in no way medical advice and you should always discuss your medical condition with your doctor.

Books and Websites


You’ll find really quickly that most books and websites have an agenda (pro-natural childbirth, pro-epidural etc etc etc). From The Hips in particular does a great job of not having an agenda and educating you about all your options (with pros and cons of each). The authors also have a nice voice.  I particularly liked the Perfect Hormone Balance book’s common sense approach to handling the inconveniences of pregnancy that many doctors will just tell you to “endure” like morning sickness and mood swings.  I think it should be handed out with every positive pregnancy test.  It’s that good.  I found that is one of the better baby/pregnancy websites.



If I could only give one piece of advice to other pregnant women it would be: stay hydrated. So simple and so overlooked.  I drink about 2.5 liters of water a day.  Low fat mozzarella string cheese really helped with my morning sickness.  Coconut water is a natural gatorade and helped me stay hydrated and avoid leg cramps (it has as much potassium as three bananas!)



Everyone’s belly grows at different rates and in different ways so that only real advice I can give you is shop around and don’t spend too much on anything (since you seriously might outgrow it in a week). I bought a pair of expensive Juicy Couture corduroys and only wore them for a month.  A total waste of money. I also had two separate breakdowns in maternity stores — I’d suggest going with a pregnant friend or your mom.  The changes in your body can be really overwhelming and it seems impossible at first to figure out how to still feel like yourself.

What worked for me (a petite woman with wide hips and a huge bust): I was actually happiest when I adapted my pre-pregnancy clothes. I have lived in my Beyond Yoga pants and loved layering cardigans with J Crew tank tops (size medium and size large) — this  took me through the 8th month of pregnancy. When my bump got too big, I switched to Pea in the Pod maternity tee shirts (that were WAY too big for the first two trimesters).  I also lived in Micheal Star cowl necks through the entire winter (and I might even be able to wear them post pregnancy).  When I had to be dressed up for work or social stuff, I found that dresses from Talbots and Club Monaco two sizes larger than my normal size were MUCH better than anything “maternity”.


I found a chunky necklace or two made me feel more pulled together and less self conscious about my new (HUGE) bust.  Oh and if your boobs get huge (not everyone’s do), go get fitted for new bras ASAP at someplace like Intimacy.  This is probably were I spent the most money on pregnancy clothes and it was worth every penny.  They will also take most maternity bras and turn them into nursing bras. Target has a great maternity line that is really affordable and I also found that their plus size line worked well too (and in most stores they are close together so that makes shopping easy).   I basically live in sneakers and clogs these days (I really really miss all my nice shoes….).

General Advice

Every woman has a different experience being pregnant — which can be harder than you’d think and was a real shock to me. I naively thought that since all babies need roughly 10 months in the womb that the experience would be a series of identical milestones (ohhh how wrong I was!).   I didn’t suffer from constipation (see water!) or back spasms or morning sickness (see string cheese!) or Braxton Hicks (see water again!) or food aversions.  But, I did suffer from vertigo and major major fatigue. My second trimester was the hardest three months of my life to date yet everyone around me said that their second trimesters were a breeze. It was scary at first that my friends and my mother hadn’t suffered from these things and that I wasn’t suffering from the things they had.

Also, it surprised me how hard women are on other women. Women seem to get very judgmental/self righteous/defensive/ competitive about labor choices and the use of formula, and on and on.  Forewarned is forearmed.  I learned to keep my mouth shut pretty quickly and tune out people who had an axe to grind on both ends of the spectrum. I have friends who’ve had every experience possible, from home births to scheduled cesareans, from full time nannys to attachment parenting.    My take: as women we should be glad we live in an age were we can become educated about our choices and make a choice as to how our baby comes into the world and what their first years are like.  This wasn’t possible for our mothers’ generation.

What would Miss Manners Say: When someone says they are pregnant, the ONLY response is “you are going to be great parents.”  When someone tells you the sex of their child the best response is “it must be so nice to know!”  — otherwise you risk sounding like you think one sex is better than another.  I found that when I told people I was having a boy, they acted like having a boy was the equivalent of winning the pregnancy lottery.  Which got my back up.  Also, never comment on the size of a woman’s bump (“you look great” is a good go-to if you feel you need to comment) or assume if it is large that she is about to deliver (the security guards where I work act as if I’m about to go into labor — every day for the last two months).

Pregnancy isn’t easy (although it is pretty amazing to have another life inside you) and I hope this offers some practical resources for navigating your own pregnancy!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara Smith May 19, 2009 at 12:40 pm

excellent post. power to the people. power to the women. power to you!

Ingrid Wiese June 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm

I just found this post and I cried reading it. Most of my friends are younger than me and ask to be moved when a baby cries in the restaurant. I couldn’t feel more alone right now and your post was so true and so comforting to read.

Thank you!

TeenDad August 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm

I’m now 19 and experiencing being a dad. I must say although it feels good it’s still hard. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but to be honest, the hard part is having to balance time. My daughter is great and makes managing her never dreadful. -Teen dad

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Cate September 15, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! I think this may be my all-time favorite post ever! I am not pregnant, (or even trying quite yet) but my husband and I plan to start in the next couple of years. However, we have 2 pregnant friends, 1 new-mom friend, and another trying, and their driving me nuts. Three of them are adamant home-birth people. Now that may be a the right birth plan for them, but I know it’s not right for everyone. Lately, the ring-leader has become something of a bully. Every time I hang out with her, I feel like she’s channeling It’s not that I don’t think she has the right to her own choices, but I’m a librarian, and the lack of credible information on that and other like-minded websites drives me bonkers. The other day, she started drilling into another (non-pregnant, not even considering pregnancy yet) friend about the safety of VBACs… we don’t even know anyone who has had a c-section. When I tried to say, “it’s really a case-by-case sort of thing,” she said “That’s what the health insurance companies want you to believe.” This same friend is having a really easy pregnancy, and she’s acting as if this is confirmation that she’s winning the pregnancy olympics. when she met my sister recently, who had a really difficult pregnancy (after 2 miscarriages), and eventually elected to have a c-section, she actually said “my midwife would never put me in that position.”

And the topper: When I said that my husband and I aren’t quite ready, she said, “Well you better get ready, cause you and all our other ‘waiters’ are going to age out of motherhood.” (I’m 30, btw there is still time) Yes that’s right there’s a name for people like me: I’m a “waiter”.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I guess I had a lot stored up. Thanks again for the refreshing level-headed! I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear/read this. You look awesome! Good luck!

Liz December 20, 2009 at 8:05 am

So glad to find your blog! We have just started trying and i was actually letting myself be affected by all the comments that people make- so called advice-you are so right that all anyone should say is you are going to be great parents (which only one person has said so far!! i will try not to take that personally i guess)- i am very sensitive normally and now forget about it-everything makes me cry. i needed to read this. you must have had the babes already-hope you are well !!!

Jo May 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm

you rock. thanks for this.

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Stephanie April 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Spot on!

This was your first blog post I read, and as soon as I saw your security guards comment, I knew you must work at a museum of some sort. The exact same thing happened to me at work, months before my due date. What gives?!

I look forward to checking out more of your blog. Cheers, and good luck with the final countdown. Parenthood is way more fun than I could ever imagine.

Kiana April 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Hi! I´m pregnant with my first baby too. I had a totally different experience when I told my family that I´m having a boy. A few family members couldn´t hide their disappointment and it really hurt me. It made me feel like they won´t like my child as much as if he were a girl and it sucks to feel that way because my husband and I are both really excited. It takes awhile to move on from feeling hurt about and my husband constantly reminds me that what matters is what we want and other people will come around.

Melissa@Julia's Bookbag April 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm

CONGRATS Abbey!!! SO happy for you! What a fabulous, useful and fun post about pregnancy — wish I had seen something like this when I was preggo with my daughter — buying clothes a couple of sizes bigger rather than maternity clothes is particularly brilliant!

Nataliya April 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I like your tip “keep your mouth shut”. I completely agree. Having gone through pregnancy once, this is definitely something I’ve taken away myself for next time around! Smile and nod, smile and nod 🙂

liz April 10, 2012 at 12:00 am

Great tips! Thanks for sharing, I plan to post a link on my pregnancy fashion blog later today!
Thanks again

Amy P April 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for the reminders to be polite! I’ve only had one daughter (so far), but it is SO tempting to ‘help’ other women with tips and advice. I do truly want to help, since I’ve done a lot of research from all different sides and would like to save others time, and I try not to be biased in my delivery towards one position or another (honestly, I don’t care what people do for the most part), but it really is best to just shut up unless asked.

I like what you said about the fact that we should just be happy that we are in an era where we are free to choose from multiple different ways of gestating, labouring and parenting. No need to push our own choices on others; just be thankful that we have choices.

And I’ll definitely try coconut water next time – I had pretty good ‘morning’ (ha) sickness last time and oranges & orange juice were my go-to. Refreshing and sour! I also did the cheese sticks, and found that yogurt and chicken noodle soup were okay, but not much else. Strange that we can get away with such unbalanced diets in the first trimester and still have healthy babies!

Cayce April 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Great Post. You definitely hit all the high notes for a brief and informative pregnancy guide. Hydration has been sooo important during my pregnancy as well. I am currently 1.5 days overdue and anxious to meet this Miss Priss 🙂 Good luck with your remaining weeks! You look fantastic

Elizabeth April 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Awesome post! I totally agree with you on the way many people react to finding out I’m having a boy. When I say I would have been happy either way, I MEAN it… what is this, the Dark Ages?

Also, keeping your mouth shut can be hard sometimes, but I’ve learned it is the best way to communicate (nobody likes an opinionated know-it-all!). We DO have so many choices as parents today and why should one person feel bad about the one they’ve come to on their own?

Amanda April 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

These are helpful tips. My husband and I are trying to conceive, so I hope to use your advice soon. 🙂

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