These Are a Few of My Favorite Pregnancy Things…

39 weeks is here! Wow…the time sure has flown by, and it’s kind of crazy to think that in a matter of days-not just weeks-we will be meeting our baby girl! We met with our midwife earlier in the week, and she estimated that she was about 6 pounds. And she said we can expect for her to continue gaining about 1/2 a pound a week until she’s born. My midwife also checked her position and confirmed that she was head down and her heart rate was good. After our visit with her, it seemed like Avery continued to drop even lower into my pelvis, as you can see from the pictures, and my body has definitely starting to warm up for labour.

39 Weeks

Being a first-time mom, I have no idea what contractions feel like, but I’m starting to get an idea. Braxton-Hicks contractions, or “pre-labour warm-ups”, as Hypnobirthing calls them, seem to have begun this week…if they hadn’t already. Mine tend to vary in length and strength and seem to feel like a combination of the following things: uterus (from the pubic bone all the way up to my chest) gets really hard, very light menstrual cramps, some tightness in my lower back, and sometimes even a pinching-type feeling in my cervical area. I tend to experience these pre-labour warm-ups most often in the late afternoon, evening, and before bed, which always leaves me wondering, “Will tonight be the night?” But then I go to bed and wake up the next morning and think, “Guess it wasn’t time yet!” I know she’ll come out when she’s good and ready, and until then, my uterus and body are getting a nice pre-labour workout, so we can really rock it when true labour begins!

Can you say, “Dropped?!”

This leads me to the question I’ve been getting all week, “So now when is your baby due?” or as the preschoolers in my classroom say, “Your tummy is getting real big…when dat Baby Avery gonna come out of there?” The due date given to me by the midwife is April 9th, which is based on a 28-day menstrual cycle, but my cycles were typically 31 days, which puts me about April 12th. Another possible due date is the one given to us when we had the diagnostic ultrasound done at 20 weeks to find out her gender, and they said April 14th. So, as you can see, I have somewhat of a range: April 9th-14th. I like this window because it keeps me from getting fixated on one certain day and thinking something is wrong if that day goes by and she is not born. I know she will come when she is good and ready, and if that doesn’t fall exactly on the day we predicted, I am totally okay with it! I know some babies come early, and others come late, so as long as I continue to feel as good as I do now, I’m perfectly content to wait for her to decide when she’s ready to come out!

When are you coming out, Avery?

Moving on to more pregnancy topics (sorry, greenies), I’ve had fun checking out other blogs throughout my pregnancy of women who have been pregnant and are now raising their babies. One thing I love is when they post about their “Favorite” or “Must-Have” Newborn Items, mainly because I feel clueless sometimes as to what we need for our baby girl, and their lists have helped me formulate my baby registry and shopping lists. Now since Avery is not here yet, I have no idea what my favourite or must-have items will be for taking care of her, but I do have some experience in being pregnant…about 280 some days to be exact, so I feel a little bit more qualified to tell you about some of my “Favorite Pregnancy Items” or as the song goes, “These are a few of my favourite (pregnancy) things…”!

So if you’re thinking about getting pregnant, currently are pregnant, or have ever been pregnant, take a look at my list of “Favorite Pregnancy Things” and see if there’s anything you can relate to, think you would like, or can remember enjoying during those special 9 months.

Let the “Favorites List” begin…

1. Pillows- So when you’re pregnant, it’s key to be comfortable, and the best thing I’ve found to help me with that is to have a wide variety of pillows available for me to use not only when I’m sleeping but when I’m sitting in chairs, or even on the couch. I was just a few months in when I started putting a pillow between my legs when I slept just to ease my hip muscles. Since then, more pillows have been added, and I’m up to using about 4-5 small ones each night…not to mention the two that are already under my head! Now I know there are “pregnancy pillows” out there, but I liked having the freedom to move, rotate, and change these pillows around instead of being stuck with one shape. Plus, by using what I had, it was one less thing I had to buy, which was nice.

My 6 pillows and I at 35 Weeks

2. Exercise ball- Oh sweet exercise ball, what would I do without you? I think it was around 30 weeks or so when my belly really started to grow that I started to get very uncomfortable sitting in traditional chairs for long periods of time, such as when I would blog or sit at my desk at school. So, I began to experiment with sitting on an exercise ball when I was at home and boy, did it make a difference. It wasn’t long before I bought one to keep in my classroom as well, and I’m so glad I did. You might think…a big, red exercise ball in a preschool class, how’s that going to go over? But, after a discussion of why I need it (“Baby Avery keeps growing and it hurts my back to sit in my old chair”) and what the “good ideas and bad ideas” would be with it, my students have done awesome and haven’t tried to play with it once! It probably helps that we call it “My Sitting Ball”, too.

Getting ready on the ball.

Blogging on the ball.

At work on the ball.

Aside from easing back pain, it probably feels better for Baby Avery. It works my core (as if my abs are my top priority right now!) and helps me have good posture. I highly recommend you get one if you are pregnant…and maybe two! You can find them at Wal-Mart or Target for $10-15. I actually plan on continuing to use both exercise balls even after I’m pregnant, just because of how much better they make my back feel! Here’s an interesting article that gives even more reasons why it’s beneficial to use an exercise ball as your office chair…my favourite reason: it could help you burn up to 350 calories a day just by sitting on it- a bit of a stretch, but still-wow!
3. Heating Pad and Pack- As you know, I’m an all-natural girl, and I will try every natural alternative or remedy before putting a drop of medicine in my body. Since I’ve been pregnant, this drive to stay natural has only increased because not only do I want to avoid having those toxic pharmaceutical drugs in my body, but I don’t want them in Baby Avery either. But, as my pregnancy went on, there were definitely times when I felt some mild discomforts like backaches, headaches, sinus pressure, or just muscle soreness. What was my answer to these ails? Ibuprofen? Tylenol? Nope…a heat pack! I alternated a lot between our electric heating pad and a hot/cold pack to relieve any discomforts that came up. I posted a bit about this topic back here during week 17 if you’re interested. Now, although these weren’t cure-alls, they did help ease some of the pain I was feeling, and I liked knowing that they were natural, non-invasive, and would have nothing but a positive effect on the little one growing inside my belly. On top of their ease of use (plugging in or microwaving), they were also easy on the wallet!

4. Going to the chiropractor– While on the topic of pregnancy discomforts, one of my favourite ways to prevent these from happening was to keep up with regular adjustments with my chiropractor. I used to go once every two weeks, but around 32-34 weeks or so, I started going weekly. Some weeks I can tell I need to be adjusted more than others, and there are even others where I have a specific ache or soreness that I want her to help me with, but making my adjustments routine has really seemed to help me have a more enjoyable pregnancy. There are also benefits related to labour prep and making sure the baby is in its correct position, which you can read about here on my chiropractor’s website. I can’t wait until I can start taking Baby Avery to the chiropractor as well. My chiropractor does special adjustments on babies and children, and it can have dramatic effects in preventing ear infections and other newborn ailments…I’ll blog more about this when we try it out!

5. Prenatal Yoga- I’ve posted about the benefits of yoga during pregnancy before, but I really just can’t say enough good things about it! Sometimes it seems like my body gets so tight and stiff from being pregnant, and the only way I can ease this pain is with a good prenatal yoga workout. In fact, I feel like my prenatal yoga workouts have helped me to steer clear of developing many pregnancy ailments, so you can bet that I’m going to keep them going all the way up until the very end. Check out this post for more details on my favourite yoga DVDs and workouts, which you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Prenatal Yoga at 30 Weeks

6. Fragrance-free skincare items-

Buddha showing off my favourite “baby-friendly” personal care products.

As you can see on my “Green Body” page, I’m pretty diligent about keeping toxins out of my personal care products, and during my pregnancy, you can imagine that I’ve stuck to this even more. On top of this, I have sensitive skin, and I wanted to use things that I knew would be safe to be around Baby Avery once she’s born. So here are my favourites…

Body Wash: Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap in “Baby Mild” (I fill 1/2 to about 3/4 of a bottle with this soap and fill the rest with water, and you have your own body wash!)
Laundry Detergent: ECOS Free and Clear Laundry Detergent (I don’t want any perfumes or dyes rubbing off from my clothes onto my skin)
Lotion: Desert Essences Fragrance-Free Hand and Body Lotion (use this twice a day and haven’t seen a single stretchmark)
Shave Gel: Dr Bronner’s Shaving Soap Gel in “Baby Unscented”
I love that all of these green personal care products are not only healthy for my skin but they could also be used with Baby Avery as well, give them a try!

8. Pregnancy Apps-
The first App I got when I found out I was pregnant was the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Pregnancy Tracker App”. It was free, and although I loved this main page which told me the food size for the week and a nice little countdown, I struggled with the “expect the worst” perspective it offered on pregnancy. Each week I’d be excited to see what was in store for me, and I would be hit with, “This week you may experience restless leg syndrome, or hypertension, or haemorrhoids, or coping with swelling, etc.” Now, even though all these conditions and discomforts are great to be aware of, it’s not exactly the most fun thing to read about because then you go about expecting them to happen! So I usually skipped over the “Your Body This Week” section and moved on to what exciting things were happening with my baby’s development.

Another free App I used throughout my pregnancy was the “Baby Center: My Pregnancy Today Mobile App”. This one had better visuals, seemed to be more positive, and even had videos (my favourite part!). What I liked about using these Apps was that they helped teach Brandon and I what was going on with our baby girl’s development. Every Saturday, our info would change, so that morning, we’d lay in bed, and I’d read it out from my iPod. The most fun part was finding out what size food she was going to be for that week. Truly, these Apps were so much easier than referencing some pregnancy book and reading what was going on for that particular week. If you’re pregnant, I highly recommend you try them out!

Well, I hope you liked my “Favorite Pregnancy Things” List. Now since all pregnant mamas are different, please feel free to post some of your favourite items below and even though I probably won’t get a chance to try out your item, since my pregnancy is almost done, maybe someone else could benefit from hearing about it! Be sure to keep checking back throughout the week to see if there’s been any action on the “labour front” or if our baby girl has arrived! What an exciting week (or two) it will be…

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