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How to prepare for a baby

pregnancy is a beautiful thing, right? it really is a miracle how we grow a tiny human inside our bellies. i think it’s great, and i am very thankful that i was given the opportunity to experience it. however, that is not to say that pregnancy doesn’t come with it’s aches, pains, and downfalls. i really would say that i was lucky enough to have a pretty easy pregnancy. besides a little sickness in the beginning and at the very end, i felt pretty good throughout my pregnancy. i will say though, there were definitely a few things that made it much better. i’m not a doctor, and i can’t say that these things will work for everyone, but i found them to work for me, so i figured i might as well share.

lavender oil – i used this daily. it is great for relaxing, aches, restless legs, and insomnia. i took a bath with about 8 drops of lavender oil about 3 times a week, or just on days that i was really aching, and then every night i would mix some oil into my lotion or coconut oil and rub it on my feet and legs. it was a great way to relax at the end of the day. [if you really struggle with restless legs, add some lavender oil to your lotion and rub it directly on your legs every night]

compression socks – least attractive, most beneficial. varicose veins run in my family, so i did everything i could to prevent them. those socks do the trick. also, they helped tremendously with swelling. i started to notice my legs, especially my ankles, feeling heavy at the end of the day, and after i started wearing them, my legs didn’t bother me at all. the restlessness and cramping in my legs went down considerably as well. they are great for long car rides, or even when you sleep. get over the fashion aspect of it and get yourself a pair, you won’t regret it.

[these are the ones i have:] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A33G94/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1}

walking/exercise – not only does moving your body help reduce water retention (swelling), but more than anything i’d say it helps your spirit and self esteem. it’s easy when you’re gaining pounds each week to just feel fat and forget the reason you are ganging all that weight. people can tell you all day long that it’s beautiful because you’re growing a baby, and that is very true, but it still doesn’t change the fact that your boobs are 2 times bigger than normal, and all your shirts you used to look so cute in now show your outy belly button. not so cute. just getting out there and knowing you are exercising makes a huge difference. i felt so much better about myself the days that i worked out, even if that did look very different than it did before i was pregnant. i aimed to walk about 4-5 times a week, even if it was only for a mile or so. i also did leg and arm exercises about every day. i promise, start doing these things and you will feel so much better about yourself, and maybe you’ll even be able to see that cute pregnant lady everyone else seems to see.

cocoa butter – every day, without fail i lathered this on my belly. from day 1 really. there is no way to prevent stretch marks, some people are just more prone to them than others, but the dryer your skin is, the more likely you are to get them. i can say that i didn’t end up with any. i like to think it was due to the religious lotioning, but who knows really.

[a few other things i’ve heard that help prevent stretch marks are staying out of the sun (bare belly), vitamin c, and lots of water]

red raspberry leaf tea – [ask your doctor before using this] when i was about 38 weeks, my midwife told me to start drinking 2-3 cups of organic red raspberry leaf tea every day. she informed me that it would help my uterus to work more effectively, therefore, when i started to have contractions, they would be stronger, better, and make the labor process quicker. all in theory of course. i drank that tea like it was my job, and sure enough, my uterus worked like a champ. is it because of the tea? who really knows, but if it helped even the slightest bit, then it was well worth it.

[i steeped mine and served it over ice with a small spoonful of raw sugar]

ice cream – i’m serious. sometimes you just need a little treat at the end of the day (or even at the beginning). you’re body is doing serious work, so cut yourself some slack. plus, we can always justify it since our bodies need so much more calcium when we are pregnant and breastfeeding.

[chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream was a staple in our home those 9 months…. and maybe a few after too]

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