Pregnancy Survival Secrets from a Grand Multigravida

Doesn't that sound fancy? And once baby number seven is born I get to require that everyone refer to me as a Great Grand Multipara. So, I've got that to look forward to.

But in the meanwhile, I have to/get to be pregnant.

I've had some very easy pregnancies and some less easy pregnancies and one pretty difficult pregnancy (Frankie, obviously). But I have noticed that there are things I can do to keep some of the standard unpleasantness of pregnancy at bay.

Here my five favorite:

1. Pillows

These medieval folks are showing you how I sleep when pregnant (I do not have one of those birds, perhaps I should look into it). I never ever lay flat if I can help it. This avoids what has been a slippery slope for me in the past. When I lay flat, I get heartburn, so I take antacids, which make me constipated, so I take laxatives etc, etc. I really hate taking medications in general. By sleeping propped up on two or three pillows, I'm able to avoid all of it.

2. Girdles

By my fourth pregnancy, I started noticing a lot of general achiness.

My back would hurt, my groin muscles would hurt, my abdominal muscles would hurt. It wasn't unbearable, but it was uncomfortable and it began to affect my activity level. I saw ads for pregnancy belts, but they seemed awfully expensive, and sometimes very, very complicated. So instead, I picked up a cheap old lady girdle at Target and it changed my pregnant life. All the aching went away. I've since gotten a more modern shapewear thingy. Both work great and make a huge difference in my daily comfort.

Update: For pregnancy number eight I've been wearing this Shapewear Long Length Tank. It's similar to the Blanqui (I think, but I've never tried one) for a third the price.

3. Gummy Vitamins

Love these so much. I always have enough nausea in my first trimester (and sometimes beyond) that it makes taking a prenatal vitamin a real ordeal. And with my sixth pregnancy I absolutely couldn't keep one down. But I could keep down the kids' gummy vitamins. Enter prenatal gummy vitamins. I like how they taste and they are much easier on my stomach than traditional vitamins. Plus I don't have to worry about residual vitamin-ness coming back to make me sick later. Once I swallow these they're gone. I take the calcium too.

4. Naps

I only take naps when I'm pregnant or breastfeeding, so . . . always. It makes a huge difference in my evening productivity. If I don't get a nap I just don't have the physical or mental energy to accomplish anything after dinner. But if I get a nap, I still have the afternoon blahs, but I rally come evening. I put the baby and the toddler down for naps at the same time, and the older kids do some quiet activities on their own. I think it's a nice break for the whole household.

5. Exercise

I already discussed here why I choose to run during pregnancy. But regardless of what kind of exercise it is, it makes a big difference in my physical and mental health if I keep active while pregnant. I have found childbirth to be a very athletic event, so the last thing I want to do is let myself get out of shape before I attempt it. The one pregnancy in which I did not exercise regularly (it was my Chicago pregnancy and the weather was uncooperative) I gained more weight that was necessary (or usual) for me and had my most challenging delivery (and biggest baby at over 9 lbs). I don't plan to do that again. So now I just keep up my non-maternity exercise routine, running for as long as it's comfortable, then eventually walking during my exercise time in the mornings and also trying to walk as often as possible throughout the rest of the day.

And hey, since there just happen to be five of my favorite things listed above, I'm linking up for the first time with Hallie of Moxie Wife for Five Favorites! Head on over to see what other folks are raving about.