What do you wish you had done differently after finding out you were pregnant?

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{13 Weeks} When I got married I regretted not having documented all the preparation process — it was a huge part of the wedding and I barely have a few scattered pictures. Now that I’ve been a wife for over a year, I regret not having taken a picture “the day of” and a similar one on our anniversary, to start a tradition and hopefully end up with a bunch of photos showing us on the day of our anniversary through the years.

Now that we’ve started trying to get pregnant, I wonder what things do people regret not having done since day one — things like taking pictures, writing a diary, or even health related. Tell me: what do you wish you had done from the beginning of your pregnancy, and what are you glad you did do? — A.

Comments on What do you wish you had done differently after finding out you were pregnant?

  1. I wish I’d known I was pregnant sooner! We didn’t find out until I was 24 weeks and were leaving for Vegas in 10 days!

    Other than that, I wish we’d stuck to do a weekly picture. And collected coupons for diapers, food, formula,etc ASAP. SIgn-up for the email coupons and when ypu have an extra $20, buy diapers or wipes!

  2. 1: Do more kegels
    2: Started a real exercise regimen before getting pregnant and continuing as able through pregnancy. It’s not recommended to start a new exercise after getting pregnant but perfectly fine to continue something your body is already accustomed too.
    3: I wish I didn’t dye my hair dark out of faux concern about bleach treatments. The color ended up awful and I had to pull it out and dye it again and then, after having my daughter, I wanted my bleached blonde back and now my hair is still trying to recover from the damage. In the end I did more treatments during my pregnancy because of this than the 3 I would have had I just kept bleaching it throughout.

  3. Read Westonaprice.org. Follow the guidelines for nutrition. I was diagnosed with “Gestational Diabetes” and have totally changed the way I eat and prepare foods. It is wise to start off healthy than have to learn a better way to take care of your body mid-pregnancy. Also, if you have the time, be sure to walk everyday.

    • Please carefully consider the nutritional advice from that website. You may or may not find it reputable/evidence-based, and you might find that the risks (raw eggs, listeria from raw milk) are not worth it to you.

  4. I wish I would have taken better care of myself. I was 18 when I got pregnant for the first time, and you always hear that your body will “bounce back” quickly when you’re young, but due to depression over the unwanted pregnancy and other issues, I gained 70 lbs and did some damage to my body that has not completely gone away even though I’ve lost all the weight. I wish I would have not felt like I had to get married just because I was pregnant.

    On the plus side, by the time the baby was born I had a neat little nursery all decorated and full of clothes and diapers and blankets. It was my favorite room in that house.

  5. I wish that I had gone on a ton of dates with my husband! We stayed in a lot because I was tired, and couldn’t drink, and felt like I didn’t have any good going-out clothes. Now I wish we’d celebrated those last months when it was “just us”.

    I’m really glad that I took a childbirth class and read a lot of books. Even though my labour didn’t go “as planned” (whose does?) a lot of the fear was gone because I had educated myself and knew my choices.

  6. I’m about halfway through, and I don’t know exactly what my regrets will be yet, but I’m REALLY glad we started and stuck with the weekly belly pic, in the same place every time. It feels silly (especially at first when nothing changes) but seeing the pics add up is really neat.

  7. My twins are 8 months old now and after going back and organizing pictures I realized I don’t really have any good pictures from their first few weeks of life. Things were really hectic and we just didn’t think to take pictures.

    I also wish I start saved more money and started planning maternity leave sooner. When I got put on bedrest at 26 weeks I hadn’t saved nearly enough and I hadn’t made any plans for maternity leave yet.

  8. And on a shallower note: I wish (oh how I wish) that I’d used stretch mark cream from the moment I started to show, by the time you can see them, it’s too late. ๐Ÿ™

    • Meh. I’ve been consistently using two kinds of body butters throughout my pregnancy and I’m still getting stretch marks. I’ve read that a better way to prevent them is to exercise and maintain your muscle tone. But depending on your body type, I think they may just be inevitable for some people.

        • Yes! I wish more people knew that the stretch mark cream thing is a myth!

          Whether you get stretch marks depends on how far your belly stretches out and your skin’s elasticity (and therefore how well your skin is able to handle the stretch).

          You can’t do much about how far you stretch your skin. Your belly and breasts are going to get stretched out–a lot. BUT there are some things you can do: make sure you gain the recommended amount of weight (say, 35 pounds instead of 75), and that you gain in gradually throughout your pregnancy so your skin is able to stretch slowly. Also, maintain some exercise through pregnancy so your abdominal muscles are better able to take some stress off your skin.

          Also, skin elasticity is mainly determined by genetics, so there’s not much you can do about that, either. BUT, again, there are a few things that help a little:
          –don’t smoke
          –don’t expose your skin to sun damage
          –maintain good nutrition
          –stay well hydrated

          • You can’t control how ‘gradually’ you put on baby weight. Women tend to either naturally gain very steadily and consistently, or (like me) they don’t put on anything much if at all for the first few months, and then they suddenly put on mindblowing amounts of weight. I was +4kg for about five months and then BAM, +15kg by eight months where it has stayed steady (due next week). I ate most (and most badly!) at the stages where I gained the least weight.

        • Yes exactly! Stretch marks all depend upon your genetics and how you treated your body prior.

          Oils and creams will not prevent them, but obviously you want to avoid ALL products that contain parabens, glycols, formaldehydes, and sulfates even when you aren’t Prego because they are carcinogens and preservatives used as fillers in products from places like Bath & BodyWorks, Victorias Secret, and pretty much everything out there on the store shelves. If it doesn’t have a shelf life, it doesn’t belong on your skin. Your skin doesn’t have it’s own filtering system, so everything you put on it gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream. But there are plenty of All-Natural products out there. I am several weeks along and have committed to only use Lemongrass, since everything is handmade with no harmful chemicals. Stretch marks be damned, they’ll be my war wounds! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just taking care of my skin and preventing any bad stuff from reaching my baby ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Yes! It would actually be kind of scary if there was a cream that could sink into the dermal layer to drastically affect your skin…
        It does feel nice to rub nice oils and butters on the belly though!

      • i’ve read that stretch marks are purely genetic, and no creams or techniques will help. i say this as a tiny person who gained 80 lbs and not a stretch mark in sight — none on my mom, grandma, or aunts either.

    • The best way to prevent stretch marks is to drink LOTS of water to keep your skin hydrated. Think of how an old, dried out rubber band cracks when it stretches…
      I know those 10 extra trips to the bathroom are a pain in the ass, but as a petite woman with a GIANT baby, I drank tons of water and I don’t have a single stretch mark from my pregnancy. Skip the creams, save your money, and stay hydrated. It’s better for baby, too!

      • While staying hydrated is always a good decision, from what I understand about stretch marks, the biggest determining factor is just genetics. If your mother got stretch marks, it’s likely you will too… regardless of hydration.

        And now I’m done derailing this thread with stretch mark talk! Back to the advice!

        • One more minor derailment on this thread- the presence of stretch marks also has to do with the condition of the abdominl muscles beneath and how toned they are at the time of pregnancy/birth (more toned= less marks and vice versa). But this is one of the many factors, as listed above- hydration, genetics, etc.

        • I think I somehow was the exception to all of those rules about stretch marks. I checked with my Mom, and neither my Mother nor either of my Grandmothers had stretchmarks a day in their lives. And both of my Grandmother’s were large women. Me however, I look like someone took a cheese grater to my stomach, hips and thighs. I did everything I could think of during my first pregnancy. from drinking 100oz of water a day to moisturizing my body 2-3x a day. sometimes, i think they’re no reasoning you’re just F*cked.

          • Ali, did you ask your paternal family about THEIR stretch marks? Your dad’s mother, or any aunts on his side? When it comes to genetics, just because your mom is the one who got pregnant doesn’t mean she’s the one who’s skin elasticity you inherited.

      • While drinking water is always a good idea, it will not prevent stretch marks. They are genetic. I started getting mine at 3 weeks – I didn’t even know I was pregnant yet!

        But of course, it’s always good to remind people to drink their water! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Things I wish I’d done: Set aside money for maternity clothes (and other things). Come up with a more creative way to tell my parents. Start searching for a pediatrician, daycare, doula, and birthing class sooner.

    Things I’m glad I did: Started doing research about pregnancy and birth options before we conceived. Kept a blog to record my feelings and progress. Saved up vacation time for my maternity leave.

  10. I wish that I had bonded with my daughter when I was pregnant! It was my first ever pregnancy and I spent the entire time terrified I would have a miscarriage or she wouldn’t be healthy or that I wouldn’t be able to handle being a mom.

    I look back and realize how ridiculous it all was and how I missed out on such an amazing time in both of our lives. I had a perfect pregnancy, and an easy labor, yet I spent the entire time thinking I wouldn’t.

    The thing is, even if it had been hard or she hadn’t been healthy, I wouldn’t have loved her any less than I do now. I was just so caught up in “what ifs’ that I was scared to bond with her out of irrational fears and I kind of feel like I missed out on that time with her.

    I’m making up for it now though! <3

    • My fear of bonding with a baby who might not be led to me becoming emotionally distant in general – and putting a serious strain on my relationship with my boyfriend. Luckily, we all got through it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes! I worried so much in the beginning about having a healthy, happy baby. When I found out he may have kidney problems I had to decide if I was going to just worry all the time or go with it. I went with it and enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy as much as I could. He was not born healthy but of course I don’t love hime any less! He is perfectly happy with just one kidney (especially after his heart surgery) ๐Ÿ™‚ But my point is that I am so glad I finally decided to just let go of that control that I never really had.

  11. I wish I had more belly pics! I do have a few of when I had mehndi done, and a couple others, but I was too crabby and tired to care about any cute and fun stuff.

  12. I wish I would have taken more pictures of me and my husband while I was pregnant. We were living apart for the whole pregnancy up to the last 3 weeks before my daughter was born. He saw me when I was 3months, 7months, then 9 months pregnant and we literally have like 3 pictures of us during the whole thing.

    Also, I wish I would have invested more in comfy clothes that were not necessarily maternity clothes but just larger sizes. It really helps when pregnant and after the birth to feel like you at least look a little nice because you mostly feel like shit and are really tired. The least you can do for yourself is to feel comfy:)

    Most importantly, enjoy it as much as possible! It really does fly by:)

  13. I wish I had taken the time to jot little notes down on a weekly calendar as to what happened when – kind of like a diary, but easier. It would have been a nice memory.

  14. relaxed. i was so nervous because I’d had a previous miscarriage. I was aware of every single twinge, movement, non-movement. everything. it was nerve-wracking. I’m glad I documented my growing belly and did a cast.

  15. I wish I had excercised more and snacked less during my first pregnancy. I felt really insecure after my daughter was born and it took me quite a while to find my Hot Mom/Wife Mojo.

    I really made up for it during my second pregnancy, exercised like a mad(wo)man! And although I gained even more weight during this pregnancy, after my delivery I was back on my feet in no time. My second delivery was easy peasy (ok, it was a water birth) and I think I owe that at least partly to my excellent condition. They say a delivery is like running a marathon ๐Ÿ™‚

    And the naps, wish I took more naps the first time. I napped like crazy during my second pregnancy. One only learns to appreciate sleep after having children, I guess ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. I really can’t think of anything I would’ve done differently. I blogged through the whole thing and love looking back on those posts with the weekly pics – even with the evidence it’s hard to believe how big I was.

    I took a lot of vacation days from work near the end to just relax and get things ready, and my husband and I went out constantly (as we did before I was pregnant.)

    The one thing I’d recommend that I didn’t plan but would’ve REALLY regretted if I didn’t have – take tons of pictures and video during and after the birth. (Our doula took them unprompted.) Assign someone to do this, it’s so surreal I never would’ve remembered the details.

  17. Our obstetrics nurse took pics during the delivery (Dutch system, just a midwife and a nurse). We didn’t plan them (I learned that you can’t really plan a delivery, only direct it a little) but, it’s wonderful to have them.
    She said:”If you don’t want them you can just delete them”. Sensible woman ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes that is so true! I was dead set against any videotaping/pictures. My brother recorded by holding the video camera over the curtain, because he didn’t want to see, but he knew I would want to later. There are the most hilarious clips of my brother’s face, his eyes all wide and panicked, with me screaming in the background. Haha!

  18. Tried to stress out less (although that was extremely difficult, lots of stuff going on at the time), and gone on anti-depressants way, way earlier, when I first thought I was depressed, instead of waiting and waiting because I was nervous about the effects on the baby.

  19. The excercise thing. I did pilates every morning before I got pregnant, and a friend told me his wife’s doctor told her not to excercise pregnant. By the time I talked to my doctor and got straightened around, the heartburn and morning sickness had set in and I never got back into my groove.
    Other than that I wish I hadn’t made major life decisions while pregnant, Like moving from the city to the outskirts of our tiny hometown.

  20. Like Lotus above, I wish I had paused to ENJOY my pregnancy and just chill a little. I had also had a previous miscarriage and had a lot of anxiety through my next pregnancy. I was totally focused on doing everything right, eating right, staying fit, preparing, blogging, photographing, but when it was all over I felt like I had forgotten to just revel in it!

    I’m pregnant with my second child now but with a toddler in the house there isn’t much time or opportunity for reveling. ๐Ÿ™‚ Only in hindsight can I see what a lovely, peaceful time it was being pregnant with my son.

  21. next time around, iยดll
    1. start swimming earlier. the minute i started going once a week, my back pain was gone.
    2. take two weeks of holiday with just me and baby inside. i did one week last time and it was soo good but too short.
    3. do that regular diary thing, and try to continue it, once baby is here… just a sentence or two per day…
    4. start to see a midwife waaaay earlier. the midwife-appointments we had were so joyful and relaxed… (writing from germany, where the law states that a midwife must be present at every birth. a doctor not…)

  22. I wish I had taken a weekly picture. I really loved my big belly (until about the last month) and miss rubbing it sometimes :). We had planned to take a belly pic before leaving for the hospital, but by the time I went in, it was 2am and I was REALLY uncomfortable and exhausted, so it didn’t happen.

    A woman at the local baby store suggested a plaster cast kit but I pooh-poohed the idea as “not me.” Now I kind of wish I had done it, if only to put it on and remember how big I got at the end!

    I second the commenter who said take more pictures the first few weeks! My son is 4 months old and we have some pictures, but he’s grown SO much that it would be nice to have a few more from when he was tiny. We have a nice video of the day we brought him home and introducing him to our dogs that I love and I’m glad my husband had his wits about him to do that!

    The other thing I wish I had done was a little more reading/research on Caesarians. I planned a vaginal birth and our birthing class covered them, but when I had to have one unexpectedly, I had no idea what the surgery and post-op meds would mean for early bonding and breastfeeding (hint: they make it harder). By not allowing myself to think this might be a possibility, I made some uninformed choices around this that wound up really complicating breastfeeding for us for the first few weeks.

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