With each week of pregnancy comes new decisions and advice from friends, family, and sometimes strangers. Most are given with good intentions but can often add frustration and anxiety to an already overwhelming stage of life. Odds are you have been on the receiving as well as giving side of various recommendations, stories, and shared experiences. Make the most of the valuable information you have by keeping these tips in mind.
1. Encourage Healthy Food Choices
Pregnancy brings renewed commitments to healthier eating choices. At home, you’re piling on the greens and grilled chicken, but others constantly push desserts and extra helpings innocently claiming to “feed the baby.” Most pregnant women only need about an extra 330 calories in the second trimester and 450 in the third. Promoting a ‘get out of jail free card’ mentality can be harmful to new mothers and promote excess weight gain. This can lead to increased risk of birth complications and make it more difficult to lose weight after the baby is born. Affirm and encourage healthy choices for Mom, she needs it! If you are truly concerned about your friend’s eating habits, ask permission to talk about it. Passive public comments tend to create feelings of frustration, guilt, and defeat.
2. Promote Activity
Exercise offers a variety of benefits for expecting mothers: reduces back aches, fights constipation, better sleep, and overall strength. Some experience easier delivery (if there is such a thing), speedier recovery and better mood. Of course, expecting mothers should always talk to their doctors about an exercise routine that is safe for them. Most women can continue with their regular routine and engage in consistent moderate exercise. Some feel pressure from others to reduce activity levels and avoid things like fitness classes, running, and weightlifting. If you are worried about a loved one’s activities during pregnancy, consider asking questions instead of stating comments.
“What does the doctor say about exercise for you during pregnancy?”
“That’s great that you are exercising! Do you also feel like you get the rest you need?”
“How do you feel about your current activity level?”
Sometimes getting the motivation to exercise when you are pregnant is challenging, consider going the extra mile and join her for a walk and bike ride.
3. Don’t Bash Their Doctor
Many women spend a lot of time, energy, and emotion into finding the right doctor. Negative comments that degrade or conflict with doctor’s advice can lead to a very discouraged mom and could cause her to lose faith in her physician. Trust and security with the medical team is vital during pregnancy. If you have concern about your friend’s medical care, consider questions like these.
“How do feel about the advice your doctor gave you?”
“I had a different experience with my doctor, can I share it with you?”
“I’m concerned about your doctor’s advice; can we talk about it?”
4. Support Different Decisions
Pregnancy brings a whirlwind of emotions, changes, tough choices, and probably a few tears. In casual conversations, women are often quick to pass judgment on a new mother’s decisions, over without even realizing they are doing so. Even with good intentions, quickly offering an opposing view can be disheartening to the expecting mom. Whether it is breastfeeding, diapering, sleep schedule or essentials oils; the paths to caring for a newborn are endless. You would think after all these years we would have it all figured out! Your experiences and input are important to new moms. Consider asking permission first before sharing your advice and show interest in your friend’s decision.
“I really saw some big benefits to nursing my son, can I share some things with you that helped me? “
“I don’t know much about midwives, can you tell me more about it?”