- Trust yourself (and your nose!). Evolution is a pretty amazing thing, and your body naturally adjusts to protect a baby. My body, for examples, was very averse to drinking alcohol and coffee the first several months of pregnancy. Being a wine and coffee lover, I was concerned about how I would live without my vices. My body, however, took away any temptation. Another interesting thing is that your sense of smell is extremely sensitive in order to protect you from hazards to your baby. I forgot that painting while pregnant was potentially dangerous, but when I opened a paint can and smelled the concentrated fumes, I realized it probably wasn't a good idea. I've also avoided foods that were potentially past due because of my new-found sensitivity.
- Don't try to look pregnant in three months. It's so anticlimactic the first several months of pregnancy because we want to look like cute pregnant women immediately if not sooner. Since average-sized women are only supposed to gain 25-35 pounds in the entire pregnancy, the first trimester only gets a pound or two. At that rate, many women don't look obviously pregnant until around 24 weeks. I've finally gone from looking chubby to pregnant at 22 weeks, and it may be slightly longer until I look clearly pregnant. I was surprised to find out pregnant women are only supposed to add 300 extra calories to their daily diet.
- Make your own decisions about what to eat. One of the recommendations about what not to eat during pregnancy includes soft cheeses and lunch meats, both to avoid possible food poisoning. The recommendation is actually to avoid unpasteurized cheeses (if you're not used to them), but nearly all cheese in the US is pasteurized. With lunch meat, it's good to avoid preservative-laden packaged meat that could sit on shelves forever, but deli meat is probably fine. The conventional wisdom is also to avoid coffee, but studies have shown that one serving of caffeine is fine. Instead of being obsessive about avoiding foods during pregnancy, I have kept soft cheeses, fresh deli meats, and small amounts of coffee in my diet. I do, however, think it's good to avoid any foods you're not comfortable eating.
- Stay active. I was concerned about hot yoga and other strenuous activities when I first found out I was pregnant. While I certainly think it's good to trust yourself and what you think you can handle (I gave up hot yoga), I've learned how important it is to exercise for my health, the baby's health, and the birth itself. My favorite activities so far have been prenatal yoga, walking, and biking. I'm planning to start swimming soon as well.
Balance during pregnancy
For me, the advice I've appreciated so far includes fostering balance in your life, whether it be eating a normal amount but not giving up all foods, or staying active during pregnancy.