From ultrasound advice to birth plans for the big day, Rosie Pope's "Mommy IQ" includes everything you'll need to know to prepare for pregnancy. Based on both personal experience and expert opinion, the "Pregnant in Heels" star shares tips and tricks for staying healthy and happy when expecting. Here’s an excerpt.
Your Birth Strategy
At the beginning of your pregnancy, you and your partner should have decided on the type of birth you want to have — in a hospital, in a birthing center, or at home.
Once you have your strategy, the most important thing to remember is that it’s exactly that: a strategy. Things might not go as planned, and you may not be able to have that home birth you’d wanted. Or perhaps you’ll get stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital and have to deliver your little one in the back of a taxi. Maybe you’ll be ready for a vaginal birth and then have to have a C-section. The thing is, life is kind of crazy, and things often don’t go as planned. Even though I’ve said it before, I’ll say it a thousand times because I care about you and your wee one — all that ultimately matters is that your baby is healthy and so are you. Don’t go into motherhood disappointed that your birth didn’t go the way you’d dreamed it would. Go into motherhood rejoicing about that little bundle in your arms, because that, at the end of the day, is what matters most!
As you develop your birth strategy, keep in mind the many variables that you might feel strongly about. Perhaps you want (or don’t want) an epidural, and maybe you’d like certain music playing at the birth, or you’d like photos to happen only after you and the baby are cleaned up a bit. Talk all of these issues over with your partner and your doctor to make sure everyone is on the same page. This step is so important — your partner can help advocate for your plan if you’re unable to, unless of course circumstances have changed and your plan is no longer practical. Once you’re set on your full strategy, go ahead and write it down so nobody forgets in the moment, but remember that no matter what you’d like to happen, the two biggest priorities on that day are your baby’s health and safety and your health and safety. If, in the moment, a nurse forgets to start your music because she was too busy making sure your baby was positioned the right way for a safe delivery, chill and be grateful that the professionals around you know what they’re doing. Hearing Taylor Swift during that final push can’t safeguard your baby’s health, but the expertise of doctors and nurses surely can.
I know it’s tough, and you’ll want to feel as comfortable as possible going into something so scary, but there is a time to put our own personal preferences aside in favor of making the smartest, safest decisions for our children. You’ve been doing that all along by giving up some of your vices, eating right, finding the right balance of exercise, and generally taking amazing care of yourself and your precious babe. How you strategize your delivery is just an extension of that. Be smart, think safe — that should be every mommy’s motto from before day one.
You already know my mantra: do what’s best for your baby, because that’s what it means to be a good parent.
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Whether this baby is your first, your 15th (you deserve a medal!), or somewhere in-between, the day you give birth to this little angel is going to be one of the most important and meaningful experiences of your life. You’ll not only see the very sweet fruit of your labor, but you’ll also see a future — full of love and kisses, first tricycles and skinned knees, puppy love and college applications — all laid out before you in one lovely, space-efficient bundle. It’s overwhelmingly wonderful and not something you’ll ever forget, but I do have a piece of advice for first-time mommies, based on my own experience.
When I had my first child, my husband was completely consumed with what was going on every second. He was holding my hand, telling me what an amazing job I was doing, and getting damp cloths for my forehead even when I didn’t need them. I mean, I knew he was a good guy to begin with — I married him, didn’t I? — but he was outstanding in that instance!
So, when I went into labor with my second child, I figured things would be pretty much the same. I’d do all the physical work, but my husband would be right there with me, waiting breathlessly from the minute we got to the hospital, on edge for baby’s big debut. To my surprise, things changed a bit the second go-around. Yes, he was there, and yes, he was fantastic — especially near the end — but it was just . . . different. At one point before I went into heavy labor, I looked over and he was in the corner eating a chicken sandwich, checking the scores on the big game, and I knew the first-baby rush had gone out of him.
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At first I wondered if he didn’t care as much this time, but then near the end, when the baby was really coming, I saw my husband snap to attention — attending to my every need and asking the doctor what was happening at every turn.
I guess the thing is, he’d figured out that there can be a lot of time between getting to the hospital and having a baby, and that there’s not always something huge going on at every moment. It wasn’t that he cared even a drop less, it was more that he knew what to expect a little more so he could relax (and naturally, keep up with the game!).
So, my advice for first-timers? Bask in all the adulation and attention you’ll be getting from your partner or whoever is there in the room with you — it might not be quite like this again! And for those of you who are going into labor for a second time or more, go easy on your partner if he takes a break or two to grab a snack or call a friend. It’s a big day for him, too, but when your partner is not directly — physically — involved, he just might need a few things to do until things get really active. Now, take a deep breath, and know I’m thinking of you. You’re going to be great — from start to finish, and for a long, sweet time after that!
Reprinted by arrangement with Harper Collins, from “Mommy IQ" by Rosie Pope. Copyright © 2012 by Harper Collins.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive