If you’re a first-time expectant mom, you’ve probably been caught up in a pre-baby whirlwind since finding out your exciting news. You’re picking out names, planning the nursery and reveling in all of the excitement. But you’re also in the process of experiencing many things for the last time. No more sleeping in every weekend or heading out for date night without first lining up a babysitter.
Before the baby arrives, why not take a little time to slow down and indulge in the pre-kiddie lifestyle for a bit? Here are five ways you can take advantage of your pre-baby time.
Shop. Amy Tara Koch, author of Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy Into the Ultimate Style Statement, says you should focus on products that will help you relax. Koch has developed the “pampered pregnancy box,” a kit that includes items such as Foot Petals cushioned insoles and Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter, “all things for pampering that you’ll need as a new mom.” Just be careful to avoid anything with retinol—high doses of Vitamin A can be harmful to baby.
As a style statement, Koch suggests picking up a piece that’s cozy, chic and perfect during pregnancy or long afterward. Accessories are ideal for updating any outfit, come in all shapes and sizes, and are made to be versatile. “You can’t go wrong with a scarf,” she says. “It’s the ultimate layering piece to give life to any outfit. It’s sometimes hard to feel pretty while pregnant, and one of those will do it.” Koch loves HappyScarf, an affordable option for tribal prints and florals, and Theodora and Callum for one-of-a-kind investment accessories you can wear a million ways.
Sleep in. When your bundle of joy comes along, you may have trouble getting enough sleep at night. So try to sleep in when you can. You can also enlist your spouse to make you breakfast in bed.
Nutritionist and mom Rania Batayneh says a yummy meal is the perfect way to start the day: “After getting some extra zzz’s, indulge in a healthy and delicious breakfast in bed,” she says. Batayneh recommends trying 1/3 cup of granola mixed with 1 cup of nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt. Top with blueberries, “the brain berry,” Batayneh says. Add some tea sweetened with honey, and you're set.
Make mocktails. For later in the day, indulge in a more decadent, non-alcoholic beverage. While you’ve sworn off sipping your favorite drink during pregnancy, there are plenty of mocktail options out there.
A sparkling pomegranate mocktail is a drink created by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, author of Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-To-Be. This recipe combines pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar and alcohol-removed sparkling wine. (Keep in mind that alcohol-removed wine still has a bit of alcohol, although it makes up less than half of 1 percent. Be sure to check with your physician before toasting.)
“I always enjoyed virgin mojitos, as well as cranberry juice with sparkling water,” Batayneh says. “Always try and avoid artificial sweeteners, and, remember, you still want your calories to come from food.” Bottom line: Partake, but sparingly.
Relax. “You can usually receive a massage after your first trimester,” says Melissa Conboy, a certified Los Angeles-based massage therapist, who is skilled in prenatal massage. “But you need a therapist who knows how to work on a pregnant woman—someone who is verified in prenatal massage.”
Conboy’s prenatal massage is “not deep-tissue massage, and there is no pressure on the legs, because there is so much pressure there anyway,” she says. “This type of massage is really relaxing. The muscles will relax, and it can actually prepare the body to go into childbirth.”
While you should always check first with your physician, prenatal massage has many benefits, according to the American Pregnancy Association. It can reduce anxiety, as well as joint pain and muscle pain. Make sure to find someone who is certified, the organization recommends, and to lie on your side while being massaged.