Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you had a great weekend. We sure did (even though it was in the 90s and our old house barely has any AC!) Georgia and I kept cool with squirt guns, blowing bubbles in the shade, and taking our first boat ride on my dad’s paddle boat in New Hampshire.
Thanks to Cup of Jo for this great, no-effort pasta recipe that’s perfect for hot/lazy nights when you just don’t have the wherewithal to cook something complicated. All you need is three ingredients: a package of Boursin cheese (the kind you might grab for a party appetizer), a box of medium shells, and fresh or frozen peas. Add a little lemon zest to enhance the complexity of the flavor, and grind as much fresh pepper on top as you like to really make it sing. Comes together super fast, tastes light yet is very filling, and easily feeds babies and toddlers, too. Enjoy!
I chose to use a bag of frozen organic peas from Trader Joes because that’s what I had on hand. But I would imagine that fresh peas would taste amazing! To thaw this out, I ran the bag under hot water for a few minutes, broke up the frozen chunks in the package with the bottom of a drinking glass, and then added to the dish pretty cold so they could finish cooking in the pan.
Creamy Boursin Shells & Peas
1 lb. box of shells, medium or small
1 bag of frozen peas (or fresh peas, if you can get them)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 package Garlic & Herb Boursin Cheese
salt and pepper to taste
optional: fresh basil and a bit of butter
Put a pot of water on to boil. Add the shells and cook until al dente, as they’ll continue cooking in the pan with the sauce.
In a non-stick sauce pan, melt the boursin over medium-high until it turns liquidy. Zest one lemon into the pan and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Add the peas and cook for a couple minutes to blend flavors.
Drain the shells, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the cooking water to the sauce, stir until combined, then add the shells. Cook for a few more minutes and add seasonings as well as a bit of butter if the flavor or creaminess isn’t where you want it. Top with freshly-torn basil and serve warm.
I added torn fresh basil on top for a bit of extra flourish and fresh flavor. You can include or omit as your tastes dictate. Buon Appetito!
Georgia just got a seaplane and a submarine for bath time, and for her upcoming trip to Nani’s house in Florida (where there’s a very fun pool). I almost bought her a dump truck and sand play set for the summer, too, but I tried to keep my holiday budget in mind. It’s really, really hard. I really love these toys because they are PVC-, Phthalate- and BPA-free, made in the USA, meet FDA food contact standards, and are composed 100% of recycled milk jugs, which saves energy and greenhouse gas emissions, both in their production and their shipping. Plus, their packaging is both recycled and recyl-able, free of plastic films and twist-ties, and printed with soy inks. Not to mention: they are just a huge hit with my kid, are sturdy, and beautiful to boot. (If you are so fortunate as to own a dishwasher, they can go in there, too).
Even better than reusing plastic, of course, is not buying it at all. when it comes to children’s toys, the next best option to recycled toys are wooden toys, in particular those made locally or at the very least not overseas. Steel and glass make the best substitutes when it comes to food storage, cooking and household solutions to avoiding plastic.
Did you know that a recent study showed that prenatal exposure to phthalates — found in soft plastics and scented products — led to measurably lower IQs in children by age 7? While legislation bans phthalates from toys for small children, nothing governs maternal exposure during pregnancy, which is the most critical time for brain development. And it’s easy to gain exposure through room sprays, personal care products, and microwaving food in plastic containers.
Read the full study and check out this interesting infographic for more information on avoiding plastic. I’ve never felt so fortunate that the smell of artificial fragrances and plastics made me barf throughout my entire pregnancy!
What else do you do to reduce plastic dependency? Reusable shopping bags? Buying locally instead of ordering online? Glass food containers and baby bottles? Tell me in the comments!
In honor of my sister-in-law and cousin, who both had babies this week (hi little Keon and Cedric!), I’m re-posting the homemade pizza recipe that I just had to make the night before I ended up having Georgia, prompting one of my good friends to dub this dish “labor-inducing pizza.”
Here’s the original recipe from 2012, which I’ll repost below. Little did I know when I made up this pie that it would become “the pizza that brings on labor.” If you’re past your due date and getting desperate … could it hurt?
One pre-made round pizza crust (I used Archer Farms ultra thin & crispy pie, from Target. You could try any brand you like.)
1 large tomato or 2-3 plum/roma tomatoes, sliced
a handful of basil leaves, torn by hand
1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella, broken into chunks by hand
1 cup of pre-shredded parmesan/mozzarella mix (again I used Target)
1 red pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
olive oil for drizzling
non-stick spray for the pan (or use olive oil)
Start by spraying your pizza pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Preheat oven to 400.
In a non-stick saute pan, stir-fry the sliced red pepper and onion until translucent and browned, about 10 minutes. While this is cooking on the stove top, assemble the rest of the pie.
Place pizza crust on the non-stick pizza pan and dot with olive oil; spread around evenly to coat crust.
Place tomato slices evenly around crust, then top with torn basil.
Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the basil, breaking off chunks by hand.
When the pepper and onion are done, distribute onto the pizza; top with shredded mozzarella/parmesan.
Cook for 10 minutes at 400 or until browned. Serve with spinach salad and enjoy!
Beware: if you DO go into labor after eating this, as I did, be forewarned that there’s just enough of a kick to, ahem, hurt your throat coming back up. And if you’ve never had a baby and are just now learning that labor makes you puke…well, I’m sorry. But it’s better someone told you.
Did you like this recipe? Check out my other easy, homemade pizza recipes here and here. And, a new way to work with pizza dough. Looking for a good pizza tray to use in the oven? I like this inexpensive, non-stick version that cleans up easily and won’t scratch when you slice your pie.
Now that I only have a couple weeks to go, I’m realizing that I am really going to miss being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong: I’m anxious for the foot swelling, heartburn and frequent potty breaks to stop, but there’s also a part of me that can’t believe my baby will be here any day, that I have to learn to breastfeed, and that pretty soon I won’t have a little buddy kicking, hiccuping & rolling over inside my belly all day!
I really enjoyed shopping for maternity clothes, too, so when I finally had to stop buying them in order to focus on nursing wear and baby’s layette a couple months ago, I felt bummed. I like to think I’ll be pregnant again someday, but one never knows what life has in store!
I’ll do a post soon on what we learned while registering for baby stuff, but for now I want to share the tips I picked up over 9 months of pregnancy while shopping for maternity wear. Obviously I’m very focused on what works for petites, but a lot of my advice goes for any mama-to-be. And, as always, I LOVE hearing your comments and ideas.
It took ages for me to “show” in an obvious way, but somehow I put on what felt like a spare tire the instant I took a positive home pregnancy test. I felt pudgy immediately, so all my skinny pants went right to the back of the closet. Then, once morning sickness kicked in around 7 weeks, anything constricting made me doubly nauseous and had to go. So, to feel more comfortable, I transitioned to leggings, jeggings and dresses/skirts very early on. As I got closer to 12 and 13 weeks at the end of my first trimester, I phased in some (borrowed) pants and dresses one size larger, since I needed the looser waist but not a full belly panel yet. Two helpful things at this stage:a belly band, so you can stay in your “regular” jeans without letting everyone know you had to unbutton the waist to sit down, and maternity hosiery. Yes, hosiery.
Everyone laughs at me when I talk about preggo pantyhose, but they were a total lifesaver for me when it was still cold enough out that I needed to wear tights or nylons every day to work but couldn’t suffer through the tight waistband without getting sick. They helped me eke a couple more weeks out of my regular (one size larger) skirts and dresses before I had to give ’em up for maternity clothes.
I also found that I outgrew my regular bras extremely quickly. This was due in part to my cup size changing (woohoo! I’ve always been a 34A!) and also partly to the unexpected way your rib cage broadens ever so slightly during pregnancy (boo, that makes me feel fat). I wasn’t prepared for that physical change, which made most of my button-down work shirts impossible to wear past 8 or 9 weeks. Also, having been smaller-chested my whole life, I hadn’t ever dealt with needing meaningful support for the twins … but pregnant boobs are a whole other matter, and they can’t handle a flimsy bra. Sore, achy and expanding, they need a bit of help and TLC. I lived in sports bras, especially overnight, and then started wearing the Genie Bra, which was a godsend. I’m still wearing them at 38 weeks.
KEY ITEMS AND TIPS FOR MONTHS 1-3
Buy maternity stuff early and often so the options are there as soon as you need them. Sign up for every free e-mail list and/or store credit card available for places you like. I carry a Banana Republic credit card, which can be used at Gap & Old Navy too, and I got on frequent-buyer lists for those stores plus Destination Maternity. Do it and watch the coupons flow into your mailbox.
Be aware that smaller sizes (4 and under) sell out extremely quickly when it comes to maternity wear, so if you see something you like and it’s available in your size, just buy it. Be further aware that “petite” maternity clothes are usually just sizes 0 through 4, not clothes tailored for petite bodies like you might expect. So be prepared to get a few things hemmed.
Grab plenty of sports bras for sleep & sturdier bras for everydayin a cup size larger. Buy these as soon as you find out you’re pregnant so they’re on hand the minute your girls need extra support. The swelling and soreness can be staggering.
Leggings and jeggings. Maternity options (I liked Old Navy’s, both under- and over-the-belly) are great and cheap.
A couple of skirts and dresses one size larger than you normally wear.
That said, buy maternity clothes in your regular size. Don’t listen to sales people and relatives who tell you that you need to “go a size up.”
1-2 elastic waist sweatpants/shorts or fold-over yoga pants for lounging (and exercise, if you’re feeling up to it). Fold-over yoga pants can take you from week 1 to 40 and into post-partum.
Long tanks and shirts for layering & covering any pooch.
Invest in some new, comfy underwear. You’ll find yourself wanting things that are seamless, with good coverage, and which aren’t too flimsy or tight or stringy. Cotton is best. Plus, you don’t want to stretch out your nice stuff! My absolute, hands-down favorites: these from Gap, with a couple close runners-up from Destination Maternity and Target.
A belted trench is expandable in front and conceals the belly for quite a while. This is good for keeping things mum, but bad when you’re on the subway and just wish everyone could tell you’re pregnant so they’d give up their seat before you throw up all over them.
Don’t be afraid to move into maternity wear, especially underthings, as soon as you need them. You’ll be a million times more comfortable. There’s no correlation between gaining too much over the entire pregnancy and needing maternity stuff early on. I had to shift into maternity jeans and pantyhose even before 12 weeks, but I’ve gained a healthy 20 pounds so far with just a couple weeks to go. Just avoid tops & dresses with side ruching if you’re keeping the news under wraps at work.
If you have bad morning sickness like I did, diversions are your friend. Think textured and fun-colored tights, pretty scarves, long necklaces and lip color that pops. These distract from a sickly pallor.
Truly, this is the golden time. You are finally showing, so nobody thinks you’re just eating too much pasta anymore, and you probably aren’t so big that things such as bad balance, swollen ankles and heartburn are plaguing you yet. You’ve likely stopped making a million trips to the bathroom and thus are sleeping better, so your “glow” is in full swing & maternity clothes are looking GREAT on you. Enjoy it while it lasts.
This is when I really started rocking my full maternity wardbrobe, and was glad I’d bought most of the pieces early. Here’s my punch list of essentials:
6-8 dresses that can be layered with sweaters and cardigans in winter and spring, then worn alone in warm weather
At least 1 pencil skirt (Gap makes a nice one) that works for office or casual (I needed more for work, so I bought blue, gray and black).
2 or 3 maxi dresses (they look adorable with denim jackets, they hide cankles and they conceal inelegant seating positions)
Exercise tank, pants & jacket
2-3 pairs of shorts (I got denim and white; gray or khaki would have been my next choices. I only really needed 2 because I only wore them on weekends).
Use what you already own when it comes to cardigans, jean jackets, belts and coats, unless you’re hitting your third trimester in winter. The “maternity versions” are not cut that differently.
It’s here before you know it. Suddenly you’re more awkward than you bargained for, and outfits are less about what’s pretty than what’s easy to put on, easy to sit in, and comfortable for puffy legs, sore backs and itchy bellies. Demi panels probably aren’t too comfortable for you anymore, but full panels may irritate your stretched-out skin. It can be a battle. Sometimes under-the-belly options actually start to feel better. My recommendation is to wear whatever is comfortable and don’t try to hold yourself to any pre-pregnancy standard (or even what you could wear in the second trimester). And take seriously any doctor’s recommendation to put your feet up, wear compression socks, etc. Probably the worst part of this trimester won’t be looking bad, but having to work hard to get dressed every day. You won’t be able to bend over very well, and clumsiness will have reached new levels. Check out this ingenious product one woman designed to overcome this awkward phase:
3-4 skirts, 6-8 dresses and maybe 2-3 pairs of pants should give you enough outfit combinations if you’ve been stocking up on accessories, tanks and cardis all along. That may sound like a lot, but by waiting for markdowns or buy-one-get-one sales, I nabbed several of my dresses and skirts for $10 or $15 each. I picked up a few more chic pairs of flats since I found heels uncomfortable once I started showing and my balance went off, and again I made good use of maternity nylons and compression trouser socks underneath it all. Since I was pregnant December through August, I relied on long sweaters and flowy blouses early on, transitioning to maternity skirts and pants by February and then mostly maternity dresses from April onward since I was always running hot. Other than when we had a series of heat waves, running hot was kind of nice after years of toting a pashmina everywhere because I’d always be cold! Key for me was making sure I had one “public speaking” dress for days when I had to give a presentation, teach or otherwise get up in front of people. For me, that was this Gap dress:
I already did an extensive post on prenatal fitness, but I’ll just reiterate that there ARE good maternity exercise clothing options out there, and they aren’t pricey either. I made good use of my existing elastic-waist pants until I was about four months along, when they started to roll down in the middle of Zumba class (oops!) Then, I picked up a full-panel pair of capris from Motherhood Maternity, plus a couple maternity tanks made of moisture-wicking material from Old Navy. Leggings rounded out my fitness wardrobe for gentler classes or at-home yoga & walking around the neighborhood.
Don’t push it here if your back is hurting, no matter how far along you are. Things can go from bad to worse really quickly if you ask too much of your body or ignore what it’s trying to tell you. With pregnancy, there’s no such thing as “powering through!” I thought just because the shoe still fit on my feet, it wouldn’t cause problems, and learned the hard way that this is how pregnant women end up with hammer toes, calf cramps and blisters. Key pieces:
Roomy walking shoes/sneakers
low work heels
plenty of cute flats
flat boots for winter/rain
If summer, pretty sandals with room for your feet to grow a bit. Make sure the heel isn’t too high (like a low wedge). I love Bare Traps.
some micro liner socks for when your feet get bigger and start to rub the inside of your existing shoes.
Want to know what I did? I got some hospital scrubs at a uniform supply store (Army-Navy outlets will have them, too) and just let the waist out bit by bit as I got bigger. They can be tied anywhere that’s comfortable for you, which cannot be said of some other pajamas that will pinch right where your full bladder is. I also used my husband’s undershirts to sleep in (granted, he’s 6’4″ so they’re like a nightgown on me) or just stuck to under-the-belly cotton shorts and a sports bra. Pregnancy turns you into a furnace and our bedroom already runs hot because of the way our house is built, so there were no footy fleece PJs for me. If you’re struggling with heartburn or back pain, invest early in a full-length body pillow made for pregnancy. For $50, it will change your life.
In the winter, I wore leggings and jeans with flats or low boots. My favorites were my skinny pair from Old Navy, a versatile boot-cut pair from Gap, and these black leggings with a full panel, which had great support and smoothed out the bumps nicely. In the summer, I wore a few non-maternity skirts that had foldover waists, as well as shorts, and this fabulous Old Navy bathing suit for beach days.
Things I didn’t have to deal with
Special occasions. I’m not sure how I got away with not having any weddings during this gestation, but boy do I feel lucky!
Winter. And thank God — maternity winter coats are hideously expensive.
Travel. Because instead of a babymoon, we had to remediate mold from the inside of our bathroom walls. However, A Cup of Jo has some great tips on planning your babymoon, from picking a location to packing well.
And by this I mean, “shortcuts to getting ready when you need 12 hours of sleep” and “minimizing your routine NOW before the baby comes.”
Moisturize. Not just your belly and your chest, which are so prone to stretch marks, but the rest of your body and your face as well. Hydrating your face well can help keep hormone-induced breakouts at bay, and slathering lotion on the rest of your body is a good habit to get into so you aren’t caught off-guard by the intense itchiness that can come on without warning when your baby decides to have a growth spurt. All that stretching can make you want to scratch yourself to death, and it can show up overnight!
One thing that just came on the market which I should have tried: sprayable lotion. When I think of all the acrobatic maneuvers I performed every morning just to get cream on my legs when I couldn’t bend over anymore…..
Try dry shampoo. Most likely, your hair will be thicker, so you can get a second or third day out of a blowout. I used this tactic to grab some extra sleep!
Pay for pedis. Eventually you’ll have no choice because you won’t be able to reach your toes, but I found that this $25 worth of pampering made me feel a zillion times prettier. Just don’t get the massage part in your third trimester because rubbing the pressure point between your heel and ankle can bring on contractions.
File nails daily. They grow so fast, you really have to in order to keep them looking neat. Or, do I what I did occasionally — get a manicure and have them trimmed very short with a polished, pretty nail color, so you get a break from all that maintenance. This helps keep a good shape to your nails, too. I liked having a manicure to feel professional whenever I had to get up and talk in front of people and knew the bump was distracting.
Invest in a good razor. You’ll be shaving a lot more often, if you’re like me! I ended up getting those razors with the shaving cream built in, like Schick Intuition. It was just easier.
I was willing to shop anywhere that had stylish clothing that fit me, within my budget. I saw no need to pay full price for anything when you can sign up for friends & family programs for free at almost every store on this list. There’s always a sale somewhere if you wait a day or two!
Old Navy. Always having a sale at some point! Their rewards rack up really fast, and their prices are super reasonable to begin with. I got several dresses here that could switch between work and play, plus my two favorite lightweight sweaters. I know I said to just use your regular cardigans, but every now and then you’ll have a day when you want to be able to pull something cozy around the belly. Here is that cozy something:
Motherhood Maternity. People criticize this store for being lower quality than they’d like. I disagree — I had no issues with their stuff, got great compliments on their dresses (most of which are priced below $40) and was actually able to find professional pants in several colors, hemmed for my height. When it got hot, this is where I went for cute shorts that didn’t break the bank.
Gap Maternity. In my opinion, great for basics like tanks, leggings and jeans. Prices can be steep for non-sale dresses and skirts, especially since similar styles can be found elsewhere (Old Navy, Target) for less.
Ann Taylor Loft Maternity. Styles offered were great-looking. But everything I ordered from here went back — why? Three reasons: 1) Pricy. They had the worst sales of all the retailers I shopped. 2) Small sizes(4 and under) sell out instantly — and I mean by 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning when new inventory comes in or a sale is on. 3) Poor fit. Their so-called “petite” maternity items are no such thing, and the one pair of cropped black pants I purchased from here required $20 in hemming to fit properly. I shouldn’t have bothered for the limited use I got out of them.
Liz Lange for Target. They don’t carry a lot of variety at any given time — maybe three dresses, two styles of tank top in a few colors, and a handful of shirts and pants — but when you hit on something flattering, it’s good quality and priced well. I got my workout jacket here as well as a couple work dresses.
Asos. I just wish I’d discovered this website earlier in my pregnancy. Very reasonably priced for on-trend stuff.
Baby Depot/Burlington Coat Factory. Their stuff is pretty cheap, I’m not gonna lie. But for weekend t-shirts or lounge wear, you can’t beat it. They carry a smallish selection of maternity wear right next to their baby department, which is worth a look as well.
Didn’t have much luck
Consignment stores. They almost never get in a good selection of clothes for sizes 0 and 2.
H&M Maternity. Cute stuff, all of it way too casual for what I needed.
The plus-size department. Obviously. Why do sales people suggest you look here when you ask if a department store carries maternity clothing? Mark and I could never get over this.
Throughout my 9 months of pregnancy, I shared my favorite preggo finds on a Pinterest “maternity fashion” board. Check it out and follow me!
If you want a chuckle, check out this article on the 12 things you miss most during pregnancy. One thing on the list that I definitely agree with is the ability to wear cute shoes. Even before my feet got too swollen to fit into any of my shoes (seriously — I literally have been wearing black Old Navy flip flops for two months straight) I found that heels were too totter-y, anything strappy cut off circulation, and half the rest just looked different (a.k.a., unflattering). It remains to be seen how much my feet will shrink back down to normal size after I give birth, but I’ll keep you posted. A wise husband (mine) once said, “don’t worry if your feet are permanently bigger. Won’t it be exciting to get to buy some new shoes?” CHA-CHING!
If you hadn’t guessed that I’m pregnant by now, especially with the dearth of original recipes from December through March on this blog, consider the cat officialy out of the bag! We are having a little girl in August of this year, and we could not be more excited to meet OrganicBaby 🙂
First things first: this post has a completely misleading title, because it implies you can win against severe morning sickness. You can’t, and the sooner you start seeing morning sickness as Step One in My Life Has Changed Forever Because of this Baby, the better off you’ll be. I went down in flames in my fight against morning sickness day after day for 20 weeks. When people ask how you can get through that much nausea and vomiting, I always say it becomes your new reality and you learn to cope … so that’s what this post is about. None of the pregnancy books or websites did me much help, so I decided to compile my own tips to share with you for when things get really bad. If you have ideas to contribute, by all means, leave them in the comments below.
I wish I could have called this post “natural remedies for morning sickness,” but the truth is that I relied on lots of junk when things were dire, and that I was heavily medicated for more than two months just so I could go to work for 8 hours a day (if that) before sleeping for nearly 12. I’ll share several natural coping strategies for mild sick days or simple nausea, but if you get one takeaway from this post, it’ll be this: nobody gets a medal for enduring debilitating morning sickness, and you could be putting your own health and that of your baby at risk. So don’t be a hero. Just call your doctor before you end up in the hospital. (Second and third takeaway: morning sickness frequently lasts all day, and very often lingers past your first trimester, so start prepping psychologically for that by adopting a stance of acceptance now).
In no particular order, here are my tips for coping with morning sickness.
If a particular food stops being appealing to you, don’t try to force it. Most people who know me know that I abhor wasting food. I’ll eat boring leftovers all week just to avoid throwing away extra food, since the statistics on food waste in America are so alarming. I had to get over this. No sooner will you get home with a steaming plate of Pad Thai than realize it suddenly lives on what I call “the no-fly list.” In this case, my husband was only too eager to eat double his takeout portion, but I can’t tell you how many times this scenario repeated itself, even with foods I usually adore (like Italian) right after I’d told our friends or family a certain restaurant was safe. I had to get used to ordering something only to find it revolting when it arrived on the table, and I took home a lot of uneaten portions that Mark ate later — or not.
Outsource your grocery shopping, cooking & dish washing, ideally to the person who knocked you up in the first place, and don’t even think about reading a food magazine or watching cooking shows.In fact, look down whenever a restaurant commercial comes on screen, too. Why risk it? One minute you’re watching The Biggest Loser and the next you’re hanging over the toilet bowl like an actual loser, just because you didn’t have the good sense to turn away when Red Lobster started hocking some butter-drenched lobster. <<shudder>>
While you’re at it, outsource the toilet bowl cleaning, cat box scooping & anything else involving chemicals to Baby Daddy, too.Not only are many conventional cleaning products unsafe to be around while pregnant (to say nothing of the hazards of cat litter), you’ll be in no mood to encounter whatever germs, smells and hair are clinging to the surfaces of your home once morning sickness strikes. And if you DO get sick and find the sink, shower or toilet in non-pristine condition, you won’t be able to stop. Don’t get sick 10 times when you could leave it at 1 or 2 just because someone doesn’t like to mop.
Leave a snack next to your bed and eat it AS SOON AS you wake up,like before your feet hit the floor. And then, if you need to, just lie there for 5 or 10 minutes to let your stomach catch up. I built in time to do this every morning so I wouldn’t run late. (While you’re at it, keep some Tums on your nightstand, too). The bedside snack will also come in handy if you wake up nauseous in the middle of the night after hitting the bathroom for the second (or third, or fourth) time.
Sleep on your left side.This not only quells nausea quickly, it can lessen heartburn as well. I was shocked at the difference I felt between lying on my right side versus my left.
Don’t leave home without a granola bar. Or whatever your safe food seems to be. Ditto for water. Unlike when you have the flu, water may help you move past a bout of sickness due to baby, and will keep you hydrated — extremely important for your baby’s development while your body’s blood volume is doubling. Other things that worked for me: baby carrots, rice crackers, Cheerios, fruit smoothies (especially, in a pinch, these from McDonald’s), mashed potatoes, bagels and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Having hot water with lemon in the morning also proved extremely soothing, and I found that most drive-thrus (such as Dunkin’ Donuts) will sell this to you for 50 cents or less. What did I avoid? Unfortunately, an awful lot — my aversions were WAY stronger than my cravings. I couldn’t be around eggs of any kind, bacon, shrimp, black olives, coffee, melted cheese, pepper, the smell of booze, ground beef, sausage, Thai and Chinese food, and pretty much anything fried. I also learned to indulge the rare cravings very carefully. You might think you want a whole jar of candied jalapenos, but really one or two will suffice — and if you overdo it by one spoonful they’ll come right back up, making them immediately repulsive from that moment onward.
Find the least-foamy toothpaste you can. Brushing my teeth was just insulting: the paste would make me gag, which would make me sick in the shower, which meant I had to clean the tub so my husband could use it next, AND I somehow had to get my teeth clean again without getting getting sick. My dentist had a good tip: if you really can’t take the toothpaste in the a.m., which I truly couldn’t for a few weeks there, just brush as best you can at night, and then brush with a bare toothbrush after rinsing with a good mouthwash in the morning. And don’t forget to floss, even if your gums are bleeding for the first time in your life thanks to all those hormones. You can really develop some serious problems if you don’t take care of your teeth while you’re pregnant.
Don’t take your prenatal on an empty stomach.If you are having trouble getting it down at all — either because it makes you nauseous when it hits your stomach, or because the act of swallowing a pill makes you gag — talk to your doctor about other options. When I had gone almost a week without being able to get mine down (or keep it there), I got the green light to switch to these chewables, available at Target or online via Amazon.
Graze, don’t stuff. Not only will you be shocked at how full “full” really feels when you’re newly pregnant, over-eating will make you nauseous and potentially cause you to vomit too … and all you can do is wait for digestion to take its course, barf bag in hand. (Related tip: if you’re getting in the car or going on the subway, don’t leave home without packing a barf bag in your purse. They actually make stylish ones, believe it or not).
If something works — for example, waffles for breakfast, lunch & dinner — just go with it. I found things with sugar helped stabilize me so I could at least leave the house (canned fruit, cranberry juice, waffles with maple syrup, etc.) but I’ve heard just as many people say sugary things made their nausea worse. Personally, the usual upset-tummy trio of toast, peppermint tea and ginger candies made me MORE sick while pregnant, so don’t be surprised if your go-to cures feel like the opposite as well. There’s no right or wrong (unless you’re thinking Brie, white wine and espresso are your go-to remedies).
Wear loose clothingand don’t be afraid to transition into a bigger size or a maternity outfit earlier than you planned to, aka before you’re really showing. Button down shirts, tight jeans, nylons and even your favorite underwear may just pinch too much around the middle now, and you shouldn’t feel silly going into clothes that are one size larger or switching to maternity hosiery (what’s that, you say? Well Spanx makes a line of nylons for moms-to-be that will change your life. Check ’em out and order liberally! Just try not too laugh too hard at the photos while you do so.)
I plan on doing a post soon about my top maternity wear recommendations, since it can be so challenging to find a) petite preggo wear and b) work-appropriate attire that’s fashionable, professional and comfortable.
PS: Need a laugh?When all else fails, visit the PregnantHusband Tumblr blog and I promise you, your day will improve. (Not that it can go downhill much when you start with your head hanging in a toilet).
Things that worked great for me
Getting to bed early
Starting each day with a carb-heavy meal (like a bagel)
Sipping broth (like Matzo Ball soup or chicken noodle)
Avoiding perfume and other strongly scented products
Dressing in layers to prevent overheating, which often led to nausea
Keepings baths & showers lukewarm
Keeping a sliced lemon in a Ziploc in my purse for counteracting offensive smells
Packing applesauce and granola bars in my purse for emergencies
Things that didn’t work for me, but worked for others I know:
Taking an approved sleep aid to prevent overnight sickness
Other tips from friends that I didn’t try:
Seabands (motion-sickness wrist cuffs, available at any drug store or Amazon)
Final words of wisdom: Your baby will be fine no matter how much (or how little) you are eating. My typical day included a bagel in the morning, a bag of Cheerios that I nibbled on all day, ginger ale or lemon water in my hand at all times, and mac n’ cheese or soup and toast for dinner. If I could muster it, I ate an apple and a granola bar for a snack. It was seriously lame and nutrient-deficient. But you know what? You can make up for the lack of vegetables, iron, legumes and Omega-3’s later in your pregnancy. Don’t worry if you can’t fit in much exercise, either. You can get back on board with physical activity after your morning sickness fades, so just take care of yourself and get lots of rest in the meantime! Baking a baby is hard work, and there’s no shame in getting the rest you need. And click here for a helpful prenatal wellness & nutrition guide from the hospital where I’m delivering in Boston.