The Perfect Enough Pregnancy
Sure, you want to do everything right during your pregnancy, but going too far can turn you into an unhappy stress case. (It’s not good for your baby, either.) Here, experts in nutrition, exercise, emotional health and more help you find a healthy balance.
I only get to gain how much weight?
THE IDEAL Gain precisely what the guidelines recommend (25 to 35 pounds if your prepregnancy weight was normal; 28 to 40 pounds if you started off underweight; 15 to 25 pounds if you were overweight; and 11 to 20 pounds if you were obese).
GET REAL Do your best, and focus on healthy habits.
» Set realistic expectations with your care provider She’ll help you determine a weight range that’s right for you based on your personal health needs, medical risks and weight-gain history.
» Find a happy medium between deprivation and overindulging “Many overweight women are used to dieting, but it’s really important not to be excessively restrictive during pregnancy,” says OB-GYN Amanda Calhoun, M.D., assistant director of women’s health for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. On the other hand, you need only about 300 extra calories a day in the second and third trimesters.
» Keep trying If you overeat today, don’t give up and eat whatever you want for the rest of your pregnancy. Just start over tomorrow. » Remember, it’s not just about weight “I care more about healthy living than just the numbers on the scale,” Calhoun says.
Should we be on one long babymoon?
THE IDEAL Enjoy romantic getaways and dates as often as you can before the baby comes.
GET REAL Reconcile romance with the daily grind.
» Squeeze in couple time It’s easy to get so wrapped up in choosing baby names and shopping for strollers that you forget about having fun as a couple. Whether or not you can get away, make time whenever you can.
» Exercise together It will improve your fitness levels and your relationship.
» Do a parenting-expectation exercise Each of you folds a piece of paper in half. On one side, write your parenting hopes and expectations for yourself. On the other, list your expectations for your partner (and vice versa). Swap your lists and look for discrepancies. “It’s a great way for a couple to begin to have some conversations about fantasies, expectations and assumptions about parenting so both of you are on the same page,” says Deborah Issokson, Psy.D., a psychologist in Wellesley, Mass.
» Be realistic Understand that having a child strains even the best relationships. “Babies don’t make relationships better, they bring stress,” Issokson says. “They bring disruptive disorder to two lives that are in a groove.”
» Give your relationship a close look If there are any problems, face them head-on. “Pregnancy is a wonderful time to take stock and work out the kinks,” Issokson says. “You’re not going to have a lot of time for that once the baby comes.”
» Consider at least a single session of couples therapy Do this even if things seem good. Says Issokson, “It can’t hurt to check in to ask, ‘Where are we, what are our fragile points, what are the red flags and how can we intervene now to keep the relationship healthy?’ ”