7. Renew your spirituality.
The timing couldn’t be better. “When you’re pregnant, you’re more contemplative, more in tune with creation,” says the Rev. Susan Plymell, mother of four and pastor of Pueblo West United Methodist Church in Colorado.
8. Enjoy being kneaded.
Performed correctly, prenatal massage can safely relax you; ease muscle stress, swelling and back pain; and improve circulation. “Massage can also help a woman develop greater sensory awareness, which is very useful in labor and delivery,” says Paula Koepke, a prenatal-massage instructor in Oakland, Calif. “Studies have also shown that women who are touched in a nurturing way more easily transfer that nurturing to their babies.”
9. Get motivated to live more healthfully.
Sometimes we’ll do things for someone else that we won’t do for ourselves. You have several months to develop healthful eating habits, start a moderate exercise program, take up meditation or do whatever else makes your body a better home for both you and your baby.
10. Reconnect with your parents.
More than ever, you have something in common with your parents. Use that fact to improve communication with them. “Sharing the mothering experience brought my mother and me closer together,” says Kathy Ward, a mother of three. “It brought back memories for her and increased my understanding of what she went through with five kids.”
11. Enjoy your heightened senses.
“When I was pregnant, colors seemed brighter, and I felt a real connectedness with other people,” says Ginny Bettendorf, the mother of two children and two stepchildren. “As we carry this new life within us, we’re more clearly aware of the life around us.” Just as your pregnancy-enhanced senses send you reeling at the smell of fish, they can send you into ecstasy over the scent of a rose. Enjoy your new awareness. If you can, capture it for a lifetime.
12. Spice up your sex life.
Pregnancy can be a very sexy time — hormones are altered, senses are heightened, concern over getting pregnant is gone. Because conventional sex may be uncomfortable, now is a great time to get creative. Experiment with novel positions, new lingerie, different lighting. You may discover “treats” you and your partner can enjoy even after the baby is born. If the sparks have dwindled, keep the embers alive with cuddles and communication; the fire will rekindle.
13. Experiment with your hair.
Changing hormones may make your hair stronger and thicker. “Many of my clients find that pregnancy is the perfect time to grow out their hair, especially since they’ll want an easy-to-care-for style when the baby comes,” says Brenda Elliott, a stylist with Pro Beauty in Tucson, Ariz. Forgo colorings or perms, however: Your hair may react differently, and the chemicals may be bad for baby. Skip the temptation to try a drastic new cut, too.