14. Get information.
Arming yourself with knowledge can decrease anxiety; just don’t overstudy, or you’ll defeat the purpose. Go to childbirth and baby-care classes. Ask your doctor, midwife or mother-friends to recommend a good pregnancy book. Surf the Internet for moms’ chat rooms and information about pregnancy and parenting. Remember: Always double-check medical information with a reliable source.
15. Lean on your partner.
“During pregnancy, the focus is on the woman, and the man often gets left out,” says John Hewlett, a father of five from Laramie, Wyo., adding that sometimes the man doesn’t know how to involve himself. Bring him to your OB appointments, have your health care provider show him how to judge the size and position of the baby, and attend childbirth classes together. Let him pamper you, and ask for what you need, whether it’s a back rub, a shoulder or a sounding board.
16. Make new friends.
Check with your hospital, community center, church or La Leche League to find other moms or pregnant women to share experiences with, tap for advice and keep as friends after the baby is born.
17. Share the joy.
Ask other women what they love about pregnancy. Talk with your doctor or midwife about the beautiful births they’ve attended. Avoid horror stories. If someone insists on sharing an awful experience, ask, “Would you do it again?” Often, women with the worst stories have several more babies.
18. Act naughty.
Paint your belly. Get a T-shirt that answers the usual questions — gender, due date, “I feel ___.” Tell rude questioners that you’re carrying sextuplets and give them an address for donations.
19. Discover your baby’s personality.
“There are characteristics about her baby that a mother can learn in utero,” asserts RoxAnn Hinkhouse, a Lamaze instructor in La Junta, Colo. How active your unborn child is and how he reacts to certain foods, styles of music, even your moods can give clues about his character.
20. Go courting.
Use the limited time you and your partner have to be alone together to deepen and strengthen your relationship. Go on dates. Take weekend getaways. Share your hopes and fears about parenting and how the baby will change your relationship. “Pregnancy is a time when you can go quite far in a relationship,” says Andrew Condey, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Solano Center in Albany, Calif. “I wish more couples would work on issues then, because there’s naturally so much more sensitivity and understanding.”