If I could have a first pregnancy do-over…

…I would share some things with myself.

Exercise. Just do it. There are safe exercises to keep your body strong for you and baby and it will only help your recovery after delivery if you start out as strong as possible. I thought I was fit. Heck, I carried a 9.5 lbs baby to 40 weeks 3 days, and I’m only 5’8″ and 125 lbs pre-pregnancy (yes, I was 170 lbs one week before delivery… for some reason, they didn’t weigh me before I delivered LOL). Pay for instruction. Go here: http://topregnancyandbeyond.com

Support your belly. After delivery, I asked my chiropractor at the time and my OB. Neither said I should use any belly support even though I felt so weak. I struggled with back problems, healing problems, and jaw problems. I believe it related back to being so weak (see exercise above) and not using support devices when I could have benefitted greatly from their proper use. Read here: http://www.girlsgonestrong.com/abdominal-wrapping-post-pregnancy/  I also have an amazing chiropractor now. I didn’t during pregnancy. My chiro (now) manipulated my jaw so I regained my ability to chew food (overbite pre-pregnancy turned into under-bite during pregnancy = no chewing food for nearly a year) WITHOUT SURGERY. It is amazing. Why did I mention this is belly support? Because my poor posture caused my jaw to move, causing the under-bite. He uses a combination of manual therapy, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, acupressure, and looks at the whole picture: diet, lifestyle, hormones, dental issues, etc. If you want his information, just let me know!

Heal your scars. Not only did I not use support that could’ve relieved some of the strain on my incisions, I wasn’t recommended to use a sitz bath, a physical therapist, massage, anything. I was given no advice to improve my recovery. Maybe not everyone needs this, but I wish I’d had it. Get a physical therapist here: http://www.n2physicaltherapy.com  Read here: http://jessiemundell.com/preventing-tears-healing-scars/ 

Rest. I didn’t try to rest. People came to see my baby and I felt that I should be up to see them, too. I felt it was only respectful to be present… and I was excited to share my baby with them, yes, I did it to myself. Rest for at least one week after delivery. Seriously. Don’t cook or clean or anything other than eat, feed, change. My first recovery started over again at 6 weeks when I had to have another surgery and have a stitch fixed. Well, that fixed stitch tore out on the car ride home, I hemorrhaged in the car, and we were back within minutes to have additional medication administered, prescribed, and again, restitched. I DO NOT WANT THIS AGAIN. I didn’t take extra time off of work after that surgery, but knowing how that recovery went on for another couple months with what seemed like weekly doctor visits, I would take any time my doc could prescribe. REST.

No guilt. There are a plethora of things you will feel guilty about, just do the best you can and embrace the loves of your life. Take time for yourself. Trust that you know your body and your baby better than anyone else. Listen to advice but don’t stress over it. This is your book. You get to write it.