How to take care of yourself when pregnant with a toddler: growing a child inside you is not an easy business, in fact it is one of the most exhausting things I have ever done (twice). When I was pregnant with B, I was constantly fighting fatigue, nausea, and just plain out uncomfortableness; but, what I wasn’t expecting was just how exhausted I would be the second time around when I was pregnant with Jack and parenting a toddler at the same time. And no, I am not pregnant; but, we definitely plan to add more kids to the Thompson house in the future!
Being pregnant is one of the most amazing experiences, and I don’t want to come off as whiney because I know I know I have incredibly blessed to have had such an easy time with both getting pregnant and having uncomplicated pregnancies and births. Nevertheless, being pregnant is not all roses and bumpies! So today, I want to share with you four tips for taking care of yourself while pregnant and parenting a toddler–because it’s not easy!
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF WHEN
PREGNANT WITH A TODDLER
1.) REST UP!
If you are lucky enough to have a child who still naps, lay down when they lay down. Nap when you can. Your body is going through an enormous amount of change, and you need to give it the rest it deserves. Even if you can’t sleep, consider putting up your feet and recharging. Have your toddler read quietly next to you, or give them a Busy Book. You can also always give them a special toy that they only get to play with when you are sitting down–something that they can do independently like stickers, coloring, or even a puzzle. The important thing is for you to take it easy, and the toddler to be safe and entertained.
I always love reading pregnancy books like What to Expect® When You’re Expecting, because it helps me first, not feel alone in my symptoms, and second, reminds me of all the wonderful things that are happening in my body. It reassures me and answers every imaginable question that my (not so always rational) pregnant mind might think of like worrying about the safety of superfoods like hemp, spirulina, and green powders. It also covers things like prenatal screening and diagnosis, including NIPTs.
2.) KEEP MOVING!
Yes, I know that these two first might seem like they are contradictory–but they aren’t. While it is important to rest, it is also very important to maintain normal activity. Exercise is fantastic for the baby and, it helps you occupy your toddler. Go for walks, hikes, even just playing outside in the yard.
My kids are never so well behaved as they are outside–they entertain themselves, don’t fight over toys, and the fresh air does us all good. Often times at the end of the day when I am at my wit’s end, or I want my kids to nap, I will strap everyone into the stroller and go for a jog. I have found that the more active I remain during my pregnancies, the fewer aches and pains I experience.
If you are nervous about the safety of physical activity when pregnant first consult your doctor; but, many of your answers can be found in What to Expect® When You’re Expecting. It covers pregnancy exercises you can do anywhere and anytime (even in your living room with your toddler watching a program–one of my favorite tricks). And how to choose the right workout for two (or three if you have daycare at your gym where your toddler can hang out) from spinning, Crossfit, or Barre. We no longer live near a Barre studio but I used to take B there so she could play in the daycare, and I could get my workout on!
Pregnant with B while hiking in Acadia National Park at 20 weeks
3.) ACCEPT HELP!
Babies are not made or raised alone! Don’t feel bad about asking for help from family and friends so you can have some time off. In the last trimester with Jack, by the time my husband would come home from work, I would be completely exhausted and usually have Braxton Hicks contractions in full swing.) So, I would let him handle putting B down, and head to bed early. I found that whenever I overexerted myself, my Braxton Hicks would increase dramatically. BONUS: The difference between Braxton Hicks and labor contractions is discussed in the book.
You don’t have to be superwoman! For some reason, we as women seem to put an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves. If someone offers to take care of your toddler for an hour or two, take the time for yourself! You will be a better mom for all of your babies (in and out of your womb!)
A few ways you can accept help: have your mom bring over dinner (my mom is always bringing food when she comes,) hire a babysitter for the afternoon so you can have some alone time, have your groceries delivered, order as much as you can online so you don’t have to load and unload the car (and waste precious nap time sitting in the car with your sleeping toddler.) Trade another mom days that you each take care each other’s child–even just being able to grocery shop alone can make all the difference!
4.) DON’T WORRY!
For some reason, whenever I am pregnant my mind goes into hyperdrive. I worry about the littlest things. Suddenly, I am terrified of the safety of eating peanut butter, or worry about GMOs, or the effects of medications on my unborn baby. Luckily, What to Expect® When You’re Expecting has all the up-to-date answers to questions about current issues, including everything pregnant moms need to know about the Zika virus to drinking coffee while pregnant. It is pretty much my Go-To Reference Guide! It also has offers solutions for every imaginable answer you could have–even chapters on how to involve Dad!
When I was pregnant with Jack and taking care of B, I was overwhelmed with worry about how I would manage to take care of them both. Well, news update, they are both healthy, happy, and well! There will certainly be an adjustment period but you will manage. Just concentrate on taking care of the important stuff in the early weeks–yourself and your kids, and the rest will fall into place. Life will never be the same but it will get easier! And having kids close together means they have built-in playmates! Your toddler will be so excited about the new baby and probably surprisingly helpful!
Me pregnant with Jack at 37 weeks–one big ol’ beach ball!
In conclusion, it is so important to take care of yourself while pregnant with a toddler. Remember to take it easy, go for walks, accept help and stop worrying. Luckily, there are fantastic resources out there that can help alleviate some of the pressure and worry!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.