Decisions made during pregnancy are the first parenting steps you’ll take. Be sure to separate the do’s from the don’ts!

When you have an obvious bump, this usually means that you’re likely to be a target for unsolicited advice. But such information mostly does not hold any ground, and may even cause harm to you and your baby. Yet, many first-time mums are often clueless, though they have at their disposal a wealth of information they can find online or in baby books.

Says mum of two Therese Chew, “I remember when I first got pregnant, I fell in love with Google. I had never used it that much in my life before. Though it was the source of all my information, I can’t say that everything is to be trusted.”

For the well-being of your baby and you, look out for these “traps” unknowing mums-to-be may fall prey to.

1. Eating for two

Eating double portions is a definite no-no, especially since you’ll only need about 300 calories more per day from the second trimester. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can cause gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, as well as complications during birth. For instance, a big baby can lead to a long labour and possibly even a C-section. Plus, your child runs a higher risk of diabetes and obesity later in life. Check this out for pregnancy nutrition advice.

2. Stopping exercise

It is generally safe for you to continue working out when you are pregnant. In fact, exercising actually helps you have a smoother delivery and faster recovery after birth. Of course, it’s best to avoid contact sports or anything that can throw you off balance or cause a fall, but swimming and brisk walking are great low-impact ways to keep fit during your pregnancy. You can check out some other suitable workouts for expectant mums here.

Make sure to warm up before and keep yourself hydrated during the workout, and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain. If you are unsure if you can work out during your pregnancy, check with your gynae, or get him to recommend something you can do.

3. Not preparing for the post-birth

Many first-time mums go all out preparing for their baby’s arrival ― from getting the stroller and cribs to newborn clothes and swaddles. But many neglect to read up about caring for a newborn. “I assumed that my confinement nanny would take care of the things like swaddling and bathing baby, that I didn’t bother to read up about all that,” Chew says. “Of course, I started panicking when I realised the nanny would be gone in a couple of weeks.”

Another minefield to navigate is breastfeeding. “I had bought the breastpump and nursing pads, but when it came down to it, I was clueless as to how to latch my baby,” says Melissa Lee, mum to Noel, 1. “I remember trying to make sense of all the breastfeeding positions, while my baby was crying his lungs out, and wondering why I hadn’t done this sooner.”

“I remember trying to make sense of all the breastfeeding positions, while my baby was crying his lungs out, and wondering why I hadn’t done this sooner.”

4. Thinking you’ll lose the baby weight overnight

You spent nine months growing a baby and putting on that weight, so the excess baggage certainly isn’t going to miraculously melt away once you pop. Accept the weight gain as part of pregnancy ― stressing about your weight and having a poor body image will just put you at risk of postpartum depression. The bottom line is, every mum loses the baby weight at their own pace ― if you’re on a healthy and nutritious diet and work out regularly, you will shed the baby weight.

5. Neglecting oral care

It’s important to pay special attention to your gums and teeth during pregnancy. This is because hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause pregnancy gingivitis, where your gums become inflamed and are more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque. Some 50 to 70 per cent of women develop gingivitis during pregnancy ― the American Academy of Periodontology found that pregnant women with periodontal disease (a chronic, bacteria-induced, inflammatory condition that attacks the gum tissue) may be at risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such giving birth to a pre-term or low-birthweight baby.



6. Not sleeping enough

Pregnancy isn’t the time to play superwoman. The first trimester, in particular, is exhausting as you are channelling a large amount of energy into building a life-support system for your baby. In the third trimester, you might start to experience backaches and heartburn, making it difficult to sleep.

So, if you’ve had a long day at work, or been standing on your feet for too long, it’s time to rest. Leave the chores to the husband, or get part-time help. Go to bed an hour earlier, if possible.

7. Getting too many newborn clothes

It’s hard to resist all those adorable newborn onesies, mittens and booties. But keep in mind that babies outgrow their clothes at super speed, so there’s no need to get a special outfit for every day of the week. Chew recalls, “My babies spent all their time in the comfiest white button-down tops, and I didn’t even bother with pants for the first three months, because you change their diapers so often.”

And don’t forget the tons of gifts you’ll be getting. In fact, it may be a good idea to ask your friends and families to buy outfits of various sizes up, say, 6 to 12 months, or 18 to 24 months, so you don’t get a mountain of newborn outfits that you probably can’t use.

8. Getting too many newborn diapers

In the same way, bubba likely isn’t going to be in newborn-sized diapers for more than two weeks. So, while it may seem like a good deal to get a carton of the smallest size, it may be a better idea to buy a couple of packs, then wait and see what’s the next best size for your baby when the time comes.

The first trimester, in particular, is exhausting as you are channelling a large amount of energy into building a life-support system for your baby.

9. Planning an after-birth “party”

Got a close group of friends who are already planning to “crash” your hospital stay when baby is born? Well, shelve those plans. Many new mums actually regret inviting too many people to the hospital in those first days. You don’t just need to rest and recover from the delivery, those first few days are a wonderful time to bond with your newest family member.

Veronica David, mum to Shauna, 2, and pregnant with her second child, says she’s definitely doing things differently this time round. “I loved having my friends and family around the last time, but I feel a tinge of regret because I wasn’t able to focus on learning to breastfeed as I felt my attention was divided. For my second birth, it’s just going to be the four of us, till we get home.”

Photos: iStock

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