What not to say (or do) to a pregnant woman

Pregnant woman sitting on bench

Cropped image. Nicu Buculei, Flickr. CC license.

As I enter week 34 of my second pregnancy, I am still surprised at the remarks that strangers say to me about my looks. Does somehow growing a child and carrying it around for 9 months gives people the right to comment on (or touch) my body? While I was joking with co-workers about the odd comments and stories we each experience, I decided to put a basic list together of things you should not say (or do) to a pregnant woman.

  • Do not tell her how huge/big/pregnant she is.

After age 5, hearing how big you are stops being a compliment. Don’t you think I know how big I am?! I’m the one who gets out of breath putting on socks.

  • Do not touch her belly without asking first.

Oh, hi complete stranger! I have no idea where your hands have been and if you are sick or not. Don’t get me wrong, I love when people touch my belly (you get bonus points if you lightly scratch my belly) but simply ask first. If you ask once and I give you permission, you can feel free to touch my waistline in the future.

  • Do not say, “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”

It’s 2016 and I am surprised that I am writing this. No joke, this happened to me twice during this pregnancy. The first time was while shopping with a friend and the cashier asked me this. Mind you I was only six months pregnant at the time; talk about a blow to my self-esteem. Even if it is twins, do not ask if it is twins. Instead say, “How exciting to welcome a baby!” and if a mother is carrying two bundles of joy, she may offer this information.

  • Do not say, “Should you be eating that?”

Most health care providers give a list to new moms on what foods to avoid or tips on where they can find this information. A pregnant woman’s diet is limited while her cravings are limitless. I am not a big meat eater and surprised myself when I found myself craving a Reuben sandwich (who am I?). Unless I accidentally grabbed a container of explosive material instead of my delicious corned beef, please let me eat what my body is craving.

Also under this category is to not mention how gross our cravings can be. Ice cream and pickles together? Pretzels and BBQ sauce? Hot wings and sour cream? Chances are good that I know how weird these combos sound. It’s baby craving that food combinations, not me!

  • Do not say, “I hear you’re having another boy/girl. That’s too bad. Guess you’ll just have to try again to get that little girl/boy!”

I love my 3-and-a-half-year-old boy and am so excited to be having another boy. Does that mean I will be the only female in the house and outnumbered by cars, trucks, forts, dirty hands, pee-covered toilets, NERF guns and swords? Yes. But does that mean I would trade any of that for princesses and bows? No. My family is perfect just the way it is. My standard response is, “I am going to focus on this pregnancy and loving this baby for now.”

  • Do not say “You look really tired.”

You shouldn’t say this to anyone unless you are offering them a cup of coffee, massage, and free babysitting.

Here’s what you should say to every single pregnant woman you see: “You look wonderful.”

Regardless of whether she is six or 36 weeks along, every pregnant woman has a whirlwind of emotions going through her body including being self-conscious. I mean, honestly, is there ever a more vulnerable time for a woman than when your waist is expanding, you can’t see your toes, and you wet your pants if you sneeze too hard? Be sensitive. Be kind. And offer her a snack or a nap (better yet, even both).

– Stephanie Babcock is an IFS coordinator with the Parenting Program. She’s a proud mom of one with another on the way.

Yoga Moms prenatal yoga

Pregnant mom doing yoga meditation

Cropped image. Randy Pantouw, Flickr. CC license.

In honor of National Yoga Month, we are highlighting Beaumont’s prenatal yoga program, Yoga Moms.

If you’re expecting a baby, prenatal yoga can be a great way to relax, stay fit and prepare for birth. Studies have suggested that prenatal yoga may:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Decrease swelling
  • Encourage socialization and support with other expectant moms
  • Increase strength and flexibility of the muscles needed for birth
  • Decrease low back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath
  • Decrease the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension

Beaumont’s Community Health Education Department offers Yoga Moms at SOLA Life and Fitness in Rochester Hills and the Beverly Hills Club in Southfield. The six-week class series is taught by certified yoga instructors. Classes include breathing, gentle stretching, postures and relaxation. The class is recommended for any stage of pregnancy, with physician approval.

For more information or to register, visit Yoga Moms or call 800-633-7377.

Five tips to beat the bed rest blues

Pregnant woman relaxing in chair

Cropped image. Alagich Katya, Flickr. CC license.

So your doctor put you on bed rest. Now what? It may seem like a treat at first to be able to relax in bed, but that will likely get old after the first few days.

I spent the majority of my 29-week pregnancy on some form of bed rest. I started out on modified bed rest, went to full home bed rest, and then ended up spending the last two months with the wonderful nurses and staff in Beaumont’s antepartum unit.

Here are some tips and tricks to try to keep your sanity.

1. Find out from your doctor exactly what you can and cannot do physically. There are lots of reasons for being put on bed rest and you want to make sure that you are following the doctor’s orders. Knowing the parameters can help alleviate stress because you have clear expectations and understanding of your unique situation.

2. Rally the troops. Your friends and family will likely be calling you to ask what they can do to help. Let them! Make a list of the things that you need, so that way you’re able to easily give directions and stay organized from your bed. Some ideas include child care for your older children, drop offs and pick ups, cleaning, meals, grocery shopping, or even some companionship. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let people know what you need. If you don’t have friends and family nearby, try local community resources. Many senior centers, churches and local moms groups are happy to help.

3. Find support systems. It can be difficult for people who haven’t experienced bed rest to understand how stressful it can actually be. You may be feeling poorly physically; worried about your health and the health of your baby; stressed out about chores, work or money; or just downright bored out of your mind. Some web sites like Babycenter.com or WhatToExpect.com have communities for bed rest moms to vent their frustrations. There are also blogs and tons of articles out there. If you know anyone else who was previously on bed rest, reach out to them. Sometimes knowing that someone else made it through is enough to keep your thoughts going in a good direction. If you are truly feeling down, contacting a counselor, mental health professional, or spiritual advisor may help get you through.

4. Get things done. Just because you’re stuck in bed doesn’t mean you’re helpless. There are so many things that can be done online:

  • Take charge of your finances.
  • Stock up on needed baby items.
  • Make lists of people to call and send thank you notes to.
  • Reorganize your email accounts.
  • Research parenting techniques.
  • Find out about your health insurance and what it covers for you and the baby.
  • Contact an attorney to discuss your will and what changes will need to be made with your new arrival.
  • Learn something you have always wanted to learn about but never had time. Crochet? Knitting? How about a new language? Rosetta Stone can be done while in bed.

5. Stock up on entertainment. Netflix is your friend. Pick a series and go. Read silly magazines. Read a good book. Read a not so good book. Watch all the movies you’ve been meaning to watch over the last few years but never had the time. Watch game shows. Do whatever it takes to relax and get your mind off things. I watched “Law and Order” relentlessly. Never watched it before, haven’t watched it since. But it’s always on in some version or another and it took my mind off of my worries. Find the right thing for you.

And if all else fails, take a nap! You are supposed to be resting, after all.

– Sara Kuhn, is a Parenting Program participant and volunteer.

Announcing the 2015 Beaumont Royal Oak Baby Fair

Two purple rubber ducks

All expecting and new parents are invited to join us for a festival-style event celebrating birth and babies!

Beaumont Royal Oak,
3601 W 13 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, MI 48073

Saturday, April 18, 2015
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Highlights include:

  • Mini classes on many interesting topics including:
    • Comfort measures in labor
    • Breastfeeding basics
    • Relief of choking in babies and children
    • Homemade baby food
    • Infant massage
    • Baby basics
    • Car seat safety
    • Happiest Baby on the Block
  • Information about Beaumont’s Parenting Program and the Prenatal & Family Education Department
  • Pregnancy, birth and baby-related vendors including mom and baby boutique items, infant photography, age-appropriate toys, natural and healthy foods, and many others
  • Door prizes
  • Refreshments
  • Mom-to-Mom Chat with Danielle Karmanos, on behalf of the Karmanos Center for Natural Birth
  • The opportunity to learn about Beaumont’s birth centers

This event is free to the public and doesn’t require registration. Grandparents, families and friends are also welcome and encouraged to attend with expecting or new parents.

For more information, please visit the Beaumont Baby Fairs webpage.

You can also share your favorite baby resources with others – post to Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram with #myBeaumontBaby to join Beaumont’s pinboard. The pinboard is full of great resources from other parents and the experts at Beaumont Children’s Hospital and features everything from inspirational quotes and birth plan ideas to photos of favorite baby foods and baby shower themes.

Introducing Beaumont’s New Natural Birth Workshop

Dad holding mom's hands over birthing ball

Cropped image. Sonya Green, CC License.

Beaumont’s Community Health Education Department is happy to announce a new class: Natural Birth Workshop.

This class was developed in response to feedback from expectant families who expressed an increased interest in birthing in a more natural manner, with little or no medical intervention, while maintaining the comfort and safety of a hospital setting.

The goal of Beaumont’s Natural Birth Workshop is to provide mom and her support person with the knowledge and skills needed for a natural birth experience. The workshop will increase mom’s confidence and assist her in developing a personal plan for her baby’s birth.

This is a “hands-on” class where practice will include positioning, breathing for labor and birth, and learning a variety of comfort measures, such as ways to handle labor challenges. The expectant mom’s labor partner will learn how he/she can support mom and the natural birth process. The goal is to help mom work with her body to increase comfort, enhance the birth process, and decrease or eliminate the need for pain medications.

During the workshop, moms will receive information on natural birth, post-partum care/newborn baby care and breastfeeding information. Expectant parents will also receive a natural birth book and a web-based resource for further learning and review.

The workshop is taught by a registered nurse/ childbirth educator. Mom and her support person should attend this Natural Birth Workshop together and plan to complete it about 4–6 weeks before baby’s due date.

Workshops are scheduled in two formats: One full Saturday session or three weeknight sessions on consecutive weeks. The class fee for mom and support person is $120 and includes all materials.

A follow-up session of the workshop is held 4–8 weeks after baby is born. The new family, including baby, is invited to attend a Beyond Birth class where postpartum adjustment, time and priorities, infant massage, and parenting myths and realities will be discussed. The fee for this class is included in the cost of the Natural Birth Workshop.

For dates, times, locations and registration, visit us online or call (800) 633-7377.

Please contact Mary Anne Kenerson, RN, mkenerson@beaumont.edu, (248) 273-6323 with any questions about this class.

We hope to see you in one of our Natural Birth Workshops very soon!

– Mary Anne Kenerson, RN, Coordinator, Community Health Education, Beaumont Health System