Congratulations—it’s official! You’re going to be a #NJMOM! Not only will you receive the greatest gift of all at the end of this joyous journey, by virtue of your newest edition and title of “mama,” you are also now a member of a large community of supportive, nurturing (and FUN) women in New Jersey. From appointments and pregnancy coaches to best self-care practices, NJMOM has your back and belly covered to guide you every step along the way.
A To-Do (or don’t do) list for the expecting #NJMOM 👶🏼
You might be experiencing all the feels right now: “What should I do first? Who do I tell? Where do I ’start’?,” and might we add, this is totally normal. In fact, it’s all normal. Whether you’re reading this list as a starting point, a reminder along the way, hoping to pick up something new you didn’t already know, or purely for entertainment purposes, the most important thing you can (try to) do is breathe and enjoy this ride. Because, motherhood is indeed a ride. Lots of emotions are waiting for you on the other side of 9 months – tears of happiness, and sometimes sadness, sleep-deprived nights, excitement and joy, and mostly understanding what it means to have your heart reside outside your body in another little humans’ body. With lots of resources around New Jersey to support your birth experience, we hope this list serves as a guide, or a reminder that we are all in this together and hoping each woman can have the healthiest and happiest pregnancy possible. Our best advice, of course, is to do what feels best for you and your body.
1. Make an appointment with your OB/GYN
During the next nine months, your top priorities are your health and the health of your unborn baby. Given this fact, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Consider this your “pregnancy housekeeping” visit; you can expect a thorough physical, blood work, recommended tests based on your age and medical history, and even a schedule of all future visits during your pregnancy. You’ll also receive your expected due date! Although the projected due date may vary from time to time, you can use this initial date to set up your timeline for all planning and preparations. Our most important advice for your first doctor’s appointment is to speak up and don’t be shy. Take this opportunity to ask your doctor any and all questions you have, even if you think they are silly. You’ll feel more comfortable with the pregnancy process if you’ve had your questions addressed.
2. Get educated: You have many birth options to choose from
As lucky as we are to have an incredible network of support systems in New Jersey, nobody is in more control of your pregnancy than you are. That means that you have the power to customize your pregnancy experience to meet your needs, desires and wishes—down to the very last detail. In this day and age, we’re all basically aware that there is not one clear path for birthing. Whether you opt to labor in water, deliver at home with a midwife, seek support from a doula or have a drug-free birth, there is no wrong way to labor and deliver your baby. The only downside of having so many options is that it can become a little daunting to learn about each one. So, educate yourself; read pregnancy books, visit credible online sources and speak with professionals to learn more. After gathering the information you need, deciding on a birth plan that is right for you will be easy.
Related Article: Natural Birthing “Helpers” in New Jersey
3. Attend the NJMOM Baby Expo (it’s your jumpstart into this new wonderful world, if we do say so ourselves!)
More than 60 premium brands, expert one-on-one advice and educational seminars, giveaways, prizes, yummy treats and swag bags, this expo is a must for any new or expecting NJMOM. Join us on Sunday, November 5, 2017, at W Hoboken for another incredible year celebrating you and your new little. Expecting and new parents are welcome to experience everything this all-encompassing event has to offer. We’re only interested in the best for your family, so vendors and experts are truly hand-selected. Test-drive strollers, taste-test organic kid-friendly snacks, enjoy discounted rates for classes and get your hands on products from premier brands. Where else can you visit with so many terrific brands and local businesses all in one room? In between all of the fun, don’t forget to stop by the NJMOM table—we want meet you!
4. Get matched with a Pampered Pregnancy coach
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of information out there. In many ways, it’s never been easier to get your questions answered on a moment’s notice, but Googling your pregnancy questions at midnight is not the best way to receive personalized answers that have to do with your body and your baby. Pampered Pregnancy at CarePoint Health Hoboken University Medical Center wants to set you up with your own personal coach. From your first consultation and delivery to postpartum, your coach will be there to guide you every step of the way. You’ll even have your coach’s cell phone number and email address throughout your nine months, so every answer you need is literally at your fingertips. Even the most minute details are on the table: You’ll receive help creating a birth plan, making a hospital packing list and can receive breastfeeding guidance once your little one has arrived.
5. Find Your Zen 💆🏽
Your to-do list is a mile long, you have six pregnancy books in your queue, two appointments with your doctor next week and you still can’t decide if you want both the midwife and the doula. Is your head spinning? It’s more than OK to consider yourself stressed out. In fact, it’s encouraged, because that’s the first step toward doing something about it. Treating yourself to some “you” time is also treating your baby. Something as simple as an hour-long massage can reduce anxiety and feelings of depression, as well as cure those muscle and joint aches that just won’t quit. When you find that there’s simply too much to do to relax, that’s the moment when it becomes the most important. Taking time to step back and just chill will ultimately do wonders for you and your baby’s health.
Related Article: NJMOM’s 50 Best Spas in NJ
6. Team up with local mamas 👯
Everyone is stronger in numbers! There are many support groups for expecting and new parents in New Jersey, and the benefits are real. Swapping tips, sharing stories and simply socializing with like-minded women is a real way to boost your confidence in your natural abilities as a mother. It’s no secret that life with a newborn isn’t as glamorous as Instagram might make it out to be, so to find a group where you can open up and be honest with one another is important. Start by checking with your local hospital; many hospitals facilitate groups that meet on a regular basis, making it easy to get involved.
7. Keep on movin’!
Bed rest is not what the doctor ordered for the next nine months! According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are many benefits to working out during pregnancy, both for you and your baby. Physical activity helps alleviate fatigue, improve posture and boost overall energy. For expecting mothers, there are even more benefits: working out can help reduce aches and pains, bloating, swelling and constipation. Additionally, overall fitness can improve your body’s capability for a smoother delivery. The mental benefits are just as important as the physical. Exercise releases endorphins that help the body and mind feel good; regular workouts can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. While exercise during pregnancy is typically encouraged, it is important to consult with your doctor before continuing a regular workout routine or starting a new one. Pre-existing conditions and pregnancy variables might make some workout regimens more suitable for some women than others.
8. Sign up for a fun childbirth class
Get prepped, learn something new and have fun while socializing with other expecting parents at a unique childbirth class in New Jersey. Whether your schedule allows for a weekly course, monthly seminars or just a few drop-in classes during your pregnancy, there is something available in all corners of New Jersey. Prenatal Yoga, Savvy Birth Workshops, Daddy Boot Camps, Holistic Lamaze and even private preparation classes are just some of the childbirth classes in New Jersey that we’re currently loving. Click here to learn more about these courses and many others throughout the state.
8. Eat your heart out 🍎🍍🍉
You’re already taking your prenatal supplements and multivitamins, but what should you eat? It’s no longer the right time to diet for weight loss or to fit into that perfect dress. Instead, it’s time to start watching what you eat in a whole new light. When choosing your menu, keep in mind the age-old phrase, “you’re eating for two.” That means your body needs extra doses of protein, calcium, potassium, healthy fats, iron, fiber, folate and other health-boosters. There’s no better way to get what your body needs than with well-balanced meals. Try switching to whole grain breads for iron, snacking on nuts for heart-healthy fats, making sure your meat is lean for safe iron, and of course, eating a whole lot of fruits and veggies for a variety of vitamins, nutrients, folate and more.
10. Start creating your baby registry
As soon as you announce the good news to your friends and family, you can expect to start receiving gifts pretty quickly. Don’t wait until the week before your baby shower to create your registry. Giving your loved ones the option to buy something that you picked out not only reduces their stress while shopping, but it helps you acquire the gear you and your baby will actually need, in a style of your choosing. After all, who needs mountains of sequin baby booties? It’s never been easier to populate your gift registry from the comfort of your laptop. But if you’re unsure about which products to choose, take a trip to the store so you can see, feel and try out the products before you commit. Check out these popular baby registry sites to get started: Pottery Barn Kids, BabyEarth, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon.