Today I’m excited to share with you a super duper helpful pregnancy and baby resource – the What to Expect® series of books!
What to Expect® When You’re Expecting was originally published in 1984. Since then, it has had 600+ record-breaking weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list….in fact, it’s the longest running book on the list!
Author Heidi Murkoff wrote this book when she realized an equivalent books for expectant mothers was not available. With over 36 million books sold to date, you can sure she knows her stuff!
I read What to Expect® When You’re Expecting TWO TIMES – once when I was pregnant with my first child and again when I was pregnant with my second.
I can’t even begin to describe how helpful this book was in easing my mind about so many pregnancy questions. I’m the type of person who doesn’t handle uncertainty very well. This book answered dozens of burning questions I had and helped me understand things like why I couldn’t escape the pregnancy brain fog and why my hair fell out in chunks after delivery!
The What to Expect® Series
Recently I found out there are so many more books than the one I read in the What to Expect® series. You can see them here.
I was excited to receive a review copy of What to Expect® the First Year and Eating Well When You’re Expecting in addition to a brand new copy of What to Expect® When You’re Expecting.
I have several friends who are currently pregnant – I am planning on passing these books on to them!
Some of my favorite topics in each book are:
- What to Expect® When You’re Expecting – This book is about everything that happens with you and your baby from conception to birth. I love the weekly glimpses at how your baby is developing and explanations for all the weird sensations you feel during pregnancy like smell aversion and lower abdominal pressure. I also found it extremely helpful to know what to expect at doctor’s visits along the way and what items you should definitely purchase before the baby’s born. The book is jam-packed with helpful information.
- What to Expect® the First Year – This book starts with preparing for baby’s arrival and covers every month of their first year. Whether you need guidance on breastfeeding, sleeping arrangements, vaccines, sickness, baby foods, or language development, it’s all here.
- Eating Well When You’re Expecting – This book is full of tips for eating on the go, eating to satisfy cravings, eating around tummy troubles, and even has 175 baby-friendly recipes. I really could have used this book when I was pregnant!
7 Types of Exercises You Can Do While Pregnant
When I was pregnant, I couldn’t sleep very well, my back ached constantly, and I constantly felt pain in my side from trapped gas.
Pregnant or not, I find that exercise helps with body aches and sleep issues. It’s difficult to stay awake when you’re tired from exercise! What to Expect® When You’re Expecting gave me a list of helpful exercises to do. A side effect is that they also helped me get out some of the trapped gas (because moving around during exercise helps release it).
Some exercises you can do during pregnancy (with the green light from your doctor, of course) are:
- Kegels – After three babies, trust me, this is the one exercise you MUST DO during pregnancy! Kegels strengthen your pelvic floor. They help counteract the pressure your growing baby puts on your pelvic floor, they strengthen your muscles in preparation for delivery, and they help you better control the flow of urine (which can get out of control later on in pregnancy and continue after the baby is born).
- Stretches – Shoulder and leg stretches, neck stretches (side to side), chest stretches on a wall, hip flexor stretches (super important because as the baby grows, your hip flexibility will become more limited).
- Flexibility moves – “Cat camels” as my chiropractor calls them…where you get on all fours and let your belly drop down, then arch your back to bring it back up. Pelvic tilts are also great – they strengthen your abs and prepare your body for delivery. Yoga and pilates are wonderful, too!
- Strength training with weights – Biceps curls, shoulder presses, and tricep kickbacks are all great exercises for upper body strength. Just make sure not to go too heavy with weights or you may invoke muscles you’re not targeting in order to make it through the motions.
- Body weight exercises – leg lifts (lying on your side), squats, taking the stairs
- Aerobic exercise – walking, jogging, swimming, treadmill, elliptical, stair climber, water aerobics are all great options. You can also go outdoors to hike, skate, or bike.
- Breathing exercises – Not only will these help you relax, they will also help with your internal abdominal strength as well.
You may need to cut back on or cut out certain exercises as your pregnancy progresses and per doctor’s orders. Just listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Remember – everything is a bit looser during pregnancy so exercises that used to be no problem may give your joints trouble.
Perfect Shower Gift for You or a Friend
I LOVE the What to Expect® books for their practical advice and glimpse into what to expect with a new baby. I wasn’t familiar with babies before I had my own. Even after having one, I learned a lot from my second reading.
In between taking care of a toddler and becoming pregnant again, somehow you forget many of the things you learned the first time around!
I only wish I had owned copies of the What to Expect® the First Year and Eating Well When You’re Expecting back then. If you or a friend are expecting a baby, even if it’s not your first one, I highly recommend this series. If you are only going to buy one book, then for sure I’d choose the original, What to Expect® When You’re Expecting.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.