There’s a scene in the movie Knocked Up where Katherine Heigl sits atop Seth Rogen with tousled hair and heaving breasts (basically looking gorgeous) and declares, “I can’t do this!” And that, in a nutshell, is what it’s like to be a pregnant woman. You’re uncomfortable and insecure and the only thing you know for sure is that... you can't do this!
But while the next nine months will test your relationship with your significant other, your willpower and your nerves, not only will you be able to master this new-mom thing, you’ll do it with patience and panache.
I would know. I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant, and I’m here to help you get through the next nine months feeling great and looking incredible.
You can do this — day by day, week by week, trimester by trimester.
Beauty Tips for the First Trimester: Your Little Secret
It’s official. You’re pregnant.
The question is, do you share the joy or keep it secret? I’ve always been a fan of spilling the beans because a) others are much more likely to forgive your sudden bitchiness if they know you’re expecting b) day-long nausea, fatigue and being repulsed by every odor, good, bad or indifferent, is hard to hide and c) everybody loves a baby.
Someone once said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Once that village catches wind of your little secret, the best thing you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
For many expectant moms, the first trimester is more about survival than ecstasy. (It’s only fitting since pleasure got you into this position in the first place.) Constant nausea, or worse, finally has you fitting into your skinny jeans. And in one of life’s little ironies, constant nausea, or worse, has you feeling about as sexy as an ogre.
Stock up on sleep and force yourself to eat small, even minuscule meals, as frequently as possible. An empty stomach exacerbates that nauseous feeling, so eating, even when it’s the last thing you want to do, is crucial.
Avoiding consuming liquids with foods can also minimize nausea. Do consume liquids between meals, though, since lots of water can help keep nausea at bay.
A few of my favorite things…
- Unique baby products that are super practical, such a Bib Clips that turn even restaurant napkins into bibs.
- Completely impractical, fabulous and pricey baby clothes and accessories. www.poshtots.com
- Chic baby slings crafted of fine linens and silks. www.sakurabloom.com
- Maternity lingerie, think thongs, bras and nighties. www.bellamaterna.com
More Beauty Tips For Pregnant Mamas
You’ll also need to take a new look at your grooming routine. Hot baths are a no-no. Take a shower or opt for a warm plunge in water no warmer than 100 degrees. That’s because anything that raises the core temperature of a pregnant woman can be dangerous to the health of the fetus.
You may even have to change your skin care regimen, especially if you’re blemish-prone or concerned with fine lines.
Both salicylic acids, commonly used to treat breakouts, and retinoids, most often found in anti-aging products, are not recommended for expectant moms. Because pregnant skin may be sensitive, I prefer to opt for gentle organic products that won’t irritate my skin and that don’t contain unhealthy ingredients.
Jurlique’s biodynamic skin care collection is a personal pregnancy favorite thanks to biodynamically and organically grown herbs and flowers that smell divine and leave even the driest and itchiest of pregnant skin soft and supple. Balancing Foaming Cleanser ($34) is especially ideal for moms-to-be thanks to all that's NOT in the formula such as Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes. Petro-Chemicals and Phthalates
Those who color their hair regularly may want to opt for color that is culled from vegetable dyes instead of chemical agents while pregnant. At this time, there’s no definitive evidence that hair color is dangerous to your baby, but there is also no expert consensus that it’s safe. Err on the side of caution and steer clear of permanent hair color during the first trimester. Or, opt for chemical free color and head to a local Aveda salon for a safer alternative to traditional color; Aveda’s dyes are 97 percent plant-derived.
The first three months of building a life can be exhausting and unsettling and while it may seem that no one understands what you are going through, much less empathizes, there’s a whole group of women who do.
Welcome to “The Mommy Club.” Prepare for one hell of a ride.
The Second Trimester: Showing and Glowing
No matter what your beliefs are at the onset of this bun baking experiment, the second trimester comes along, nausea and fatigue are lifted, and you are clear on one point; there is a God! Spending three months hunched over a toilet serves as a poignant reminder of what a blessing it is to be healthy. Welcome to the second trimester, weeks 13 through 26, often called the honeymoon period of pregnancy.
You’re beginning to show and that’s bittersweet. Thankful for passing through the riskier first trimester, the second trimester presents a new set of problems, mostly to a woman’s self esteem. As your stomach begins to bulge, you wonder if people are mistaking the new life inside you for a beer belly. You don’t really look pregnant, yet your jeans won’t zip up and you’re not ready for maternity clothes, leaving you feeling at a loss about looking great.
Don’t buy clothes for a specific trimester. Instead, opt for staples that are comfortable and flattering with enough room to grow as you do. Dresses are perfectly suited to pregnancy; try Target’s Liz Lange Maternity Collection. It is cheap and chic! For many women, pregnancy brings the blessing of fabulous cleavage. I say, flaunt it. Not only will necklines that spotlight your blossoming bosom flatter your figure, there’s no reason not to enjoy having the breasts you’ve always wanted.
One thing that probably hasn’t changed is your shoe size, which is why I love to take advantage of this time to expand my shoe wardrobe. Couple a simple dress with a fabulous pair of shoes and you’ll feel like a million bucks, plus you’re investing in an accessory that you can actually use postpartum. You may have heard that pregnant women shouldn’t wear heels but I navigated the entire 9 months of my first pregnancy and now, 2nd pregnancy, in sky-high heels. Yes, I care about the health of my baby and myself but I refuse to wear horrid floral maternity clothes, I refuse to tote diaper bags with ducks or bunny rabbits and I refuse to be relegated to only wearing flats.
Thanks to that doctor’s advice you’re finally not ignoring (eating healthy, getting lots of rest and taking daily vitamins), looking beautiful while expecting can be a breeze.
Even when you’re not feeling up to it, dab color on your cheeks, stroke on some mascara and swipe on a warmly colored gloss or lipstick. What you see in the mirror affects how you feel, so to keep your self-esteem in tact; you’ve got to look the part of the glowing momma you now are!
During my pregnancies the ingredients of everything I put on my body, from head to toe, became of paramount concern. I swear by mineral makeup crafted of minerals and inorganic pigments, which don't require preservatives that could harm your skin or your baby. jane iredale, the skin care makeup, is a personal favorite.
The key to navigating the second trimester with panache is to revel in your new curves, flaunt that burgeoning belly and continue to expose yourself and your baby to things that make you look and feel like the amazingly haute mama you’ve become.
The Third Trimester: Big and Beautiful
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the third trimester, weeks 27 through the end of your pregnancy. You’re in the home stretch and you have the stretch marks to prove it.
Studies suggest that as many as 90% of expectant moms get stretch marks in the latter part of pregnancy. It's been oft reported that no cream can stop the onset of stretch marks but I refuse to take this most dreaded side effect lying down. Besides, even the experts agree that there are things a woman can do to lessen, if not prevent, the onslaught of said marks.
To possibly stave off stretch marks, maintain a healthy weight gain and proper nutrition while consuming plenty of water since well-hydrated and healthy skin stretches better. I’m a big believer in Bella B’s Tummy Honey Collection for expectant moms. Tummy Honey Butter prevents stretch marks by maintaining skin elasticity and moisture. The all-natural, paraben-free formula includes anti-itch ingredients to soothe the incessant itchiness that women in their final trimester often experience.
You’re probably feeling uncomfortable with your larger body, especially since the majority of the weight you’ve gained is in your midsection making you feel decidedly off balance. The New York Times once posted an article entitled, “Why pregnant women don't tip over.” Doesn’t that just say it all? Apparently the female spine has evolved to accommodate the tremendous demands of pregnancy. I can’t help but wonder if that evolution accounted for the invention of 5-inch heels?
Regardless, your growing belly can make you feel at moments beautiful and blessed and at other times ugly and undesirable. Don’t let bouts of feeling down lead to overeating. You’re not fat, you’re pregnant but eating an entire bag of potato chips could reverse that trend rather quickly.
It’s important in the final weeks of pregnancy to continue to eat healthily while not overeating. Your baby needs sound nutrition—think fruits, veggies, low-fat protein—not a box of Little Debbies. Plus, your pregnant body’s propensity towards heartburn makes eating sensibly and in small installments essential.
A pregnant woman of normal weight needs to increase her daily intake by 300 calories per day in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. To put that in perspective, that’s about the number of calories in a bowl of cereal. My secret for keeping indigestion and weight gain in check is to eat small meals, 200 to 300 calories, every two hours. This keeps indigestion at bay and satisfies the constant hunger of a woman in her last trimester.
Years ago, pregnant women practically went into hiding during this time but today’s magazines are littered with images of very pregnant celebrities wearing their bumps beautifully, very recently a la a personal favorite, Amal Clooney, pictured pregnant at top. Take a page from her book and vow not to spend these last weeks sporting flip-flops and a tent.
In fact, enjoy all the attention that being so visibly pregnant brings. Women will stop and ask about the baby’s due date, men will open doors and carry just about anything for you (who said chivalry was dead?) and even small children are wowed by the oh-so-evident life growing inside you. The running joke in my house is that while this may be my last pregnancy, I want the pregnant treatment to continue. Only, I‘m not kidding.
Enjoy these 9 months. Indulge yourself, respect yourself and know that Mother Nature intended you to be as completely obsessed with this pregnancy as you are. Why else would she let this baby kick you every 60 seconds? Sooner than you realize, the spotlight in your life will be permanently placed on your little bambino. And that is a whole other story…
Editor's Note: This story, Beauty Tips For Pregnant Mamas, originally ran in The St. Petersburg Times' when our publisher, Carolyn Brundage, was pregnant with her second child. She is now the proud Mama to three boys aged two years old to 16! The story has been updated for accuracy.