Enjoying Your Pregnancy
As you sidle up to the third trimester starting line, try to take advantage of these final days of relative comfort and sit back and savor — yes,
Splurge for a day spa treatment. Spend a lazy afternoon curled up with a good book. Cool off with a dish of your favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor while you enjoy a nice relaxing soak in the tub. Take a scenic weekend drive with no deadlines or particular destination. Pampering yourself can relieve pregnancy symptoms, give you (alone or with your partner) special time to reflect on your future, and recharge you for what lies ahead.
Make sure you treat yourself to the little conveniences right now, too. Use the valet service to park instead of hiking from the lot, or shop at stores with expectant mother parking front and center. Too tired to cook at the end of the day? Order healthy carryout fare from your favorite restaurant. If it's only lunchtime and you're already beat, arrange for an off-site play date for the kids for a few hours and have a midafternoon snooze. It might feel decadent at first, but taking the easy way out is a good thing right now.
It bears repeating — again — that getting stressed out these days just isn't worth it for you or your growing child. Of course, pampering yourself is one good way to lighten the load. But some women find they just can't enjoy a good old-fashioned self-indulgence day because they're too busy worrying about all the things they should be doing instead. If you fall into this category, don't add to your burden through forced relaxation that will only leave you tense and perhaps out several hundred dollars, to boot.
Instead, use that money to whittle down your to-do list. Hire a cleaning service, send out the laundry, pay someone to do that painting in the baby's room, have the groceries delivered instead of schlepping to the supermarket. If your financial resources are limited, let your loved ones know you could really use their help right now, and don't be shy about delegating tasks when assistance is offered.
Is it safe to use Nutrasweet or Splenda while I'm pregnant?
The FDA has determined that both Nutrasweet (aspartame) and Splenda (sucralose) are safe for most people to consume in moderation. The exceptions are anyone diagnosed with hyperphenylalanine (high levels of phenylalanine — a component of aspartame — in the bloodstream), with the genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU), or with advanced liver disease.
Spending Time with Siblings-to-Be
Watching your child marvel at the changes in your body while he considers the possibilities of a new little sister or brother can be one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of pregnancy. Yet even the most enthusiastic sibling-to-be has some doubts about how he will fit into the new family unit. Unfortunately, those insecurities may only be intensified as you spend more time in the coming months visiting the doctor, going to childbirth classes, and tying down loose ends before the big day. Make sure you and your child (or children) have an opportunity each day to play, read, or just talk. You'll each benefit from this special time together.
With you in the pregnancy limelight and all the attention your agile, rib-thumping fetus demands, perhaps you have inadvertently started to think of you and the baby as a couple. Your husband or partner is not an orbiting moon, although he may feel like one from time to time. Make sure he knows that he plays a essential role in this pregnancy, and take the time to reconnect with him emotionally and physically.
If these are your final few months as a childless couple, take advantage of your freedom and spend some time doing your favorite grown-up things, activities that don't involve visiting the doctor's office or shopping for cribs and strollers.
If you're both still ready, willing, and up to the challenge, sex can be more fun than ever. You don't have to worry about birth control, and the creativity required to find a comfortable position can inspire you to new heights. If the two of you are so inclined, oral sex is a good option; just make sure your partner is aware that he should not blow into your vagina due to the rare but real risk of an air embolism. Women in high-risk pregnancies should consult their doctor about the safety of intercourse right now.