The Lazy Woman's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth

1. Ignore any advice that is not useful to you*.  Trust me, everyone will have an opinion:

Are you sure you should be eating [or drinking] that?
You shouldn’t be on your feet so much.
You shouldn’t lift that.
Is it normal to look so big?  Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?
You want to [do something other than what they did or what is currently mainstream]?  Are you crazy??        

IGNORE THAT NOISE.  This is YOUR pregnancy, not theirs.   You know your body best and only YOU can make decisions for that body.  It is nobody’s business how much or what you eat, what types of activities you pursue, or how you choose to birth.

2. On that note, the world is full of things that you are “supposed” to do/avoid during pregnancy.  Most of it is not necessary (and won’t matter a year from now).  Cut through the cruft.  If you want to eat sushi, have a small glass of wine, ride your bike or skip out on doing kegels, power to you. Do only those things that feel right or are most important to you.  Don’t worry about the rest. 

3. Don’t google every little symptom.  Trust me, the internet is a black hole of anxiety, fear and worst-case scenarios.  If your symptom seems serious, call your care provider immediately (or head straight to the hospital).  If not, it can probably wait until your next appointment. Also, consider hiring a doula, who can offer perspective when you are freaking out**.  As an added bonus, doulas are usually available 24-7 by phone or text to put your mind at ease (even if its late).

4.  Plan ahead (for some things).  Planning may seem like the non-lazy choice, but in fact requires less effort than procras inating.  Some ideas to consider:

1) Going into birth with no knowledge and no plan (a.k.a. "just going with the flow") doesn't usually work out well for most women.  Informing yourself ahead of time help curb some of the fear and anxiety that happen during labor. You don’t need to read ALL THE BOOKS, or know ALL THE THINGS.  Your care providers and support team (including your doula) are there for that. If you *do* choose read, pick one or two books that really appeal to you.  I would suggest Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, The Birth Partner or Birthing from Within.

Also, consider taking a childbirth education class, either through your hospital or with an outside organization.  Classes offered by hospitals are usually free (or at reduced cost), but are usually less comprehensive than those offered privately. 

And, if you are REALLY lazy, hire a doula.  Most doulas provide some childbirth education during your prenatal appointments.  They will hone in on what is most important to YOU, helping to streamline your knowledge-gathering process.  And, your doula has a wide range of skills to help you during labor itself (so you don't have to know it all ahead of time).

2) How are you going to spend your first few weeks postpartum? You will need time to heal, whether you birthed vaginally or by caesarian.  You will probably also want some uninterrupted time to bond with your new baby.  Planning a babymoon is great way to spend minimal effort to have maximal rest and comfort after the baby is born. For those of you not familiar with the term, a babymoon is like a honeymoon for a new family.  It is time and space that you create intentionally so that you nurture yourselves as a new family.  Some things you would take into consideration:

-How long would you like your babymoon to last (or how long is it feasible for you)

-How (and when) you communicate the details of the birth to your families and greater community,

-Who is allowed to visit (including how soon can they visit, for how long and how often?)

-What responsibilities each partner has during the babymoon.  Usually the birthing parent’s responsibilites are few: recuperating and feeding the baby.  Thats it.

-What chores are essential and which can be left until after the babymoon period is over,

-How you are going to feed yourselves.  This is often one of the most difficult and stressful of tasks with a newborn in the house.

For more information, Bear Mama Medicine has a great post on planning a babymoon.

5. Don’t spend too much effort in researching or buying baby gear (at least not yet). Most of it doesn’t need to be here before the baby comes.  In fact, babies don’t need much of anything for the first few weeks (save diapers, maybe a couple of pyjamas/swaddling blankets and a carseat).  Even without trying, you will have more baby gear than you know what to do with (between gifts and hand-me-downs).  Waiting until after the baby is born helps you to see which items are really useful to you, so you don't waste your money on a bunch of unused (or not-quite-right) stuff cluttering up your space. 


*That includes ignoring the advice in this post, if it doesn’t appeal to you.

**You doula cannot make medical diagnoses or decisions.  She does not replace your doctor or midwife when determining whether or not a symptom is serious.  What she can do is be a calm ear and gentle voice (and a source of prior experience) that can help YOU ask yourself questions about whether the situation is urgent or whether it can wait.