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Back Pain 

Get a massage. In my third pregnancy, I had a lot of sciatic nerve pain The best thing that helped was my husband’s elbow digging into my hip! I also went to a deep-tissue massage therapist once or twice to loosen up the muscles in my hips and pelvis. My husband went along and learned some of the techniques. Thank goodness the pain went away after my son was born.

—Paula Cuchran, a stay-at-home mom of four in Northampton, PA

Delivery Preparations

Pack your delivery bag with care. The hospital doesn’t exactly offer all the comforts of home, so you may want to pack a few extras in your overnight bag:

  • An inexpensive, oversize bath towel and a few wash clothes. The hospital bath towels are tiny and a little rough, and the washcloths smell like bleach. I bought a couple of cheap washcloths and a big, fluffy towel to use while I was in the hospital, and I felt a little more pampered while I was there.
  • A roll of your favorite toilet paper. That industrial stuff they have at the hospital is really rough, especially when you’re already a little sensitive!
  • Throw-away socks and slippers. After traipsing around the hospital in my socks and slippers, I didn’t want to bring them home.
  • A comfortable pair of pajamas that button in the front. Those hospital gowns aren’t very flattering, and they’re practically impossible to tie by yourself.
  • A couple of pairs of maternity panties, unless you want to wear those gross disposable mesh panties provided by

    the hospital.

  • A good supply of your favorite brand of sanitary napkins. Buy the ones designed for heavy, overnight flow. The pads provided by the hospital are more like adult diapers.
  • Your own pillow. Hospital pillows have a plastic pillow case, which isn’t exactly comfortable. You’ll need all the help you can get to get a good night’s sleep.
  • A good supply of nutritious snacks. No matter how tasty the hospital food may be, they just don’t give you enough. I was ravenous after my delivery, and the hospital didn’t provide snacks. I was glad to have my own stash of granola bars, trail mix, and fruit to munch on between meals.
  • Your baby book. The nurses will put your baby’s footprints in the book for you so you don’t have to mess with more ink at home.
  • A no-bottles sign. When my first baby was born, the nurses accidentally gave her a bottle while she was in the nursery, even though I had announced my plans to breast feed her. For my second baby, I made a little sign to put in my baby’s bassinette that said, “No pacies, no bottles, no thank you. I’m a breastfed baby.”

—Abra Moore, a mom of two and hair stylist in Lexington, KY


Sleep upright. My biggest problem was sleeping. I had terrible back pain and I was so immense I couldn’t breathe when I laid down. I would sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs. This was so comforting that I still do it today. Plus, my husband helped to position my pillows at night so I was upright but in a slightly reclining position. That’s how I slept the last few weeks of my pregnancy

Sandi Lloyd, a freelance writer and mom of one daughter in Norristown, PA

Nap whenever you can. I was so exhausted during the afternoons especially that sometimes I’d escape to my company’s nap room. One day I slept there for two hours, but thank goodness no one seemed to notice, or at least they were too polite to mention it.

Jennifer Goldsmith, a proposal writer and mom of one son in Reading, PA


Avoid spicy foods. My most challenging thing was heartburn. Instead of taking over-the-counter meds, I avoided all spicy and greasy food—which is really hard when you’re craving pizza! To combat heartburn, I also drank warm milk with a tablespoon of honey. I really liked the taste, and it helped a lot.

—Annmarie Pearson, a mom of two girls and a boy in Gig Harbor, WA

Take a bath. In my third trimester, I started experiencing the worst heartburn I’d felt in my entire life. One of the very few things that seemed to help was a warm bath, even in the middle of the night. I have no idea why it worked, but since I was always waking up in the middle of the night in pain, those 2 am baths were my lifeline. It didn’t make the heartburn go away, but it eased it enough so I could get a few hours sleep and somehow get to work the next morning.

Jennifer Goldsmith, a proposal writer and mom of one son in Reading, PA

Try a papaya a day. The heartburn during my first pregnancy was excruciating. Fortunately, I like papaya, and eating it with every meal cured my heartburn. Papaya has natural enzymes that combat heartburn. Also, taking papaya enzyme tablets before eating will work just as well.

—Tori Dennis, RN, a mom of three and midwife in Tuscumbia, AL


Stock up on Tums. I had terrible heartburn with all four of my pregnancies. My solution was pretty simple. Always have a bottle of Tums nearby. In addition to easing the pain, it helped me get my daily calcium intake, too.

—Paula Cuchran, a mom of four in Northampton, PA

Morning Sickness

Try a new tube. For some reason, the taste of mint toothpaste in the morning made my morning sickness worse, and even the thought of brushing my teeth was enough to make me gag. Switching to cinnamon toothpaste was all it took to make brushing my teeth each morning far more pleasant.

—Abra Moore, a mom of two and hair stylist in Lexington, KY

Nursing Preparations

Get the lactation consultant’s name and contact info. After my first baby was born, I didn’t realize that I could consult a lactation specialist while I was in the hospital. After I was discharged from the hospital, I had a few questions about nursing, and I had to pay for a consultation with the lactation specialist. Now I know that they’re available upon request in the hospital, and as long as you’re there, their services are either free or covered by insurance.

—Abra Moore, a mom of two and hair stylist in Lexington, KY

Take a breastfeeding class. My husband and I took a breastfeeding class late in my first pregnancy. The class itself wa

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s helpful, but the most important part was meeting the teacher, a certified lactation consultant. Early in my pregnancy when I was really struggling with nursing, I called the teacher, and she came to our house and helped my son learn to latch on correctly. She also weighed my son before and after nursing, which was such a simple thing, and it proved to me that he really was getting milk after all!

Jennifer Bright Reich, a mom of two and editor in Allentown, PA

Visit a La Leche League meeting. I wasn’t able to nurse my son, and I desperately wanted to nurse my daughter. To ease my worries, I went to a La Leche League meeting. The women were warm, welcoming, and very supportive. I was glad to have met them in case I encountered problems nursing after my baby was born. I knew they would be there if I needed them.

Marie Suszynski, a mom of two and writer in Emmaus, PA

Pull up a chair. Before your baby arrives, buy a very comfortable chair and ottoman for the nursery. Sit it in at the store, close your eyes, try not to fall asleep. Don’t pick the chair your husband wants; pick the chair you want. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in it.  My sons are four and two, and I can’t bear to part with mine!

Jennifer Bright Reich, a mom of two and editor in Allentown, PA

Preterm Labor

If you’re concerned about preterm labor, ask your doctor about the FFN test. My first three children were all born prematurely, and each baby was born earlier than the one before. My fourth child is the first I carried to term. She was a big, healthy baby!

I have an irritable uterus, and I start to cramp and exhibit symptoms of preterm labor at around 28 weeks. When the symptoms start that early in pregnancy, doctors tend to get very nervous and aggressive about treatment. The doctors recommended treatement includes bed rest at home or even in the hospital in order to prevent labor. The doctor might also prescribe steroids to accelerate the baby’s maturity.

In my second, third, and fourth pregnancies, my doctor gave me a fetal fibronectin test (FFN) every two weeks to determine if I needed to be hospitalized to prevent labor and treated with steroids. The FFN test is a swab of the vaginal area, and the results tells if you’re likely to deliver in the next 14 days. If you receive a positive response to the test, you’re more likely to go into labor.

What was great for me was that as long as I got a negative result, my doctor didn’t put me on bed rest. This allowed me to continue to work for more of my pregnancies and kept me off unnecessary steroids. I was having regular contractions, and my doctor told me that if it hadn’t been for the test, she would have put me in the hospital and on steroids because she wouldn’t have known if I was going to go into labor.

At the end of my last pregnancy, I did go on modified bed rest, staying at home and off of my feet, but at least I could work at home, which was far better than being in the hospital. And by using the test in my last pregnancy, I was able to carry my baby to term!

—Shae Harvey, a mom of four children and nine stepchildren and an attorney in Los Angeles

Sinus Problems

Use a neti pot. Sinus pain and pressure was a huge challenge for me during my second pregnancy. I had allergies when I got pregnant, and my doctor told me that pregnancy hormones also causes congestion, so it made my symptoms even worse. My ob-gyn told me to take Sudafed and Tylenol, but they weren’t doing the job.

By my third trimester, my sinus pain was so bad that I felt as if I had been punched in the face. I finally went to an ear, nose, and throat doctor. In addition to giving me a prescription nasal spray that was safe during pregnancy, she recommended I use a neti pot to flush out my sinuses with a saline solution three times a day. Pretty soon, I was able to stop using the nasal spray and relied only on the neti pot to keep my sinuses clear. Then I only used the neti pot every once in a while when I noticed the congestion returning. It helped me get through the rest of my pregnancy.

Marie Suszynski, a mom of two and writer in Emmaus, PA

Skin Issues

Switch soaps. Some pregnant women get painful, red bumps on their skin, especially in the winter. Try washing with Dove White. It cleared my skin up overnight—worked like magic! You can buy Dove White at grocery stores and drugstores for around $2 a bar.

—Robyn Swatsburg, a mom of two in Biglerville, PA


Put your feet up whenever, wherever. I placed stools strategically all over the house—at my desk, at the dining room table, by the couch—and whenever I had the chance to sit, I did, and I propped my feet up as well. It seemed to ease the swelling in my ankles quite a bit. I made a game out of putting my feet up as much as possible.

—Mary Bright, a craft designer and mother of two daughters in Allentown, PA

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.