Pregnancy on a budget

Everyone talks about how expensive babies are, but my partner and I found that actually we were spending more money starting with pregnancy. I’m seven weeks into my second pregnancy and have been giving a lot of thought to where we spend our money and where we can find cheaper alternatives this go round.

Two things I would not cut corners on are high-quality vitamins and my acupuncture visits because they have a direct impact on my health and the health of my baby.

Below are a few ways to consider cutting back that will contribute to your overall wellness. If you’re looking for other ideas, you also can read about nine healthy habits for pregnancy and childbirth, all of which are either inexpensive or free.

YouTube prenatal yoga and barre classes. I’ve found several really safe, free workouts on YouTube that I did throughout my pregnancy. In my third trimester, I worked hard to do my daily squats. This video from FIT by Larie was challenging but never felt like I was straining my body or overexerting myself. She offers really good cues for how to safely do the exercises and great modification options. I also did this Yoga with Adriene video many, many times. That said, I’ve done barre classes for years and am trained in yoga, so I have a strong foundation in proper form and how to listen to my body. I do not recommend beginning yoga, barre, Pilates or any other exercise during pregnancy without first consulting with you doctor or midwife.

Library books. It’s easy to spend a small fortune on books about pregnancy. I bought SO MANY books based on online reviews without really knowing what would work for me. I highly recommend visiting your local library to flip through their selection, narrow down your list and rent the books that resonate with you. You can takes notes as you read them and consider purchasing the most helpful ones if you think you’d like them as a reference later. I’ve listed a few of my favorites here.

Foam rolling. According to FitBump founder Kira Kohrherr, “Foam rolling is a type of self-myofascial release in which pressure is applied to certain body parts to relieve pain. At a base level, foam rolling increases circulation, which oxygenates the muscles. The fluid that is transferred through the motion brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which is ideal during pregnancy.” I can say firsthand that foam rolling was a great alternative to massage during my first pregnancy and helped reduce aches and pains in my back and hips during my third trimester. I didn’t have any swelling issues, but foam rolling can help alleviate that as well. Here’s a link to a simple video with 5 ways to foam roll during pregnancy. Be sure to check with your doctor or midwife if you’ve never used a foam roller before and read about the two areas to avoid (because they could trigger contractions).

Mental health. I’m a big fan of therapy and can’t say enough about how it can help prepare men and women for the enormous transformation into parenting. But not everyone has the time or resources to seek counseling or therapy. As an alternative, I highly recommend journaling and/or talking to a close friend that you trust about how you feel about pregnancy, labor and becoming a parent. Articulating your expectations, fantasies and fears can be incredibly powerful. This is especially important if you’ve experienced sexual trauma or other unprocessed emotions that could come up.

Midwife Pam England, author of Birthing from Within, advocates that pregnant women and their partners create art to explore their emotions and misconceptions about birth. She writes, “Four things stand out from my work helping mothers explore their art. The first is that pregnant women unconsciously accept scientific and/or television images of birth. Few women acknowledge or even know what their own image of birth is. Yet it is their images, whether ignored or acknowledged, that will determine how they prepare for and experience pregnancy and birth. Second, while exploring their birth art women often realize the value of spiritual and psychological support from other women during pregnancy and labor, and begin to seek or welcome that support. Third, during the quiet, reflective process of making birth art, mother become more aware of their unborn baby. They report more maternal feelings and a greater sense of bonding. And finally, women express gratitude to be heard, acknowledged and given time to reflect on their inner process.” Her book includes birth art prompts, suggested art materials, examples and tips on how to get started.

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