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Things You Might Not Know About the 5 Stages of Pregnancy (from La Mirada Birth Photographer and Doula)

Expecting mama standing in the field taken by Alaina Nunez La Mirada Maternity, birth and newborn photographer

Did you know there are more than the typical 3 trimesters of pregnancy? Today I’m spilling the tea on everything you can expect from conception to the mysterious “4th trimester.”

I’m not only going to share with you what to expect in each, but also a lot of local resources you can use as you plan for your pregnancy, newborn and birth in and around Orange County.

The first trimester is like a secret club where only you and your growing baby are members. During these first 12 weeks, your body is working overtime to create a new life, and you might be feeling the effects (hello, morning sickness aka all day queasiness). It’s like you’re part of an exclusive group that only fellow expectant moms can truly understand.

What my body always craved was small amounts of protein throughout the day. I would have things like string cheese or hard boiled eggs on hand and I even craved a hamburger at one point (I haven’t had beef since I was 16). Sweet smelling things were NOT appealing but oranges tasted SO GOOD.

For many, the second trimester is the golden age of pregnancy, where you can finally start enjoying the journey. Woo Hoo! With the nausea subsiding and the baby bump showing, it’s time to embrace the experience.

What happens during the second trimester? This is usually the time to sign up for a birthing class, book your birth doula, think about your postpartum game plan and support team. You can register for these type of services on Be Her Village (I’m on there!) so friends and family can get what you really want and need.

Are you thinking about doing a gender reveal photoshoot or party? For a few of my children we combined the gender reveal with the baby shower. Not many people (mostly family) liked that because they wanted to purchase things more specific but you know… It’s ok! It was fun to find out around 36 weeks and share that experience with so many loved ones.

The third trimester is when things start to get real. As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, you’ll want to make sure you have everything in place for a smooth transition but also, don’t stress about “having everything in place” because it’s ok. Really all baby needs is mama, nourishment, probably a few diapers and a car seat is always a good idea. I think my favorite thing is those muslin blankets. They’re so soft and double as a nursing cover if necessary. So stock up on easy protein snacks you can grab throughout the day to keep your energy up while nursing, ask a friend to be in charge of setting up a meal train (if someone hasn’t volunteered yet) &/or ask for gift cards for some postpartum meals from some place like Mama Meals. Oh and you can use my code for a discount on your first order! It’s an easy one to remember, just type in ALAINA.

It’s also a good idea to take a prenatal breastfeeding class and I know some wonderful lactation consultants. If you’d like their contact info just send me a quick message and I can get you that.

Oh, and if you haven’t yet, schedule your In Home Newborn session. Then the only thing you need to think about after you give birth is sending me a quick message then I’ll come to your home with all my things (baskets, wraps, outfits) and document all those new little details of your precious bundle.

The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here: birth! Whether you’re planning a natural birth or a C-section, this stage is exciting and emotional!

I’ve given birth 6 times, my first 4 were in the hospital and the last 2 were at home. Each birth experience and birth story is so unique because each of my children are unique people. A lot of times how their story starts is a beautiful glimpse into who they are as a person and who they will grow into as they impact the world. Everyone wants to have the “perfect” birth but there are so many variables. Accepting the process and embracing the journey is my advice to you. You are blessed and you are the perfect mother for your child. You were chosen by God to be their mother because He knows you have what they need.

If you want more details on birth, make sure to check out this blog post all about 10 Secrets for a More Comfortable Delivery which includes a checklist of questions to ask your care provider.

Of course, these are moments you’ll always want to remember (even if things don’t go perfectly according to plan). Hiring a birth photographer is something I’ve never heard anyone say they regret! Reach out HERE if you’d like to schedule a Discovery Call to see if you feel I’d be the right person in your birthing space to document this beautiful journey.

Surprise! Your journey doesn’t end with birth. The 4th trimester is the first three months of your baby’s life, where both of you are adjusting to the world outside the womb. Be gentle on yourself. There might be a feeling of guilt because you didn’t get that magical “falling in love with your baby at first sight” moment. Or that feeling of loosing who you are as an individual. Some babies are harder than others. I’ve had a lovely mix. You can always reach out to Jess who is a parenting coach at The Woman to Mother Circle. She and I actually had a conversation recently about how she supports mamas through the various stages. She’s a wonderful resource! You can take a listen/watch over on my YouTube Channel. It’s ok to ask for help or ask someone to come over for some adult conversation.

When is it time to ask for breastfeeding support? Check out this blog post all about breastfeeding resources.

Of course, every journey is unique, and it’s okay to feel a whole range of emotions along the way. As long as you’ve got your support system, resources and your Heavenly Father, you’ll be able to navigate this crazy, amazing, beautiful adventure of motherhood!

Blessings to you mama!

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