From the day you discover that you're pregnant, you're faced with big decisions, small annoyances, and unsolicited advice galore. Follow these five dos and don'ts to keeping your cool for the next nine months.
Your Weight Is No One's Business But Your Own
Don't: Share information about your weight with anyone other than your doctor. While well-meaning family and friends are often quick to recall their own personal experience and joke about your expanding belly ("Are you eating enough? When I was three months, I was twice your size!" or, "Are you sure there aren't twins in there?!"), it often just ends up putting unnecessary thoughts in your head. Adhere to the advice of your doctor, and if anyone asks about your weight gain, answer with an innocent, "Gee, I don't know, I haven't stepped on a scale in awhile."
Do: In actuality, keep tabs on your weight gain without being obsessive. You'll drive yourself crazy if you weigh in more than once a day (and remember, just like pre-pregnancy weight, you're likely to fluctuate depending on water retention, whether or not you've just eaten, etc.), but it's smart to have a gauge on how you're pacing.
Social Media Self-Control
Don't: Feel the need to share every ghastly or unexpected pregnancy symptom (or even worse, detail of childbirth) with your entire social network. Each time you start to make a status update or tweet, think about who your friends or followers are. Do you really want an ex-boyfriend or work cohort to know about your aching, swollen breasts? Probably not.
Do: Confide in close friends who have children of their own — it'll often help turn a "What's wrong with me!?" moment into a good laugh.
Keep reading for more modern rules for pregnancy.
The Horror Story Phenomenon
Do: Be prepared to become a magnet for unsolicited advice. From cocktail party chatter to conversation with strangers on the street, for some reason, people love to share horrifying tales of pregnancy and childbirth with pregnant women.
Don't: Be afraid to tell them you'd rather not hear it. Come up with a polite, but to-the-point response along the lines of "Gosh, this stuff really freaks me out, and I've been feeling great, so do you mind if we talk about something else?" so that you don't end up with nightmares of the friend-of-a-friend's horrific labor.
The Reality of Travel
Do: Most doctors, and women who have been through it, will agree that the second trimester is the best time to travel. Morning sickness is most likely (and hopefully) behind you, and you're probably not too big to be uncomfortable. If you've been wanting to plan a fun getaway with girlfriends or your husband, now's the time to do it. Just remember — if you're flying, trip insurance is a worthwhile expense, and it's a good idea to make sure that hotel reservations are fully refundable. Know that some airlines place restrictions on pregnant passengers, so even if all is going smoothly, if you're visibly very pregnant, it's a good idea to travel with a doctor's note.
Don't: Get your hopes up for an around-the-world vacation of a lifetime. The reality is, during pregnancy, anything can change at a moment's notice, and in the event of an unexpected complication or restriction from your medical professional, you don't want to be out thousands of dollars (and be terribly disappointed).
Be Prepared, Not Afraid
Do: By all means, make the hospital tour and childbirth class top priority. It's true that all of the books, websites, and magazines about pregnancy and parenthood may be giving you a touch of anxiety. But skipping out on either of these important pre-baby events will only add to the uncertainty.
Don't: Completely inundate yourself with information on your own. There's a fine line between feeling prepared for a worst-case scenario, and totally freaking yourself out. Learn to balance it. Know that reading up on pregnancy and labor without a doctor by your side is going to allow your mind to wander, and turn highly unlikely situations into "what-ifs."