Pregnancy Survival Secrets from a Grand Multigravida

by | Jul 3, 2013 | A Few of My Favorite Things, Five Favorites, Pregnancy | 9 comments

Doesn’t that sound fancy? And once baby number seven is born I get to require that everyone refer to me as a Great Grand Multipara. So, I’ve got that to look forward to.

But in the meanwhile, I have to/get to be pregnant.

I’ve had some very easy pregnancies and some less easy pregnancies and one pretty difficult pregnancy (Frankie, obviously). But I have noticed that there are things I can do to keep some of the standard unpleasantness of pregnancy at bay.

Here my five favorite:

1. Pillows

These medieval folks are showing you how I sleep when pregnant (I do not have one of those birds, perhaps I should look into it). I never ever lay flat if I can help it. This avoids what has been a slippery slope for me in the past. When I lay flat, I get heartburn, so I take antacids, which make me constipated, so I take laxatives etc, etc. I really hate taking medications in general. By sleeping propped up on two or three pillows, I’m able to avoid all of it.

2. Girdles

By my fourth pregnancy, I started noticing a lot of general achiness.

My back would hurt, my groin muscles would hurt, my abdominal muscles would hurt. It wasn’t unbearable, but it was uncomfortable and it began to affect my activity level. I saw ads for pregnancy belts, but they seemed awfully expensive, and sometimes very, very complicated. So instead, I picked up a cheap old lady girdle at Target and it changed my pregnant life. All the aching went away. I’ve since gotten a more modern shapewear thingy. Both work great and make a huge difference in my daily comfort.

Update: For pregnancy number eight I’ve been wearing this Shapewear Long Length Tank. It’s similar to the Blanqui (I think, but I’ve never tried one) for a third the price.


3. Gummy Vitamins

Love these so much. I always have enough nausea in my first trimester (and sometimes beyond) that it makes taking a prenatal vitamin a real ordeal. And with my sixth pregnancy I absolutely couldn’t keep one down. But I could keep down the kids’ gummy vitamins. Enter prenatal gummy vitamins. I like how they taste and they are much easier on my stomach than traditional vitamins. Plus I don’t have to worry about residual vitamin-ness coming back to make me sick later. Once I swallow these they’re gone. I take the calcium too.

4. Naps



I only take naps when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, so . . . always. It makes a huge difference in my evening productivity. If I don’t get a nap I just don’t have the physical or mental energy to accomplish anything after dinner. But if I get a nap, I still have the afternoon blahs, but I rally come evening. I put the baby and the toddler down for naps at the same time, and the older kids do some quiet activities on their own. I think it’s a nice break for the whole household.

5. Exercise 




I already discussed here why I choose to run during pregnancy. But regardless of what kind of exercise it is, it makes a big difference in my physical and mental health if I keep active while pregnant. I have found childbirth to be a very athletic event, so the last thing I want to do is let myself get out of shape before I attempt it. The one pregnancy in which I did not exercise regularly (it was my Chicago pregnancy and the weather was uncooperative) I gained more weight that was necessary (or usual) for me and had my most challenging delivery (and biggest baby at over 9 lbs). I don’t plan to do that again. So now I just keep up my non-maternity exercise routine, running for as long as it’s comfortable, then eventually walking during my exercise time in the mornings and also trying to walk as often as possible throughout the rest of the day.

And hey, since there just happen to be five of my favorite things listed above, I’m linking up for the first time with Hallie of Moxie Wife for Five Favorites! Head on over to see what other folks are raving about. 



  1. Cam Wollner

    Girdles are such a lifesaver for me after delivery… now I'm going to have to try them if we're ever blessed with another little one during pregnancy because that sounds like it would really, really help!

  2. Colleen

    I would never think to wear a girdle while pregnant – huh! I love me some exercise at all stages of my life, more for the mental health aspect of it all. And when I had my 5th baby, they were calling me a grand multipara in the labor room, and I was like "What did you just call me??" I had never heard that term before, so cool!

  3. Cynthia

    I've never worn a girdle, but if we ever get pregnant again, I think that's the direction I should be going! Towards the end of my third pregnancy, I was hurting sooo bad! Also, I love working out in my pregnancies as well. I'm not much of a runner, but I've always wanted to be 😉 Instead, I just mosey on up to the computer and do some rendition of "pregnant pilates." I really love it.

    I'm really loving your blog, Kendra! So glad I found it 😉

  4. Lisa

    I dread taking prenatal vits. esp. during the 1st trimester. I never knew there were gummy ones! Thanks for sharing your survival secrets. 🙂

  5. Nanacamille

    Whatever you are doing it works for producing great kids….even Frankie. I love them all!

  6. Maria Ashton

    Pre-natal gummies are a wonderful invention! I have this illogical feeling that since they are so good they can't possibly work, really.

  7. Katrina

    Big plug here for my midwife, who is also an herbalist. She makes a prenatal tincture which you just put in water so it is super easy to take. She also made me a slippery elm tincture that knocks heartburn out really quickly with no side-effects. And her tinctures are concentrated so you don't have to take much. Let me know if you want her info.

  8. Emily C

    I remember seeing what was called a belly bra during my first pregnancy (12 years ago, or thereabouts). It sounded nice, but in addition to being pricey (which was a huge deal breaker at the time), for some reason they didn't seem to realize pregnant women might ever have breasts bigger than a C cup, which is madness. This pregnancy, I saw your post and tried out some plus-size shapewear, which makes the assumption that if you've got a belly this size, you've got breasts to match. I could try them on locally and buy them cheaply. Then I went to my doctor, and as it turns out, the pain I'm having isn't stretched ligaments, it's a HERNIA. There's nothing for it except avoiding certain actions and… this shapewear I'm wearing, which feels like the only thing standing between me and the scene from Aliens. Thanks a ton!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

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