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One haute mama

There's a scene in Knocked Up where Katherine Heigl sits atop Seth Rogen with tousled hair and heaving breasts, basically looking gorgeous, and declares: "I can't do this!"

That, in a nutshell, is what it's like to be a pregnant woman.

You're uncomfortable and insecure and the only thing you know for sure is that you surely cannot do this!

But while the next nine months will test your relationship, your willpower and your nerves, not only can you master this new-mom thing, you'll do it with patience and panache.

I would know. I'm currently 30 weeks pregnant with my second son. And I'm here to help you get through the next nine months feeling great and looking incredible.

You can do this — day by day, week by week, trimester by trimester.

Here's how.

The first trimester

Your little secret

It's official. You're pregnant. Should you share the joy or keep it secret?

I've always been a fan of spilling the beans because: (a) others are more likely to forgive your sudden bitchiness if they know you're expecting; (b) day-long nausea and fatigue is hard to hide; and (c) everybody loves a baby. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

For many, the first trimester is more about survival than ecstasy. (It's only fitting, since pleasure got you into this position in the first place.) Constant nausea finally has you fitting into your skinny jeans — but you still feel about as sexy as an ogre.

An empty stomach exacerbates that nauseous feeling, so try to eat small meals as often as possible. Avoiding liquids with foods may help, but do drink between meals, since lots of water can help keep nausea at bay. During this time, I depended on Preggie Pops, naturally flavored lollipops that ease morning sickness and come in tolerable flavors from ginger to sour raspberry ($10.95, www.pregnancystore.com).

You'll also need to take a new look at your grooming. Hot baths are a no-no. Take a shower or opt for a warm plunge in water no warmer than 100 degrees. Anything that raises the core temperature of a pregnant woman can be dangerous to the health of the fetus.

You may have to change your skin-care regimen, especially if you're blemish-prone or concerned with fine lines. Salicylic acids, commonly used to treat breakouts and retinoids, are not recommended for expectant moms. I prefer gentle organic products that won't irritate my skin. Jurlique's biodynamic skin-care collection is a fave thanks to organically grown herbs and flowers that smell divine and leave dry, itchy skin soft and supple. Jurlique's Purifying Cleansing Lotion ($40) is ideal for moms-to-be experiencing breakouts, while the Replenishing Cleansing Lotion ($40) banishes dryness.

Those who color their hair may want to opt for color culled from vegetable dyes instead of chemicals. There's no definitive evidence that hair color is dangerous to your baby, but there is also no expert consensus that it's safe. Steer clear of permanent hair color or head to a local Aveda salon for a safer alternative to traditional color; Aveda's dyes are 97 percent plant-derived.

The second trimester

Showing and glowing

Once the second trimester comes along, nausea and fatigue are lifted, and one thing is clear: There is a God! Spending three months hunched over a toilet serves as a poignant reminder of what a blessing it is to be healthy. Welcome to the second trimester, weeks 13 through 26, often called the honeymoon period of pregnancy.

That said, the second trimester presents new problems, mostly to a woman's self esteem. As your stomach begins to bulge, you wonder if people are mistaking the new life inside you for a beer belly. You don't really look pregnant, yet your jeans won't zip up and you're not ready for maternity clothes.

Don't buy outfits for a specific trimester. Instead, opt for staples that are comfortable and flattering with room to grow. Dresses are perfectly suited to pregnancy, and thanks to Florida's consistent climate, they're season-less.

Target's Liz Lange Maternity Collection is cheap and chic, and the sale racks at your local department store are stocked with empire-waisted dresses. For many women, pregnancy brings the blessing of cleavage. I say, flaunt it. Not only will necklines that spotlight your blossoming bosom flatter your figure, there's no reason not to enjoy having the breasts you've always wanted.

One thing that probably hasn't changed is your shoe size, which is why I take advantage of this time to expand my wardrobe. Couple a simple dress with fabulous shoes and you'll feel like a million bucks — plus you're investing in a post-partum accessory.

Some say pregnant women shouldn't wear heels, but I navigated all nine months of my first pregnancy and seven-plus months of my current one in sky-high heels. Yes, I care about the health of my baby and myself, but I refuse to wear horrid floral maternity clothes, I refuse to tote diaper bags with bunnies and I refuse to wear flats.

Thanks to the advice of your doctor — eating healthy, getting lots of rest, taking daily vitamins — looking beautiful while expecting can be a breeze. I swear by mineral makeup crafted of minerals and inorganic pigments, which don't require preservatives that could harm your skin or your baby. Jane Iredale skin-care makeup is a favorite. I love their In Touch Cream Blush, a creamy stick of color that I use to highlight cheeks, lids, and even lips ($26 at www.janeiredale.com).

The third trimester

Big and beautiful

You're in the home stretch, and you have the stretch marks to prove it.

Studies suggest that as many as 90 percent of expectant moms get stretch marks in the latter part of pregnancy. I refuse to take this most dreaded side effect lying down. To help stave off stretch marks, maintain a healthy weight gain and proper nutrition while consuming plenty of water, since well-hydrated and healthy skin stretches better.

I'm also big believer in Bella B's Tummy Honey Collection for expectant moms ($19.95, www.learningcurve.com). The all-natural, paraben-free formula includes ingredients to soothe the incessant itchiness that women in their final trimester often experience.

Your growing belly might at times make you feel undesirable. Don't let bouts of feeling down lead to overeating. You're not fat, you're pregnant — but eating an entire bag of potato chips could reverse that trend quickly. Your baby needs sound nutrition — fruits, veggies, low-fat protein — not a box of Little Debbies. Plus, your body's propensity towards heartburn makes eating in small installments essential.

A pregnant woman of normal weight needs to increase her daily intake by 300 calories in the second and third trimesters. That's about the amount of calories in a bowl of cereal. My secret for keeping indigestion and weight gain in check is to eat small meals, 200 to 300 calories, every two hours.

Magazines are littered with images of pregnant celebrities wearing their bumps beautifully: Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie. Take a hint from them and vow not to spend these last weeks sporting flip-flops and a tent.

Enjoy the attention that being visibly pregnant brings. Women will ask about the baby's due date, men will open doors and carry things for you and even children are wowed by the oh-so-evident life growing inside you. The running joke in my house is that while this may be my last pregnancy, I want the pregnant treatment to continue. Only I'm not kidding.

Enjoy these nine months. Indulge yourself, respect yourself and know that Mother Nature intended you to be as obsessed with this pregnancy as you are. Because sooner than you realize, the spotlight will be permanently placed on your little bambino.

And that is a whole other story &

— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBayBeauty.com. Her due date is May 15. E-mail Carolyn at carolyn@prettycity.com.

Nine ways to ensure a posh pregnancy

One Step Ahead: Unique baby products that are super practical, such a Bib Clips that turn even restaurant napkins into bibs. (www.onestepahead.com)

Posh Tots: Completely impractical, fabulous and pricey baby clothes and accessories. (www.poshtots.com)

Japanese Weekend: Chic and comfy maternity clothes. (www.japaneseweekend.com)

Baby Stud by Debbie Rott: Ultra-chic diaper bags (think leather and grommets) worn by celebrities and rocker moms. (www.debbierott.com)

Green Nest: The ultimate online guide to all things eco-friendly for baby and home. (www.greennest.com)

BellaBands: Bands that turn too small pre-pregnancy jeans and pants into custom maternity favorites. (www.ingridandisabel.com)

Sakura Bloom slings: Chic baby slings crafted of fine linens and silks. (www.sakurabloom.com)

Wholesome Tummies: Organic baby food on demand. (www.wholesometummies.com)

Bella Naturna: Maternity lingerie — think thongs, bras and nighties. (www.bellamaterna.com)

One haute mama 03/13/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2008 2:11pm]
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