It's hard being pregnant. And it's hard being a new mom. But the good news is that gazillions of women have done it already-and we've tracked down a few to share their best tips for surviving pregnancy and motherhood in the Windy City.
The best cure for sweet pregnancy cravings is the new Magnolia Bakery in the Loop. It's filled with cream and sugar and cookies and bananas, and it will cure any pregnancy bumps in the road. And hey, it has fruit, which is healthy, right?
One of the best places to spend a day on maternity leave when it's cold or rainy outside is the 900 North Michigan Avenue mall. With three-hour validated parking ($13), it's easy to get in and out. Spend it exercising by walking the floors and visiting stores such as Preggers Maternity, Galt Baby and of course Bloomingdale's. Grab some frozen yogurt at 40 Carrots to top off the day.
-Lindsay Pinchuk, president and founder of Bump Club and Beyond
After you have a baby, your life instantly will get super busy and it'll be hard enough to sneak away for a haircut, let alone a massage. So take advantage of all that time you'll have postpartum-in the hospital. Nearly all of the local hospitals offer massage services, so send your baby to the nursery and get a massage while you can. Plus, most new moms are really sore from labor, so chalk this one up to being a necessity.
-Dr. Anjali Rao, pediatrician, Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group
Continue to exercise, but at a slower pace and with the advice of your doctor. Pilates classes don't have to stop once you get pregnant.
-Dr. Anita Chandra, pediatrician
When I was pregnant, my back was killing me. I went to a physical therapist, but it didn't help much because he didn't have specific experience with pregnant women. So I switched to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago because they have physical therapists who specialize in pregnancy and post-pregnancy issues. They even talk to you about positions that are better to labor in if you have back problems (turns out the traditional on-your-back position isn't the best if you're prone to lower back problems). And if you have another little one at home, they'll demonstrate ways you won't hurt your back-when you're pregnant-to lift your child or give him a bath.
-Gabrielle Nidus, mom of Isaac, 4, and Aaron, 1, Chicago
As a first-time mom due in October, I needed to wear dresses to deal with Chicago's summer heat. Since maternity clothing can be quite expensive, I went to Discovery Clothing to get strapless maxi dresses, which were $15 or less, and came in all styles. I wore them to work, events and to the park. They were dressed up with a cardigan and some fun accessories. Since they held their shape well, I will be able to wear them this summer as well.
-Wendy Yemm, mom to 4-month-old Adelyn
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
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