Very few, if any, go into pregnancy knowing exactly what to expect. Reading pregnancy books and asking for advice from other moms help, but experience is a whole different matter (and still the best teacher).

Many moms look back and think of the many things they could have done differently in their pregnancy. Here’s sage advice from 5 moms who’ve shared what they would tell their pregnant selves if given the chance.

1. Begin the pregnancy journey with a positive mindset

Most expectant parents welcome the news of a pregnancy with joy and much celebration, but the reality is that not all pregnancies are planned, and some women approach their pregnancies with dread, stress, and frustration.

Unfortunately, these negative emotions can affect the health of a pregnant woman, which is why expectant moms should make a conscious decision to accept their situation and find joy in it—not only for their own wellbeing, but for the baby’s as well.

It was quite hard for me to accept the pregnancy at first, since I didn’t want it to happen at the time. My frustration during the first months took a toll on me—I experienced uncontrollable nausea, vomiting, chronic heartburn, and my body hurt from head to toe.

I would advise women to deal with your problems ASAP once you know you are pregnant. Don't sweat the small stuff and try to be happy all the time (or at least most of the time).

When I finally accepted my pregnancy (around the 4th month), everything went much more smoothly. And in the end, the sacrifice was worth it—my baby is the biggest reward.

2. You don’t need to buy all that stuff

New moms are often so wracked with anxiety that they turn to retail therapy. All parents want the best for their kids, but there’s definitely no good reason to overspend and purchase inessential things. One mom talked about how, if she could do her pregnancy all over again, she would be more conscious about shopping.

I’d tell my pregnant self not to buy so many unnecessary things, like expensive baby shoes that they’ll quickly outgrow. And there are other things that you don’t really need to buy—in our case, it was a potty trainer. Before reaching for your wallet, you should stop and think first to figure out what’s important and what you don’t really need. Save up instead.

3. Take all advice with a grain of salt

It’s always good to be informed, but pregnant women are often bombarded with so much advice (solicited and otherwise), some helpful, some not. Most people mean well, so it doesn’t hurt to listen. However, don’t let yourself get pressured into doing things you’re not comfortable with. In the end, if you are ever in doubt, check with your healthcare provider.

First and foremost, I would advise myself to stay away from the pregnancy horror stories. The internet is filled with them, and many of them gave me nightmares and only made me more jittery.

I would tell myself to be more confident and to look for positive information on birth and pregnancy, instead of reading the negative ones. I’d also advise myself to be better prepared to face the nosey aunties and neighbours who always found fault with the way I was eating or dealing with my pregnant body.

Avantika Kukreti, 34 (India)

4. Enjoy the journey

Many moms turn into a bundle of nerves when they find out about their pregnancy, especially if it’s their first time. However, getting caught up in doing everything the “right” way can make you lose sight of how wonderful the process is. Sometimes we just need to lighten up and stop to smell the flowers.

Looking back at my first pregnancy, I think I was too anxious. I got too preoccupied with preparing everything, eating the best food, being very careful, and learning as much as I could so that I never really appreciated and enjoyed the journey.

Samantha Bek, 36 (Singapore)

5. Make your health a priority

It’s easy to make pregnancy an excuse to let yourself go and eat whatever you want, right? Not quite. Taking care of your health and good nutrition becomes even more important when you’re pregnant, as what you eat plays a vital part in how your baby develops.

I would tell my pregnant self to be more concerned about food and nutrition. My baby will take in what I eat, so it’s important that I eat food that is rich in vitamins and minerals important for fetal development (i.e. folic acid, iodine, etc.). If you are a pregnant mom, I recommend that you consume nutritious food.