By Kelly Werthmann

(CBS4) – Any mom will likely tell you pregnancy is hard enough. Add in COVID-19 and pregnancy can have a mom’s head spinning if they’re not careful.

CBSN Denver Health & Wellness contributor Erica Ballard — and first-time mama-to-be herself — has some advice for moms to help keep their minds centered as they navigate pregnancy in 2021. First, and it seems pretty straightforward, Erica says just do your best.

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“The thing about doing your best is that some days it’s going to look like working out and eating salads, walking multiple times throughout the day, but sometimes it’s going to look like eating tater tots in bed while binging Netflix,” she explained with a giggle. “We laugh about it, but it’s so true because the demands of your growing baby change every day. So, what your best look like is going to be different every day…and you don’t have to be perfect to have a healthy baby.”

(You also don’t have to be pregnant to need to eat tater tots and binge your favorite shows, let’s be honest!)

Of course, every pregnancy is unique and it can be easy for moms to start comparing themselves to others. Erica shared ways to curb those comparisons.

“So many moms compare their pregnancy — whether it be their weight gain, lack of weight gain, movement, what they’re eating,” Erica said. “The reality is we have to understand that our pregnancy is unique to us, and it’s supposed to be unique to us. The more we can grasp that concept and really own it, the easier it’s going to be for us to make the best decisions for our bodies as well as our growing babies.”

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Having experienced this herself, Erica also acknowledged that it seems everyone has a bit of advice for expectant mothers — solicited or otherwise. That can be overwhelming for a new mom, so Erica has a suggestion for such information overload.

“If I’ve learned anything about being pregnant is almost everyone has an opinion about what you should do during your pregnancy,” she told CBSN Denver’s Kelly Werthmann. “Be it what you should eat to how you should give birth. And here’s the deal — I am so honored and grateful that they care enough about me to give me advice, but I also know that I can let that advice go in one ear and out the other. I want other moms-to-be to know that, too, because people do give a lot of advice, but we don’t have to take it all. We can simply say ‘thank you’ and let it go.”

It can be tricky, Erica agreed, to digest health advice for new moms, especially when it comes to coronavirus. As for how to navigate the ever-changing information and what to absorb, Erica suggests trusting your gut (yes, the same one used to grow your baby).

“For me, what I do is check my body and say, ‘Ok, does this feel good? Does this feel like it’s coming from a loving place?’ And if it is, I’ll listen,” she said. “But if it doesn’t sound right or doesn’t go along with my philosophy of being pregnant, or my philosophy of being a mother, I don’t take it in. I really think we know what’s best for our bodies and our babies, and the more we lean into that, the easier it is to navigate people’s advice and opinions.”

Erica has health and wellness advice on a wide range of topics. You’ll find more of our monthly interviews with her here.

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For more healthy living tips, check out Erica’s website.

Kelly Werthmann