The pregnant gal's guide to baby showers

by Courtney Sullivan

Pregnant Gal's Guide to Baby ShowersYou've just found out that your family or friends are throwing you a baby shower!

Your response might be similar to Lillie's. She states, "I love the dorky games, food and attention! I can hardly wait!"

For some of us, a baby shower can be a pressure-filled situation that causes you more heartburn than your growing baby. You remember the hard chairs, the games and the long hours.

"Just thinking about 30 women crowding around and the games and food...I am so nervous. I almost wish I had said no," Brianna says.

Some moms-to-be opt out of the shower, but friends help them celebrate the new baby.

"My mom and a dear friend are throwing me a "sprinkle" in weeks! It's just a brunch and mock mimosas thing, since about 75 percent of my close friends are pregnant. But I didn't want anything huge, just a small group of my closest friends celebrating this new baby! So that's what we're doing," Jen says

Our guide to baby showers can help you to survive and enjoy any baby celebration thrown in your honor! Why not register for your own FREE universal baby registry right now?

Expect the best baby shower ever!

Manage your expectations. Take a deep breath. You'll benefit with amazing baby gifts. Not only that, you can make subtle -- or more direct if necessary -- hints that turn the shower into an event you'll love.

Even for those of you who are not social butterflies, a shower is the means to an end. It's okay to milk it for what it's worth.

Joanna shares, "You're inviting me to help you prepare. Most guests love to share a gift and remember the baby experience. Sure, you're getting something out of it, but so am I."

Ask the right person to throw your shower. You might choose your mom or mother-in-law, an older woman who has been a mentor or a best friend. Don't pass up on the possibility of having your own shower for couples.

Kris says, "My best friends are throwing me a shower. I didn't think I'd have one this time but they surprised me with it! So sweet!"

Suggest they keep the shower short. Have it be no more than 2 or 2 1/2 hours. You don't have to serve a meal. Appetizers, a dessert and beverages set a festive atmosphere.

"Be sure and let whoever's in charge of food if you have a food restriction or aversion. Just for fun, let her know what you've been craving," Harmony suggests

When it comes to games, less might be more! Your host could skip them altogether and many guests would cheer. If you love games, share that tidbit with your host.

"Think of the people attending. If its co-ed, think of games men will like also...and know your guests. When I was planning my sister's shower we decided that less was more. We set up an area for people to make a scrap book page. We also had a station set up for decorating onesies with puffy paint for the baby. Then, at the end, my sister and her husband picked their favorite 3 and the people that made them got a prize," Kier says.

Open the gifts. You might think it's boring but you're probably the only one. Everyone else anxiously waits for your reaction and to coo over the cute baby stuff.

Jackie says, "Pass the baby gifts around for all to see while you're opening the next gift! This keeps everyone involved and people stop asking 'What is that?' 'What does it do?' 'What does it say?' and such. I had a large shower and this got all the guests talking with each other and no one seemed to be bored at all!"

Don't be afraid of talking with everyone. People want to hug you and tell you how beautiful you look. If mingling gives your stage fright, have a rigid time frame. Then, at the end set up a "reception line." Your schedule might look something like this:

-- Arrive 1 to 1:30
-- Serve appetizers between 1:30 to 2
-- Open gifts from 2 to 2:30
-- Serve cake, mingle a little between 2:30 to 3

"Limit the pictures if you tend to be a little camera shy. Choose a close friend to go around to each table with you and take a group photo of you and that table. This won't take long and you get a picture with everybody," Riss says.

Invite your partner or husband to join you. He might not be there the whole time, but see if he can come in the last 20 minutes. During the third trimester your energy is apt to be zapped. It might not seem like a lot of work, but just in case, he can be your escape pod.

Moms, if you were writing your own baby shower do's and dont's list, what would be in it?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.