While our body goes through endless changes from the day we are conceived until the end of our lives, no changes are as intense as those that occur during pregnancy. Not only is your body going through enormous changes physically and chemically, but we have a whole lot to deal with emotionally, too. While you don’t typically need to put your life on hold during pregnancy, you must find extra ways to nurture and nourish your body, mind, and spirit. Here are some of the pregnancy self care basics you might want to adopt if you’re not doing them already.
The Basics Of Pregnancy Self Care
Get More Rest
As much as you may want to be a modern superwoman and power through your pregnancy, you will need more rest than usual. Your body is working full time 24/7 to grow a little person from scratch, and fatigue is inevitable. Try to slot regular mini rests into your day, even before you need them. Listen to your body and put your feet up or have power naps whenever you get the chance. And take the opportunity to get eight hours of sleep every night! A pregnancy pillow can help keep you comfortable as your tummy expands. A cheap option for a pregnancy pillow is to put one regular pillow between your legs and one wedged under your belly as you lie on your side. If you are uncomfortable rolling over in bed, you will be happy to know it is safe to wear your Smileybelt to bed! Many ladies do and have found they get better sleep.
Move Your Body
While rest is essential, spending too much time lying down with no exercise is not recommended (unless your doctor specifically advises this). Staying active helps your body stay supple as it undergoes pregnancy-related changes. Not only can exercise help strengthen and prepare your body for birth, it’s also fantastic for helping manage anxiety and depression. Try low impact activities like swimming, prenatal yoga or pilates, stretching, or walking – at the beach if you can, to release your endorphins and allow you to soak up the negative ions. Watch our short video on 3 Golden Rules for Exercising During Pregnancy video. For some women, movement or daily activities can be uncomfortable. Wearing a Smileybelt can support you to be more comfortable and help you maintain good posture while out and about.
When you are tired, resist the temptation to always get your pick up from sugary or caffeinated foods and drinks. Instead, opt for fresh whole foods that provide a more natural boost that lasts longer. You don’t have to become a health-nut or count every calorie. It’s all about balance and making smart food choices where possible, while avoiding the definite off-limits foods as recommended by your physician.
Studies have shown that women require more of the following nutrients of when they are pregnant: Calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iodine and folate. Choosing foods rich in these vitamins along with taking a prenatal supplement will give you and your baby the best chances of being healthy. Some everyday foods that boast good amounts of these vitamins are as follows:
- Dairy products
- Legumes – like lentils, beans, chickpeas etc
- Kumara or sweet potatoes
- Dark, leafy greens – like broccoli, kale, spinach etc
- Lean meat and protein
- Wholegrains – like oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley etc
Drink, Drink Drink!
Most of us don’t drink enough water even when we are not drinking for two! Staying well-hydrated is one of the best ways to combat fatigue and baby brain. Not to mention, it keeps baby’s home nice and clean. Always carry a bottle of water with you when you are out and about. That way, you can take a gulp whenever you need and won’t have to hunt out a place to grab a drink.
Fill Your Cup
Literally, yes, but also figuratively. There’s as much going on in your mind as there is in your body. Take time every day to stop the mental list-making and stressing and cultivate mindfulness. Do yoga, get a massage, practise mindful breathing for five minutes, or listen to a guided meditation. While these may seem like only minor parts of your day, they can effectively lower your stress and help you cope better. If you have too much going on, see what is non-essential and let it go. Don’t be afraid to take a ‘back to basics’ approach to life!
Don’t Fear The Process Of Giving Birth
If you have any fear around the process of giving birth, Hypnobabies have some great resources to help ease any fears and rewire the brain to be peaceful about what is to come. Let’s face it, your body and nature miraculously know how to create your baby, they certainly know how to get it out! Millions of women before you have done it and millions after you will also. Step back and let nature work her wonders!
Last Words on Looking After Yourself During Pregnancy
Pregnancy self care isn’t all about massage and pedicures (although those things can definitely provide benefits at any time!). It’s about honouring your needs and listening to your body to ensure you and your baby stay healthy and happy.
Often, it can be the smallest things that make a huge difference to your wellbeing – a cup of ginger tea in the sunshine, strapping on your SmileyBelt to relieve those aches and pains, or advance prepping some meals to make you feel like you are on top of things.