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Many thanks to Samantha Quinn from Mumma Love Organics for this lovely post
Pregnancy is such a special time- full of wonder, excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead. But it can also be a time of physical and emotional strain, as your mind and body is forced to adjust and adapt to a new way of living. How you deal with the various changes and pressures that you’re likely to face is up to you, but one thing is for sure. These are nine months where taking care of yourself is a must. If not for you, then for that little baby nestled inside of you. Here is our guide to pregnancy pleasures- top tips on taking care of yourself when you’re expecting.
Listen to your body
Our first tip is simple and yet so, so important. During pregnancy your body goes through so many changes as your baby grows and develops and it’s inevitable that you’re going to feel more tired as the week’s progress. There are going to be things that you’re unable to do, and times where you need to slow down too. This is not admitting defeat; this is being in tune with your body and knowing when enough is enough. In addition to tiredness in pregnancy, some women also experience pain as their body stretches to accommodate their growing baby. Of course, your first port of call should be the doctor, but if you are looking for some alternative methods of easing stresses and strains, here are some natural self-care remedies you can try:
Yoga is a wonderful way to build energy and clear your mind when you’re feeling weary or run down. Speak to your GP or midwife before you start, and make sure that you follow a pre-natal program at all times during your pregnancy. Alongside hormones and physical changes, studies have shown that tiredness in pregnancy can also be caused by poor posture and lack of exercise, both of which can be alleviated by yoga. Yoga can also help to relax, soothe your mind, ease pain from SPD, Sciatica and back pain. Additionally, yoga can be a great way to prepare the body and mind for birth too.
Sing! Yes, that’s right. Singing is actually really good for you anyway, but during pregnancy there are even more benefits. It can help to relax you, reduce pain and increase oxygen levels. Not only that, but singing to your unborn baby is also a wonderful sensory experience for them, and results in an auditory massage for those tiny ears
Take time out to relax. Every day, if you can. Advise those around you that you are taking an hour, and you would prefer not to be distracted. Use this time to read a book, listen to music, or to simply be. It’s important to have that time so that you can reconnect with your body and mind after a busy day.
Prenatal massage. This can be a wonderful way to relax the body and mind, and if you can’t visit a professional masseur, get your partner to do it for you. A simple foot rub can be a great way to unwind and to keep romance alive too.
Deep breathing is a great way to calm yourself in times of stress. Focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your nose and rest assured that you are easing muscle tension, lowering your heart rate and calming your min
Reflexology in pregnancy is another fantastic way to reduce pain and stress in pregnancy, and can be used in childbirth too.
Prenatal acupuncture is also worth considering, if you are suffering from nausea, sickness or headaches.
A good, healthy diet in pregnancy is essential, because you are providing nutrition for your unborn baby too. Whatever you eat, your baby eats, so you want each mouthful to be meaningful. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy the odd treat (we’re all human, after all!) but the majority of your meals and snacks should be filled with vitamins and minerals that will keep you and baby happy and healthy. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that each meal has a balance of the following:
- Fat. Yes, really. Fat is essential for the health of you and baby, and omega-3 fatty acids will help to nourish and support fetal development. It also aids brain development and boosts the nervous and immune systems.
- Probiotics help to promote a healthy immune system and fights harmful bacteria, so including this in your diet is a must.
- Fruit and vegetables. Remember your five a day!
- Carbohydrates. Ditch the low carb diet and choose healthy options such as wholemeal bread and brown rice.
- Protein. Lots of lean meat and fish, beans pulses and nuts will help to support healthy development and boost your own energy levels.
- Dairy is also important in pregnancy because your baby needs that calcium for healthy bones and teeth- as do you! Eat plenty of cheese and yogurt, and your milk too.
Make sure that you prepare your food safely and if you’re feeling unwell (particularly in the early days when morning sickness tends to be at its worse) try to eat little and often
Not only will staying active during pregnancy help to prepare your body for the impending birth, but it will also help you to regulate weight gain and ease emotional stresses too. Make sure that you consult your doctor before you start any new exercise program, and as already mentioned it’s vital to listen to your body. Don’t exercise if you feel unwell and stop if you feel tired or are in any pain at all. If you exercise at home, always follow a prenatal program and keep baby in mind at all times. Some great forms of exercise in pregnancy include:
- Swimming. This is such a wonderful way to not only clear the mind, but to gently tone the body too. Swimming is a low impact exercise that uses the larger muscles (legs and arms) and is an excellent choice for a cardiovascular workout. Swimming is also great for helping you to feel weightless and to counteract the back strain that occurs as the belly grows.
- Pilates. Like yoga, Pilates helps to relax the mind, and forces you to focus on your breathing. Movements in Pilates focus on the core, and strengthening the stomach muscles ahead of childbirth. It also concentrates on pelvic floor muscles and helps with posture, balance and strength- also essential for childbirth.
- Walking. Gentle, low impact and free. Walking in the fresh air is a superb way to stay active during pregnancy.
Don’t forget to stretch well before and after exercising, and avoid strenuous and contact sports while you’re pregnant please. It also goes without saying that activities such as scuba diving should be avoided, and try not to lie flat on your back after the first trimester too.