Looking after your health and wellbeing while pregnant is important for you and your growing baby. Not only do you still have all the stress that comes with everyday life, but you’ve also got lots of new things to worry about. From pregnancy discomforts, changes in your body, and the enormous responsibility of creating a new life, there’ a lot to think about.
Gone are the days when women were expected to stay home and rest during their pregnancies.
In these modern times, most of us expect to follow our normal routines for as long as possible. After all, pregnancy is a normal and natural process, not an illness!
Yes, pregnancy is a natural process, but we also need to remember that our bodies are working much harder while pregnant. We require more nutrients, more rest, and less stress. That doesn’t mean you can’t stay active, but you do need to learn how to listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Let’s take a look at what soon-to-be-moms should know about looking after their health and wellbeing while pregnant!
1. Get Used to the Idea of Relaxing When You Need to
As women, we have a lot on our plate. Many of us have full-time jobs, homes, and families to look after, so every day is packed with activity. Now that you’re pregnant, you’ve got to start listening to what your body is telling you.
There will be times when you’re just plain exhausted. It’s perfectly ok to sit down, put your feet up, and just take it easy on those days. Squeeze in an afternoon nap when you need one. Never push yourself when you’re tired because that’s not good for you or your growing baby.
On the other hand, there will also be days when you’re full of energy. Take advantage of it but be realistic! Now’s not the time to take on major projects that will put a strain on your already hard-working body. Stick to the essentials and enlist the help of your partner to take on the more strenuous duties for the time being.
2. Stay Active
It may be hard to talk yourself into exercising when you’re feeling sore and achy but staying active will help relieve those aches and pains. It’s also a great way to manage stress and increase oxygen and blood flow to your developing baby.
The key to staying motivated to exercise during pregnancy is to find a safe activity that you enjoy.
Prenatal yoga is a fantastic way to get some exercise, reduce stress, and help your body get ready for labor and delivery. Walking and swimming are also great options.
Investing in some cute and comfy maternity workout clothes will also help you stick to your fitness routine. Of course, you’ll want to lower the intensity and duration of your activity as your pregnancy progresses, and you should run it by your doctor, too.
3. Make Sure You’re Meeting Your Nutritional Needs
There’s no better time than now to ditch the junk food and clean up your diet. Cut out refined sugars and carbs as much as possible because they will contribute to unhealthy weight gain and they have absolutely no nutritional value for you or your baby.
Make a point of eating lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats throughout your pregnancy. Remember, not all fats are bad, and they’re actually important for heart and brain health… both yours and your baby’s. They’ll also help your body absorb important fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and grass-fed butter are all great options.
When choosing your protein sources, look for organic grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, and legumes that will provide the high-quality protein you and your baby need for energy and growth. Protein is important for stabilizing blood glucose levels, setting a queasy tummy, and curbing cravings.
High-quality prenatal vitamins should also be part of your daily routine. Vitamins personalized to your needs during pregnancy will ensure that you’re meeting all of your nutritional needs, even on those days where you can’t eat as well as you’d like to.
4. Get Out in the Sunshine and Fresh Air
Fresh air and sunshine are great for your emotional wellbeing while pregnant, so try to head outdoors for a little while every day. You could go for a walk through the neighborhood or simply put your feet up and relax in a comfy chair. Just be sure to take the necessary steps to prevent sunburn and overheating.
5. Ask Questions and Talk About Your Concerns
It’s perfectly natural to have lots of questions and concerns when you’re pregnant. Learning everything you can about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and caring for your newborn will help to ease your anxieties. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your prenatal appointments. There are also tons of pregnancy books and websites out there chock full of information.
And, be sure to talk about your concerns with your partner and those you are close to. Talking about your worries can be a huge source of relief and bring them into perspective. If you don’t have other moms to talk to, join a moms’ group online, or find one in your area.
6. Consider Prenatal Massage
Even if you don’t generally get massages, you might want to consider having them regularly throughout your pregnancy. Having regular prenatal massage throughout pregnancy is a wonderful way to look after your emotional wellbeing.
Studies show that prenatal massage can reduce the need for pain medication during labor and delivery, shorten delivery times, lower your risk of c-section. In fact, women who’ve had consistent prenatal massages are less likely to request an epidural in the delivery room, too.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy the experience. Pregnancy is one of the most amazing and important times of a woman’s life, and it goes by so fast. Before you know it, you’ll be holding a new little bundle of joy in your arms!