Body and Baby: Taking Care of Yourself in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is of of the most incredible, miraculous journeys you’ll ever embark upon in your life. It’s a period of many changes and transitions, and so many different things happen over the course of the nine months that it’s so important to look after both your physical and mental health for the sake of you- and your baby on board. Pregnancy is a time that you can really invest in yourself, in nine months you’ll have a baby that needs all of your time and attention but right now, you can focus on you. Here are some of the ways you can look after your body and growing baby throughout pregnancy.
Talk it through
Whether you’re jumping for joy or absolutely terrified, somewhere in between or experiencing both emotions at once- pregnancy is a turbulent time. Having someone to talk things through with can make all the difference, it helps you to get things off your chest and someone else can give you another perspective which can ease your worries or help you to see any frustrations in a new way. Your partner might be the person you want to speak to, since it’s you two which are going through this journey together. However, a female friend who has also had a baby could be a great choice as they’ll be able to fully relate to you, and give you advice and knowledge if you need it from their own experiences. Your own mum is also a great choice if you’re close with her, things will have certainly changed since she was pregnant with you but could still give you that support and guidance that many of us need in pregnancy. You could try journaling or blogging to work through your thoughts, or you could use pregnancy forums online to chat to other mums to be.
Pregnancy takes its toll on your body. In the first trimester you feel exhausted and sick due to changing hormones, and where your body is building the placenta for your baby. Later on in the third trimester you’ll feel tired due to the extra weight you’re carrying around. For this reason, giving yourself a good pamper can help to perk you up, cheer you up and generally make you feel much better. You could go to a facial and massage spa and have a professional get to work on you, you’ll leave feeling relaxed with glowing skin and a sense of wellbeing. Or you could pamper yourself at home, buy some bath salts, oils and moisturizers and set aside time every day or few days to run a bath, relax and treat your skin and hair to some nice products. Not only is this good for your body but for your mental health too as it’s time you have to unwind and just focus on yourself. You could put on a meditation app or a relaxing playlist, or pop on your favorite TV show to watch while you apply moisturizer, do your nails or practice self massage on your hands, feet and limbs.
Eat well and exercise
The old idea of ‘eating for two’ has now been widely disproven, research shows that you don’t need to increase your calorie consumption until towards the end of your pregnancy- and even then it’s only an extra 200 calories a day. In the early days you might not fancy eating much of anything at all, or you might be the other way and be feeling constantly hungry. Either way, trying to get the right amount of calories and nutrition is important. If you’re suffering with morning sickness, try nibbling wholemeal toast and sipping a smoothie for breakfast that will give you nutrition and sustenance. Have a think about some meals you feel that you could manage, sticking to bland, simple meals might be the way to go. Incorporate vegetables in as much as you can- mashing some carrot and swede in with your mashed potatoes for example, or adding a handful of spinach to a pasta dish are simple ways you can sneak in some extra goodness. Don’t beat yourself up if your diet isn’t as good as you’d like it to be, pregnancy does funny things to our tastes and sometimes you just need to eat what you can. But where possible, make the best nutritional choices for you and your baby. Chances are you’ll be low on energy and so hitting the gym or climbing mountains wont be high on your agenda, but do what you can. A nice walk around the park with friends, or even a shopping trip can burn lots of calories. You could go for a swim, a dance or join a pregnancy aerobic type class. Have a look online at what’s on locally to you. While you’re pregnant, avoid things like horse riding or bike riding since you could easily fall off, and of course any kind of contact sports. But aside from that, try and stay active as it will do great things for your fitness, self esteem and can even make the birth easier.
Getting organized can help you to feel positive and ‘on top’ of things before your baby arrives. Get your house clean and in order, de-clutter by getting rid of what you don’t need and making space for the baby stuff that’s soon to take over your home! You could start batch cooking healthy, tasty home cooked meals and put them into the freezer, that way when your little one comes along you always have good food to eat without the need to slave over a hot stove. Get your finances in order, your car sorted out and just about anything else you can do. This will reduce stress and allow you to go into parenthood feeling much more optimistic.