1. Give yourself a break. Take rest when you need it and don’t push your body. Ask for support from your partner, family or friends when you need it and remember, you’re growing a tiny human… some days that’s all you will feel like you can do and guess what? That’s enough! Self-care is so important during this time in your life, the time will fly by so try to slow down and enjoy it wherever you can. If you’re feeling crappy or fatigued, even more reason to go easy on yourself.
2. Eat lots of fat. Healthy fats not only nourish your body, but they support your baby’s brain development as well. Load up on healthy omega 3’s and other good fats in abundance.
3. Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Drinking water can help reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as bring nutrients from your blood to your baby. In the summer months when it’s super hot outside this is important because when you’re dehydrated muscles contract causing discomfort or early labour signs.
4. Balance your blood sugar. Sometimes morning sickness can be managed by having a small bite to eat with protein and fat every 2-3 hours. It can help to set a little timer on your phone to remind you to have a little snack. Easier said then done when the thought of most foods make you feel sick, however some women swear by this practice and even wake in the night to have a small snack to avoid nausea.
5. Spend a bit of time reading every day. Reading is proven to reduce cortisol levels in the body and help you relax. Some birth educators educate on the importance of managing stress and mood during pregnancy because of the impact this can have on your developing baby.
6. Get out in nature barefoot for 30 minutes a day or more. Grounding or “Earthing” can help to lower stress and inflammation levels, and bring a sense of peace into your experience.
7. Make a postpartum plan. Our western society is far from ideal when it comes to how we treat mothers in their postpartum stage. While you may be limited to how much time off from work you receive, you shouldn’t be expected to be back to your pre-pregnancy self in days or even weeks. In many cultures, women are expected to do nothing but lie in bed for up to 6 weeks after birth in order to heal and connect with their baby. Make a plan with friends and family to support you with household chores, cooking, and even caring for baby so you can have a nice hot shower alone or take a nap.
8. Try belling dancing and squat on a daily basis. Belly dancing not only promotes joyful feeling which can be wonderful for you and your growing baby, but it’s a form of exercise that can help to prepare you for labour. Squatting can improve your flexibility and help tone your leg muscles in as well as strengthening your pelvic floor and your core.
9. Just because you read it, doesn’t mean you have to believe it. There’s a silly amount of information out on the web about pregnancy and birth, not to mention oodles of birthing books on the shelves. Only a small percentage of the resources you may come across throughout your pregnancy will be positive and empowering, so choose wisely. Choose books that use positive language and empower you to make informed choices. Ask your doula for some good book suggestions! Here are a few of my favorites:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding
Orgasmic Birth – Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience
The Birth Partner – A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas and All Other Labour Companions
Hypnobirthing: The breakthrough natural approach to safer, easier, more comfortable birthing – The Mongan Method
10. Sing and talk to your baby while you’re pregnant. Whether you’re finding out the gender of your baby or not, you have an opportunity to spend time bonding before you even meet your little human! Talk to your baby and tell them how excited you are to meet them, you can even begin to play a little tune for them that they will recall when they are born (this can come in handy for calming and reassuring your baby!)
11. Don’t beat yourself up about being perfect throughout your pregnancy with your diet or lifestyle. We know that what we eat, think and feel during pregnancy matters, but there’s a fine balance between being mindful and stressing yourself out over the little stuff. Do your best and if you give into a pregnancy craving or experience intense emotions, cut yourself some slack. You’re human after all, not a robot. You’re doing great, show yourself some love mama.
Article by: Sheleana Aiyana
CEO at Young and Raw