When you’re pregnant, there really is no shortage or advice or information thrown your way from well meaning friends, family and professionals. There are so many tests to considers, scans to book in, a birth plan to write, names to choose, nursery furniture to select… it can be overwhelming! All of a sudden that tiny being inside of you starts to become HUGE and the prospect of becoming a mother seems to be the hottest topic around. But what about you? Are you being given advice on the best ways to ensure that YOU are fit, healthy and strong too? And not just for the duration of your pregnancy, but into new motherhood too? We’ve put together some quick tips that will hopefully help you to learn to take care of yourself during pregnancy and beyond. Let us know if we missed any you think should be on the list.
Take time to process what’s happening
This might seem like an odd tip to lead on, but really your emotional wellbeing is so important right now. During pregnancy there are many hormones flying around that have the tendency to affect your mood and emotions, and on top of that there are many physical changes to contend with too. Many women can find this overwhelming and sometimes frightening, so it’s really worth doing a little ‘check in’ with yourself each day. Maybe this is simply looking in the mirror and saying good morning, or maybe it’s writing a journal entry or a blog post on how you’re feeling. As long as you’re processing important thoughts, it will help. Be present with yourself, and your baby.
Make yourself a priority
If you are fit and healthy then there is a better chance that your baby will be too, and you will be strong and ready for the exertions of birth when the time arrives too. So make yourself a priority! This means:
- Getting enough sleep- take a nap during the day if you need it and are able to!
- Eating enough food, and the right foods. This can be hard, especially if you’re feeling or being sick- but try at least to make sure that whatever you eat has at least some nutritional value. That said though…
- Don’t beat yourself up over cravings! Now is not the time to worry unnecessarily that eating chocolate is going to damage healthy intentions for your baby etc. If you are craving something sweet, then go for it- but practise moderation so that the next thing you eat is super nutritious and of value for you and your baby.
- Be selective about the products you use on your skin. Remember that whoever you put on your body goes into your body as your skin soaks it up, so research that stretch mark oil a little more before you commit!
- Talk about it. If you're feeling down, or just a little low, don’t keep it to yourself. A recent poll conducted by Baby Centre found that at least one in three women experience depression during pregnancy- and 42% of those women never told anyone about it. There is no shame, there is no stigma. Speak out if you feel you might be suffering, and get the help for you and your baby now. Read more information here.
- Try to reduce stress wherever you can. This might mean cutting back on work hours, or asking a friend/ family member for help with the house or other jobs. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to accept it when it’s offered!
Don’t forget your partner
Often during pregnancy, partners can be the forgotten piece of the puzzle. Now is the time to truly nurture your relationship as a couple, before life changes beyond recognition. Take some time to enjoy each other’s company- have regular date nights, or short breaks away so that you can take some time together. Now is a great time to also talk about your intentions for parenting, before the chaos that a new baby brings is upon you!
Remember who you are
It can be so easy to get caught up in the role of mum even long before baby arrives. Because the focus is so heavily pointed towards your pregnancy and the wellbeing of your baby, sometimes your might need to shout up about you and your needs too. So remember who you are, and who you were before you became pregnant. You haven’t changed that much! If you’re writing a journal this will help. Write down all the things that you enjoy doing for yourself and why you like doing them, then plan time to do them! And when baby arrives, make sure that you carry on finding the time to do the things that are still possible perhaps even with baby in tow!
All of the above tips can be applied during pregnancy and well into the post natal period. Your time as a new mum is going to be intense and tiring, but this is the time where your health and emotional wellbeing is of utmost importance. Take care of yourself for the whole nine months and longer, and you will be more able to take care of your new baby well too. Good luck!