5 tips for an enjoyable pregnancy
I would like to start this piece with a little disclaimer and acknowledgement that every woman’s pregnancy is very different. Whilst some women seem to breeze through pregnancy without a hiccough, others have an extremely tough time with every horrible symptom under the sun (and there can be lots)! These tips are a just general guideline and what I found most helpful for my own pregnancy. To those having a tough time and already thinking, “you try to exercise while vomiting all the time”, I totally understand this is not feasible and I recommend to rest and look after yourself.
- Keep moving & strength training
Pregnancy can be extremely tough on the body, with so much change going on and a growing bub, working on our strength (glute and backs especially) is so important. As a general rule, we say if you were doing it before, you can do still it while pregnant. Obviously some alterations may be needed and certain exercise is nearly impossibly when heavily pregnant (e.g. running). My personal recommendation is pregnancy friendly pilates and/or yoga – great for strength, stretching and mental health…get those endorphins flowing!
Please always tell your PT, pilates/yoga instructor (or whoever) that you’re pregnant and any pain/issues you may be having and consult your obstetrician or GP for advice.
- Nutritious food…and listening to your body
For those women suffering from morning sickness (or ‘all-day sickness’ as I liked to call it), eating healthy is particularly challenging. Nausea often equals – salty chips, lemonade icy poles, lemonade, plain Saladas… or anything you can stomach. Hopefully this phase doesn’t last much past the first trimester. Do not beat yourself up if this is you. You have plenty more months to indulge in healthy/nutritious food. So, food tips – lots of veggies, fruit, high essential fatty acids foods such as nuts, olive oil, avocado, eggs, dark green leafy’s, protein from meat if you’re a meat eater or protein-combining for vegetarians. Plenty of water and limit caffeine. This food and nutrient talk leads me to my next point, supplements.
- Good quality supplements
As mentioned, some women have difficulty getting all the required nutrients from food if they’re sick during some or most of pregnancy. We often recommend, as do many GP’s, to do blood tests pre-conception (if planning) or at the start of pregnancy to check a range of levels including iron and Vitamin D. I’m often asked, what supplements should I take for pre-conception and what did I take personally when pregnant. I recommend a practitioner-only pregnancy multivitamin with folic acid, a fish oil supplement, probiotics for gut health and immune system, vitamin D if low, iron if low. Note that I do recommend vitamin D to pretty much everyone throughout Melbourne winter, pregnant or not!
- Meditation and time to connect with bub
I often to speak to women who, usually early in their pregnancy, say they don’t really feel pregnant and/or are so busy working or with other children at home, to connect with their growing little human. This is why I recommend mediation or even just quiet time to connect and have a chat to your little mini growing inside. If you’re interested in Meditation apps I’ve found Smiling Mind and Insight Timer my personal favourites. If apps aren’t your thing, just lying down, hands on your belly, long and slow deep breaths that make your belly rise and fall. Use this time to put out your intentions for your bub, perhaps how you two will work together during labour, or how your little bub is going to be a great sleeper, feeding will go well…whatever you want! Put it out there! Hopefully the universe delivers! J
- Treat yourself!
Probably the most important point of all, treat yourself! Pregnancy massages, acupuncture, asking your partner for that foot rub, get your nails done, dine out, be spontaneous. This is an incredibly important time in your life, be kind to yourself and do things that perhaps won’t be as easy when you’ve got a newborn at home.
If you have any queries about any of these points please do not hesitate to contact me at Shift Natural Medicine.
To all Mums, past, future and present; you are strong and amazing and your little ones are lucky to have you.
Phoebe Sparrow (Acupuncturist)