top 5 tips for a healthy pregnancy
I had a fun, healthy, pain-free and feel-good pregnancy – here are my top 5 tips (in no particular order). These are of course alongside the care and regular appointments with your obstetrician, GP or maternity nurse.
Pelvic floor! Pelvic floor! The ‘it’ words around pregnancy and during this time, immense stress and pressure are put on these muscles. The great thing about clinical Pilates, is it works on strengthening the pelvic floor, along with other deep abdominal muscles, and any other areas where your body may be showing weaknesses (weaknesses lead to pain and injury). Pregnancy clinical pilates also helped me with balance, breathing, preventing back pain and kept me feeling strong and mobile all over. Plus, staying in shape during pregnancy leads to a quicker post-partum recover, and we all want to bounce back ASAP! I recommend weekly classes all the way up to 38 weeks or when you begin to feel too tired or uncomfortable. I did my classes with the lovely Krystal at Total Balance Physio in Black Rock.
Growing up a sports fanatic, I love my hard-core exercise and know my body inside out. It is a strange thing growing and changing so rapidly without having any control over it. Keeping your body pain-free and mobile during pregnancy is what you can control and be pro-active about. When pregnant, your body produces a hormone called ‘relaxin’ which allows ligaments around the pelvis to ‘relax’ so these structures can stretch and grow to accommodate bubs. With this, combined with your growing belly, can come issues of hip instability, round ligament pain (groin pain), neck pain, mid-thoracic restriction and a squashed diaphragm… just to name a few! Jessie at InsideOut chiropractic was my savior, fortnightly sessions with her made sure my hips were balanced and stable (so bubs can grow straight), my spine was free and mobile, my diaphragm relaxed so breathing was easier, and no headaches – I would literally float out her door.
Well come on… I am an acupuncturist; of course I got lots of acupuncture! I had weekly sessions up until week 13, which consisted of ‘holding treatments’ to help nourish bubs, and keep me calm, as we know the 1st trimester can come with a little extra worry for some. The treatments also helped keep my nausea at bay and bowels regular with all that extra progesterone slowing down the digestive system! During 2nd trimester I had treatments when I needed – i.e. feeling a little tired, disturbed sleep, neck/back aches, digestive upsets, just whenever I needed a ‘tune up.’ Around week 34 the pre-labour treatments began; these weekly treatments were about preparing the body for labour, promoting blood flow around the uterus, promoting the release of the hormone oxytocin, getting bubba in to the right place and keeping emotions around the nearing labour calm. By this point women can feel very tired, swollen, and uncomfortable with their huge belly – so they love coming in, getting some TLC, relaxing and falling asleep!
Diet and supplements
During my 1st trimester… I was craving pink finger buns and apple juice by the gallon! I ate what I could to get myself through the day. Once my nausea had passed at week 10, I was able to return to a healthy balanced diet – rich of colourful fruit and vegetables, lots of essential fatty acids (to support bubs brain and nerve development), proteins (the building blocks of life) gentle nourishing carbohydrates (to keep the energy up) and iron rich foods. I topped my diet up with good quality practitioner brand supplements, my body was super healthy throughout pregnancy and so was my baby when she arrived! My supplement regime included CO-Q10, a pregnancy multi with folate and folinic acid, EPA/DHA fish oils, probiotic containing lactobacillus rhamnosus (helps reduce hypersensitivity in bubs like asthma and allergies), and extra Vitamin D3, Zinc + B6, and Iron. From 20 weeks I added more calcium to the mix for bubs’ bone development.
* I only advise having supplements under the recommendation of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
I did regular meditation for myself and for my bubs! The affects for me were amazing. I had a strong calmness and positivity throughout my pregnancy and leading in to labour. I am now blessed with the most chilled out bubba who has been sleeping 10 uninterrupted hours at night since she was 6 and half weeks old. I like to meditate with crystals, crystal-infused candles, and with my favourite peaceful music – I find visualisation works best for me. I incorporated regular reiki on bubs with my hands over my growing belly and hypnosis in the weeks leading up to my labour (which my hubby would so kindly read to me in a soothing voice each night). Babies pick up on your fear, worry, stress and anxiety – so the better you can control these emotions or rid them completely, the calmer your baby will be. I got my crystals and lots of helpful tips from Sarah at Crystal Baby.