Pregnancy is an exciting journey for many soon-to-be parents as they prepare to welcome a new addition into their lives. Knowing how to take care of yourself during this period can help to make your pregnancy a more relaxing one, and let you focus more on the joys of becoming a parent. If pregnancy is part of your plan in the near future, read on for some helpful tips.
Did you know that pregnancy self-care starts even before pregnancy? That’s right, for a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby, preparing your body for a few months beforehand can help tremendously.
According to research by Harvard Medical School, women’s diets can affect their fertility and eating the right foods helps to encourage natural pregnancies. Apart from a healthy, balanced meal, foods containing folic acid, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids are good as well.
On the other hand, foods that contain trans fat, high sugar, and low-fat dairy could negatively impact fertility. Drinks to avoid when trying to conceive include soda and alcohol. Caution is advised with too much caffeine as well.
Prenatal screening tests are also available that can give you an indicator of your child’s health should you choose to get pregnant. These tests show the probability of a child to suffer from genetic disorders, based on their parent’s genes.
While it might seem like these steps only apply for those going for a planned pregnancy, anyone who could potentially become pregnant or plans to be pregnant in the future can take note as well.
For pregnant ladies, maintaining a healthy lifestyle ensures that both the baby and mother are in their best conditions. We all know that eating well is important for everyone’s health, pregnant or not. But skipping the occasional meal becomes a lot more unforgivable when you’re responsible for another life.
Make sure you’re consuming all the nutrients required by eating a balanced diet, regularly. Gaining weight (within a healthy range) during this period is expected. Avoid potentially toxic food like mercury-rich seafood, raw meat, and unpasteurized soft cheese that may be harmful to the fetus. Any drugs or supplements should also be approved by your gynae first as they might be unsafe for pregnant women.
Staying active during pregnancy can help to soothe uncomfortable symptoms that come with pregnancy, as well as lower the chances of complications such as gestational diabetes. Some studies also say that exercising during pregnancy can prevent difficult labors and make it easier to lose pregnancy fat after giving birth.
How much and what kind of exercise varies depending on your fitness level, current trimester, and whether you have any special pregnancy conditions. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), an average pregnant woman should engage in a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week. Walking, swimming, stationary cycling and yoga designed for pregnant women are the most recommended forms of exercise. Consult your gynae to find out what routine works best for you and stop immediately if you experience any discomfort.
Health encompasses both physical and mental well-being. The most well-known mental illness related to pregnancy is probably postnatal depression, and increasing support is being provided to help those who suffer from it. However, it is also not uncommon to see ladies struggling even before giving birth.
Pregnancy should be a happy and exciting process, however, the influx of information and new routines could get overwhelming. Here are some things you can do to make sure your mental health is well taken care of.
If possible, ensure you have a support system around you that can help you along your journey. You don’t have to do this alone. Communicate openly with your partner about any concerns or worries. Reaching out to family and friends, or joining support groups for moms-to-be can also lessen the burden.
Doing some research of your own is a good way to let you feel prepared for what’s to come, and to better understand the changes happening in your body.
Actively taking time out to relax is also necessary to relieve stress and prevent moms-to-be from being too overwhelmed. Reduce big stressors in your life by informing your workplace of your pregnancy, or making other relevant lifestyle arrangements during this period.
Pregnant women should also make sure that they get sufficient rest at night. Pregnancy often brings with it many kinds of symptoms that affect the quality of sleep. For major conditions like restless leg syndrome (RLS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), work with your gynae to find suitable solutions. For cramps, aches and shortness of breath, try using extra pillows and experimenting with different sleeping positions.
Lastly, pregnancy is the best time for you to treat yourself to some pampering and self-care. Just like regular massages, prenatal massages are a relaxing treat that feels good and soothes the mind. These massages are specially designed to be safe for pregnant women, and are perfect for relieving pregnancy aches and swelling. Regular prenatal massages have also been shown to help to ease the labor process.