Whether this is your first baby or your third, taking good care of yourself while you’re pregnant is critical for the health of you and your baby. For some women, gaining too much weight is a big concern, others are worried about proper nutrition, and some fear the lack of energy that can strike at any time during pregnancy. The truth is, many of the worries of pregnancy can be minimized with proper self-care that includes proper nutrition, sufficient rest, reduced stress levels, and moderate exercise. Here are ten tips that will help you take good care of yourself and your baby while you’re expecting.
- Don’t Try to Do Too Much
One of the most important things you can do while you’re pregnant is listen to your body. Every expecting mother is affected differently, so do what’s right for you! When you have lots of energy, enjoy it and stay busy. When you’re exercising, stop if there’s any discomfort or pain. You should never push yourself during pregnancy. That’s not good for your body or your growing baby.
- Don’t Concern Yourself with Weight Gain
Obviously, you are going to gain some weight while you’re pregnant. However, you shouldn’t stress yourself out by weighing yourself all the time. If you’re eating right and you stay active, you will gain the right amount of weight for you. Rest assured, your doctor will let you know if you need to make any adjustments, so just relax and enjoy the experience.
- Stand Up Straight and Tall
Having good posture is especially important during pregnancy because you are carrying extra weight in the front. Save yourself from aches and pains in your knees, back, and hips by standing up straight with your shoulders held back. In fact, standing up straight and tall can even help move your baby into the proper position for birth while help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
- Invest in Your Wardrobe
It can be hard to feel good about yourself when you’re gaining weight during pregnancy and maybe not feeling the greatest. Invest in some cute maternity clothes that make you feel good when you wear them. Get some workout clothes, too, so that you’ll be more likely to exercise.
- Keep Your Muscles Toned
If you want to bounce back quickly after your baby is born, keeping your muscles toned is essential and it might even make your birth more comfortable. You can even help ease those pregnancy aches and pains by doing some strength training with light weights.
- Don’t Let Yourself Become Sedentary
Staying active while you’re pregnant is crucial. Experiment a little bit to find a form of exercise that you enjoy and can do all the way up until your baby is born. Of course, you will need to shorten your workouts and take it easy as you go along, but exercise will help you avoid unnecessary weight gain. It will also improve the flow of oxygen and blood to your baby. It might make labor and delivery go more smoothly, too.
- Lower Your Stress Level and Get Lots of Quality Sleep
For some women, getting enough rest and avoiding stress can be especially difficult. However, this is one of the most crucial steps for the well-being of you and your baby. Visit a local clinic for a prenatal massage and practice yoga or meditation throughout your pregnancy. Don’t forget that your body heals while you’re sleeping, so those extra hours of sleep, while you’re pregnant, couldn’t be more critical. They are necessary for allowing your body to recover from the hard work of creating a new life. Try to get eight to 10 hours of sleep every night, especially during your last trimester.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. We all know how important it is to drink enough water. It’s especially important during pregnancy because it can help reduce both fatigue and nausea, two of the most troublesome pregnancy symptoms. Try to consume around two liters of water every day. And, if you’re exercising, the more water, the better.
- Protein and Healthy Fats are Super Important
Recent studies have shown that some types of fat are actually good for you! Mono and saturated fats, like those found in grass-fed dairy and meat, avocados, and olive and coconut oils should be eaten regularly. They help necessary fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K to be absorbed more efficiently. These vitamins are essential for your health and the development of your baby.
Be sure to consume plenty of high-quality protein from sources like grass-fed organic meats, full-fat organic dairy, and eggs, too. Not only do they contain protein and healthy fats, but they’ll also help you feel full longer and keep cravings at bay. These foods can also help to stabilize blood glucose levels.
- Don’t Eat Sugar or Refined Carbohydrates
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve gotten this advice! Cutting out sugar and refined carbs is necessary for good health, and not only while you’re pregnant. The only thing refined carbs and sugar are good for is gaining weight; they do absolutely nothing to provide nutrition for you or your baby.
Refined carbs are the ones found in foods like pasta, white bread, most cereals, and baked goods. They are broken down into sugar by your body, which then converts that sugar into fat that is stored in your adipose tissue. For most women, adipose tissue is around their abdomen, hips, breasts, and arms. To make matters worse, all the unneeded carbs and sugar can actually prevent your body from burning extra fat as fuel because it’s so busy using up all that sugar.
One of the hidden types of sugar is fructose, which is found in fruit. That means fruit can actually cause weight gain if you overindulge. Your liver takes fructose and converts it into triglycerides. Those triglycerides are then deposited into your adipose tissue. Don’t worry! There’s no need to cut out fruit entirely; just limit yourself to two servings of fruit per day and focus on getting the rest of your vital nutrients from leafy green vegetables instead.
Following these 10 self-care tips can help you feel better throughout your entire pregnancy. They might even help you get through labor and delivery more comfortably and have fewer aches and pains throughout. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have; that’s what he’s there for!