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When I first became an expectant mother with my oldest about almost 20 years ago (sheesh, I didn't realize that in 3 months it will be 20 years since I got pregnant, YIKES!) I had absolutely no clue what to do through the pregnancy other than, eat, sleep, and tons of doctors appointments. Things have completely changed over the years though. Things that we used to think was okay to do, really isn't, and vice versa. I remember reading “What to Expect when You're Expecting” and kinda freaking out, then realizing, that I had no reason to freak out.
I've been following a few of my friends on their journey lately and it's just amazing how there are still a lot of similarities, yet LOTS of changes in how things are done throughout the pregnancy. I remember hearing an old wives tale that always made me laugh. “Taking a bath can drown your fetus.” When I commented that the baby was literally surrounded by fluid the entire pregnancy I heard “But it's a different type of fluid and water is thinner so it finds it's way into the babies lungs.”
I loved taking a bath while I was pregnant with both of the boys, it relaxed me and also gave me that little bit of in-vitro bonding. They always seemed to relax and stopped kicking my lungs, kidneys and ribs when I was able to relax in a tub.
Being able to take good care of yourself during pregnancy is so important. Your health and well being affects your baby considerably, and you could be unintentionally harming your unborn child when making bad choices. Self care should be one of your main priorities as an expectant mother, as your needs should be put before anything else. If you’re struggling to become your own main focus, then you may need a little bit of help to nudge you in the right direction. By following the easy steps below, you should be able to better appreciate the importance of giving yourself the attention you and your baby need to thrive.
Looking After Yourself As An Expectant Mother
The Importance Of A Nutritious Diet
By eating foods that are high in fat, sugar, and preservatives, you are laying bad foundations for your baby to grow and thrive inside you. Unhealthy processed meals and snacks can do much more to hurt you rather than help you, as they often provide you with no nutritional benefits at all. Instead, try to base your diet around fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, lean proteins and healthy fats, as these food groups will provide you with all of the vitamins and minerals that you and your baby need to prosper. Opting for complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and sweet potatoes will give you a slow release of sustainable energy, compared to the short burst and even shorter disappearance of energy when consuming white alternatives.
Keeping your blood sugar levels stable is so important, and that’s why you should choose raw fruits instead of chocolate and candy when you are craving something sweet. Pairing this with some natural or greek yoghurt will give you the calcium you will need. Calcium is an essential mineral to include during pregnancy, and even more so when breastfeeding. It can be found in seeds like chia and sesame, cheeses (but avoid the soft or unpasteurized variety), beans and dark leafy greens like kale and collard greens. Tofu, chickpeas and lean meats like chicken are great sources of protein, and pose as alternatives to fish like mackerel that should not be eaten when you are with child due to high levels of mercury.
Include Some Light Exercise
Many women believe that they cannot do any kind of exercise whilst pregnant out of fear of causing potential damage to their unborn child. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as doing some kind of light sport or activity can help to ease the discomfort you will probably be feeling in your back and even make labor a little easier by giving you more stamina to make it through. Walking and swimming are two of the best options, as they are low impact therefore easy on your joints and can be done slowly at your own pace.
Ensure that you stay hydrated throughout any exercise drinking plenty of water and taking regular breaks if you feel as though you need them. There are certain sports you should avoid, but these are fairly obvious and include mainly contact based sports like rugby or boxing and those during which you might trip and fall at speed like tennis or sprinting. Consult your doctor immediately if you face any issues whilst exercising as they could signify more serious underlying issues.
Meditation & Self Acceptance
The process of becoming a new mother brings so many changes, both in your mind and body. Coping with these changes can be difficult, and unfortunately it can happen that you encounter some kind of pregnancy related depression. Being able to accept every step of the journey is a vital aspect of truly enjoying and appreciate the experience for its true beauty. Figuring out how to do this may be a little tough, but starting with meditation can show you which path you personally should take. By doing some kind of mindfulness practice, you will be able to better appreciate the ‘here and now’, whilst acknowledging and dealing with your emotions in a calm and productive way.
Create some kind of support system so that you can easily reach out to someone should you be in need of help, and engage in regular self care exercises to lift your spirits and look after yourself properly. Many expectant mothers worry constantly about the potential adjustments their body will experience, such as stretch marks, loose skin and scars from any possible surgeries like cesarean section. In order to take out preventative measures, you must ask the question: what are stretch marks and how do they form? When you establish this you will be able to understand how to prepare your skin and reduce the appearance and care for any that do become visible.
It’s important to remember that no matter what happens to your body during the process of your pregnancy and birth, you are still a beautiful and worthy woman just like you were before. Any scars you pick up along the way are signs that should induce wonderful memories of creating and nurturing your little woman, and make you feel proud to be a strong mother. Accepting yourself as you change is important for both you and your unborn child, as you will immediately become their role model and it’s then your responsibility to teach them self love and confidence. By providing them with the encouragement they need to grow up viewing themselves in a positive light will lay great foundations for their future as caring and kind-hearted individuals.
Looking after yourself as an expectant mother is so important for you and your baby. By following a healthy balanced diet you can help to provide you both with the necessary vitamins and minerals you need, whilst including some light exercise can help to reduce your pain and get you out of the house too. Practicing meditation is a great way to ensure you can enjoy the experience and deal with stress more productively, whilst also allowing you to better appreciate each moment and accept your changing body at the same time.