Don’t just survive your pregnancy. Follow the tips below and make the most of one of the most incredible experiences of your life.
Falling pregnant and giving birth involves massive changes to a woman’s body and her mindset. On the one hand, your body is undertaking the miraculous act of growing a completely new human being from conception. On the other, you’re trying to come to terms with the fact that you will soon be a parent to precious and fragile newborn. Will you know what to do when the time comes? And will you make a good parent?
As generations of women before you have discovered, your pregnancy and delivery may be a whole lot easier if you show yourself a little compassion and take good care of yourself. Give some thoughts to the following five tips as you embark on the exciting journey ahead.
Stop to smell the roses
If you have fallen pregnant, stop and really give some time to thinking about the miracle that has occurred in your body. As a woman, you’re part of the 50 percent of the population who have the potential to carry children. And, you’re one of the lucky women for whom the dream of conception has become a reality. International figures for developed nations show that between 10 and 25 percent of women will never have children, despite many of those desperately wanting to. The fact that you’ve made a life within your own is truly an amazing feat and deserves a lot of time to process what is occurring.
Think about nutrition
While you might have had an unstructured approach to eating and nutrition prior to falling pregnant, it’s important now to think about what nutrients you’re receiving. The Commonwealth Government says a great start is eating a balanced diet with plenty of well-washed fruit and vegetables as well as wholegrain breads and cereals. They recommend moderate amounts of low-fat dairy foods, lean meat, chicken and fish, as well as dried beans, lentils and other legumes plus a variety of nuts and seeds. It is also recommended that pregnant women consider a folate and iodine supplement, to support their baby’s healthy development and prevention of neural tube defects. While giving into cravings such as hot chips or pizza every now and then is fine, it’s best for you and your baby to eat a balanced diet. Click here for a list of some of the best foods and drinks to consume when pregnant, and what should be avoided.
Care for your body
Try to get some exercise, tailored to your stage of pregnancy. It’s not only good for you physically, it’s also great for your mental health and will benefit your baby. A recent study published in The New York Times found that newborns whose mothers exercised during pregnancy had greater physical co-ordination than other babies. Remember that giving birth is hard work. If you keep on top of your fitness, you may find it easier when it comes to labour and pushing your baby out. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise regime though, and don’t do anything that causes you to lose your breath or get too hot. Check out these workout tips from Tiffiny Hall, with advice for every stage of pregnancy.
Nurture your mind and soul
One of the most important parts of your wellbeing is your mental health. Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions, and one moment you may feel elated and the next in complete despair. You need to make sure you are being kind to yourself, managing your stress levels, confiding in loved ones, and seeking help if and when you need it. For many women, this is an overwhelming time and many emotions may be unexpected and unwelcome. Consider getting in touch with experts like the Gidget Foundation Australia, an organisation that supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents. Some people may also find pregnancy meditation beneficial. You might also consider a birthing class to help prepare yourself for what to expect during labour and birth. Calmbirth, a childbirth education program, has helped many expectant parents and offers insights into the psychology and physiology of birth and conscious parenting techniques.
As you move ahead, remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy. Follow your instincts and adapt the above tips to your situation. If you look after yourself mentally, physically and emotionally, then you’re well on your way to a healthy mind, body and spirit for you and your baby. And that’s the best start to life that you can give them.