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Taking care of YOU when you're pregnant

Taking care of YOU when you're pregnant

When you’re pregnant you are literally growing another human – how amazing is that? Every time I am caring for a pregnant mama this still astonishes me. Women are pretty incredible.

It’s important to take care of your health during pregnancy so that you can feel your best and support your growing baby. In this article, I share how you can support your health during pregnancy and some of my favourite self-care strategies.

Nutrition

  • In pregnancy it is really important to have a good look at your diet so you can ensure all of your nutritional needs are being met. Aim to eat a variety of different foods and achieve a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, fibre and healthy fats.
  • You need around 200-300 extra calories per day during pregnancy- so it’s quite normal to feel hungrier than usual.
  • During pregnancy we need more iron, calcium and iodine than usual. I recommend chatting with your midwife or doctor about which supplements are recommended.
  • It is also important to stay hydrated – aim for at least two litres of water per day.

Exercise

  • Most women can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy and this can have many benefits for your physical and mental health.
  • Regular exercise in pregnancy can reduce the risk of developing complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. It also helps to prepare you for the physical challenge of labour.
  • I love walking, yoga, swimming and pilates during pregnancy – however, there are a lot of different options for exercise in pregnancy. Aerobic and strength-based training is also recommended.
  • Check with your midwife or doctor before commencing any new exercise in pregnancy. I also recommend seeing a women’s health physiotherapist during pregnancy.

Rest

  • Getting a good nights sleep can sometimes be tricky when you’re pregnant. It is recommended to sleep on your side from 28 weeks of pregnancy. You may need to use a few pillows to get comfy. You may also need to take naps in the day to make up for poor sleep overnight.
  • Pressure on your bladder from your growing baby means there may be some frequent toilet trips in the night. If you struggle to get back to sleep try progressively relaxing all the muscles throughout your body, or listening to a sleep meditation or hypnobirthing mp3.
  • A wind-down routine can help to set you up for a good nights sleep. Avoid screens and bright lights in the hour before bed, and perhaps relax with a book or meditation before turning out the lights.

Self-care

  • Pregnancy is a great time to implement mindfulness strategies such as meditation or breathing exercises. These exercises can help you to manage the physical and emotional stressors of pregnancy.
  • Taking a warm bath at night can help you to relax and may assist in getting a good nights sleep. You may like to include some essential oils or magnesium salts to aid in relaxation.
  • Treat yourself! Book a pregnancy massage or pedicure to take some time out for you. Your body is working so hard growing your little baby so don’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself.

Support your Mental Health

  • Pregnancy can be challenging, and it’s normal to have some worries during this time. Up to 30% of women will experience some anxiety during pregnancy, so you’re not alone.
  • If you experience any symptoms of anxiety or depression for more than two weeks, or you are concerned with how you are feeling please reach out to your midwife, doctor or obstetrician.
  • The PANDA and Beyond Blue websites are also a great resource for information and further support.

Pregnancy is such an exciting time but it can also be challenging – both physically and emotionally. Prioritise rest, look after yourself and get in some regular exercise if you are able. Remember to seek out professional help if you are struggling. Your body is doing an incredible job – don’t forget that!

Article written by PBC Expo Midwife Hannah