Finding out you are expecting a baby is one of life’s greatest joys. However, it can also be terrifying. Apart from the panic or concern that would arise because of the new responsibility that you feel you are carrying, expectant mothers usually feel the other seemingly “shallow” worries (which are not so shallow) about how pregnancy will affect their bodies, social calendar and everyday life in general. You worry if all the stories about morning sickness, extreme weight gain, really weird cravings and the difficulty of childbirth will come true. Well, there is something you are not told.
Research has shown that being pregnant can be a great catalyst to launching your wellness game to a whole new level. Maria Chatman, a holistic health coach and co-founder of Pop Fit Kids says that “bringing a baby into the world is great motivation to be your healthiest self”. She also states that pregnant women have heightened intuition during this period. This heightened intuition enhances your innate connection to your body, which in turn helps you to know what it needs.
Tuning out the noise will help you to tap into your inner strength and trust that your body knows exactly what it needs. Here are some tips you can follow as proposed by experts, so that you can have that feeling of wellness as you enjoy the healthiest pregnancy ever.
Prenatal exercise is not only safe, it is highly encouraged for low risk pregnancy and is full of tremendous benefits for both mother and child. Maintaining a moderate and appropriate routine can help to keep your weight gain in a healthy range and reduce some unpleasant pregnancy side effects like swelling, constipation and back ache. Besides, a daily sweat will also give you a healthy dose of endorphin, which would balance out your mood swings and help maintain that feeling of still being yourself.
Staying fit during pregnancy is really important for the labour itself. After all, giving birth will likely be the most physically demanding experience you would have in your life. So, it’s better to prepare for it.
However, Maria Chatman warns that maintaining fitness during pregnancy can be easier said than done. You wouldn’t want to over-do it. So, she advises that you choose activities that make you feel good and confident that your body is made for pregnancy and movement. Experts advise that this approach is better than sticking to a strict regimen that may not be flexible enough to accommodate your changing body and its needs. While you may not be able to continue strenuous activities that you engaged in before you became pregnant, it is important that you keep moving even while listening to your body.
Deconstruct your cravings
If you do just one thing to help yourself stay healthy during your pregnancy, good nutrition will be that thing. According to an article in ‘Midwifery Today’, eating well during pregnancy will mean eating 75-100grams of good protein every day. It is very important that you eat a nutrient-filled meal during your pregnancy as the food that you eat is building each and every cell in your baby’s body.
Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy is not a free pass for going on an eating binge on ice cream and chocolate. It’s not even an excuse to “eat for two” rather it’s a time to stock up on nutrient-filled wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. However, your food choices should not be about restriction. You should try to navigate your cravings, by doing that you can mindfully respond to the messages that your body is sending.
Experts say that cravings are the body’s way of communicating a need which can be physiological or emotional. For example, sugar cravings usually arise as a result of stress or sleep deprivation. So, by recognising your craving for sugar for what it really is, you can take steps to manage that craving by resting more or incorporating techniques to help you manage stress. Chatman however warns that you should not be too hard on yourself. If you find yourself indulging that craving once in a while, enjoy it and move on.
Some great high protein foods include eggs, meat, nuts, beans, seeds. You might also want to include whole, fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Organic food sources are also highly recommended when available. Eating right during pregnancy can help you prevent premature labour, toxaemia, placental abruption, gestational diabetes, problems with breast feeding and healing and many other serious health problems that could place a new mom in high risk category.
Meditation is key
Good health is not just about exercise and eating well. Your mental state also contributes to your overall health. What you are thinking and what you even say during your pregnancy matters a lot. Various researches have shown that your baby would feel what you are feeling. So a lot of self-love is needed during this period. Meditation during pregnancy is a wonderful way to send a whole lot of positive vibes to your baby.
If you’ve never meditated before, there is no time as good as now. If you already meditate, this is an opportunity to deepen your practice. A few minutes spent every day connecting to your baby, taking deep breaths and just going quiet can help you prepare mentally for labour and avoid postpartum blues.