When I imagined being pregnant I always thought my husband would bring me to a room filled with mountains of mint chocolate chip ice cream, with furniture made out of sweets and a big fat marshmallow shaped bear that I could return to eat every day until the baby was born.
I thought I would be able to happily ingest whatever I please until the baby was born. And afterwards, the calories would just drop off of me. POOF. I am thin again!
The reality was, how do I say this……a bit different.
I found out that you only need 100-200 calories extra a day for the first six months of your pregnancy, after that you need an extra 300 a day. YES. You heard me right. Only 200 calories! My dreams of lounging around all day eating junk melted away. ; )
There’s more.…..I suddenly came to realise that there is actually another brain growing inside me! Surprise, surprise, I am now an adult with big responsibilities. If I wanted that brain to be as smart as mine (hopefully smarter!) I would have to give myself (and obviously the baby) the right nutrients.
In a giant shock to the system, I ran to the nearest pharmacy (…or rather leisurely opened my laptop) and found the top things a pregnant woman needs in order to stay healthy and GROW THAT MINI BRAIN.
First on the list….
Prenatal vitamins are gold to any newly pregnant woman. If you are not sure when to start prenatal vitamins, doctors recommend to before you are actually pregnant, but if you start once you find out, you’ll be fine. They have omega-3 fatty acids that keep your mind sharp, and as I said earlier, stimulate and grow the baby brain cells too. They are made of natural ingredients which are extracted directly from plants!
I like how the Babycenter described this, “Think of it as an insurance policy to make sure you’re getting the right amount of certain crucial nutrients during pregnancy.”
This is not your typical item on the list for pregnancy health tips, however I found this very helpful. This helped me clear my mind, stay relaxed and in turn, have a more healthy ‘mind set.’ When I am relaxed I make better decisions. Apple over dohnut. Stairs over escalator. My thoughts are less cluttered.
This is obvious and there are many, many scientific facts to back this up. The only problem is when you are a fat, sweaty (even while stagnate) pregnant woman, you have ZERO motivation to go to the gym. Putting on your shoes is exercise enough! So my solution to this is to walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. I feel like I’m singing Twerk. Twerk. Twerk. Twerking would be good too. A dance class maybe? Anything that will get you moving works. This is not just exercise, it’s therapy. Swimming can be a relaxing and therapeutic way to exercise.
Yoga (or mindfulness)
This could go with bath but I think it needs a separate paragraph. Mindfulness helped me during the last trimester. My son was two and a half weeks late and my labour was three days long, so I really needed to live in the moment. If I had been counting the days (let’s face it I did a little bit) I would have gone crazy! Mindfulness allowed me to stay calm and enjoy being here and now. It still does to this day. Meditation, which goes hand in hand with mindfulness, is another tool that was useful during pregnancy and parenthood!
This may sound random but when you are 36 weeks pregnant, bloated and balloon-shaped, you’re body does weird things. My body decided to swell up and cause me to have carpal tunnel syndrome. The first night it happened my partner made a make-shift wrist guard out of bandages and a ruler, while I condone him for being so creative, this was not comfortable. So I do think it’s worth dishing out the dough to buy a proper wrist brace. I felt much better (side note: I also slept on four pillows so I was basically sleeping upright for the last six weeks of pregnancy).
This sounds a bit “hippy,” but after taking this course I can honestly say this helped me through my son’s birth and during stressful times after the birth. I found that it is just a way to help you feel calm about the whole pregnancy, birth and thereafter. Laura at Happy Birthing teaches you really useful techniques for relaxation, I still use these today. In particular, I really enjoy listening to the rainbow relaxation guided meditation. I also found the breathing exercises very useful. Deep 5 second (or however long you can do) in and 8 second breath out. The key is breathing out longer than you breathed in.
This list is not exhaustive but are techniques that personally helped me during my pregnancy and birth.
A group of mums sharing their experiences on pregnancy, post-birth, breastfeeding, work-life balance, and more.
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