5 Tips For Taking Better Care Of Yourself During Pregnancy
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Giving birth is different for everyone, so there’s no foolproof method to prepare yourself for the process. But there are things you can do that will help you understand what’s about to happen better, take care of your body and your mind, and give you greater confidence and peace of mind leading into birth and parenthood. With that in mind, here are some top tips for taking better care of yourself during pregnancy:
1. Go to antenatal classes
Antenatal classes, or parenting classes, prepare you for labor, delivery, breastfeeding, and taking care of a newborn. They’re designed to help parents feel more secure and confident about the birthing process. They teach you how you can prepare for labor yourself, how to know when you’re in labor and when you should be going to the hospital and the various stages of labor.
You’ll learn about the birthing positions and your options at your local hospital, as well as the breathing and relaxation techniques that you can use during labor. You’ll will get to know about various techniques to induce labor - from diet and exercise to a stretch and sweep, or membrane sweep.
You’ll also learn about breastfeeding, the behaviour of a newborn, nappy changes, and much more.
The best thing about antenatal classes is that you’re attending with other parents-to-be who are going through the same things you are — and they’re generally at a similar stage in their pregnancy too.
2. Learn how to relax
Stress isn’t good for you or the baby, and that includes during pregnancy. Your body is already going through enough changes hormonally and physically.
If you’re also stressed at this time, it can stop you from getting enough sleep and can lead to headaches. Placing a pillow between your legs is advised and comfortable for those pregnant, as is taking the weight off your feet and resting in a reclining chair. It can also impact the baby’s development and has been linked to the premature birth of babies born before 37 weeks and babies who have a lower birth weight — less than 5lb 8 ounces.
There are many causes of stress during pregnancy, including depression and anxiety, life events, worrying about your life or concerns about the baby. Remember to take time to relax, try some pregnancy yoga or meditation, and cut back on activities and work.
3. Eat for two
You’re not just eating to keep yourself alive now, you’re eating for two — and no, that doesn’t mean you should double your portion sizes. It does, however, mean that when you eat, you need to consider what you’re putting in your mouth and assess whether it’s the right thing for you and the baby.
Make sure you eat plenty of fresh food that’s full of nutrition — grains, proteins, vegetables, fruit and dairy will provide you with iron, calcium, Vitamin D and folic acid. These are all good for the baby’s development. Fish is also good, as well as nuts and seeds. Try to avoid processed foods and too much sugar.
3. Don’t quit the exercise
Many people believe that once they fall pregnant, exercise needs to stop. However, this isn’t the case. In fact, exercise is good to keep you in shape during hormonal changes and helps prepare you better physically for labor and delivery.
Exercising during pregnancy can help reduce back pain and constipation, help you sleep better, prevent you from gaining too much excess weight, promote muscle tone and endurance which you’ll need when giving birth, and boost your mood and levels of energy. If you have any concerns about exercise while pregnant, talk to your doctor.
5. Talk to someone
Becoming a parent for the first time (or 4th) is scary, so it’s imperative that you talk to someone about it if you’re feeling overwhelmed, curious, sad, happy. Looking after your emotional health is essential to a healthy pregnancy, and a happier baby.
Whether you talk to your partner, your mum, or you make an appointment with your GP and chat to them, it’s particularly important if you have any fears or concerns that you deal with these before the baby arrives.
Pregnancy is a time where emotions are running high, and if you don’t learn to deal with these early, it could lead to further mental woes after you give birth. It’s particularly crucial if you’re feeling depressed or anxious that you speak with a counsellor or your doctor as soon as possible.
Being worried or concerned during pregnancy is completely natural, but you can make your journey a little easier by following the tips mentioned above.