7 TIPS FOR TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF DURING PREGNANCY
You deserve a happy and healthy pregnancy. Through each pregnancy journey I have learned something new. This being my third pregnancy, I wish I had known more and worried less during the other two. May this advice be as valuable to you as it is to me!
- Exercise often. I exercise Monday- Friday for at least 30 minutes, sometimes twice a day. Take it easy when you are pregnant though, listen to your body and rest when you feel you need to. Exercise releases endorphins, brain-derived neurotropic factor, and has many other positive effects on your mental health and bodily functions. Preparing your body for the birth process is very important. Keeping yourself fit and strong helps with the birth itself, but also for the recovery after birth and is good for baby too.
- Pelvic floor and core exercises are important to include in your daily exercises. The pelvic floor muscles work together with the core muscles and the diaphragm and some small muscles in the back called the multifidi muscles to maintain the intra-abdominal pressure. To be able perform tasks without bulging/weakening structures, strong core and pelvic floor is important. When there is weakness, strain or pain in any of those areas, there can be an imbalance that can cause dysfunction. Just carrying the baby in the womb for 9 months can cause weakness and dysfunction in the pelvic floor; so strengthening exercises are vital during and after pregnancy (whether you have a c-section or natural birth). Subscribe to my blog posts, and watch out for more on women’s pelvic health.
- Eat a nutritious energy-rich breakfast. Every morning I eat a good breakfast including proteins like eggs, cheese, a burger patty and some avocado. Proteins and healthy fats sustain me longer. If you are feeling sick, start with something lighter and eat more food later in the morning.
- Keep your meals rich in fibre. Choose a variety of vegetables and fruits, like green beans, salads, baby spinach, baby marrow, berries, chia seeds, nuts etc. I often make a nutritious smoothie. It will keep you regular in times where the intestines are squashed by growing baby.
- Choose healthy snacks. I try to stay low-carb and get my energy from healthy fats. I enjoy kefir, double cream yoghurt or cream cheese, almonds and macadamia nuts and biltong. I really try to get a lot of probiotics in as well as quality omega 3s. Probiotics are important for a healthy digestive and immune system. Omega 3’s for a range of benefits including the baby’s growing neural structures.
- Take a prenatal vitamin with enough iron, magnesium and calcium and folic acid every day. Iron keeps your blood healthy. Folic acid helps prevents birth defects. Don’t forget your omega 3 supplements because we often don’t get enough from our diet alone.
- Stay hydrated. Water is good for your energy levels, keeps you regular and is essential for your kidneys and bladder functioning too. Interestingly, dehydration can even have an effect on your mood and mental health! I often flavour my water with lemon, and sometimes drink sparkling water when I feel like something different.