Tops tips for a healthy pregnancy
We share our top ten tips on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy
Here are my top ten tips on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy:
- Eat little and often. Regulating your blood sugar level will help with nausea and fatigue particular in early pregnancy. Even though my body craved junk type food (high sugar and high fat) I definitely felt the benefits of eating good food. So although I ate cakes and donuts in moderation (they gave me a good 4 hour window without nausea) I tried mostly to fix my sugar cravings with various fruits and my fat craving with good fatty products like avocados cheese and eggs. If you are experiencing sickness and nausea where you can’t eat then I would recommend acupressure nausea bands (available in most pharmacies) and boiled sweets throughout the day.
- Keep hydrated. This is so simple yet effective. If you drink plenty of water (try for 6-8 glasses a day) your whole body will feel the benefits. When I say water I mean water because squash, juices, fizzy drinks, tea, coffee etc. won’t rehydrate you in the same way.
- Exercise or just move regularly. I know some expecting mums are nervous about exercising during pregnancy especially in the early stages and this is totally understandable. If your body is used to a particular exercise then continue (within reason… no contact sports please) just ease up on any form of exercise that will make you overheat, feel dizzy or faint. If you are not used to exercise don’t be afraid to do some gentle movement and exercise to help your circulation and energy. In later pregnancy I went swimming twice a week and sometimes I would just walk up and down the pool.
- Sleep when you can. I am not ashamed to say that I was asleep some nights by 9pm! Planning ahead with meals and stocking up on easy to cook dinners like stir fry and jackets potatoes made life a lot easier in the evenings for an early night. Also on my days off I chose to have an afternoon nap where possible.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements. On the days where I missed my top up of iron and multivitamins I really noticed it. I took Pregnacare plus omega 3 once a day (with food) and Spatone liquid iron supplement in orange juice 3-4 mornings per week. I would recommend pregnancy supplements from the start, don’t wait to be told you are lacking something later on.
- Lay in the sun – Hopefully at some point in your 9 months there will be some sunshine. Laying out in sun is controversial and remember your skin may react differently to UV rays when you pregnant so continue to take sun protection precautions. However, from a bone and foetal development point of view it is really hard to get enough vitamin D from your diet so get out there and get some sunshine if you can!! I felt my best on the days I could lay out in the sun for about 30 minutes.
- Hypnobirthing courses. I did a free 4 week antenatal and hypnobirthing course at the hospital in my last trimester and I would highly recommend it. The course simply teaches you how to use your breathing and ability to relax to help control pain and remain calm. It also gives you great information on the birth process so you can understand what is happening. Things seem a lot less scary when you know what your body is capable of doing in the birth process.
- Avoid stress. I know this is easier said than done but you produce specific chemicals when you are stressed that are counter-productive for a good pregnancy and birth. Try to do something every day that makes you feel happy and peaceful. I found hypnobirthing really helpful for this.
- Be very mindful of your pelvis and back. As the ligaments that support your spine and pelvis start to loosen up you in the last trimester you will be vulnerable to straining joints particularly with certain activities. Avoid anything that will create a lot of twist or pressure to this area like pushing a heavy supermarket trolley or vacuuming. Also avoid sitting for long periods, especially on a hard chair, as this will restrict the pelvic joints. Sit on a swiss/exercise ball for part of the day, take regular movement breaks at work and when resting lay on your side. Listen to your body throughout pregnancy, if something causes you discomfort then stop.
- Have some Osteopathic treatment. Last but definitely not least, Osteopathic treatment not only made my back feel better and kept me pain free, it also increased my energy, improved my mood and relieved my indigestion. I had treatment every 3-4 weeks throughout my pregnancy which consisted of balancing the pelvis, increasing movement in the low back and manipulating the upper back and ribs. Towards the end of the pregnancy we also worked on my pelvic floor muscles in preparation for birth using acupuncture needles. Dry needling otherwise known as medical acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment that can be used throughout pregnancy.