You’re pregnant! Congratulations! You might be thinking about all the exciting things that are in your future. And all the things that you need to do to prepare for your little one. Having helped hundreds of couples during their pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy, I have some great tips on how to help you have a happier and healthier pregnancy. Here we go!
1. Eat Right
This is not much of a secret, but I have seen many people not take this point as seriously. A lot of women hear that once you’re pregnant, you are now “eating for two.” This is completely misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that you can now eat enough food to feed two people. Instead, it means that you need to be eating enough nutrients and healthier food for you and your growing baby. So that means reducing the amount of sugar and carbs and eating more vegetables and protein.
According to the Institute of Medicine, if you’re at a healthy weight and are expecting, you do not need any additional calories during your first trimester. You should only be consuming an additional 340 calories per day if you’re in your second trimester. If you are in your third trimester, you should have 450 extra calories per day. However, if you are overweight or underweight, you will need more or fewer calories added to your diet. *Be sure to speak with your doctor or midwife to know what is best for you and your baby.
Okay, don’t think I’m the diet police over here! Everybody that knows me knows that I LOVE sweets and am all about celebrating this time of your life. Indulging here and there with some ice cream or truffle fries (yum!) is alright, but I also care about you and your baby’s health, so try not to make this a constant habit now that you are growing a little human. Remember, everything you eat and drink is what you’re feeding your baby.
Having an unhealthy diet during pregnancy could also potentially cause more pregnancy and birth issues. Which none of us want. It can increase your chances of having gestational diabetes and having a bigger baby. This can cause them to have bigger heads/cephalopelvic disproportion, and not to be able to be born vaginally (if you want a vaginal birth). Not only that, but it also becomes a bit more challenging to lose the baby weight if you gained more weight than your doctor or midwife recommended.
Exercising during your pregnancy is extremely beneficial. It helps with:
- The circulation of blood and oxygen to you and your baby (which can boost your baby’s brain).
- It also allows you to indulge a little in those extra sweets and carbs that you’ve been craving and not feel as guilty.
- It keeps you from having more intense aches and pains during your pregnancy. Now hear me, they won’t take them all away, but it does help.
And so much more. With all of the women that I have worked with during their pregnancies, I have personally seen that women that exercise more have fewer complaints about discomforts throughout their pregnancy compared to the women that do not work out. Not only that, but I have also noticed that my clients that workout can tolerate labor better and have faster births and recoveries. Now we all want that, don’t we?!
3. Rest Your Body & Mind
Once your baby arrives, you will never be able to sleep like this again, so try to catch up on as much rest as possible while you’re pregnant. Don’t feel guilty about needing a nap during the day and resting. I know that this can be difficult when you’re working, but on the weekends, do your best! Growing a baby is hard work and requires more rest!
4. Pamper Yourself
Your body is growing and moving things around to make room for your baby. Some services that I recommend to my clients are massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. These all help you to relieve stress, aches, and pains that you may have during your pregnancy (for example, those cramps in your calves, sciatica, headaches, hip pain, round ligament pain, etc.), and more. Not only that, but they have also proven major benefits during labor. They can help make your pregnancy and birth a lot easier! If your budget is a little tight and you’re worried that you can’t sign up for these services, ask your partner/SO to give you a well-deserved massage. This will not only benefit you, but it will also better prepare him/her when you go into labor because it will help strengthen his/her hands and know how to relax you and keep you comfortable when labor day comes.
5. Educate Yourself
As the great Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer (authors of A Good Birth, A Safe Birth) said, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” That is so true. This is your body, your baby, your pregnancy, and YOUR baby’s birth. It should be what you want it to be, so you need to know what all of those options are. There are so many different childbirth classes that you can take, such as Lamaze, ICEA, the Bradley Method, Hypnobabies, Hypnobirthing, Birth Boot Camp, Birthing from Within, and many more. You want to make sure that you choose the right class for you and your partner/SO to prepare for the big day! It also makes it less scary and intimidating when you know what to expect. This can make a lot of those anxious, nervous feelings go away.
6. Listen to YOU!
I’m sure by now you have already received some unsolicited advice from almost everyone. They will tell you what they think you should and shouldn’t do, you name it. Receiving advice from friends and family is always helpful, but what may have been useful for them may not work for you. Remember that. So be sure to listen to YOUR instincts and do what you feel is right for you and your baby.
I hope this helped! Did you use any of these tips during your pregnancy? Would you add anything to this list?