Pregnancy is the beginning of an unpredictable journey. Every day is different and everyone you meet has opinions on how to approach things. I was my best self when I was pregnant and found that carrying a child was the ultimate motivation. I worked out consistency and found a pre-natal yoga class that I loved. I indulged in my cravings and became the president of the “everything in moderation” club. I became extremely clear on my needs and prioritized them. That’s not to say I did not have my scary moments!
For me, the lesson of pregnancy was more mental than physical. I was induced at 41 weeks, forcing me to let go of any plans or expectations. Having the patience to wait, let go of my plans and accept that I had no control of my journey was much needed before the challenge of becoming a Mom.
In the end, taking care of yourself and your baby is what’s most important. But with all the rules, suggestions and feelings- how do you stay stress-free? Here’s how to focus on wellness during pregnancy without driving yourself crazy.
About Those Cravings
Studies show that 50-90% of women experience cravings for specific foods during pregnancy. The foods that top the list? Ice cream, fruit juice, sweets, desserts, dairy and chocolate. When you have a craving, it’s usually your body telling you it needs some sort of nutrition. Craving a cheeseburger? You probably need more iron, which can be found in leafy green like spinach and fish. Craving chocolate? Try to up your magnesium intake with whole grain foods. We recommend trying to find a healthy alternative to your craving 75% of the time and indulging the rest.
Consult Your Doctor
Wondering if your baby is growing enough? If your heartburn is normal? How will you know when you’re in labor? If you have a question, ask your doctor. All moms-to-be fall prey to the internet, but in the end, your doctor knows best. So instead of the endless search string of maybes, call your doctor for a definitive answer to the question.
10 Glasses of Water a Day, No Exceptions!
Hydration is extremely important during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester when dehydration can cause contractions that can trigger preterm labor. According to the Mayo Clinic, on average pregnant women should aim to drink 10 cups of fluids each day. Make it fun by adding fruit slices or pour sparkling water into a wine flute and #treatyoself.
Take it Easy
Sleep can be tricky during pregnancy but resting is more than just getting adequate sleep. Now is a great time to let your body take the lead and its great practice for when a baby’s mood will determine the course of your day. If your couch is calling your name and your social calendar is bursting at the seams, maybe it’s time to say no to a few things in favor of rest. Your body will thank you.
Switch Up Your Workout
If you’re someone who’s used to crushing it at the gym five times per week, pregnancy may be a good time to scale back. If you’re someone who struggles to get to the gym, use pregnancy as motivation to move! The most important thing is listening to your own body.
The American Pregnancy Association says that prenatal exercise helps prevent backaches, can prevent gestational diabetes, increases your energy, mood and can even help you sleep better. We recommend taking your dog for a walk or trying a prenatal yoga class. Research workout classes in your area for pregnant women or head to the local pool for a low-impact swim. If you prefer an at-home workout, try BodyFitbyAmy or PopSugar’s prenatal workouts.
Listen to Your Body
No one knows your body (pre-baby or pregnancy) like you do. If something feels off, it probably is. Listen and respond to its needs. On days you feel like you’re dragging, don’t overcommit or push yourself too hard. Go to bed early or take a nap. When you have all the energy in the world, take advantage of crossing a few things off your before-baby to do list.
Focus on Self Care
Now is the time to start prioritizing self-care, because it will be vital when your baby arrives. Get a massage. Get lost in a good book. Go ahead and binge an entire season of Parenthood on Netflix. (It’ll count as research!) Take yourself out to lunch- alone. Or meet up with friends. Now is the time to focus on your needs and practicing making them non-negotiable.