Pregnancy Self Care
You can not pour from an empty cup.
We hear so many reasons why self-care is important, how it benefits our mental health, rejuvenates us for the week, how meeting our own needs in small, yet important ways can change your whole mindset. Here are a few of my favorite ways to care for yourself during pregnancy. I hope these suggestions will help you slow down and feel loved as you are quite literally caring and carrying another human.
Regular Prenatal Chiropractic Care
It is recommended that you see a certified prenatal chiropractor just as often as you do your OB or Midwife. So, if you are seeing your care provider once a month, make a monthly chiropractic appointment. You’re at the point where you are seeing your care provider bi-weekly, time to up those chiropractor appointments as well. There are so many changes happening to the pregnant body, our organs shift, our ligaments become tight, our backs are overcompensating for the extra weight of the baby being carried on the front of our bodies. Our bodies deserve a little tlc. Although this is not a complete solution or a promise to rid yourself of all the discomforts that you may experience, it does help. Plus, chiropractic adjustments help boost your immune system.
Again, anytime you are looking for a specific type of care while pregnant, it is of great importance that you seek out certified professionals. While any back rub will feel nice, there are some positioning modifications that are required while receiving a prenatal massage. If you are in the third trimester there are touch points that can induce labor, your massage therapist will be aware of these and be sure to avoid them, unless you are close to your due date and it is okayed by your care provider to try some natural approaches to induce labor. That being said, there is nothing better that a fabulous massage. A quiet room, relaxing music, someone really getting into all the tight muscles to help you feel relaxed and relieved of discomforts. My favorite was always my hips and mid back being massaged. I also experienced a lot of sciatica nerve pain, massage always helped.
I may be a little biased here as a Yoga Teacher and a Prenatal Yoga Instructor, but the benefits are huge! I have a separate post listing all of the benefits to practicing yoga while pregnant. One of my favorite reasons for taking a prenatal yoga class, whether in person or online, is the connection you establish with your body, your breath and your baby. This mind body connection is so deep and sacred, it will stay with you long after you birth your baby.
Yes! They are huge, they take up a lot of space in your bed, but the comfort a pregnancy pillow provides is worth it. I did not have one during my first pregnancy. The month we found out that we were expecting the second time, I bought my pregnancy pillow.
Other Expecting Friends
Connecting with others who are also expecting a baby is deeply beneficial. You may have one friend that has a totally different birth plan, or different resources, or book suggestions that you never considered. You know that phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”, well I am a huge believer that it takes a village to raise a parent. This is completely new territory. If you want to approach birth and parenting differently than how your parents did things, you will want outside sources of information and support. If you do not know of any one who is expecting a baby at the same time as you, see what parent groups are available in your area. Is there a Warmline? If you are the church going type, is there a new parents group? You are sure to find a virtual group that is your cup of tea on social media!
Read a book
You can quiet a busy mind with a good book. Even if you have other children at home and finding quiet time is hard to come by, take your book with you to the bath, tag team with your spouse and read while they play with the kids at the park, read while waiting for your next appointment or before bed.
I tend to listen to my body to understand what I am needing to eat while pregnant. If I’m craving a cheeseburger, I eat the cheeseburger. If a salad is just the most delicious thing I can think of, I eat the salad. Ice cream and coffee, yes! You are growing and nourishing your body and your baby. Eat what sounds good and release the feeling of guilt. You need the extra calories and now is not the time to restrict yourself. Enjoy the food you eat.
There are so many different things to learn about pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, feeding, maternity leave, returning to work, pumping at work...ahh! It can seem overwhelming, but there is power in knowledge. Only you can advocate for yourself, and I am a huge advocate for choice and consent in all of these areas. So take the next 9ish months and learn about some of these things. Your future self will thank you.
There are so many more things that can be added to this list. But hopefully this gives you some good ideas and a place to start. Take care of yourself, getting into the habit of it now, will make it easier to do so when you have the baby, the toddler, the young child to care for.