There’s no denying that pregnancy is one of life’s experiences that offers both happiness and challenges. Any mother-to-be will feel mixed emotions throughout their pregnancy, and it can also be a bit scary to women who are pregnant with their first child.
As you progress through your pregnancy, your body will change shape to accommodate the child (or children) growing inside you. What’s more, your emotions and appetite will change, and you may even wonder if you’re still in control of your body.
5 Tips to Care for your Body during Pregnancy
Of course, the answer is yes – you are still in control of your body. As you can appreciate, it makes sense to stay healthy during your pregnancy – both for your sake and that of your unborn baby.
With that in mind, here are some practical steps you can take to keep your body in check so you can have a healthy and happy pregnancy:
1. Watch What You Eat
It’s no secret that some women crave all kinds of weird and wonderful foods during their pregnancy. If that’s something you’ve noticed with yourself, it’s crucial you keep an eye on the food you consume.
Being pregnant makes it very easy to forego healthy foods and eat lots of things that provide instant happiness. Unfortunately, most of those foods are often unhealthy and things you might only typically eat as an occasional snack.
It’s essential that you only (or mostly) consume foods that are rich in nutrients. Your body, and that of your unborn baby, needs those nutrients to stay fit and healthy. Here are a few examples of the foods you should consider eating during your pregnancy:
- Legumes – examples include lentils, peas, beans, and chickpeas. They are excellent sources of fiber, protein, and iron;
- Dark, leafy greens – vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach are good examples. They’re another source of iron, but they also contain vitamins A, C, and K, and they also boast other nutrients like calcium, folate, and potassium;
- Wholegrains – oats, quinoa, and brown rice are just three of many examples that are full of fiber and rich in vitamins.
Other foods you should eat include dried and fresh fruit and potatoes. If you’re not on a plant-based diet, you should also consume fish such as salmon, as they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs and lean meat can also provide an abundance of protein.
Whenever possible, you should avoid consuming snacks or other foods high in salt or sugar. They’re not good for you generally, and especially so during pregnancy.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Water is the one thing that everyone on the planet should consume in abundance, irrespective of their diet. Your body needs water to stay hydrated and keep mentally alert. Plus, water is also good for keeping your skin soft, especially during warmer temperatures.
Also, did you know that water can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy? In fact, there are many advantages to drinking plenty of water each day, especially when you’re pregnant.
Water is also readily available from your home, or virtually anywhere you travel to, and it doesn’t have any calories compared to soda or other drinks. One question you might have is, how much water should you be drinking each day?
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For women, the recommended intake of water is around two liters or eight glasses of water. Of course, you should spread your water consumption throughout the day and evening, rather than drinking two liters of water in one sitting!
3. Avoid Strenuous Activities
You will undoubtedly be feeling achy and exhausted during your pregnancy. Yet, you might feel like you need to do some physical activities that you wouldn’t give a second thought to before your pregnancy.
The trouble with over-exerting yourself while pregnant is you can easily injure yourself. In severe cases, you could even endanger your baby’s life. With that in mind, you should avoid strenuous activities such as heavy lifting.
It also makes sense to avoid participating in any extreme exercises you may have done before becoming pregnant. If you need to have something heavy moved, ask someone to do it for you. And limit your exercising to simple activities like walking.
Sure, it’s not much fun to feel like you’re limited in what you can do each day. However, pregnancy isn’t a permanent change to your life. Once you’ve had your baby and recovered from giving birth, you can go back to doing the things you used to do!
4. Have a Prenatal Massage
A prenatal massage is an excellent idea for pregnant women who want help dealing with new aches and pains brought on by the weight and shape changes to their bodies. It’s a great way to loosen and relax your muscles, and it helps to increase blood flow.
Prenatal massages can also provide relief from insomnia, neck and back pain and even help reduce swelling in your hands and feet. Some scientific studies even suggest that prenatal massages can provide relief from depression without using any medicine.
There is some confusion about whether prenatal massages are safe for pregnant women or not. The general consensus is you should avoid having prenatal massages during the first trimester. Otherwise, they could exacerbate morning sickness and cause you to feel dizzy.
Also, you should ideally use a prenatal massage provider that has at least 16 hours of advanced training on prenatal massaging. You can opt for prenatal massages at home or the provider’s facility.
5. Sleep on a Comfortable Mattress
Lastly, if you sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, you should get it replaced as soon as possible. The Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every seven years because mattresses start to sag and internal fabrics and springs wear out after a while.
It’s crucial you have a good quality of sleep, especially when you’re pregnant. Aside from having a new mattress, it can also help to sleep on a pregnancy pillow to provide extra support where you need it most.
Hopefully, the above hints and tips will give you some inspiration to make your pregnancy a happy and more comfortable one.