You’ve probably heard lots of people telling you to “take care of yourself” during your pregnancy so far. And while it’s lovely that your nearest and dearest want to make sure you’re having a healthy and happy pregnancy, it might leave you wondering what you should really be doing to “take care” of yourself.
Your pregnancy symptoms might have you feeling a bit yuck, so some days of self-care during pregnancy might be as simple as having a hot shower. Other days, when you’re feeling fine, well, the world’s your oyster. So are there certain things, in particular, you should (or, yikes, shouldn’t) be doing to look after yourself during pregnancy?
How can I take care of myself during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time of massive change; to your body, your relationships, and really, your whole life. Not to freak you out or anything! So with the heady mix of emotional and physical turmoil you might be going through, here’s how to take care of yourself during pregnancy.
1. Schedule a doctor’s appointment
Checking in with your doctor when you first find out you’re pregnant is a good place to start. They may want to run some blood and urine tests, which can pick up things that might have you feeling a bit blergh, like low iron levels. Getting this info straight-up means you’ll be back to feeling better ASAP.
2. Eat well
No, you don’t have to “eat for 2”, but eating a good mix of veggies, fruits, carbs, grains, dairy, and protein has never been more important. But don’t be too hard on yourself if your pregnancy nausea has just got you snacking on dry crackers or chips for now. Your time will come.
3. Drink plenty of water
Your body is producing a whole load more blood these days, so drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day can help reduce dizziness and can even help with nausea. Yep, it might seem like you’re peeing every 5 minutes, but it’s important to keep hydrated.
4. Journal your pregnancy
Writing down your thoughts and feelings, or keeping a photo journal of your growing bump and all those exciting baby purchases can be a great way to keep track of your pregnancy and celebrate the small things.
5. Get some exercise
6. Catch some Zs
Naps aren’t just for babies! There’s no shame in having a daytime snooze here and there when you need to. So if the opportunity comes knocking, why not?
7. Consider your employment and maternity leave
Planning ahead can help reduce your mental load, and planning your maternity leave and potential return to work now might ease a headache down the line. You can get familiar with your company’s policies; how long you can have off, what flexibility there is around your return to work, and any entitlements you may have whilst you’re away.
8. Check-in with your emotional wellbeing
Having honest conversations about how you’re feeling with your partner, family, friends, or with women on Peanut can help if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole situation. And don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you can access it, and you think you might need it.
Ah yes, pelvic floor exercises. Just as important as any other exercise right now. Pelvic floor dysfunction is fairly common as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, but you can give yourself a good foundation by doing these daily (if possible).
10. Pregnancy massage
If you’re feeling like you need pampering (uh, yes!!) book a pregnancy massage for your second or third trimester for something to look forward to!
11. Plan a babymoon
One last hoorah before baby makes an entrance. The second trimester is usually the perfect time to take a babymoon, while you have the most energy and you should be safe to travel. A relaxing beach break or country escape is surely what every mama-to-be deserves?!
What are the things to do and not to do during pregnancy?
Are there any hard and fast rules around taking care of yourself during pregnancy that we should all know about?
- Visit your dentist. Pregnant women can be at particular risk of gum problems, so now is not the time to be skimping on your oral hygiene.
- Limit your caffeine intake to 200mg per day (about 1 strong coffee). Remember there’s caffeine in certain sodas and chocolate, too.
- Use sunscreen; your skin is particularly sensitive these days.
- Avoid environmental dangers, like regular exposure to chemicals, heavy metals, and radiation. This might be really applicable if you usually work around these materials.
- Color your hair (if you want to). Most salons will recommend waiting until the second trimester and you may want to consider a technique where the dye doesn’t come into contact with your entire scalp, like highlights or balayage.
- Don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or take drugs. No amount of these is considered safe during pregnancy.
- Don’t clean up after your cat! Touching kitty litter and cat feces can put you at risk of toxoplasmosis. (And wear gloves while gardening, for the same reason!)
- Don’t use a sauna or hot tub.
- Don’t put your car seat belt across your baby bump — tuck it under your bump instead.
What should I do during pregnancy to have a healthy baby?
All of these pregnancy care ideas will help keep your baby safe, but are there any specific things you can do to help your little peanut get the best start in life? Of course!
1. Prenatal vitamin
If you weren’t already, now’s the time to start taking a prenatal vitamin. Choose one with folic acid and iron, as these are especially important for fetal development.
2. Foods to avoid
3. Check your meds
Make sure to run any new medications past your doctor for safety. Some painkillers, antihistamines, and even natural remedies aren’t advised during pregnancy.
4. Try a childbirth or baby first aid class
When you’re reaching the end of your pregnancy, it’s suddenly time to start thinking about birth and the small matter of looking after a tiny baby. We’ve got you. We regularly host live expert audio conversations where you can ask all of your burning questions.
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