Self Care during Pregnancy - Be your own Advocate and Keep on Moving!
Women are natural nurturers and we often forget the most important person to take care of during our pregnancy. Ourselves!!
Sometimes we get so busy tending to the needs of a partner, other children, and preparations for the arrival of a new baby that we can forget to listen to our bodies and needs like healthy eating, exercise, and movement fall to the wayside.
Be Your Own Advocate
Whether you do or do not have immediate family caregivers, consider hiring a doula and/or Midwife, a trusted health care provider and a Pelvic Floor Professional.
Having a birth team is a wonderful way to give yourself time for self care and extra support. A doula is an integral part of that birth team both prenatally, during your birth and as you transition to motherhood. Here are a few reasons why -
- may shorten labour with fewer complications
- can help reduce negative feelings about your childbirth experience
- may reduce the need for a labour-inducing drug, forceps or vacuum extraction, and cesareans
- can reduce the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Reference: What is a Doula?
Many say you are eating for two but the caloric increase is not double as you may think. Focus on good nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Rest is so important when it comes to self-care during pregnancy. You may find it sometimes difficult to get comfy, especially as you get closer to birth, however, you need your strength and not enough sleep can also put stress on both you and your baby. You want to keep a healthy energy flow so aim for 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night and take little naps if you are feeling a little run down during the day. It’s ok You deserve it!
Listen to your Body
If you are feeling stressed or emotional, why not keep a journal of your feelings. Knowing what the symptoms are (morning sickness, fatigue) can help to manage the stress. Talk to your Doula about how you are feeling and she will give you some tips to assist with your sometimes run-away hormonal emotions.
Exercise in pregnancy is key. Before any exercise check in with your body.
You should not participate in activities that exacerbate pain. Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist specializing in pregnancy care and/or a personal trainer who is certified as a pre-postnatal fitness specialist and is educated on the pelvic floor can help guide you.
There is a principle in fitness called the Principle of Specificity. It states that the best way to develop physical fitness for your event is to train the body as closely as possible, to the way it will be used in the activity.
Birth is a very physical event you should be training for. Since you can’t practice giving birth, what does a pregnant woman do?
You can prepare your body for birth using exercises that mimic labour and birth positions. During pregnancy, if you incorporate labour and birth-specific movements into your workouts, you will prepare your body for when you are actually in labour and be better able to handle the physical demands of certain positions.
Here are a few examples -
Hovering. Hovering or tall kneeling is a great pelvic floor exercise, glute builder, and inner thigh toner. It encourages space in the pelvis for birth and prepares you for labour and birth positions that have you kneeling on all fours.
Side-Lying Bent Leg Raises. The side-lying birth position is one of the best in terms of preserving the perineum. It can also be used to slow things down if labour is progressing really quickly. You can be fully on your side or you can prop yourself up with pillows on the bed to angle your body slightly and get gravity helping out a bit too.
Pelvic Rocking. If you don’t already have one, invest in a stability ball (also called a birth ball or an exercise ball). You can use it in pregnancy, in labour and you will want one postpartum as it is one of the best ways to calm your little one. The gentle rhythm you find when holding your babe and gently bouncing up and down is good exercise for you and pure soothing bliss to your babe.
Bringing a new life into this world is an experience like no other. When you take care of yourself by making time to relax and pamper yourself, eat well and move, the experience will be filled with joy from start to birth!
If possible, consider having a doula and/or midwife as part of your birth team.
We are Here to Help!
Most expectant women have questions about their pregnancy. Fill out the form below/in the sidebar to speak with one of our Pelvic Floor Professionals and get clarity on all the options available to you.