4 Steps to an Easier Pregnancy
I am just over 33 weeks pregnant and I feel like I could go another 33 weeks!
No… I am not kidding! And no… I am not crazy! I mean, I’ve had my fair share of back pain, Braxton Hicks contractions, acid reflux, and hemorrhoids, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. And overall I still feel GREAT. My body has been healthy and strong even after 2 miscarriages! I have made an effort from day 1 to stay healthy and take care of my body. I realize that some of this just comes down to good genes and luck of the draw. I know some very healthy women who had miserable pregnancies. But, I also believe that our decisions and how we treat our bodies during pregnancy has a huge impact on our health as well. My pregnancy has been easy, comfortable, and happy! I feel that so many more women could have the same pregnancy that I have had. Here is what I have done to create
1. Stay Active
First, I have worked out and stayed active my entire pregnancy. The amount I have been able to work out each morning has fluctuated significantly throughout the last 8 months. I have gone from full 1 hour full body work outs, to short runs/jogs, to yoga, to pilates, to mild stretching and squats. But regardless of what capacity my body is able to exercise each day, I have made it a priority to get something in. As long as I am being physical to some degree every single day, I have found that my body thanks me! Some days that has just meant doing a few calf lifts, some Kegels, and cat & cow pose and other days that meant going on a 2 hour hike. I have found that I have more energy, motivation, and overall health as I have remained active. My personal favorite activity has been yoga- which I HIGHLY suggest during pregnancy. It is amazing and helps with so many pregnancy related issues. I go to a yoga studio, but there are many work outs you can do from home too.
2. Eat Healthy
Next, I eat a well balanced diet and don’t eat sugar, processed foods, or other unhealthy stuff. For years I faced a myriad of health problems. As part of my journey to health, I changed the types of foods that I was eating. Since being pregnant, I have been a stickler of my food choices. I get at least 80 grams of protein a day- mostly from nuts, eggs, chickpeas, and other vegetables. Trying to get that much protein each day takes work and requires me to eat more often- which is totally fine! I eat every 1-2 hours, but I make sure that each snack or meal is based in protein and comes from dirt, not a box. I have found that the healthier I eat in general, the less I crave things that are bad for me. My top cravings have been fresh lemon, almonds, and hummus. Because of this, I just feel better! No one feels good after consuming sugar or other junk. Our stomachs are upset, we don’t have real energy, our body doesn’t get nutrients, it often leads to inflammation, and worst of all we deprive our child of the vitamins, mineral and nutrients that they need!
3. Stick to Natural Folate
I have kept on a good plant-based prenatal vitamin utilizing natural “Folate” as opposed to “Folic Acid”. There are about a BILLION prenatal vitamins out there. Most of them aren’t that good for you! Especially vitamins containing folic acid. In lay mans terms, this is the synthetic version of folate. Why on earth would we opt for the synthetic version when we could have the naturally occurring version? It is also better for us to take plant based vitamins where our nutrients are coming from the ground, not a laboratory. It is worth investing money into! It will give you and your baby the help that you need to be sustained. My personal favorite brand are these.
Another supplement to consider is DHA. This is a fish oil that promotes brain development in baby, and reduces inflammation in mommy. DHA’s are a wonderful addition to your diet and have been linked to many incredible benefits right after birth, such as increased eye-hand coordination, motor skills and attention span. It’s worth giving a shot if you haven’t already!
4. Keep Up Your Mental Wellbeing
Finally, I have invested a lot into my personal mental wellbeing. Aside from preparing physically for child birth it is important to prepare mentally. There are a lot of hormones and emotions going through that growing body and it can be a lot to take in! You feel fat, you can’t remember anything, you pee a little every time you sneeze and sometimes you are just scared to have that baby and add yet another responsibility on your already overflowing plate. Whatever your fears or insecurities are, they can be aided my mental preparations. These include:
- Daily meditations and affirmations that build confidence about you and your baby
- Reading up on birth and being well informed of your choices and options throughout pregnancy and giving birth (I highly suggest reading this book… which opened up a whole world of choices and options that I didn’t know existed!)
- Open conversation with your partner about the birth and your potential fears, concerns, joys, excitement, etc.
- Birthing classes (I’m a HUGE fan of Hypnobabies which teaches the power of the mind in birth)
By doing these things, you can feel more confident and comfortable in your birth! You have done your research and you can feel confident in your choices and in your journey to motherhood.
I do not want to give the illusion that I have had no complications, that pregnancy is glamorous, or that simply by changing a few things you eat all of your problems will magically disappear! That is not the case, and there has been at least a few times I’ve laid in bed crying, wondering how I was going to make it through. But that is the exception, not the rule! Each time I can come out of my funk and feel empowered and strengthened because I have taken care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally.
Pregnancy isn’t perfect, but it is beautiful and wonderful! I love the bond that I have developed with my baby and I know that I have laid a wonderful foundation for the life we are about to share together.