Feel-good pregnancy tips for a blooming good nine months

Feel-good pregnancy tips for a blooming good nine months

When I found out I was pregnant I was expecting the experience to be somewhat of a nightmare. We’ve all heard a grumpy mom-to-be complaining about how dreadful the whole growing a baby thing is and how they just can’t wait to GET IT OUT. So it was to my surprise that I found out that I actually liked being pregnant. Rather than feeling tortured by the process, I felt it was a time of profound growth- and not just in the obvious way.

There was a shift as a new grounded sense of responsibility took hold. I also felt that something bordering on miraculous was taking place inside of me as a little body parts were in constant development, even as I went about my daily business of taking out the trash or doing dishes. While every pregnancy is different and there is a good deal of luck involved when it comes to feeling morning sickness, I also believe there are some steps you can take to give yourself the best chance to feel your best during this pivotal time. Here are the pregnancy tips I found to be the most helpful.

Start an exercise program before you get pregnant.

Starting a new exercise routine is hard. Starting a new exercise routine while pregnant and already feeling more tired than usual is much much harder. When exercise is a regular part of your routine before you start trying to conceive it makes it so much easier to keep it up throughout your pregnancy.

Exercising regularly can help you sleep better, elevate your mood, improve circulation, and prevent excessive weight gain. These are all things you’ll want extra help with during pregnancy. Staying active can also reduce many of the most uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy including back and pelvic pain, bloating, swelling, fatigue, and constipation. Best of all, exercising throughout your pregnancy can lower your chances of delivery complications and reduce your risk of developing preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Aim for 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise three to six times a week to get the most benefits.
Of course, you’ll want to talk to your doctor, but the general rule in a normal pregnancy is that you can keep up with any activity that you were doing before you got pregnant as long as you still feel comfortable doing it. Stay away from anything that puts a lot of pressure on your belly and avoid deep twists. Listen to your body and take breaks when you need to. This is not a time to really push yourself physically.

If you are already pregnant and haven’t seen the inside of a gym since high school, don’t worry. You can still get the benefits of regular exercise once you get the OK from your doctor. Generally walking is a great exercise to start with. It’s easy on your joints, doesn’t require a membership, and can be snuck into pockets of free time in any busy schedule. If you have access to a pool, swimming is another pregnancy favorite.

Do prenatal yoga

Based on my own experience and talking to friends and family I believe doing prenatal yoga is one of the best things you can do for yourself during pregnancy. Of course, it counts as exercise too, but it there are so many additional benefits that come with it. If you go to the same class regularly you’ll find a sense of community among the other moms-to-be. Yoga also helps to prepare you for labor and delivery both physically and emotionally. Much of the work in pre-natal yoga is about releasing tension and opening the body and mind while using your breath as a tool.

I found that practicing prenatal yoga also helped me feel more steady on my feet as my belly grew. Working on my balance in class as my center of gravity shifted made for an easier time outside the yoga room too. It’s also a lovely place to notice and honor (or at least accept) the changes in your body and to connect with your growing baby.

Don’t drive yourself crazy reading too many pregnancy books

There are A LOT of books about pregnancy ranging from the spiritual to books that seem filled with worst-case scenarios. Of course, you want to be informed and read whatever resonates with you, but don’t feel like you have to read everything or that reading every pregnancy book is going to make you a better parent. You really must trust that your body was designed to do this. It is the most natural thing in the world and any book that makes you feel otherwise, in my opinion, is not worth reading.
Do something that you’ve been putting off that is just for you.

Have you always wanted to study French, read Pride and Prejudice, or take some online courses? Well, now my sister, is the time to do it! I had been thinking about going to culinary school for years. When I found out I was pregnant the first thing I did was tell my husband and my mom. The next thing I did was enroll in school. I knew if I didn’t do it then, I may never go. It was the best decision I could have made. It was a challenge, but now I’ll never look back and wonder “what if?”

Once you have a newborn, your life is completely consumed with taking care of this new little being. Keeping it warm, safe, fed, and clean is pretty much a full-time job. Of course, when they’re older you’ll have the chance to go back to your dream to-do list, but that could take years. This is why during pregnancy is the perfect time to take advantage of the last few months when you can be a bit selfish with your time without feeling guilty. It’s easy to feel a little consumed by your pregnancy so it’s nice to have something to focus on that brings you joy or makes you feel passionate and isn’t baby related.

Don’t waste your money on maternity clothes.

For the most part pregnancy, clothes are overpriced and not very well made. I found it much better to find styles that worked with a belly. Empire-waist, A-line, and drop-waist dresses, low-waisted or draw-string pants, skirts, and shorts with elastic waistbands, bohemian blouses, stretchy or flowy maxi dresses, boyfriend sweaters, and blazers are all fashionable pieces that work with a bump. Some of my favorite outfits are pieces that I originally bought to use as maternity wear, like the dress in my announcement above.

That being said there are a few items specifically designed for pregnant bellies that you will need. You’ll need at least 2 pairs of maternity jeans. One daytime blue jeans that you can wear with everything and one darker pair of jeans that you can dress up. If you have a special event to attend you may also want to find a cute maternity dress that shows off that bump.
Do let people help you when they offer.

This is one I had to learn the hard way. When I was in school culinary school while pregnant people kept offering to carry and do things for me. I felt good and wanted to be independent so I never took up the offers. One day I pushed it too far- I was about six months pregnant and carrying a giant stack of baking sheets downstairs. Someone offered to help; I said “no thanks” and promptly proceeded to pull a groin muscle. Trust me this is not something you want to deal with at any time, but especially not while you’ve got a small mammal inside of you.

Afterward, I just kept thinking to myself “why didn’t I just let him help me?”. So please learn from my mistake and take help when it’s offered. If you need help and no one is offering, don’t be afraid to ask for it. This includes needing to cut in line at the bathroom or asking for a seat on the metro.

Eat plenty of protein.

Eating enough protein is not something you normally need to worry about. Think about it- have you ever met someone with a protein deficiency? When you are pregnant, however, your protein needs are significantly higher, in fact nearly double. So if you are eating a mostly plant-based diet, just make sure you are including protein-rich foods like beans, lentils, peas, hummus, tofu, tempeh, or seitan at every meal to ensure that your nutritional needs are being met. Since I didn’t have much of an appetite in the mornings while pregnant, I drank an energizing smoothie with plant-protein powder in it every morning to get a jumpstart on my protein intake. I noticed it made a big difference in how I felt throughout the day.

Don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to ditch your healthy eating habits.

Some people seem to use pregnancy as a time to let all of their diet norms go out the window while blaming it on a poor defenseless fetus. The fetus wants a pint of ice cream and a second helping of Tiramisu? Really? Even if that’s true, you’re bigger than it; you can tell it no. I had a big sweet tooth when I was pregnant but found that if I kept plenty of fruit around, it would satisfy my cravings most of the time. Of course, I did occasionally augment that with a buttery scoop of vegan ice cream, but I would do that whether pregnant or not and that’s kind of the point.
For the most part, you’ll want to feed your in-utero baby things you would feed a regular baby- lots of veggies, fruits, healthy proteins and fats, and very little processed foods or refined sugars. You’ll also want to make sure you are eating some fatty fish every week or supplementing with EPA and DHA omega fatty acids to ensure proper brain development for your baby. Following a Pescan diet most of the time is ideal. Just be sure to avoid these fish that are higher in mercury.

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • Bigeye tuna (found in sushi)
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy

Eating a healthy whole food diet and fewer process foods and refined sugars can lower your chances of gestational diabetes and prevent excessive weight gain. Not gaining too much weight while pregnant gives you one less thing to worry about after you have the baby. You can ask your doctor what a healthy schedule of weight gain is for you. People who are underweight to start out with may need to gain more, while someone who is overweight may need to gain much less.

Play music for your baby.

I’m not sure if this will work for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a try. I had a special song I played for and sang to my baby while I was pregnant. After he was born the song was like magic. If he heard it would immediately stop him from crying, no matter how upset he was. Now that he’s a toddler I turn it on when I want to sneak in a little mommy-and-me dance or to keep him calm in the car when he’s complaining about traffic.

While every pregnancy is different, these pregnancy tips can be applied pretty broadly, so I hope you or someone you love will find them helpful. Wishing you all the best.
Previous Post Next Post