Self-care is important for all of us, however during pregnancy it becomes even more necessary to dedicate time to take care of yourself. Tending to your personal needs during pregnancy will help to boost your physical and emotional wellbeing, which is an extremely important part of antenatal care as it prepares you to care for yourself and your new baby both mentally and physically.
You can practice self-care in many ways. Some expectant mothers like to allocate some ‘quiet time’ during the day allowing them to reflect and acknowledge their inner needs. There are so many emotions that accompany the pregnancy journey and taking some time out will assist you to get in touch with your own feelings about your pregnancy and explore any worries or concerns you may be having.
It is completely natural to feel a little overwhelmed with all the changes going on with your body, your emotions, the financial costs of having a baby and new looming responsibilities. Allow yourself the time to acknowledge these feelings and work through them.
This ‘quiet time’ for you may consist of a walk on the beach, soaking up the fresh air and peaceful surrounds, or curling up on your couch reading a book, or writing in a journal. A journal is also a really nice way to document your pregnancy.
Gentle exercise is also really healthy for both your body and your mind. Keeping your body moving will help you to maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy and lead to an improved mood, reduce insomnia, an easier labour and a quicker recovery. Many pregnant women have concerns about moderating their activities, however, most women can continue their usual activities and exercises throughout pregnancy. Mildly strenuous sports, such as swimming, brisk walking, prenatal yoga classes, and even a gentle walk or a stretching session are good choices. Of course, if you have any hesitations discuss it with your doctors first.
Likewise, if you have questions about foods that you should be avoiding and those that you should be consuming, be sure to consult your doctor. Self-care also means nourishing your body with a healthy, balanced diet. There is, however, a glut of information out there about the dangers associated with eating certain foods and how other superfoods should be eaten in abundance, that turns ‘a healthy balanced diet’ into a confusing concept. If in doubt discuss it with a professional. Having these discussions early on will help you to manage every day issues throughout your pregnancy with comfort and clarity.
Other self-care techniques include getting regular prenatal massages and getting adequate sleep. Rest is vital.
It is extremely important to honour your fatigue as an expectant mother. Pregnancy can be exhausting. Your body is going through so many changes – you are creating a new life. While you may feel wonderful much of the time, there will be days when an afternoon nap is what you need to re-charge or your body, and maybe calling for a few more early nights than usual.
The key is to listen to your body and be kind to it. Nurture it and nurture yourself in general during your pregnancy. Take time out for you. When your baby arrives you will be grateful for the time you devoted to yourself and your baby will likely be welcomed into a far more relaxed peaceful environment, thanks to you taking such good care of yourself.