Pregnancy Tips for a Joyful 9 Months
Van is almost 1 and I'm am still in awe of what the body goes through to create another human being. Every time I look into my baby's beautiful hazel eyes, I think, 'This amazing human came out of me!" I must admit that my 9 months carrying Van were easier than most. My husband, Finian even noticed that I was happier pregnant than I've ever been...until now of course. I'm still unsure if I was just one of the "lucky" ones, if it was my genetics (my mom had an easy time as well) or if it was my healthy lifestyle that made the pregnancy so smooth. Either way, I have been asked by a couple of expecting friends and would love to share some of my prenatal tips. The body goes through dramatic changes and hopefully I can be of some assistance during this incredible transition. Through all the ups and downs, remember in the end you will get the greatest gift of all...the embodiment of unconditional love...your very own mini-me!
Cravings: From the moment I found out I was pregnant I started craving sugar. For the first 4 months I indulged on fruits to satisfy my sweet tooth. Because I didn't immediately give into my craving for sweets, I was able to treat myself to a dessert every once in a while without making it a daily habit. Cravings for sweets are usually a result of a drop in blood sugar. When you are pregnant, especially during your first trimester the body is working overtime to build the placenta for the fetus. This results is absolute exhaustion, so its no wonder that our body is looking for the easiest form of instant energy...sugar. This first trimester is most crucial time to create good habits, but of course allow yourself some wiggle room. After all, desserts will probably be your only vice for the next 9 months. Just remember that sugar is very addictive, so once you start making a habit of indulging your body will crave sugar at that same time the very next day, and so on. The more you eat the harder it is to stop the vicious cycle.
Substitutes for Sugar Cravings...
ice cream= goat yogart with honey and fruit (goat yogart is easier to digest then cow)/smoothies/acai bowls
anything chocolate= 70% plain dark chocolate bar
candy= raisins/fruit/dried fruit
cake/pastries= angel food cake with whipped cream and berries/fruit crisp
Exercise: I know that working out is the last thing on your mind when you are exhausted and nauseous. Just remember that mindful exercising will strengthen, increase blood circulation and oxygen throughout you and your fetus's body. Exercising also releases endorphins into you and your fetus, creating a sense of euphoria. Personally, I'd do anything to make my little guy happy... and happy he is! Choose an exercise regime that you enjoy and is appropriate for your prenatal body. Every-body is different so don't push yourself beyond your physical comfort zone. During my pregnancy I fell in love with Pilates more than ever before. The Pilates machines perfectly assisted and supported me as my body continually changed. The Pilates machines also helped me to pinpoint certain muscles without fatiguing the rest of the body. I also enjoyed yoga and hiking as part of my regular prenatal regimen. I believe 100% in working your abdominals during the first 6 months of pregnancy! Strong abdominals, primarily the external obliques (the abs that define your waistline and help you sidebend), kept me mobile, standing up straight and supported by growing belly. After 7 months its difficult and uncomfortable to access your abdominals, but it's still important to stay active. Movement is what naturally gets the baby into the correct position for childbirth. I was practicing pilates and taking long walks up until the day I went into labor and I was 3 weeks early...thank you Van!!
Growing Belly: I know that we all associate a growing belly to feeling fat... throw that mentality out the window! You are a goddess creating another living being. Embrace it! Enjoy and celebrate your belly. Talk and sing to you fetus. They will know and love your voice. Buy clothes that make you feel good about yourself and this miracle that is taking place. I loved to wear maxi dresses during my pregnancy. Definitely buy a pair of elastic waist pregnancy jeans. They will be your best friend. You don't need to spend a lot on pregnancy clothes. Just buy a couple of basic items that you can mix and match with clothes that you already have in your wardrobe. Always wear comfortable shoes with arch support. I made the mistake of wearing heels to a wedding and could barely walk the next day. Your body temperature will be hotter then ever so wear loose cotton clothes. Embrace and love your changing beautiful body!!
Constipation: Drink lots of water, exercise and eat fiber! Now that your uterus is growing exponentially, you will be peeing a lot, which can lead to dehydration and constipation. Always have a water bottle with you at all times. I loved coconut water to instantly hydrate me and give me a natural sugar boost. Besides revving up your metabolism, exercising massages your internal organs and helps to remove waste. Eating fiber is always important especially when you are dehydrated and pregnant. You will need all the help you can get to stay regular.
Nausea: Personally, exercising and eating healthy relieved my minor spells of nausea. I believe that deep and intentional breathing and mindful movement helps relax the body and reduces both mental and physical stress. It was when I started to get hungry that I started to feel nauseous. Constantly grazing on vegetables, fruits, lean protein, nuts and whole grains always kept me satiated. Remember to keep healthy snacks in your car, office or purse. Personally I loved snacking on Kind Bars, cashews, apples, nectarines, and grapefruits.
Exhaustion: Take Naps!! Any chance you can shut your eyes and relax, even if its only for 10 minutes. It will also help you get into nap mode when the baby arrives. Also, you will be waking up multiple times throughout the night so don't guzzle a huge bottle of water right before bed. You want to get as much uninterrupted sleep as possible before baby arrives. It's ok to slow down. Go to bed early, remember you are now sleeping for two.
Emotions: Get ready for an emotionally rollercoaster. That doesn't mean you will turn into that stereotypical crying pregnant lady. Just be aware that your hormones are running wild and you will need emotional support and plenty of hugs. This is where your lover, good friends and family comes in. Three weeks into my pregnancy all I wanted was my mom...I felt like I was 8 again. I craved maternal energy and needed to remove myself from my pre-pregnant social life. It was a transition period and a time of self reflection. Some friends drifted off and others became closer. I was honest with Finian when I didn't know why I was crying. He was loving and affectionate with me. He got right on board with my uncontrollable need to nest, fix up the house and redecorate. I recommend communicating with all of your loved ones and let them know how you are feeling. Friends will become family and family will become your rock. I believe that during pregnancy your heart expands preparing you for the ride of your life, motherhood!