It’s true that whether or not you enjoy your pregnancy has to do with how your body is feeling, and some of that you can control and some you can’t. But, for what you can control you should take advantage of! As I have two successful pregnancies under my belt, I thought I’d share with you what made my life easier and more enjoyable during those 40ish weeks, and maybe they will help you during your pregnancy.
1: Pamper Yourself
I mean you should always pamper yourself. This doesn’t necessarily mean go out and spend a ton of money on getting yer hair did or manicures and all that stuff. But, I mean if you can – do it! What I mean is take time for yourself. Whether that means sitting on the couch in a Snuggie with a bowl of popcorn binging your favorite 90’s TV show, then so be it! If this is your first pregnancy know that whatever free time you have now will be all but non-existent once your baby arrives. If you do want to take it even further than that, go out and have a prenatal massage every now and then. I had two prenatal massages per month with my first pregnancy, and OMG it was the best thing in the entire universe (next to my babies’ smiling faces of course).
I do suggest regular massages due to the fact that your body is changing in drastic ways… putting immense pressure on your spine and hips and brain and basically every other part of your body. Massages specifically geared for pregnant women will be your saving grace.
If you are on baby #2 (or #3 or #4, etc.), you already know that “me” time is extremely valuable and rare. Make time for yourself now before another baby enters your world and you really really don’t have time for you. Because, a tired I’m-at-my-wit’s-end, I-never-have-me-time mom is not a very happy mom. After the kids are in bed, ask your husband to tidy up the kitchen and go upstairs and have a 30-minute soak in the tub with your favorite essential oils (I loved lavender and Roman Chamomile). Even doing this just once per week will do loads for your stress levels and for your aching bod.
2. Buy a Pregnancy Pillow
I suggest doing this as early as your are comfortable. I think the first time around I bought my Snoogle when I was about 12 weeks pregnant. When you hit 17-20 weeks, it is suggested that you do not sleep on your back as you can pinch an artery that runs along your spine, cutting off blood flow and oxygen to the baby (this is debatable amongst prefessionals, but better safe than sorry). So, you should sleep on your side for the remainder of your pregnancy. I started sleeping with the Snoogle early as to get used to sleeping exclusively on my side and so my hips would adjust to having all that extra sleep time on them. I also used an awesome belly wedge to help support my belly in the last 8-10 weeks of pregnancy. It’s also a great travel pillow, and a lifesaver at the movies!
Plus, a pregnancy pillow also adds much needed support for your lumbar. I loved my pillows, my husband did not, but he didn’t get to complain because I was creating life and he wasn’t. I think I added my pregnancy Snoogle back into my sleeping routine when I was 8 weeks pregnant with my second, because I just missed the support so much! I would probably still be sleeping with it if I didn’t completely destroy it (for using it for two pregnancies).
3. Use lots of Body Butter
A lot of women ask me when they should start using body butter. I mean, I suggest immediately. But, if you don’t want to be slathering it on for your whole pregnancy, at least start using it once your pants start getting tight. If your clothes are getting tight, that means you’re growing… which means your skin is stretching. So, to reduce stretch marks and itchiness, use a super moisturizing body butter. You can make your own (I did, and I didn’t get any stretch marks)!
You should also continue to use it postpartum. Once your baby is born you will lose a large amount of weight very quickly. For instance, I gained about 35 pounds with my first baby. About two weeks postpartum I had lost 20 pounds of that. Your body quickly lets go of all the extra water weight and blood volume (enter vaginal bleeding). So, you want to keep lathering up so your skin maintains its elasticity as it shrinks again.
4. Find a Community
This is super important. If this is your first pregnancy, you will be experiencing all sorts of new feelings, aches, pains, etc. And some of those might freak you out. It is wonderful to have a community you can connect with to converse about how you are feeling both mentally and physically. Odds are that there are other women that have felt what you are feeling or are currently feeling what you are feeling.
I suggest staying OFF the forums and message boards. In all likeliness, if you are trying to find an answer for something you are feeling, you will end up coming to answers that are way scarier than they should be. If you are really truly concerned about a pain you are feeling, or lack of movement, call your physician. But, connecting with these other women going through what you’re going through can help reduce your stress levels and you may even find a mommy friend to have play dates with! Yay social life!
5. Educate yourself
You’re pregnant! Yay! You have your “What to Expect…” book (though I highly suggest The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts). These pregnancy books are a great start to educating yourself about what is going on with your body. What they don’t really educate you on is how you will be bringing your baby into this world and how you can prepare for that.
So, do some research about different birthing options. And, keep in mind that just because your doctor is hesitant about what you want to do doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable option. If you want to birth at home in your own bed, that is a perfectly acceptable option. If you want to birth in a traditional hospital setting, go for it! But, research what that means exactly. Ask your doctor to walk you through a typical birth, as they have experienced it. If that doesn’t work for you then suggest a different option. And, always remember – YOU CAN CHANGE PHYSICIANS! Do not feel like you are locked into the doctor you currently see.
I changed from an OBGYN to a midwife when I was 24 weeks pregnant with my first baby. It was the best decision I ever made in regard to my pregnancy and ultimate births.
6. Relax and Don’t Worry
Most women stress themselves out SO much during pregnancy. Stress creates a hostile environment inside your body. It can increase your blood pressure, cause crazy knots in your muscles, give you ulcers, etc… All that is no fun when you aren’t pregnant. And, guess what? It’s even less fun when you are pregnant. Try to relax. Play it cool. Have faith in your body and try not to worry. Your body does amazing things every single day (I’m saying even when you’re not pregnant). Your body was built for this. Yes, there are of course cases when things don’t go exactly as your anatomy planned, and we have the medical system there for those cases. But, a lot of us go through pregnancy constantly worried that something is wrong when everything is going just fine.
Try not to have negative thoughts. Have happy thoughts. Thing peace and calm, think light and love. Your baby will be much better off. But, again – when in doubt call your physician! If you aren’t worried enough to call your physician, then you are probably worrying just for worrying’s sake.
7. Do Yoga
Yoga is soooooooo good for your body. And, this translates into pregnancy. Not only does it help calm the mind and body, but it also helps you learn to breathe through your poses. It can teach you how to control your body in uncomfortable circumstances. I learned great breathing techniques in my prenatal yoga classes. These techniques came in handy when it came down to the big day(s). If you can, go to an actual prenatal class rather than your regular class, as those instructors are more than likely trained to teach and modify for pregnant women/bodies You can also build a community here!
Yoga also has the benefit of loosening up your joints and muscles. Keep it loosey goosey, girl. Your body already releases a hormone called relaxin which helps your joints loosen. But, while your joints are loosening the rest of your body is holding on for dear life trying to keep everything together. Yoga can help work out the kinks and tightness. Also, the yogi squat pose is most excellent for loosening the hips and training your fight or flight response.
8. Eat a good amount of protien
I was one of those pregnant women that indulged in my cravings (enter endless froyo). But, I also ate the things that fueled my body and maintained my health. One of the most important things you can eat during pregnancy is protein. Eating 80-100 grams of protein per day can almost guarantee that you will not get hypertension (or pre-eclampsia). What’s pre-eclampsia? I’m glad you asked!
“Pre-eclampsia can cause sudden weight gain, protein in the urine, headaches, fainting, dizzy spells, high blood pressure, swelling and ringing in the ears. Pre-eclampsia can also cause premature birth and can also reduce blood flow to the uterus during pregnancy which can cause abnormal growth in the fetus. Severe cases of preeclampsia can cause numerous problems for the mother including stroke and death. There is no cure for preeclampsia but it can be monitored and managed once it is diagnosed. Your naturopathic midwife and a physician can work together to make sure you and your baby stay safe.” – Health for Life
So, indulge in those pregnancy cravings every now and then because they make you happy! But, remember to balance your diet with nutritious lean proteins like chicken, salmon, beans, nuts, cheese, and eggs!
9. Revel in your immense Awesomeness
Girlfriend, you are so incredible! Can you believe you are actually building a human? Your body was meant for this! It’s the most incredible thing that the collision of two little teeny tiny cells can turn into a heart, brain, eyes, finger nails, a nervous system, a respiratory system, eyelashes, lips, toes, and fingers (plus much much much more)! And all of that is happening because of YOU. You are doing this, and even though there might be days (weeks or even months) when you feel like absolute crap and you just want someone to rub your feet and binge watch 90210 (the original, not the reboot), just remember your are amazing! And, one day it will end and you will have this adorable conscious being ready for all your love and devotion. It is the most beautiful thing in the world, becoming a mother. Soak it up, love on yourself, and pat yourself on the back for being amazing.
What measures did you take to ensure an enjoyable pregnancy?
This blog is an educational and informational resource for anyone interested in my stories and creations. It is not a substitute for working with a doctor or other medical professional. I cannot guarantee the outcome of my recommendations and statements. I make no guarantees about the information and recommendations provided herein. By continuing to use/read/participate in this website/ blog/email series you acknowledge that I cannot guarantee any particular results, as such outcomes are based on subjective factors that are not within my control. Therefore, following any information or recommendations provided on this website/blog/email series are at your own risk. If you need medical advice, you should hire a physician or other professional. Please speak with your medical professional before using essential oils.