Every parent-to-be’s wish is to have a healthy, happy baby. In order to achieve this, the future mommy needs to look after herself throughout her pregnancy. We have all been given advice about eating a healthy diet, avoiding stress, cigarettes and alcohol, and doing some gentle pelvic exercises on a regular basis, but what else should you be doing to ensure a smoother, and more pleasant, nine months ahead of you? Here are some top tips that expectant mothers are sure to find useful.
- Take your pre-natal vitamins: Folic acid, in particular, will help to keep mom and baby strong before and after birth. This B vitamin helps to prevent birth defects, anaemia and assists in supporting the growth and development of the placenta throughout the pregnancy. Along with folic acid, moms should also ensure that they are getting enough iron and calcium - which can be found in meat and dairy products respectively - both of which are essential for the proper development of the little life nestled inside the womb.
- Sleep as much as you can: This is often a lot easier said than done, especially in the later stages of your pregnancy. However, there are things that you can do to sleep better. For instance, wash your sheets, pillow cases and duvets in a fragrant, comforting fabric softener, like Comfort Uplifting from the Aromatherapy range, drink a glass of warm milk before bed (also great for a calcium boost!), get your partner to give you a gentle massage, take a soothing bath, and use as many pillows as you need in order to get comfortable.
- Prep your body for birth: While the reward is more than worth it, it is no secret that the birthing process can be challenging. This is why it is so important to start preparing your body well in advance. Kegel exercises are important as they help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, the bowel muscles, as well as the uterine muscles – all of which are essential for a smooth and safe birth. As these muscles strengthen, they will also help to support your body as it adapts to changes throughout the pregnancy.
- Educate yourself: There are many myths out there surrounding the miracle of pregnancy and birth. It is important that you do some detective work in order to separate the fact from the fiction. For example, contrary to popular belief, it is unhealthy for a mom-to-be to be ‘eating for two’.
- While you definitely should make appropriate changes to your diet when you find out that you are expecting, increasing your portion sizes is not necessary. Eat nutritious foods, like salads, whole wheat bread, fruit, lean protein etc., as often as you need to, but avoid snacking on sweet or salty foods, and be sure to keep an eye on your daily calorie intake.
- Be very careful when it comes to medication: There are many medications out there that you should avoid while pregnant. The scary thing is that certain medicines that are known to be ‘mild’ could actually cause serious harm to your baby. These medicines include castor oil, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and more.
Keeping well during your pregnancy is all about listening to your body and making necessary changes to your lifestyle. Ultimately, ensuring a fit and strong nine months means looking after yourself – after all, a healthy, happy mommy will always result in a healthy, happy baby.