Pregnancy can be such an important part in a women’s life. Everyone has a different journey, some easier than others. I am the first to admit, ours was far from easy, but worth every tear, heart ache, and pain that came along with it. The pregnancy also creates this waiting period. There can be many obstacles along the way such as nausea and vomiting primarily during the first trimester. If you are lucky like me it will only be the first 39 weeks! (Nope that is not a typo.) In addition to that there are the typical backache, bladder and bowel problems, changes of skin, swelling of ankles and veins, fatigue, headache, indigestion, anemia, and so on and so on. These are some of the common discomforts of pregnancy.
Nothing is more precious than health. So taking care and precautions is most necessary for a pregnant women. Prenatal care helps to decrease the risks during pregnancy and certainly increases the chances of a safe and healthy delivery. Every pregnancy is different and pregnancy for every woman is different. For my pregnancy it seemed liked we had weekly appointments for quite sometime, like most of the first trimester. I was viewed as a high risk case because of my age being over 35. Then we graduated to monthly visits. We looked forward to the ultrasounds and seeing how our little pea, blueberry, kumquat, lime etc, continued to grow and flourish. As we watched out little one grow, we also followed the guidelines provided by American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACOG. There are many recommendations for pregnant women like the regular prenatal check up, feeding the body healthy and nutritious foods, staying hydrated, enjoying plenty of rest, light and moderate exercises, viewing beautiful scenery, and creating a calm atmosphere, to name a few.
When you are pregnant not only will you will need a team of people supporting you, like family and friends, but also you will need to find regular routines to keep the body healthy and strong. You may want to check out the 4 Most Important Exercises During Pregnancy. In addition, here are a few standard precautions to remember like avoiding alcohol, many prescription drugs, smoking, caffeine, X-rays, microwaves, electric blankets, and excess stress.
All pregnant women should follow the advice of their doctor, but here are a few precautions that are not as commonly emphasized, but very important to remember.
- Consistent physical activity is a must. Even if the body is achey and tired, a gentle walk is probably the best prescription for it. You do need to listen to your body. There were many days I was so nauseous that I didn’t even get to walk, but there were plenty of days I did. On the days I felt awful, I would try at least for 10 minutes and if I didn’t feel a little better then I would stop. Almost always it really did help to get the body moving and distract myself from how awful I was feeling. I took advantage of days where I felt strong. These days happened for me, mostly in the second trimester. I was able to push myself in more challenging workouts. These too made me feel better.
- Sleeping on the side can be helpful as the baby grows. After the first trimester ACOG recommends sleeping on your side. The left side is the suggested side to sleep on, as opposed to the right. You may need to add pillows between the legs to support the hips and even one around the back. I used several pillows during my pregnancy. I used a wedge after six months, because it kept my body up about a 30 degree angle and sleeping on my back proved to be the best quality. (Now this was just for me, so definitely consult with your physician before changing your sleep position.) When I slept on my side, I used a snake-like wrap around pillow that followed around my head, back, and would go between the knees so I would have full support. Both types of were super helpful.
- Eliminate mercury in the diet. The primarily comes from larger fish. The bigger and longer living fish like shark, mahi mahi, and tuna all have a higher mercury count. The smaller fish have minimal amounts. Recommended fish to enjoy and include in your diet are salmon, orange roughy, tilapia, and other smaller white fish. As a sushi-lover, this was one food I really missed during pregnancy.
- Removing excessive stress is imperative to both the baby and the mom-to-be. This can really affect the baby’s health, sleep habits, and overall well-being. You may try prenatal yoga or meditating on a daily basis to remind yourself, “keep calm and carry on”. Even 5-10 minutes a day of meditation or prayer can make a big difference.
- Stretching the body ( <– click the link to see third trimester stretches) is really imperative throughout the pregnancy. This will reduce stiffness, swelling, and discomfort. The important ones to include are hip openers, lower back, and chest openers. Here are a few great third trimester stretches. You can also check out my Youtube Video with third trimester stretches.
I know I have said this throughout the post, but every woman has a different pregnancy, some easier than others. But its up to you to enjoy the journey and all that goes with it. Do remember to include the above five tips. Find the silver lining in those tough days. Savor those amazing days when you feel great and on top of the world. Take one day at a time. Listen to your body and give yourself the nurture and care that you give your baby. Both you and your baby will be more thankful along the journey when you share compassion and love on a daily basis.
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