Pregnancy is a wonderful time. You have this little being growing inside of you and get to feel all of these movements, kicks from this little person that you are keeping safe. well, it's wonderful most of the time.
If you're anything like me, then pregnancy is just one problem after another and the whole reason that my husband and I have decided that 3 is our magic number when it comes to procreating. my pregnancies are hellish. Getting worse with each one and so here are my tongue in cheek tips to staying sane and healthy during pregnancy...
1. Eat Well
Aim to eat a healthy, varied, balanced diet whenever you can. Plenty of fruit and veg, choosing wholegrain carbohydrates rather than white, so you get plenty of fibre, lots of milk and dairy produce and try to get 2 portions of fish a week.
Well, that's if you can manage any of that. If you're like myself, then the thought of eating fish will make you heave. Milk makes you throw up, veg, again is hurling material. In fact, whatever goes in, more than likely will come straight back out. My tip is to just find what doesn't make you throw up and just stick with it. Pregnancy is hard work and there is no point stressing about getting your 5 a day.
This brings me on to tip number 2...
2. Hyperemesis Gravidarum
If you've followed the pregnancies of our royalty, Kate and William, then you will probably know what this is... This is NOT just bad morning sickness. This excessive nausea and vomiting often needs hospital treatment as it can result in dehydration, ketosis, low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing and weight loss. Hyperemesis Gravidarum can last through the whole pregnancy.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I think this condition needs to be talked about more. I had it throughout all 3 of my pregnancies but it was never diagnosed in the first as I didn't know what it was and just thought I had morning sickness. If you suffer from any symptoms that you think are worse then morning sickness, then get it checked out by your GP or midwife, just to be on the safe side. GP's can treat this condition and help to ease the symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
3. Take a Supplement
If, for any of the 2 reasons above, you cannot get all the vitamins you need, or just want a boost of your supply since you're growing a person, then try taking a supplement. Supplements are great for before, during and after pregnancy with a different range for each stage, packed full of the vitamins and nutrients you will need for a healthy pregnancy and beyond.
4. Exercise Regularly
Well, as regular as you can when you're lugging around an 8lb ball in front of you. Regular exercise has many benefits for us mums and can build strength and endurance which will help during labour and may help you cope better with the extra weight of pregnancy and losing it afterwards.
For me, I found that a brisk walk around the park lifted my spirits if I was a bit down. Swimming is also great as it takes all that bump weight off you and allows you to just relax with none of the back pain and aches of pregnancy. Other options are also aquanatal classes, yoga and pilates.
This can also help to tone your stomach, giving elasticity to your skin to ward off stretch marks. You can also use a good cream or oil too to help combat stretch marks that will occur whilst your skin stretches to fit the baby in there.
5. Be Careful About Food
Food is a hard one during pregnancy as you could have a craving for anything and there are some things that need to be avoided during pregnancy. The following foods may harbour listeria and so are best avoided during these 9 months:
- Soft, mould-ripened cheeses, such as brie
- Blue-veined cheeses, such as roquefort
- Pate of any type
- unpasteurised milk
- Undercooked ready meals
It's also important to mention that nuts are one that people are never too sure about when it comes to pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Thomas, I was told not to eat nuts as this could cause my baby to have an aversion to them when he was born. Then, with Charlie, I was told that nuts were allowed as they didn't cause any effects at all. And then, this time round, when I had Joseph, I was told that they were encouraged as eating them may stop a baby from having an allergic reaction to them when older. I think this will never end as they can never be too sure about the effects of eating nuts so I think you just need to exercise caution.
6. Begin Doing Pelvic Floor Exercises
I think that people always shy away from this subject and I never know why really. By the end of your pregnancy, you are going to have some total strangers looking down there getting a baby out of you so talking about your Pelvic Floor should be no problem at all.
Your pelvic floor muscles are like a hammock at the base of your pelvis that holds everything in. They support your bladder, vagina and back passage and can feel weaker than usual in pregnancy because of the extra pressure upon them from the amniotic fluid, sack and baby on top of them.
Weak pelvic floor muscles put you at risk of developing stress incontinence. This is when small amounts of urine leak out when you sneeze, laugh or exercise. I've had 3 kids so I can tell you that this does happen! So make sure that you do regular pelvic floor exercises throughout your pregnancy. You can read my post, Pelvic Floor Muscles - What They Are and How Pregnancy Affects Them, for more information.
7. Cut Back On Caffeine
Coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks are mild stimulants which contain caffeine. There are concerns that too much caffeine may increase your risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy and also can cause a low-birth-weight in babies also. Current guidelines state that 200mg of caffeine a day won't hurt your baby.
That is equivalent to around 2 cups of instant coffee. It's easy to check too as all products have a table of what's inside them with measurements and caffeine will be listed there. For me, any caffeine made me dizzy so it was avoided for the whole of my pregnancies but I could drink decaffeinated coffee which was drinkable.
8. Get Some Rest
Now I'm not tell you to sleep now ready for when baby arrives as that doesn't really mean a thing. Once baby arrives you'll be tired from the whole business of having a baby and everything that goes with so sleeping now wont help.
But when pregnant, you may feeling fatigued during the first few months. This is due to high levels of pregnancy hormones circulating in your body and later on in your pregnancy, it's your body's way of telling you to slow down. If you can't sleep at night, try a maternity pillow which will support you back and bump to give you a comfortable nights rest.