Pregnancy or a new baby can bring new and awesome motivation to get our health and our lives in order – but they also ramp up stress and change just about everything, which can make it harder to stick to new healthy habits.
The best way to take advantage of that natural motivation and overcome the hard stuff is with a realistic plan and with lots of support. Research shows that people who are trying to improve a lifestyle habit – whether that’s to eat more vegetables, move and exercise more, stop smoking, or anything – are more likely to succeed if they set a goal, follow a personalized plan, and have support and accountability.
That’s why we are so excited to be partnering with Whole Life Challenge to help our clients and community learn to be healthier, step-by-step and with tons of support. The six-week challenge is designed to help people make – and stick to – changes in seven lifestyle habits: nutrition, mobility, sleep, exercise, hydration, wellbeing practices, and daily reflection.
WLC’s 7 Lifestyle Habits are good for just about everyone, and they’re especially good for people having babies, wherever they are on the journey from preconception to parenthood. (They are good for the babies, too!)
Pre-pregnancy or trying to conceive
The few months before you become pregnant are an important time to prepare your body, your mind, and your life for pregnancy. Even relatively small improvements in health during this time can really pay off in pregnancy, and even help you get pregnant sooner.
Something as basic as taking a daily women’s multi-vitamin before pregnancy has been shown to reduce important outcomes like miscarriage and preterm birth. Research shows that adopting healthy lifestyle habits before pregnancy can also boost fertility and increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
The WLC habits are important for men who are trying to conceive, too. Research is finding links between male fertility and diet, exercise and fitness, and stress. It’s also easier to stick to new healthy habits when a couple creates the new habit together, so getting a dad-to-be on board with healthy habits can be good for his partner’s health and fertility.
Once you’re pregnant, the 7 healthy lifestyle habits can actually make pregnancy easier by reducing many of the not-so-pleasant side effects. The best thing to avoid constipation? Hydrate, get lots of veggies in your diet, and move every day. Low back pain? Try stretches and get some moderate exercise. Heartburn? Avoid greasy foods. Swelling in your feet? Hydration and rest can help. Working on healthy lifestyle habits can help keep these and other problems at bay, and be your go-to first line of defense if you do experience discomforts.
Even if you don’t start until after you find out you are pregnant, adding moderate exercise and increasing healthy foods in your diet can also reduce the chance of certain complications like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. This means a greater chance of an easier birth and a healthier baby.
For new parents
New parents need the most support because everything is new and sleep is hard to come by. The 7 lifestyle habits can make it easier to recover from birth, have a healthy milk supply, rebuild core and pelvic strength, and lose pregnancy weight. A healthy lifestyle combined with good support can also protect against postpartum depression and other mood disorders.
But it’s just plain hard to focus on your physical or mental health when you’re caring for a new baby and juggling that with the rest of your life. Having a community to tap into and the support of a coach can help with motivation and practical support.
Join Baby+Co. and Whole Life Challenge
Join a Baby+Co. Whole Life Challenge by January 20 to get the tools and support to improve your health and lifestyle, whether you just need to make some tweaks or need more of a reboot.
You’ll get daily support, motivation, and encouragement from a Baby+Co. Health Coach and a team that includes Baby+Co. midwives, educators, and other staff as well as a community of other expectant and new parents. You’ll also be invited to special events in the center and online and have opportunities to win prizes from Baby+Co. and our partners. You don’t have to be a new or expectant parent to join, but our teams will offer extra support for participating while pregnant, trying to conceive, breastfeeding, or juggling early parenthood.
Join your closest Baby+Co. team today with the links below. Don’t live near one of these centers? That’s OK. If you want a pregnancy/parenting friendly team, you’re welcome to join any of ours!