Pregnancy brings endless changes – new symptoms and feelings crop up, physical side effects abound, and it can be overwhelming, both physically and mentally. Even though you might be busy with work, preparing for baby, running errands, and dealing with everyday life, it’s important to take time for yourself to make sure you’re healthy for you and your baby.
Here are some ways to practice self-care during this time.
Pregnancy can be exhausting – after all, you’re growing a person. Your body is working overtime, which means fatigue is a common byproduct. Take time each day to rest and recharge, even if it’s a 20 minute catnap, or even just laying down and getting off your feet. Resting can also recharge your mind, too. You likely have a lot of thoughts going through your mind about things to get for the baby, the birth, questions or fears about what life will be like when the baby comes, and more – finding some quiet time each day can help you de-stress.
People love telling stories about hard labors and births, or insisting that you’re going to want an epidural, and it seems like everyone has an opinion on how others should birth. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask people not to tell you horror stories about birth – or no stories at all. If you want to hear stories, seek out those that are positive and those that mirror the birth you envision. There is no right or wrong way to birth, and each woman will do what is best for her.
Staying active is important during pregnancy, and releases endorphins, which help boost mood, as well. A prenatal yoga class is a good way to exercise your body and mind, with its breathing exercises and encouragement of meditation and mindful thought. Walking or swimming are low impact, and great to do with a friend, making it social, too!
When you’re feeling sluggish, it’s natural to turn to caffeinated drinks and sugary food for energy – but you’ll feel a lot better if you choose nutrient-dense foods. Dehydration can cause fatigue, so it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Instead of reaching for a snack high in sugar or fat, pack some trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, or a protein bar in your purse.
Seek Help if Needed
Pregnancy is often touted as a happy, magical time, but a number of women experience prenatal depression or anxiety. These aren’t things that you can just “get over” or a normal part of pregnancy; these are serious illnesses that can interfere with your health and pregnancy. It’s not a sign of weakness to seek help. If you’re concerned about depression or anxiety, or even simply feel “off,” talk with your partner, family, or midwife about your concerns. Seek out a counselor or support group if necessary. You don’t have to go through this alone.