So your pregnancy tests confirmed that you are expecting. You’re probably experiencing the first pregnancy signs as well. It will take a little while to get used to the idea and cope with the avalanche of emotions. Accepting the changes your body goes through will not be easy either.
Don’t rush it! Take your time to learn all about pregnancy stages, baby development, and prenatal care. Also, don’t forget to keep calm. You’re neither the first nor the last one to go through this.
You are unique, though, so don’t compare your experience with anyone else’s, and don’t build expectations based on what you hear. Your pregnancy will be as great or as miserable as you make it.
How can you make it easier and more pleasurable? Some small, easy changes will help. Slowly but surely, they will work to increase your energy, improve your mood, help you sleep better, and ease your pregnancy symptoms.
Plan your activities for the day the smart way
Do you have morning sickness? Set your alarm clock at least one hour before your first activity. You need to lie in bed for a few minutes after waking up and avoid sudden moves while getting ready.
Also, it helps to know in advance when you have to go somewhere, receive guests, or perform some challenging activity. Plan those activities at one or two hours after your main meals, to avoid upsetting your stomach and exhausting yourself.
Monitor and adjust your eating habits
Are those around you insisting that you need to eat for two? It’s just a myth and a sure way to gain excess weight. Instead of focusing on quantity, pay more attention to quality. Your baby needs vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so think of that when you decide what to eat during pregnancy.
Also, any discomfort that you experience will affect the little one as well. To avoid that, eat small meals, consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, cooked in a healthy way.
Fruit juices, seeds, and nuts should be your best friends throughout these nine months. Processed foods and additives are your worst enemies.
While meat has its benefits during pregnancy, you should focus on varieties that are richer in nutrients and easier to digest. Think fish, especially salmon and tuna, seafood, and poultry. When cooking them, limit your use of spices and choose your fats carefully.
Avoid frying and settle for roasting and boiling instead. When needing to use fat, settle for butter or cold-pressed oils. It is very important to make sure that your foods come from safe, verifiable sources and are free of heavy metals, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
Eat more superfoods
Eating healthily is great for you and your baby. However, you surely know by now that some foods are healthier and more beneficial than others.
To provide your baby with the necessary nutrients, consider eating more spinach, turmeric, chia seeds. Also, look into foods that improve blood flow, prevent heart attacks, and are rich in probiotics.
Avoid alcohol , sparkling and sugary drinks
Hydration is important but not an excuse to drink soda or alcohol. Stick to natural water, fruit juice, and tea, and everything should be fine. As for tea, the best options for pregnancy are ginger, peppermint, berries, chamomile, and nettle leaf. They will ease your morning sickness, boost your digestion, and keep you hydrated.
Quit smoking during pregnancy
It probably seems easier said than done but are you really willing to jeopardize your baby’s health for a guilty pleasure? Smoking during pregnancy has negative effects on both the physical and the mental development of your child.
How do you quit smoking? First of all, get support. Let all your friends and family members know of your intentions and ask them to refrain from smoking around you. This will help reduce cravings and get you support when you need it.
Then, find something healthy that you like and would like to turn to when you feel like lighting a cigarette. Besides snack and activities to keep you busy, information on the impact of smoking on pregnancy and your baby may help motivate you.
A great source of information is Smokefree.gov where you can find advice on all things related to smoking.
Do you fear weight gain, back pain, and the whole labor experience? Then start exercising. It is as simple as that. For best results, you should look into classes for pregnant women or gyms with personal instructors specializing in pregnancy exercise.
The idea is that interacting with other women in your situation will keep you motivated. If you prefer to do everything by yourself, you’ll surely find online videos and advice on the benefits of yoga and Pilates exercises you can try.
Indoor cycling, low-impact aerobics, and swimming are also great choices for pregnancy exercising. Also, don’t forget to walk long distances every day, at your own pace.
The benefits of staying active will show not only during pregnancy but also at birth and after that. You’ll experience reduced pain, give birth faster and easier, and recover earlier.
Get a pregnancy pillow
As your belly grows, finding a comfortable position to sleep in becomes more challenging. A pregnancy pillow can really change things for the better.
It will let you sleep on one side, support your belly, your back, your arms, and legs while allowing your spine to remain straight and relaxed. A single night of restful sleep can work miracles for your mood and energy levels.
If you’re not sure a pregnancy pillow can help, try using the ones you already have around the house. Place one under your head, another one between your knees. Some back and belly support may come in handy as well, and, at some point, you might feel like hugging a pillow too.
Diffuse essential oils
Essential oils have numerous health benefits, confirmed by science. They can relieve pain, stress, and anxiety, improve your sleep, and boost your energy levels. They are also a great natural remedy for cold, cough, and other conditions affecting your respiratory system.
Think frankincense, lavender, oregano, lime, rose, and jojoba oil, to name just a few. While most of them allow for internal use, the quality requirements change.
Unless you are completely sure of the source, diffusing the oils remains the safest option. This guide will help you learn more about essential oils, their benefits, and finding the best sources.
Spend time with your loved ones
Your body is going through tremendous changes but not everyone around you realizes that. Don’t hesitate to let them know when you get tired or lack the mood for certain activities. Let your loved one know your thoughts and preferences about sex during pregnancy.
It is important not to let your sexual activity or lack of it during the last months of pregnancy drive you two away from each other. You should still hug, kiss, and spend time together. You should attend doctor visits, make plans, and prepare for the baby’s coming together.
You may find that your baby’s hardest kicks are easier to bear and even subside when your loved one talks to them or caresses your belly. A foot massage every now and then can work miracles for your mood and well being. Seeing their baby and hearing their heartbeat at the ultrasound will melt down even the most ruthless and insensitive man.
Body changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you will experience breast changes, hair loss, vaginal discharge, swollen legs, and energy fluctuations. You may develop stretch marks, varicose veins, skin spots, and freckles.
I’ve already discussed the nine ways in which pregnancy can permanently change your body and provided corresponding solutions and remedies, so I’m not going to get into further details here.
There are numerous ways to deal with the not so pleasant aspects of pregnancy. It may take a little time to discover them, test them, and figure out what works for you, but you’ve got it.
In fact, your overall pregnancy experience depends on you, on your self-confidence, and your approach. You can lie in bed or walk around your home complaining about everything and everyone, or you can do something about it.
You’re strong and beautiful, you are a walking miracle. A life is growing in your belly, and you should be proud of it. Sure, there may be some small inconveniences, but trust me, no one notices those.
People won’t notice your freckles because they will be blinded by your glow. Your loved one won’t mind your huge belly but will fall in love with it. Trust me when I say this, you will miss these days when you can caress your belly and feel your baby safe and kicking.
Mihaela is a proud mother of two, happily married to the love of her life and passionate about reading, music, healthy cooking, and child psychology. A sociologist and expert copywriter, she now channels her knowledge and experience in writing for Iris Content, AM Navigator, Top 10 Picks, and, last but not least, her soul-project, BebeYoga.