If you have decided to bring a little one into the world, you are about to embark on one of life’s biggest journeys. Becoming a parent completely changes the dynamics of your day to day life and you will quickly find that you become completely responsible for someone else and their wellbeing. You will need to adapt every element of your lifestyle to cater to their needs and put them first. But it is important that during this time you look after yourself too. Looking after yourself will maximize your ability to look after your child and you also need to remember that you’re important too. Here is some information that will help you to achieve this during pregnancy and postpartum.
Self-Care During Pregnancy
Let us start with caring for yourself during pregnancy. This is a period of time where your body will undergo drastic change. From change in shape and weight to hormonal fluctuations, cravings, energy levels, swelling and so much more, you are in for a ride over the next nine months. It really is important to look after yourself in various ways during this time. Here are some steps to take to achieve this:
- Your Diet
You need to make sure that you are eating a healthy and balanced diet for the sake of both yourself and your baby. Remember, your baby benefits from the nutrients you eat, so it is time to get plenty of vitamins and minerals into your system. You also need to make sure to eat well to give yourself energy and the fuel you need to power your body through each day. It is important to be aware of foods that you should avoid during pregnancy too. There are foods that you may usually eat, but that may make you ill or impact your baby’s development when you are pregnant. First, and perhaps best known, is alcohol. You should avoid alcohol at all costs throughout the duration of your pregnancy, as it can damage your child or see them born with an alcohol dependency. There are also certain food products that you should avoid too Foods such as soft cheeses with white rinds, including as brie and camembert, should be avoided, as they can cause sickness. For the same reason, you should also avoid eating mould-ripened soft goat’s cheeses, such as chevre and soft, blue-veined cheeses, which also have a chance of infecting you with listeria. Another food to avoid is raw or partially cooked eggs, as these can carry salmonella, a form of food poisoning. Pate is another suspect to cut out — both meat and vegetable pates — as they run the risk of listeria infection too. Finally, you should not touch any raw meat or fish or forms of fish like swordfish, shark or marlin.
Practicing good posture can make all the difference to your comfort levels when you are pregnancy. As you make your way through the second and third trimesters, you will find that your bump grows larger and heavier and you may experience problems with your back or managing the weight. Practicing good posture can help with this. While posture is important in day to day life for everyone, it is particularly important for pregnant people. Here are some suggestions that can help:
Good Posture While Standing:
- Keep your head held up straight
- Tuck in your chin
- Centre your head – align your earlobes to the middle of your shoulders
- Pull your shoulder blades back
- Push your chest forward
- Avoid locking your knees
- Keep your buttocks tucked in
- Avoid tilting your pelvis forward or back
- Balance your weight evenly over both feet
- Avoid standing for extended periods of time
Good Posture While Sitting:
- Keep your buttocks towards the back of the chair
- Keep your back as straight as possible
- Place a pregnancy pillow at the lumbar of your back for support
Good Posture While Sleeping:
Chances are, you have seen plenty of people using pregnancy pillows while sleeping. It is a good idea to invest in one of these, as they can be moved around while you rest to properly support your body in various places. They increase comfort and support your body at the same time. You should also, of course, avoid rolling onto your front in your sleep, and may want to avoid sleeping on your back, as this can place pressure on your body.
Self Care Post-Pregnancy
It’s also important to care for yourself once the baby is born. Sure, you may want to direct all of your attention to your new arrival, but if you fail to look after yourself and become sick or burnt out, you are not going to be able to provide them with the best care that you can. Self-care following birth really is mutually beneficial for both you and the baby. Here are some top self-care tips:
- Post-Natal Recovery
Birth is an arduous and difficult task that can cause major damage to your body. It is important to discuss your condition with your doctor and to gain advice regarding how to best care for your body while it heals. They may recommend wearing post-natal pads to soak up blood or other fluids following birth. They may also have used stitches which you will need to schedule to be taken out, or need to change dressings on caesarean section scars. Your doctor will be able to provide tailored advice to meet your needs.
- Mental Health
It is also essential that you manage and consider your mental health following birth. There will have been a lot of hormonal change in your body during this process and you need to make sure that you seek out the advice you need if you feel that you are struggling as a new parent. Post natal depression is more common than you would think, but there is treatment out there that can support you through this period, ranging from therapists to medication, support groups, helplines and more. Down the line, you may begin to find issues with self-image, due to your body changing as a cause of pregnancy and birth. Your doctor may recommend therapy or guide you through the process of breast augmentation, tummy tucks or other procedures that can help further.
New parents notoriously struggle with sleep. While you should get eight hours a night, the average new parent fails to achieve this, as babies are restless and will wake throughout the day and night for feeding, comfort, entertainment or changes. Now, this can be difficult to resolve, as your baby’s behavior will not change until they are older. Instead, you need to find ways of getting sleep that work for you. For some people, this means calling in the help of others, such as trusted friends or relatives or professional childminders. This provides the parent with some time to get some rest while someone else trusted takes care of their little one. If you have a partner, some will choose to do shifts, with one caring for the baby one night and one caring for the bay the other. Another good method is to sleep when your baby sleeps. Sure, this may be at inconvenient times, but it is good to rest wherever you can.
As you can see, there really is a lot to take into account when it comes to properly caring for yourself throughout the process of pregnancy and following giving birth. These suggestions just scratch the surface! Hopefully, a few will benefit you in the long run!