For millennia now, women have been getting pregnant and giving birth to healthy babies. And yet, once the news gets out that there’s a bun in the oven, you’re treated like a flower. There is no stopping the maid or the grandmother next door from imparting some kind, but unsolicited advice about how you must take care of yourself while you’re pregnant.
Today, our world is seeing women push the boundaries of what is possible while pregnant. Serena Williams won the Australian Open this year while being 8 weeks pregnant (in the so-called most sensitive 1st trimester). Long distance runner Alysa Montano, ran the 800m at the US Track and Field Championships while 34 weeks pregnant and even here in India, more and more women are spending those exalted 9 months in the gym.
While we aren’t advocating breaking world athletic records while pregnant, what we are highlighting is the strength and resilience of the pregnant body. Being pregnant does not have to disrupt normal life for a normal, healthy woman. The key to a healthy pregnancy is the same as in normal life – eat clean, exercise, hydrate and rest.
The pregnant body goes through many changes in 9 months, and while being physically fit is an important contributor to a healthy pregnancy, it’s just as important to be mentally and emotionally healthy as well.
Throughout your pregnancy, avoid smoking or smoke infested places, alcohol, and if you eat meat, make sure it’s properly cleaned and cooked. Only pasteurized dairy products are advised. Avoid soft cheeses and deli meats as there’s a risk of salmonella poisoning. If you love your coffee, might be wise to cut it down to 2 cups a day!
Special note to pet-mummies: Avoid handling pet litter, if possible.
This is easily the most challenging phase of pregnancy. You’ll gain weight, feel tired or sluggish and will potentially experience morning sickness. Give your body and yourself plenty of time to rest and relax.
Speak to your trainer or doctor about changing your exercise routine to suit your current body state. Avoid exercises that put any pressure on the abdominal area.
Eat a balanced diet. This includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, protein, fibre and carbohydrates. Avoid unripe papaya. Sweet, ripe papaya is absolutely safe during pregnancy. Take folic acid and vitamin supplements if required, for your child’s healthy development and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
It’s really important to speak to your partner about what you’re feeling, physically and emotionally. Make him part of the process so he can appreciate and understand what you’re going through. It’s normal to go through mood swings at this time, and it’s important to let your partner be aware of this.
You’re now in cruise control. Hopefully the worst part is behind you. Your second trimester should see you have more energy, and feeling a bit more comfortable in your new, bloated body.
Ensure your diet is rich in iron, and you’re getting plenty of Vitamin C.
Enrol in a Lamaze class. These classes are specially designed for mummies to be, to take them through the delivery process and what to expect. It’s also an opportunity to bond with other mums to be, and prepare a little playgroup for your impending arrival! It’s always great to share the excitement of being a mom with others experiencing the same thing.
Exercise, eat clean and rest!
The final stretch! It is very important to avoid stressful situations as extreme stress could trigger your water to break. If you’re planning to travel, it is now safe to do so. Make sure you have the room to stretch your legs to avoid cramps.
Sleep is going to be hard thanks to the bigger body. Try and sleep on your side. Get foot massages, and pamper yourself before the little bundle changes your life forever!
Best of luck!