Pregnancy is one of the toughest journeys with the greatest reward at the end of it. Growing another human can take a lot of out you- both physically and mentally. That’s why it’s so important to practice self care while you’re pregnant. Soon enough, your days are going to be filled with taking care of a tiny little miracle. Now is the time to focus on you and your needs. Pregnancy is the one time that it’s okay to be a little selfish. Start by practicing these five self-care tips during your pregnancy.
1. Get Your Body Moving
The last thing you might feel like doing during pregnancy is working out, but exercise is crucial for both yourself and your baby. It promotes blood flow, which is important since a woman’s body produces 50 percent more blood during pregnancy. Exercise also keeps your muscles strong and limber which will come in handy during a long labor.
You should always consult with your physician prior to starting an exercise program, but many women can continue working out the same way they did prior to their pregnancy- with some modifications. Lifting heavy weights is not recommended during pregnancy. Great exercises to start with are yoga, Pilates, and low-impact cardio.
2. Speak Up
Your mental health is just as important, if not more so, than your physical health during pregnancy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad, depressed, or anxious, now is the time to address it. Hormones can change dramatically during pregnancy and those changes increase even more after giving birth.
Postpartum depression is a very real thing, and more attention is being brought to the subject thanks to celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Brooke Shields. More and more mothers are sharing their stories of battling postpartum depression in an effort to end the stigma surrounding it.
3. Pamper Yourself
You might think new moms don’t have time to pamper themselves with massages, pedicures, manicures, and trips to the salon. While new moms are certainly busy, there’s no reason they can’t take a few hours away from their newborn to pamper themselves a bit. After all, they deserve a little extra attention more than anyone.
Start setting the precedent of taking some time for yourself before your baby even arrives. Even if it’s only once a month for an hour to get a massage, that bit of alone time can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Pregnancy massages are known to reduce the stress and anxiety moms-to-be often face before they give birth.
4. Sleep, Sleep, and Sleep Some More
Unless your baby is one of the rare ones that sleeps through the night right away, sleep is going to be a rare occurrence in the beginning. New parents are lucky if they get four to six hours of sleep a night, and much of that sleep is broken up into even shorter increments.
Pregnancy is the perfect excuse to take a nap or cozy up into bed an hour or two earlier than you typically do. Your body is growing another human, so it needs all the sleep it can get. Resting up before giving birth will also give you the energy to withstand a long labor and those many, many sleepless nights you will encounter once your little one arrives.
5. Spend Time with Friends
Once you become a parent, your daily life will be consumed with meeting the needs of a tiny infant. While the grandparents may offer to babysit on occasion, you likely won’t have the freedom to meet up with your friends for weekly coffee dates and shopping excursions. Take this opportunity before giving birth to really connect with your friends.
Becoming a mom changes you in many ways, but don’t lose sight who you were before. Continue to practice self care even after your baby arrives.