The secret is out! Chris and I will be welcoming our first baby into the world in October and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Since announcing our pregnancy, I’ve been excited to share more about the journey. Once I received the phone call from my doctor, I put a few practices in place to ensure the baby and I would stay as healthy as possible throughout the next nine months.
Why You Should Pay Special Attention to Self Care During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart. Growing a healthy and strong baby greatly depends on the mother in many ways, including her energy stores, nutrient levels, and more. During pregnancy, the baby relies on the mother for nourishment. For this reason alone, pregnant women should pay special attention to their health, nourishment, and bodies.
5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Pregnancy
I’d like to think I’ve always taken good care of myself. But, when pregnancy hit, I knew it was time to take it to the next level. Here are 5 ways I’ve taken care of myself during my pregnancy so far:
- Hydration + Electrolytes
If hydration is important for every human (which it is), it’s extra important during pregnancy. I carry my water bottle with me all day long, so that I can continuously drink water. I even add an electrolyte mixture to my water to boost hydration when needed. Did you know women lose 40% of their mineral stores when pregnant? It’s extremely critical to stay on top of your mineral intake and adding electrolytes to drinking water can help that cause.
- Small Meals and Snacks
Especially during the first trimester, keeping my blood sugar regulated has meant the difference between feeling nauseated all day long, or not. I lost 8lbs in the first trimester, which put me at the lightest weight I have ever been, in life! No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get myself to eat most things. There were no cravings, just aversions… to everything! But I was still suddenly starving at times.
Instead of eating three square meals a day, or letting myself reach the point of “hanger,” I’ve stuck to eating smaller meals and snacks every 2-3 hours to regulate my blood sugar. This curbs the nausea, while keeping the baby satisfied. I’m not going to say I’ve been satisfied, because to be honest I have eaten like a 2 year old at times. It’s all worth it for the baby’s health!
- Daily Rest
As an ER physician, I’m not used to allowing much time for rest. After all, my entire lifestyle revolves around the hustle-and-bustle. However, pregnancy has essentially stopped me in my tracks. During the first trimester, the fatigue was no joke (as it is for most moms-to-be), so I’ve learned to prioritize rest every day. For months, this looked like a lunchtime nap or low key evening on the couch binging Netflix. I’m not kidding, I ran out of things to watch on our tv apps, and we subscribe to 3 of them now thanks to me!
While I haven’t always felt up for rigorous workouts, I’ve made it a personal goal to maintain daily movement. Luckily, my work on the ER floor naturally helps me get my steps in. Outside of work, leisurely movement usually means taking morning walks or doing a gentle yoga routine after work. I have stopped all high intensity workouts and just started one-on-one pilates sessions to help prepare my body for labor.
- Prenatal Vitamins
While it’s ideal to consume most of your nutrients through food, let’s face it: most of us don’t naturally consume all the nutrients we need. This is especially true during pregnancy. Enter: prenatal vitamins. I take my prenatal vitamin every morning after a balanced breakfast to make sure the baby and I are getting all the nutrients we both need. An ideal prenatal will contain folate (the active form of vitamin B9), magnesium, and essential fatty acids (DHA/EPA). As a physician, I recommend all women of child-bearing age take a daily prenatal vitamin or folic acid. Many women find out they are pregnant later in the first trimester, after some of the organ and neural tube development. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects and is essential in early pregnancy.
Pregnancy is an exciting, yet exhausting time. I’m learning this firsthand. But, by taking care of myself well, I can be the healthiest possible version of myself for our little one. And, that is the greatest reward!