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Belly Bliss: Five ways to Care for your Mind, Body and Soul during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a beautiful, magical time in a woman’s life. Having said this, any woman who has been through pregnancy is also aware that this delightful stage can be accompanied by not-so-delightful moments.
Morning sickness, lethargy, fluid retention, and mood swings, are just a few of the unwelcome symptoms expectant mums can experience. These symptoms can affect your overall attitude towards pregnancy.
It is important to focus on both your own health and that of your baby during pregnancy. Here are five simple ways to care for your mind, body and soul during pregnancy.
A healthy diet is essential for both you and your baby. Protein, iron and folate are not only crucial to the development of your little one; they also contribute to your own health and energy levels. Fresh fruit, green leafy vegetables, yoghurt, nuts, lean (well cooked) meat, beans, legumes, wholegrain breads and pasta are examples of wholesome foods that will help to maintain your energy and iron levels during pregnancy.
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If you suffer from morning sickness, drink plenty of fluids to help keep you hydrated. Natural herbal teas are a healthy way of getting the necessary fluids into your body without the caffeine (200mg of caffeine is the recommended daily limit during pregnancy). Herbal blends that contain Ginger, Lemon Balm, Fennel and Chamomile, are also beneficial for nausea and indigestion brought on by pregnancy. They will also provide vitamins and minerals that you may be struggling to get in your diet as a result of your sickness.
Play refers to ‘active play’. Gentle exercise during pregnancy will help to maintain your circulation, fitness levels and may help promote a better night’s sleep. Walking, swimming, yoga, pilates and even gardening are ideal ways of getting in some active play in the day.
It can be tough to uphold an exercise routine when you are feeling absolutely exhausted, but a little bit of daily physical activity has been shown to improve energy levels during pregnancy. You may need to push through the barrier of lethargy, but the benefits will be worth it for you and your baby.
A tired, sleep deprived mother-to-be can’t expect to have the energy required to tackle the day, especially during first trimester and late stages of pregnancy. If you have other children, try to sneak your own nap in during their nap times. Even if sleep eludes you, the simple act of lying down will give your body some time to rest and recover.
4. GO NATURAL
Nature is best, especially in the case of pregnancy. You don’t want to expose yourself or your unborn baby to nasty chemicals. Try natural alternatives for household cleaning, such as vinegar and bicarbonate soda. Give some homemade skincare recipes a go, to pamper your face and body. Use your own common sense as a guide when it comes to determine what is unsafe to be around during your pregnancy.
5. FIND INNER PEACE
Frazzled mums mean frazzled babies. If you are feeling anxious and stressed, your body releases a range of stress hormones into your blood, including cortisol. Although the research into the effects of maternal stress on a baby’s development is limited, it is known that chronic stress is bad for anyone’s health and wellbeing, let alone during pregnancy.
A great way to help calm your mind and soul is through meditation. Meditation involves focusing your mind inward and on a single feeling, thought or object. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. It could be as simple as taking 15 minutes to do something you find relaxing. It may be soaking in a warm bath, sitting on a park bench and listening to the birds, knitting or watching a sunset. Find a pastime that helps you feel calm and relaxed and take time to do it daily, focusing on the peace and enjoyment it brings you.