Congratulations on becoming pregnant! You’ve already achieved your first little miracle. What an exciting time you are about to embark on with your partner and family. No doubt you’re feeling excited, nervous, anxious and maybe even a little nauseous.
Here are a few handy tips to help you better understand the dietary requirements, exercise expectations and physical stresses involved with your pregnancy.
Indulging cravings, “eating for two” and saying yes to another slice of chocolate cake “for the baby”; being pregnant sounds wonderful, right? Well it seems like there’s a catch. Pregnancy places extra nutritional demands on your body, and when we remember the old principle “you are what you eat”, it’s easy to see that the quality of your nutrition directly correlates with the health of your growing baby. And whilst we like to think we’re eating for two, in actual fact, it’s quite the myth. Pregnancy doesn’t mean eating twice as much, but rather, focusing on eating nutrient rich foods to ensure premium nutrition.
- Include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, preferably of the organic variety to ensure premium quality
- Include moderate amounts of dairy foods and lean meat
- Monitor hydration
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol completely
- Avoid foods prone to Listeria contamination:
- Soft cheese (brie, camembert, ricotta)
- Pre-cooked or pre-prepared cold foods that will not be reheated (pre-prepared salads, deli meats, fish, quiches)
- Raw egg (mayonnaise, tiramisu, custard, mousse)
- Sushi in any form due to the high potential of contamination from food preparation
Generally speaking, pregnancy should not slow down your exercise routine in its initial stages. Whilst it may need to be modified slightly, exercise is a crucial part of maintaining your body’s health during pregnancy. It is important to maintain adequate hydration, wear cool clothing to avoid excessive body temperature and keep an eye on your heart rate and blood pressure. Listen to your body at all times, and if something feels amiss, modify your activity or cease your activity if need be.
Some activities that are generally safe during pregnancy, even for beginners, include walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, dancing and Pilates. If you are unsure as to whether these exercises are safe and appropriate for you to engage in, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your Osteopath.
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body goes through significant changes to accommodate the varying size and weight of the uterus. In some women, postural changes may promote back and neck pain, headaches, hip and pelvic pain, sciatica, fluid retention and increased fatigue.
As you continue into your second trimester, the ligaments of the body start to soften due to the action of hormones throughout the body. This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery process, making a safe passageway for your baby to move through. The laxity in ligaments can, however, increase the likelihood of strain elsewhere in your body, and care must be taken, particularly during exercise.
As you waddle towards the third trimester, no doubt everything is starting to get heavy! Your baby is growing well and testing its acrobatic skills. As they take up more space, there is less room for them to move about. This may mean that you experience the odd foot in your ribs, or elbow to your diaphragm whilst your baby is preparing to engage with their head down into your pelvis. Your posture and ability to physically adapt to your baby’s needs becomes a crucial factor in the lead up to the birth. Therefore it is important to ensure that your pelvis is structurally balanced and free from unnecessary strain in order to increase your chances of an easy and uncomplicated natural labour.
If you need a helping hand or are preparing for the business end of things, feel free to drop in and discuss your pregnancy management plan with us at the clinic. We’d love to see you.
And finally, embrace every minute, even those tiny toes poking into your ribs and overly frequent trips to the bathroom, as it truly is a gift. And it’s only just the beginning.