Over the years, I have learned a few lessons that have made each of my pregnancies go a little smoother. Today, I’d like to share some of these tips with you.
Feet Down, Head Up. One of the best tips I have ever read about nausea was this: When you get out of bed in the morning, always put your feet down first. Keep you head down as much as possible until you are grounded. Morning sickness is like motion sickness and putting your feet down first allows you to stabilize before you head hits the air. Once I applied this, vomiting in the morning ceased to occur for me.
Drink your water. Staying hydrated can be one of the best ways to reduce bloating, fatigue and pre-term labor. Dehydration is a great source of discomfort for many women during pregnancy. Years ago, I learned that by the time we feel thirsty, we are already partially hydrated. I am not sure how true this is for everyone, but as a pregnant and/or nursing mother, water has become one of my best friends. I have only gone into true pre-term labor once and it was due to dehydration in the hot Louisiana summer. Our summers can be brutal, but you can beat the heat if you drink your water. Everywhere I go, I take my water bottle. I recommend going re-usable. It’s cheaper and you can refill it even if you take a gallon of water with you when you leave the house. This eliminates the need to buy small bottles while you are out.
Practice Kegels. These exercises are a pregnant girl’s best friend. Kegels help you to stay toned in a way that no other exercise can. If done properly, they can help you to control your bladder better and prevent leakage. They can also help you to enjoy post-partum physical intimacy with your spouse a lot more. Kegels have also helped me to prepare for labor, not sure about all the details. I’ve read about it, but a girl can only remember so much especially with pregnancy brain!
Prenatals…or Not. I have always taken prenatal vitamins while pregnant or nursing. That was until a friend recently told me that prenatal vitamins are an American phenomenon. In many other countries, people don’t pop pills the way we do. As a person who advocates avoiding medication as much as possible, I was intrigued when I heard this information. Since then, I have stopped taking them to see if I would feel any different. I like experiments, but I do not advocate you doing this. I actually noticed no difference in my overall physical state. All vitamins are supplements and I believe with a balanced healthy diet you don’t need them. This, of course, is my own opinion so don’t take my word for it. I encourage you to do your own research. If you decide to take prenatals, try to find all-natural or organic vitamins without extra ingredients you don’t need.
Keep your belly full. A full belly makes a happy belly! Another great contributor to nausea is not eating enough. I have found that I need to eat all throughout the day to keep up with my metabolism and feeding a baby. As I have done this more, my nausea has decreased greatly. When I feel hungry and I don’t grab a small meal and/or snack, it is not good for me. This also tends to cause headaches. My preference is to eat a little at a time rather than a huge meal all at once. This helps me to digest my food better and decreases upset tummy, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, etc. Of course eating the right things helps to cut down these common discomforts.
Get your protein. And no, I don’t mean meat! Of course lean meats are a great source of protein, but they are not the be-all and end-all. Many people don’t realize that vegetables are a great source of protein. Again, this is something I challenge you to look up. The more veggies you eat the more energy you will have — or at least I have. There are also many other non-animal sources of protein as well, and by no means do I mean Tofu. If I want meat I eat meat! In our house, we chose to make meat more of a side item and not the main course. An added benefit of this is it aids in digestion, which is a major plus in pregnancy.
Plenty of Rest. As the mom of 5 kids under 10, I don’t get to take many naps, but I do rest as much as I can. After several pregnancies, I have learned to be more open about what it means to rest. For instance, I spend a lot more time in my room while awake. This allows me to sit or lie down and put my feet up while still being on alert! My oldest two children don’t really nap anymore and I’m okay with that. On the contrary, my 3 boys under 5 must be asleep before I close one eye. If they don’t sleep, neither do I. Most days they do nap and that allows me to at least read quietly or even watch a television show or two. One of my favorite shows to watch is 19 Kids and Counting™ and it’s not because we want to be like them and have 19 kids. It is because they have such great family values which we admire. We never have to worry about them using words we don’t want to hear or even saying negative things about children, which we happen to love a lot.
Exercise. I’ll be honest with you on this one. During my adult life, I have had seasons when I followed an exercise regimen and other seasons where I have not. Between the maintenance of my house and caring for my little ones, I honestly think I get enough physical activity to keep me in shape. On average, I wash about 14 or more loads of clothes a week, which stretches over a few days. The washing and drying is easy because I don’t use a wash board or clothes line, however, the folding and putting them away is the kicker. I usually take one weekday and Sundays off from laundry. I also cook almost all of our meals, with the exception of eating out here and there. My hubby doesn’t really cook, and I don’t go to work. That’s just how we roll. Do what works for you. I could go on and on about every chore I do and instruct my kids on, but if you’re a mom, you get the idea. I spend a lot of time on my feet and for me that is exercise in and of itself. Not to mention, getting/fixing this and that and play time with the kids. Just keep it moving!
Moms, what is one pregnancy tip you would share with a mom just starting out on her motherhood journey?
Disclaimer: These tips are meant to encourage and inspire you. I am not a doctor, so you may want to use wisdom and check with your OB/GYN, before you try some of them.