Nine months of pregnancy means nine months of habit changes, new and unfamiliar symptoms, and dietary restrictions.
While you probably can still safely engage in physical activity during a healthy pregnancy (except for contact sports), you may face such challenges as backaches, morning sickness, swelling, cramps, and fatigue — all of which interfere with your typical routine.
Our team of OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care are very familiar with the physical and emotional ups and downs that tend to happen while you’re pregnant. That’s why we’ve compiled this brief guide for self-care during pregnancy.
Whether this pregnancy is your first or not, proper self-care can make a world of difference in your energy levels and overall well-being.
As you prepare for the months ahead, take the time out of your day to tend to your own needs.
Commit to prenatal visits and home care
The foundation of a healthy pregnancy begins with regular prenatal checkups. These appointments allow us to monitor your health and your baby's development, making it easier to address any potential issues early on.
Staying on top of your prenatal appointments and following your obstetrician’s recommendations make for a smooth, healthy pregnancy.
Nourish your body
Nutrition supports your baby's growth and your overall well-being. Focus on a balanced diet that includes a variety of:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean protein
- Whole grains
- Dairy products
Get enough folic acid, iron, and other essential nutrients by taking any prescribed prenatal vitamins.
Follow all recommendations for what not to eat and drink. That means that while you’re pregnant, avoid alcohol, raw or undercooked meat, and canned foods.
Engage in physical activity
Exercise can ease common pregnancy discomfort, boost your mood, and promote overall health for you and your baby. Engage in low-impact activities like prenatal yoga, swimming, or walking.
Always consult us before starting a new exercise routine to ensure it's safe for you and your baby.
Get some rest
Pregnancy can be exhausting, especially in the first and third trimesters. Listen to your body, and prioritize sleep when you’re feeling tired. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Take short naps during the day if you need them.
You might also want to invest in a pregnancy pillow to help you sleep and support your changing body.
Drink plenty of water
Proper hydration is essential during pregnancy. Drinking enough water helps you avoid common mild complications like constipation and urinary tract infections and helps your body flush out waste. Drink at least 8-12 cups of water every day for the duration of your pregnancy.
Boost your confidence by learning
Take the time to educate yourself about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Attend prenatal classes, read books, and ask us questions during your prenatal visits. The more informed you are, the more confident you’ll be in your decisions during and after pregnancy.
Some might say that motherhood comes with a degree of selflessness. You may find yourself focusing on setting up for your new baby or getting caught up in baby showers, gender reveals, and other group activities, but treat yourself to some self-indulgence every now and then.
For example, get a prenatal massage, take a soothing bath, or engage in your favorite hobbies. It should go without saying, but cut out unhealthy stress management tactics like smoking.
Little acts of self-care can alleviate stress and boost your mood. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family can be a form of self-care (and stress management) too.
We’re prepared to answer your questions in detail and help you come up with a plan for pregnancy self-care. To schedule an appointment, call either of our offices — in The Loop in Chicago or in Northbrook, Illinois, or book online today.