Guest Post by Laura Lacey
Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life. The idea that your body is making another human being is pretty amazing. Every woman and every pregnancy is unique but one thing is certain. You need to take care of yourself because your health doesn’t just effect you anymore, it also effects your baby. Self-care is important!
There are three ways you can make sure to stay as healthy as possible. Consider these suggestions your own personal pregnancy self-care:
* Get a Massage
* Start Moving
* Eat Well
Prenatal Massage has such important health benefits that many doctors and midwives recommend massage to their patients. Pregnancy puts a big strain on muscles and ligaments causing among other discomforts, back pain and sciatica, especially as the baby grows. Massage eliminates pain. It also improves circulation which can reduce the swelling that often occurs in the feet and ankles.
Stress and anxiety are serious concerns during pregnancy. Maternal stress can cause serious problems for the baby including accelerating the fetal heart rate and slowing fetal growth. Preterm labor is also brought on by stress.
Massage prepares your body for labor by increasing the secretion of endorphins and serotonin. It promotes the touch-relaxation-oxytocin response. Oxytocin is the feel good hormone. This is an important hormone during labor as it helps labor progress and helps decrease the sensation of pain.
Prenatal massage by a licensed massage therapist who is trained in pregnancy massage is a definitely a valuable tool for self-care.
Movement is good for you, especially during pregnancy because it can help improve sleep and boost your energy levels. It also reduces stress and helps relieve constipation and bloating. The American College of Obstetrics recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days unless you have a medical or pregnancy related complication.
If you’re new to exercising be sure to start slowly. Try 5 minutes of walking daily. You can slowly increase that by adding 5 minutes a day until you feel comfortable walking 30 minutes a day. If however, you’re someone who exercises regularly, by all means continue to do so. Your body is obviously changing and this effects what you should and shouldn’t do. Take care not to do anything that involves balance since your center of gravity is off. Also, no how impact sports. Here are some good choices to get you moving: Walking, Swimming, Yoga or Pilates.
If you have any of the following conditions do not exercise unless you have the permission of your doctor: low placenta, bleeding or spotting, weak cervix, threatened or recurrent miscarriages or any other pregnancy related conditions. Even if you have none of these conditions, it is always recommended that you consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Remember safety first and then add some movement to your prenatal life.
What you eat is always important and now that you’re pregnant it’s even more important.
Your baby has certain nutritional requirements in order to grow and develop. And you need to eat well to keep up with this demand and not become depleted. Make sure to take a prenatal vitamin throughout your pregnancy and continue while you are nursing. The folic acid is important to prevent brain and spinal cord defects in your baby.
During the first trimester you may feel nauseous and not have an appetite. You will feel better if you eat small meals. Try to always have something in your stomach. Keep cracker by your bed for snacking at night. Also, drinking ginger tea is sometimes helpful.
These are the vitamins and minerals you will need to make sure to include in your diet.
* Folic Acid
* Fats (essential fatty acids)
If the food on your plate is colorful instead of just brown and white there’s an excellent chance that you are getting all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you need. Be sure to eat fruits and veggies not only for their nutritional value but also for their fiber. Fiber has minerals and vitamins that are necessary for proteins to be absorbed effectively. And remember to drink water. Water and fiber together help with digestion and elimination.
So eat well and have a healthy baby!
Now you have three things to incorporate into your self-care package. Getting a massage, moving and eating well will ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy. And remember to continue this practice once you’ve had your baby too.
To hear Laura share additional insights and tips, listen to her show on The Womb Happy Hour with host, Lorraine Giordano.
Post written by Laura Lacey
Laura Lacey is a licensed massage therapist and a nutritional consultant. She works exclusively with women and specializes in prenatal and postpartum massage. For the past 15 years she has been providing support through hands on massage, nutritional consulting, as well as making sure that her clients have the resources they need.
Laura studied massage at the Swedish Institute in New York and got her nutritional certification from Hawthorne University. Although she started her practice as a massage therapist, when her clients started asking questions about nutrition, Laura went back to school. She wanted to be able to offer her clients advice that was evidence based.
Laura’s practice is in Jersey City. She sees private clients for both massage and nutrition and regularly teaches baby massage and baby nutrition workshops in her own studio as well as at local hospitals and parenting centers. Laura also offers two video courses, “Baby Massage – The Gift of Love” and Baby Nutrition, “Breast Bottle Bowl.” These courses, blogs and other valuable resources are available on her website. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.