My first official blog post since having my little muffin! He just turned 3 months, and I feel like he’ll be filling out university applications soon. Ok, a little exaggeration (and projection), but his daily milestones and blooming personality just amaze me (I’m a new mum, can you tell?). As much as I can go on and on about him, he is not the topic of this post (sorry, little man). I wanted to share 3 simple tips for staying healthy during pregnancy, as I’m learning, it can really set the tone for your first year with your little babe. As a naturopathic doctor, I often remind my patients (and myself) that staying healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. As a mentor of mine once said, there are three basic rules to improving health: drink more water, get more rest and spend more time in nature. And I’ll add, eat as well as you can. As simple as these sound, we often skimp on them when life gets busy. Certainly these rules apply to everyone, but I really encourage you to be extra mindful of them during pregnancy.
Good water intake is always important, but it is especially so during pregnancy. While you might be making more trips to the washroom, it’s worth the exercise! Dehydration can contribute towards tiredness, low energy, muscle cramps, constipation, nasal congestion and headaches; common pregnancy-related concerns. Although it might seem like a paradox, staying well hydrated also helps to protect against swelling and puffiness. Aim towards 2.5 litres spread throughout the day. Keep your taste buds enticed by adding natural flavour enhancers such as fresh lemon wedges, cucumber slices, raspberries, strawberries and mint leaves. Glass containers are preferred over plastic.
Rest and De-stress
Adequate sleep, rest and stress reduction is critical during pregnancy. Growing a little one is a lot of work. Be mindful of your body’s hard work and increased energy and nutritional requirements. Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep in the evening. If your day allows a quick nap, try to take advantage. If not, consider a little rest on the go. Find a quiet space, get into a comfy position, rest your eyelids and take a few deep and calming breaths. I found it really helpful to visualize air flowing towards my baby. Light music can help as well. This is a great way to connect with your little bean on the daily!
Exercise is also so important during pregnancy as it helps to reduce stress, keep your body agile and improves circulation which helps deliver those ever-so-critical nutrients to your growing baby. Generally, light exercise such as walking and pre-natal yoga, are great for everyone and easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. Even a few minutes daily can be beneficial. Please discuss all exercise regimes with your healthcare practitioner prior to beginning.
Eat your beans and your greens
Protein intake is especially important during pregnancy, as it helps with energy production, keeps your immune system healthy and wards off dips in blood sugar – often a contributor to the not-so-lovely “morning sickness” many of us experience. Consider a variety of protein sources to keep things interesting: lean animal sources, legumes, nuts and nut butters, and nutritional shakes are great options. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides important macro minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium and provides an excellent source of antioxidants, which can help protect against high blood pressure, diabetes and even varicose veins.
Keep these 3 basic rules on your radar and check in often. Try your best to keep them up, even after your little babe arrives and life gets really busy!