Nutrition, exercise, kegels, avoiding morning sickness, hydration, your thoughts – there are many things that help to make for a healthy pregnancy. I learned the following information from my midwife during pregnancy, and I want to share it with every pregnant woman in the world.
Kegels. 200 of them a day in fact. Yes, do them now and do them all the time. If you don’t know what they are, it’s basically vaginal weightlifting. You find the muscle group by tightening the muscles you would use to stop peeing in mid-stream. Just tighten, hold, and release about 20 times. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles now, you will stretch and avoid tearing during delivery. Strong muscles stretch. Weak muscles tear. When you’re not pregnant, keep doing kegels and you’ll always be sure to have rockin’ good sex. And do you expect to still be continent as an old woman? Depends. Depends on whether or not you’ve done kegels all of your life.
Exercise almost everyday. Walking is crucial. Swimming is awesome. Yoga is sublime. You need to be in really good shape when you give birth. The main reason for transport to the hospital during a homebirth is exhaustion. Your legs, arms, and core muscles need to be strong so you can endure hours of contractions and squats. If you can’t or don’t want to swim regularly during your pregnancy, then you need to be doing the tabletop pose for 20 minutes every day for the last trimester. Just get down on your hands and knees, belly down, and wiggle. This is important because the baby’s spine needs to come around to the front of your body. Ideal birth position is head down, and spine out in front (anterior). The spine is the heavy part of the baby and gravity is our friend. And the flip side – don’t lie on your back on the couch. It has the opposite effect of swimming and tabletop pose. It puts the baby’s spine beside your spine and that’s not a fun way to give birth. It’s called “back labor.” The baby’s hard bony parts are against your hard bony parts in the birth canal and it’s harder and more painful for both of you. When lying around, lie on your side, and preferably the left side as it increases blood flow to the placenta.
Don’t run. Your ligaments and connective tissue are being softened by a hormone called relaxin when you are pregnant. It allows your pelvis to open up and give birth. If you run or do any high-impact exercise when you’re pregnant, you risk of messing up your joints. Even yoga should be done with care, preferably in a prenatal yoga class. You can easily over-stretch when you’re pregnant.
Drink a gallon of water a day. This keeps your baby’s amniotic fluid, as well as your liver and kidneys, as flushed as possible. The amniotic fluid where your baby swims around is also where he pees and drinks. If you are well hydrated, then so is your child. Also, you are eliminating for two (not just eating for two). You’ll know this by the intense flatulence that sometimes accompanies pregnancy, and you can blame it on the baby. But seriously, by being well hydrated, you will encourage the healthy elimination of toxins and both of your wastes via your liver, kidneys, intestines, and skin. As an aside, drink the majority of this gallon early in the day. If you’re trying to get it in just before bed, you’ll pay for it with numerous trips to the potty while you’d much rather be sleeping.
Take your prenatal vitamins and minerals. I feel like everyone knows this, but it must be included in any chapter such as this. Folic acid is crucial to the proper neurological development of a fetus. Calcium and other minerals are fundamental as well. If you aren’t consuming enough calcium, the baby’s developing system will leach it from your bones. Both of you need it. Omega 3,6,9 is the other supplement that insures healthy brain development. Some people swear that fish oil makes your baby smarter. A fabulous way to get a big, natural dose of good stuff everyday is to have a smoothie for breakfast.
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup Almond Milk *
1 scoop Protein Powder *
1 scoop Green Vibrance * or other “green food” powder
1 organic frozen chopped banana**
1 cup organic frozen fruit
1 tsp. Ground flax seeds *
1 T. organic coconut oil * (super health food!)
Blend until smooth. Drink for your health!
* – items that can be found at your local health food store.
** If you haven’t previously peeled, broken, and frozen any bananas, you can add a cup of ice and a regular banana to get the same effect. However, frozen bananas make for a great consistency. Toddlers love them too!
You also need to have snacks with you at all times. A significant drop in blood sugar, also known as “morning sickness,” can happen at any time of the day. The reason it usually happens in the morning is because right when you wake up you usually haven’t eaten in eight hours. To keep it at bay, eat protein right before you go to bed, and eat something highly nutritious when you wake up to pee at night. I have done this religiously this second time around, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better it has been. Have a turkey sandwich in the fridge at all times and a protein bar in your nightstand. Right when you wake up, eat some yogurt or something else that’s easy and then go make breakfast. When you’re pregnant, you need to eat something nutritious every two hours or so, to keep from having a blood sugar crash that makes you want to wretch. There are lots of really nutritious, good bars out there these days. Lara Bars have no refined sugar. Kind and Luna bars are also good. Protein bars might become your best friend. Just EAT!
Make sure that your relationships are healthy. If you and your partner are fighting, it’s time to get some counseling. If you’re depressed, ditto. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health when it comes to the development of your child.
Be sure that you’re flossing your gums everyday. The bacteria beneath the gum line has been linked to heart disease and other ailments. There’s no telling what that nasty stuff could be doing to your developing child.
Turn off the news or anything else that’s scary or negative. If you get worried or afraid, you produce neurotransmitters associated with these feelings. These icky chemicals circulate into your baby and then she feels worry and fear for no reason. You need to feel good. You live in the most affluent society ever in the history of mankind. There is plenty for everyone. Live a life of gratitude and joy. If you listen to crap then you’ll attract crap. Keep all of the music, TV, movies, people and energy in your life positive. If you haven’t owed it to yourself yet, you at least owe it to the little innocent within you. A person’s personality begins in the womb.
Here’s a rule to live by when you’re pregnant: Don’t just stand there when you can sit. Don’t just sit when you can lie down, and don’t just lie down when you can sleep