pregnant women sat reading book and holding cup
Louise Broadbridge
Louise Broadbridge

Self care tips for mums to be

Self care should be part of everyone’s daily routine but when you’re expecting a baby, it’s particularly important that you look after yourself.

Pregnancy is an ideal time to ditch the vices and swap them for good habits which will help support both you and your baby’s health.

Take time to rest

If you’re someone who is normally always on the go, make a conscious effort to take time out and rest when you need to. Remember that your body is already busy growing a baby so take it easy and don’t push yourself too hard.

If you feel tired, rest and prioritise getting a good night’s sleep. Standing for a long time in late pregnancy can increase the likelihood that you will end up with swollen ankles and varicose veins so sit down when you can and put your feet up.

If you do a job that means you have to be on your feet for long periods, talk to your employer about any adjustments that can be made as your pregnancy progresses.

Your pregnancy is also a great time to relax and spend some quality time with your partner before your baby arrives. Your newborn will change your lives completely, especially if they are your first child, so make an effort to do things you enjoy which might be more challenging once your little one arrives.

Avoid lifting anything heavy

Pregnancy hormones make your joints looser and as your bump grows, your centre of gravity shifts making it harder for you to keep your balance. This can make you more likely to injure yourself if you lift anything heavy.

Straining to lift something can cause issues with your back, pelvis and pelvic floor so try to avoid picking anything heavy up. If your job involves lifting, ask your employer to carry out a risk assessment to keep you safe.

When you do need to lift anything, bend your knees instead of your back to protect yourself from injury.

Enjoy low impact exercise

Rest is important but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay active during your pregnancy. Build some low impact exercise into your routine – going for a walk, swimming or taking part in pregnancy yoga are all great ways to keep moving and stay healthy. Exercise is great for your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health as it will give you a burst of endorphins, hormones which help you feel happy and less stressed.

Staying active can also help build your stamina ready for labour and make it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep.

Eat a balanced diet

Your body needs a good range of vitamins and minerals to not only support itself but help your baby to grow and develop. Taking a multivitamin designed for pregnancy is a good idea but it should be in addition to eating healthily rather than instead of.

Include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet and try to eat a rainbow of colours. So instead of just eating your greens, choose yellows, reds and purples too.

You may also feel more comfortable eating little and often rather than sticking to three larger meals each day. And remember, while you shouldn’t eat a restrictive diet, you don’t actually need to eat for two.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is more important than ever during pregnancy as dehydration can be dangerous for both you and your baby. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and avoid caffeinated beverages.

Keep a water bottle handy to remind you to drink plenty throughout the day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty as thirst is a sign that your body is already dehydrated.

Ask questions

If there is anything which is concerning you about your pregnancy, speak to your midwife. Expecting a baby can be an anxious and stressful time so don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have. Make a note of anything you want to ask about so you remember to bring it up at your next appointment.

You may also find it helpful to share any fears you might have with your partner and loved ones. Having a support network is important for your mental wellbeing so accept any help which is offered and make time for the people who care about you.

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