No, not a nursery, cute baby clothes or shelves of matching blue and pink toys. While there’s nothing wrong with stocking up on these, your baby doesn’t care. The frills are all for you.
So what does your baby care about?
A well nourished body
this seems understood, but is so easily forgotten. Your baby can’t grow well unless the mother-ship is well stocked. Remember to treat yourself to locally grown, home-cooked produce. Stay as natural as possible. A good rule of thumb is to avoid packaged foods with an extended expiry date. Go regularly to your gynaecologist and have your levels tested. You require added Vitamin B 12, Folic acid, Iron and Calcium, among others, and may need supplements.
Beware not to overeat. The old wives’ saying of- “Eat for two”, will get you into trouble! Do this and you’ll be a rolling drum of lard in no time. The desired amount of weight one should put on during a normal pregnancy is 10-15 kgs. Studies prove that excess weight gain is linked to ill-health for the mother and childhood obesity for the baby.
Time Tested Tips: It is only in the last trimester that the quantity of food intake must be upped by about 200 calories a day- that’s a cup of yogurt with 6 almonds or 2 bananas or an egg.
When severe reflux and burning trouble the last months of your pregnancy, simply munch on a few almonds allowing them to remain in your mouth longer than usual. The alkalinity takes away the burning.
Toned and flexible muscles
This is something I cannot stress enough. Being pregnant is just that. It is NOT being sick. So stick to your exercise schedule if you already had one before. If not, now is not the time to start running marathons. Well planned stretches, yoga and any other non-contact sport is perfectly suited to keeping your muscles pliable and well-oiled! A well exercised body is much better equipped to go through the demands of labour than that of a couch potato. Getting back into shape is also much faster and stretch marks are barely a concern. To keep in mind post-pregnancy, is the marvel of breast-feeding. Without getting into what a wonder food it is for the baby, breast feeding releases oxytocin- a hormone that easily brings your body back into pre-preggie shape with minimal effort. So keep that milk pumping! 😉
Time Tested Tip: Kegel exercise your pelvic muscles. These are easy to do and go a long way in protecting those vulnerable muscles. Simply imagine trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. These movements contract the muscles of the pelvic floor. While exercising, try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles. Repeat multiple times a day.
Oxytocin is also called the cuddle hormone. The time you spend hugging and nestling in with your baby, amazingly also gives you a fitter body.
A happy mind
Your growing baby and you are connected much more deeply than just through the umbilical cord. You are one unit. Did you know your baby’s taste buds already get prepped with the food you eat during pregnancy? How much more then do your emotions play on your child? Guaranteed it is no easy task to stay happy. Pregnancy hormones make you feel like an alien in your own body, you might be throwing up constantly and the mood barometer is probably swinging like crazy. Even so, remind yourself of the miracle taking shape within you. Expose yourself to more nature time and less screen time. That means, more sunsets, walks, one on one time with loved ones and less facebook, whatsapp or you tube.
Time Tested Tip: Slow down your schedule as your due date approaches. Reduce appointments and stressful events. Only then can your relaxed body ease itself into the process of labour. This is why most of the time contractions begin in the night or at a time when the body is calm and at rest.