Looking After Yourself And Your Baby During Pregnancy
Whether you're planning for pregnancy or have fallen pregnant, diet, exercise, and wellbeing are central to healthy, happy development. Get ready to be bombarded with information, whether from family and friends or internet cookies following you around the web. The trick to deciphering it all is reminding yourself that every pregnancy is unique. Listen to your body; it knows what you need better than any search result, and only take on board positive content that prepares rather than scares.
With that in mind, we're going to focus on the things you can do – rather than those you can't – fuelling confident pregnancy experiences all-round.
Becoming the queen of snacks
Pregnancy is measured in three stages: first, second and third trimester. Many women cannot stomach as much food during the first trimester, with surging hormones causing nausea and sickness. Managing this can be tricky – both Mother and baby need enough food to develop – but that's hard when random smells trigger a run to the toilet. To alleviate this, consider a little and often approach to meals. Moving into the second and third trimester, this approach makes even more sense, as the growing bump takes room away from the stomach, making it harder to physically fit big meals in.
Little and often might look like this: A light breakfast, lunch, and dinner, interspersed with healthy snacks to keep energy up. By snacks, we suggest grabbing humous, guacamole, fruit, carrot sticks, Greek yoghurt, seeds, or nuts, to name just a few. Making a personalised trail mix is a great way to get all the good stuff exactly as you like it, so why not have some fun making your own recipe. Need some inspiration? Here's our trail mix template:
Combine a few of these in a tasty combo:
- Nuts, e.g., pistachios, pecans, walnuts, almonds
- Seeds, e.g., sunflower, sesame, flax, pumpkin
- Dried fruit, e.g., banana, cranberries, cherries, mango, dates
- Grains, e.g., granola, toasted oats, puffed rice, popcorn
- Fun bits, e.g., cacao nibs, dark chocolate, coconut
- Spice it up, e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, chilli powder
Alcohol-free isn't a drag anymore
From the moment a pregnancy test shows positive, it's time to wave goodbye to alcohol. While research suggests you can have a small amount, we wonder 'why bother' when so many tasty alternatives are available. More people, even outside of pregnancy, are choosing to go teetotal, and as the trend takes hold, the variety and quality of alcohol-free drink increases. Numerous alcohol-free spirits, wines, and beers quench the thirst for something special, most tasting the same if not better than their alcoholic predecessors. Taste without negative health implications or hangover – win, win, right? Not only that, the range of traditional soft drinks is expanding beyond sugary coke and lemonade, a welcome sight for any teetotaller.
A helping hand from multi-vitamins
Eating a balanced diet is essential during pregnancy but not always possible. After all, we lead busy lives and have intense cravings to contend with, some of which aren't the healthiest ("hello, chocolate digestives"). Nevertheless, pregnancy demands some essential nutrients - like folic acid, which supports the development of the baby's spine, spinal cord, and brain during the early stages. Similarly, vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphate levels, which build a baby's bones, teeth, and muscles. Getting enough of these and everything else a growing bump needs is a challenge purely through diet. But don't worry too much; that's where pregnancy multi-vitamins come in handy.
Pregnancy is a tough job, so a dedicated mix of vitamins and minerals designed for baby growing gives expectant Mum's peace of mind. However, it's worth remembering that taking a pregnancy supplement doesn't mean a poor diet gets the go-ahead; they should be treated as a top-up, supporting dietary areas that might be lacking.
So, what should every good pregnancy multi-vitamin contain? Here are a few nutrients to look out for and how the baby uses them:
- Folic acid and folate – development of the spine, spinal cord, and brain
- Vitamin D - regulates levels of calcium and phosphate
- Vitamin C – supports Mum and baby in immunity, repair, and iron absorption
- Iron – supports Mum and baby's blood health
- Calcium – strengthens bones and teeth
- DHA – development of the eyes and brain
- Iodine – development of the brain
There's a lot of information about what women shouldn't do during pregnancy – and anyone expecting should educate themselves on those facts. Growing a baby is an impressive natural process; however, there are loads of tasty, healthy tricks to make the journey easier. Good diet, light exercise, and self-care are the best tools expectant Mums have and getting those right should result in a beautiful bundle of joy.