If you are pregnant, or have been pregnant (as a matter of fact – if you are a woman), it is highly likely that you are aware of the amount of controversy and pressure surrounding pregnant and post-pregnant bodies. The media is laden with photos of celebrity before and afters, even social media dictates what is acceptable via Likes and not acceptable via (often mean) comments.
Each pregnancy is different, as I found out first hand. And every woman is different. Be it you’re the health nut or not, genetics play a huge part in determining our body shapes and the shapes we may become (pregnant or otherwise). I’ve spoken to moms who, during pregnancy, succumbed to their naughty cravings and highly condone indulging; and also those who walk, practice yoga, eat super well and who are determined to go back to their pre-pregnancy size ASAP. There certainly is no right or wrong. After all.. you can still do the latter and have stretch marks or a large baby. You can do the former and have a small baby and no stretch marks. We don’t all have a personal trainer or nutritionist and we can’t cherry pick our genes. But we all have power over our Pregnant Self – we can control the affects of our changing body during this precious time by maintaining it to the best it can possibly become. Chocolate fudge or not!
1. Beauty comes from the inside
This is often in the form of vitamins and healthy eating. Admittedly, I was not an uber fit single woman who lived at the gym and health food shops. I was more “Okay, I will train for this charity run but I will not refuse my midweek cocktails ritual with the girls (which often involved quite a bit of cocktail)!” However I do believe that eating well and taking vitamin supplements contribute to an overall wellbeing. This habit should bide well into to our Pregnant Self. Taking specialised pregnancy supplements in accordance with your doc is a must – your bub will be sucking a lot of energy and goodness out of you and both of you need the extra vitamins and minerals. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet will also benefit both you and bub. Most doctors will give great advice on what to eat to get the most of what but it’s a lot of common sense anyway. It’s okay to have that second slice of mud cake that you’re craving, after all you are pregnant, but perhaps not on a daily basis. Bub does not need the sugar for a myriad of reasons, gestational diabetes being one of them. Healthy mum equals healthy bub (and hopefully grows up a healthy adult)!
2. Keep moving
Not an exercise type of gal? I hear you! Here’s a tip: overcome this mentality by thinking about what you don’t like about exercising and find an exercise that suit you. For me, I did not enjoy being hot and sweaty and detested the outdoors. So I tried yoga and pilates and.. loved it! Both are fabulous for the pregnant mind and body and can ready baby into the right delivery position. If these are not for you, try walking. Any kind of walking.. the mall, outside, around the house.. Basically anything is better than nothing and believe it or not, you will feel energised afterwards. Half an hour of pregnancy pilates 3-5 times a week helped me get back into my favourite pre-baby jeans in no time so I highly recommend it.
3. Pamper yourself
After all that exercise, it’s time to go to the day spa! Find a reputable day spa who specialise in pregnancy massage and go for it! Carrying extra weight around your belly adds pressure to your back. 30-60 minutes of gentle massage will soothe and encourage blood flow. Don’t forget to get a pedicure while you’re there!
It’s easy to look after your Pregnant Self at home too – light a candle, put on a face mask and soak in the tub for as long as you want! Once or twice a week, exfoliate your body with a good scrub or exfoliating gloves. Concentrate on your tummy, hips and thighs to encourage cell renewal around these areas that will stretch as your pregnancy progresses. Work in a circular motion and be gentle! After each shower, oil up with either Kora’s Rosehip Oil or Bio-Oil, both have been proven amazing for preventing stretch marks.
Try not to stress or dwell on things that you cannot control. My second pregnancy is proving to be a lot different to my first and it was easy to dwell on the pros of my first pregnancy. But I’ve found ways of enjoying the second pregnancy in different ways – for example, I’m allowing myself to have a cup of tea once a day.. it’s not a major faux pas and the doc gave me the OK. It’s fabulous what a short tea break can do!
Most of all, enjoy this moment – you’re creating a life inside of you. Nothing is more amazing than that. This may be an old wives’ tale but I strongly believe that the calmer you are, the more calm your baby is and will be. Go and light that candle!