As all mum's discover, pregnancy can put a huge strain on your body. Ironically, of course, it is during this time that you need to try and stay in the very best of health. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies that any mum-to-be can use to keep themselves fit and healthy right up to childbirth…
The changes that your body goes through can have a significant effect on your level of hydration. For example, morning sickness can lead to significant moisture loss. The water that your growing baby needs also comes from somewhere, and the obvious source is your own body.
Dehydration can have other nasty effects too. It has been known to cause unpleasant headaches, and even contribute to bad breath in pregnancy. Lastly, keeping properly hydrated can also be a very effective way to reduce the incidence of constipation that many mums-to-be suffer from.
Try New Shoes
It’s no secret that your body goes through a wide range of hormonal changes during pregnancy. However not all of them are as obvious as hot flushes or mood swings. Some, are rather more subtle.
Experts claim that the same hormones that relax the pelvic floor can also have an impact on loosening the ligaments of the foot. The result is that many women find their feet grow during pregnancy, sometimes by half a size or more. The change may be even permanent.
Pregnancy therefore isn’t just the best time to swap from heels to flats, but also to try on some slightly larger shoes. Sure, you might not like to admit that your feet have grown, but if you have been affected, a new pair of shoes can add significantly to your comfort levels, as well as your balance as birth gets closer.
While some ladies insist on running marathons while pregnant, even the most lethargic of us can benefit from modest exercise.
The reason is that gentle exercise can help to counteract – or fight against – a range of commonly-experienced health complaints. For example, exercise may help to reduce fluid build-up in your legs and ankles. Flexing your limbs regularly by walking can also help to protect you against the leg cramps that so many of us suffer from.
From that morning coffee to a sneaky cigarette, pregnancy is the perfect time to give up on the artificial stimulants.
Not only does this help to protect your precious growing baby, but it can also reduce feelings of sickness, anxiety and even tiredness later in the day. While such a selfless act requires considerable self-discipline, the results make it well worthwhile.
For best results quit stimulants entirely before conceiving, rather than doing the hard work while pregnant, with everything else going on around you.
Practise Pelvic Floor Exercises
During pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles can come under increasing stress. Taking the time to exercise and flex these muscles on a regular basis can not only make the act of childbirth go more smoothly, but can also reduce the incidence of stress-related incontinence in later stages of your pregnancy.
Watch Your Weight
There can be a big difference between natural “baby weight gain” and fat accumulation thanks to unhealthy eating habits. Monitoring your weight during pregnancy isn’t just for aesthetic reasons – to make it easier to lose that weight gain postpartum - but also to maintain your health and that of your growing baby.
Work hard to enjoy a balanced diet rich in vitamins and essential minerals, as your body will be under more stress than almost any other period if your life. This means that you should enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables, while religiously taking the supplements that your doctor prescribes you.
While late-night snacking might be tempting, it is a good idea to try and consciously limit this activity as much as possible. It goes without saying that snacking can not only lead to unnatural weight gain, but can also impact your oral health at a time when your teeth may be at their weakest.
This is a guest post.