During pregnancy, every woman experiences many body changes. As an expectant mother, you will gain weight, your breasts will grow, your skin will change and you back may even hurt. However, despite all these changes, you can still feel and look beautiful while pregnant. Below are tips on how to take care of yourself during pregnancy.
1. Proper weight
It’s normal to gain weight during pregnancy. However, too much weight gain can lead to health disorders such as poor circulation, back pain and stretch marks. This means you have to control your weight gain and ensure it remains at sensible levels. You can find out your ideal weight with the help of BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator.
2. Proper diet
A pregnant lady requires between 2000 to 2500Kcals each day. This should be spread over the 4 daily meals; breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. You need vitamins such as vitamin C found in green vegetables and citrus fruits, vitamin A found in foods like tomatoes and carrots and finally vitamin B found in whole grains, eggs and milk.
Make sure your diet includes iron; many women have suffered from iron deficiency and it’s therefore important that you eat fish, red meat, spinach and lentils.
For the formation of your baby’s skeleton, try to consume a variety of dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and milk. Also make sure to drink plenty of water every day; between 1.5 and two litres.
3. Stay relaxed and get enough sleep
Go to bed early. If you are working, give yourself time to rest over the weekend. While sleeping, sleep on your left side, straightening out the leg under the weight of your body and bending the other over it. Get someone to do your chores, get pregnancy yoga lessons or try to catch up with friends and family to help you relax. Try to do some fun activities like watching a movie or even pregnancy photography to help you remember your maternity period.
The top 4 ideal exercise for pregnant women are walking, pregnancy yoga, swimming and walking. Exercise is highly recommended to strengthen your joints, stimulate breathing, improve circulation in the legs and also help your body cope with labour. Sports such as horse riding, cycling and skiing should be avoided since they put you at a risk of falling.
5. Avoid stretch marks
8 in every 10 women are affected by stretch marks during pregnancy. Stretch marks are cause by rapid weight gain. To avoid them, keep your skin moisturized and stay away from sun. Also avoid running, jumping, knocking or bumping into things, this will only encourage stretch marks.
6. Right posture
During pregnancy, you will notice that the centre of gravity has changed. Avoid heels; go for shoes that support your feet. While crouching down, sit your bum on the heels and keep your back straight. When getting out of bed, move onto the side, cross your upper leg over the lower one and then use your hands to sit up. Avoid bending from the middle when picking objects from the floor.
7. Linea nigra
During your second trimester, a dark vertical brown line may appear. This line is referred to as linea nigra and is common in most pregnant women. The line can either be faint or extremely dark; it crosses your stomach vertically down to your pubic bone. This line disappears completely after your child is born.
8. Take care of your breasts
One of the first changes women experiences during pregnancy is in breasts. The breasts may become sore, swelling, stretch marks and discharge from nipples may also be experienced.
Moisturize your breast using a good stretch mark cream. Gently massage the breasts to activate circulation. Avoid your nipples since they may get infections. A blast of cold water can help revive blood flow and also relieve heaviness. Wear the appropriate bra without the under wiring and avoid exposure to sun.
9. Take good care of your skin
Spots, melasma, blackheads and excess oil are common in many pregnant women’s skin. Talk to a pharmacist before you purchase any beauty product. Stick to the organic beauty products since harsh chemicals can affect your baby. Wash your face daily and gently exfoliate your skin every two weeks to eliminate the dead skin cells.
Waxing is okay for a pregnant woman. You can ask your partner of friend to wax your legs and when you give birth, you can request the midwife to shave your pubic hair.
Sue is a passionate blogger and works as a photographer specialising in pregnancy photography.