Pregnancy can be a stressful time for a number of reasons. I won’t delve into the details here, every pregnancy is unique and unfortunately some are tougher than others. As a pregnant mother, it can be so easy to overthink what’s going on inside of you and worry about all the uncertainties that might lie ahead. Because of this, a mother’s self-care during pregnancy is extremely important, both for her sake and the sake of her baby.
Like most things, self-care means something different to everybody. I like to think of it through the lens of ‘mind, body and soul’. Is it nourishing any of these, and not hindering the others? Then it’s self-care.
Here are a few things I found useful (in no particular order):
(Disclaimer: These are personal things that I found useful, I am in no way claiming that every pregnant woman would find these things useful…except for that pregnancy pillow. That sh*t’s golden.)
As I said before, overthinking during pregnancy is ridiculously easy. There’s so much information out there that it can easily overwhelm any mum-to-be. I steered away from the extremely detailed, information-heavy books, towards lighter, easier reads about what was going on inside me. I also found journalling really therapeutic. I could write down my emotions and thoughts at each stage of the pregnancy – even those I didn’t want to say out loud. I’ve since re-read my journal and it’s amazing to see the amazing changes that took place in nine months. Here are a few books I found helpful:
The most visible changes during pregnancy are the physical ones. Again, every pregnant woman is different, as is every pregnant body. My pregnancy was relatively smooth, though I did suffer from severe lower back pain and very swollen feet. Here are some things I found helpful:
- Bio-Oil – I used this DAILY from the start of the second trimester. It helps moisturise your skin and prepares it for aaaall the stretching.
- The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Spray – My third trimester spanned the summer months and my feet were balloons for the majority of it. This spray, and buckets of ice water, helped.
- Birkenstocks – Hate them or love them they are the perfect 3rd trimester summer shoe. With a buckle you can release if necessary (read: when necessary) I wore my pairs for a solid 4 months.
- Nivea Protect & Moisture SPF 50+ Sunblock – Even if you’re pregnant during the winter months, a pregnant woman’s skin is more prone to hyper-pigmentation. I kept one of these handy at all times and never left the house without applying it.
- Reusable Water Bottle – Hydration is important even when you don’t have a bun in the oven. I’ve been using this bottle since it was gifted to me a number of years ago and I found it extremely handy during my pregnancy. Yes, you will need to pee ALL of the time, but it’s for a good cause in many more ways than one (think hydrating your tired skin and saving the planet)!
- Yoga Ball – This really helped with the intense lower back pain that the third trimester brought with it.
- Pregnancy Pillow – My hero. An extension of my body. This was a life-saver during the ‘my-bump-is-throwing-my-centre-of-gravity-off-and-nothing-is-comfortable-anymore’ phase. (I also used it when nursing Kate during the early days!)
Pregnancies, specifically first-time ones, are an emotional rollercoaster. They’re filled with moments of excitement, fear, joy and anxiety. You often find yourself wanting to prepare for something you feel you can’t really prepare for. You’re changing in so many ways, and much of that is out of your control. You’re no longer the ‘you’ you’ve always known. You’re now two people moving around as one. It really is mind-boggling. I personally found it helpful to dedicate some time and energy to calming my soul and focusing on the bigger picture. The following things helped me utilise the nine months to do just that. (Note: I am a practising Catholic…so some of these are Catholic resources.)
- A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy
- Fear Free Childbirth (Podcast) on Spotify
- A Journey Through Pregnancy (Bible Plan) on The Bible App
- Beautiful Pregnancy (Bible Plan) on The Bible App
BONUS: In addition to all these, I’d also recommend three things that are sometimes hard to do when pregnant but that are worth the effort and satisfy the ‘Mind, Body, Soul’ criteria:
- A healthy, varied diet (I promise you I tried to do this, even though I couldn’t look at, let alone eat, any vegetables till my 3rd trimester).
- Some form of exercise (I promise you, I tried to do this, even though on most days my swollen feet made it hard to walk).
- As much rest as you can get (I promise you, I REALLY TRIED TO DO THIS…my love and appreciation for my pregnancy pillow is deep and real…but trying to sleep soundly in that third trimester should qualify as an olympic sport).
That’s all folks!