February is internationally renowned as the month of love. How better to celebrate this than by promoting awareness, rights, tips, and tricks around the topic of pregnancy and the bond between a mother and her unborn child? The Department of Health does exactly that; pregnancy awareness week (12 -16 February 2018) commemorates the education of women and the general public about pregnancy and infant health. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or you’re already a “seasoned professional”, additional tips, tricks and pregnancy hacks are always welcome. Take a look at some things that might not be your first thought when it comes to pregnancy tips:
Pregnancy is a sacred time, so take time for yourself, too! Once the baby is born, sleepless nights, rushed mornings and very little you-time will be your daily routine. Relaxing and de-stressing during the pregnancy is good for the both of you. Taking a walk in the park, spending time with friends or having a pamper session at the spa sound like perfect mom-to-be treats! Before you start your pamper time at the spa, check what essential oils your massage therapist is using – certain oils like rosemary or clary sage can lead to uterine contractions.
Pregnancy is also the perfect excuse to shop for shoes. As your baby bump grows, so do your feet. Or rather, it feels as though they are growing. As you gain natural pregnancy weight, your centre of gravity shifts and extra pressure is put on the feet. This can lead to your feet flattening a bit. Fluid retention is another common cause for the feet swelling. So go out, treat yourself to a new pair (or three) of shoes. Go up a size if you need to – the added comfort and support alleviate the pain and discomfort of swollen feet.
Staying healthy during your pregnancy is vital for you and your baby. A good place to kick off a healthy pregnant lifestyle is with your diet. Most doctors recommend that pregnant women steer clear of caffeine. To get your daily recharge kick, try eating fruit instead. The natural sugars in fruits such as bananas or apples help to lift energy levels.
Studies have shown that eating 2 – 3 servings of fish per week during pregnancy has a positive effect on the child’s IQ, motor, and communication skills. Scientists link this to the Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish, a nutrient critical to brain development. There is a catch to eating fish, though: some fish contains mercury, a substance that can be toxic to both you and the baby. Focus your fish-eating on fish such as canned tuna, shrimp, salmon, pollock, tilapia and cod. These fish contain minimal or no mercury at all.
And what about the cravings? Some experts maintain that pregnancy cravings are the body’s way of indicating which nutrients it needs, others claim that the pregnancy cravings are linked to emotions. As long as you’re eating healthily, giving in to a craving of ice cream with chocolate chips and whipped cream isn’t a bad thing – just limit your portion sizes. A few cravings you should try your best not give in to include raw or undercooked meat and eggs, unpasteurized cheeses like feta or brie and raw sprouts.
TAKE A STEP BACK
As a mom (or a mom-to-be) you know that chores form a huge part of your daily life. When you’re pregnant, you should re-evaluate doing chores. Seemingly menial and harmless tasks like scrubbing the bathtub or picking up after your pets can be risky when you’re pregnant. Set aside the risk of physical harm: chemicals and toxins from cleaning materials can be harmful to you and your baby. Some of the things to take off you to-do list include
- heavy lifting,
- using harsh cleaning solutions and chemicals,
- standing for long periods of time, especially near a hot stove, and
- climbing stepladders, stools or anything else that could lead to a fall.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Many women feel that calling their doctor for “every little thing” makes them a burden. Whilst you might not want to call the doctor when you have a craving for peanut butter and ice cream, calling the doctor when you show more serious symptoms certainly doesn’t make you a nuisance. These symptoms include:
- decreased baby activity,
- pains or strong cramps of any kind,
- dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath,
- constant nausea and vomiting,
- heart palpitations,
- vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluids,
- trouble walking and swollen joints.
During your pregnancy, health and safety come first. Do not hesitate to seek out your doctor if you’re feeling unsure about anything.
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