Mindfully Preparing for Pregnancy
You’ve made the decision that you’re ready to bring a new baby into your family and now you want to make sure you’re taking the right steps to prepare your body and your mind for this incredible and exciting journey. Where do you begin? Here, we’ve gathered several key resources into one place to help you get started.
Nourish your body well
Because growing a baby is one of the biggest endeavors your body will ever undertake, it’s important to make sure you’re feeding yourself nourishing foods and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Pregnant women should aim to drink about 80 ounces of water per day. And while prenatal vitamins and supplements can help to fill the gaps in your diet, the best source of vitamins and minerals is found in fresh foods, especially fruits, vegetables and foods rich in protein and healthy fats. Our weekly diet checklist is available as a free download here and provides a great starting point to help you make sure your body is getting everything that it needs. For even more detailed information, our 10 Tips for Pregnancy Nutrition is available as a PDF.
While rest is certainly a key part of a healthy pregnancy, so is exercise. Talk with your care provider before beginning a new exercise routine to be safe, but there are many options that are not only safe for pregnancy but incredibly beneficial, such as walking and swimming. Prenatal yoga is an excellent way to strengthen your body and calm your mind, you can read more about the benefits of prenatal yoga here.
Learn (more) about your body
Find a birth and breastfeeding class. Just because birth and breastfeeding are natural doesn’t mean they always come easily. The more you know about your body, your baby, and what you both are capable of, the more you’ll be able to trust your instincts and make the best decision for the wellbeing of both of you. Not only are classes a great way to learn new information, but they are also a perfect opportunity to make connections with other parents who can relate to what you’re experiencing.
Find your team
Your partner, care provider, family, friends and doula (if you choose to hire one) will be invaluable sources of physical and mental support. Our article What is a Birth Team and Do I Need One? will help you to think through who you want to help support and care for you and your baby throughout pregnancy, labor and birth. A list of Questions for Your Care Provider is available as a free download on our website and will help you to learn more about a care provider’s philosophies and practices and the importance of being in sync when it comes to care during pregnancy, labor and birth.
Lower your stress level
We all know that stress can have a profound impact on our bodies. When you’re overly stressed, your body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode and releases the same stress hormones that surge when you are in danger. To help keep stress under control, talk about what you’re feeling with your partner, your doula or a friend or family member. Take a short walk, or even pause for a few deep breaths if you’re short on time. Movement helps to lessen tension, so physical exercise and stretching can help you to feel rejuvenated. This blog about reducing stress during pregnancy provides additional suggestions and ideas.
Jennifer Stutzman, Freelance Writer
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