A Healthy Pregnancy

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While I do realize that pregnancy is not the same for everyone and we all have genetics and many other circumstances to deal with that effect this time in our lives….I do think that for the majority of women there are a lot of things WE CAN DO to make this time more comfortable.

I know that with my first pregnancy I had a hard time just letting my body do its job and giving it what it needed (Yes, you may use the term Control Freak here). I read and researched and asked questions, and looking back now I wish I had just listened to my body!

Fortunately with my second child I had learned a bit more about myself by then and started realizing the cause and effect experiences I was having. Now every one of my pregnancies has been different and I can’t say that I’ve reached a “Zen” state of being with pregnancy, it has never been one of the easier moments in my life. BUT, I can say that I have (finally) started putting two things at the top of my priority list and that has made all the difference.

Firstly, I put my Heavenly Father first. Now, I strive to always do this but unfortunately when times of stress come into my life I tend to not FOCUS on Him but rather my problems. Of course, this is detrimental not only to my state of mind but also to my health. I have found when I put Him first, start my day with a conversation with Him and even talk to Him about issues I have not found solutions for…..then I start to find my health. This does not mean that everything is sweetness and light and clearly I am normal and have good days and bad days…..BUT overall things run smoother and I have more insights to what I CAN DO to improve the situation.

Secondly, I put myself next. This does not mean that I try to be selfish or self-centered, but as I think we moms have a tendency to do….our needs come last….and this is just not healthy. This is one I have a hard time with, I love my family, I want to help them, I want to serve them….but even if I think about it logically….if I’m taking care that my health is at its optimum (or what is the optimal level possible under the circumstances) than I am also doing them a service because they get the BEST of what I have to offer, not the leftovers. I seem to do this better when I’m pregnant because I can say “I’m taking care of the baby.” and then my inner guilt-struggle subsides a bit. I hope to one day not have to give an excuse to put my health first but this life is a process, isn’t it? May I share a few of the things I have found to be most important, in terms of health, in dealing with pregnancy?

1. Rest

Why do people find it so hard to allow ourselves time to rest?  We may never find the answer to this question, but I can tell you that rest is an absolutely essential part of a healthy pregnancy.  In general, the medical profession suggests that the average person get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. However, I feel that in times of stress and when your body is doing something as strenuous as growing a baby that we need to listen to our body. I find for myself that during the first trimester I generally need 10-12 hours of sleep and after that AT LEAST 8 hours to feel like I’m rested. When I do accomplish this I feel more alert and better able to deal with everyday stresses as well as having less discomfort and nausea. I have also found that aside from sleep,  my body works better and I have less discomfort when I sit down (and preferably raise my feet) at intervals during the day. Optimally if I can do this 3 times during the day for at least 15 minutes I have a much better day. I use these breaks to catch up on computer work or read to my children.

2. Water

It seems like a no-brainer that your body would need more water and I’m sure many of you are better at it than I, but I just plain forget to drink water throughout the day! The funny thing is that the last thing I want to do when I’m nauseous is to drink something but at the same time it is what helps with the nausea the most. I also have less acid and other unpleasant gaseous issues when I’m drinking enough water. We’ve heard the “8 glasses a day” suggestion but as with sleep, my needs are amplified during pregnancy to what I would estimate to be 10-12 glasses a day.

3. Exercise

I don’t know about you but this is the last thing I want to do when I’m pregnant. I generally enjoy exercise and strive to make it a daily part of my routine but I struggle with it during pregnancy, especially the first 20-25 weeks when my nausea is at its worst. However, I can also tell you the HUGE difference in daily discomfort levels as well as labor and delivery experiences with the pregnancies that I’ve had regular daily exercise for the majority of the time; as opposed to the pregnancies I’ve been more negligent. Our bodies just work better when we exercise daily.

4. Nutrition

Yes, it’s a broad subject and one that I could go into for hours but I’ll share the basics of what I’ve found to be the most helpful. Protein is always essential but I’ve found that it a huge ally in the battle against nausea as well as keeping energy levels up. Again, I augment my intake during pregnancy…I tend to not be a huge animal product consumer but during pregnancy I consume at least double the amount of protein and about 3 times more animal products than I would at other times. I have also found that simple carbs, high GI foods and especially processed foods and sugars increase nausea and overall feelings of UN-wellness so I try to avoid those as much as possible.

I hope that you can find some information that is helpful for you here. Most of all I hope that you will remember to listen to the guidance of the spirit and your body. They are truly the best sources of help in all circumstance, and most especially during this miraculous time of pregnancy.

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