Oh, Baby! Make Time for You — 6 Ideas for Self-Care During Pregnancy

Your fam­i­ly and friends keep say­ing the same thing: You have that preg­nan­cy glow.” You’re feel­ing it, too — you can’t wait to bring your newest fam­i­ly mem­ber into the world.

But along with the joy and excite­ment that comes with preg­nan­cy, there are also some things that aren’t quite so enjoy­able. From stress to mus­cle aches to mood swings, being preg­nant can take a toll on both your phys­i­cal and men­tal health.

Tak­ing time for self-care when you’re preg­nant is one of the best ways to keep your health and your baby’s health in check.

Here are 6 ideas for self-care dur­ing pregnancy:

1. The Basics: Eat Well, Stay Active, Get Sleep

These are the things you’ve heard many times before: eat­ing a nutri­tious diet, exer­cis­ing (in most cas­es)*, and get­ting enough sleep are crit­i­cal dur­ing preg­nan­cy when it comes to help­ing your baby devel­op and for keep­ing you both healthy.

But the ben­e­fits don’t stop there — diet, phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, and sleep are also great ways to prac­tice self-care (whether or not you’re preg­nant). A healthy diet along with the right amount of exer­cise and sleep can lead to:

*Always talk to your provider about exer­cis­ing while preg­nant. There are med­ical con­di­tions like severe ane­mia or cer­tain heart and lung dis­eases that can make cer­tain types of exer­cise risky dur­ing pregnancy.

2. Make a Com­ing-Home Game Plan

Iden­ti­fy­ing the things you will need after giv­ing birth — and cre­at­ing action plans ahead of time — can make those first few weeks at least a lit­tle bit less stressful. 

When some­one says that they will be hap­py to help out or that they will be there for any­thing you need,” don’t take it for grant­ed. Take peo­ple up on their offers to babysit or cook you a meal and line up that help before giv­ing birth.

You can also plan for your self-care. For exam­ple, if you are set on los­ing baby weight as quick­ly (and as safe­ly) as pos­si­ble, talk to your provider about a diet and exer­cise plan before your lit­tle one arrives. 

At the same time, remem­ber that you can’t plan for absolute­ly every­thing. Remind your­self that not every­thing will go as planned, and that that is per­fect­ly okay. 

Look­ing for more ways to take care of your­self dur­ing preg­nan­cy? Your OB/GYN at Duly Health and Care is here to help.

3. Don’t Get Over­whelmed by Advice

Along the same lines, it’s great to lis­ten to advice from oth­er moms, whether it’s about stay­ing healthy dur­ing preg­nan­cy or how to get through the first few post­par­tum weeks. But no two moms are the same, and what works for one woman might not work for you. That’s espe­cial­ly true when it comes to things like diet and exer­cise, so make sure to run advice you get on these sub­jects by your provider, first.

Advice can be help­ful but enter preg­nan­cy and moth­er­hood with an open mind­set. If you don’t fol­low oth­er moms’ advice, don’t let that turn into guilt. Your most impor­tant job is to do what’s best for you and your baby.

4. Take Breaks for Yourself

In addi­tion to plan­ning, you are going to doc­tors’ appoint­ments. You’re still work­ing. You’re man­ag­ing symp­toms like morn­ing sick­ness. Dur­ing a time where relax­ation is key for your well­ness, you may find that you’re busier than ever before.

Suf­fi­cient plan­ning and doc­tors’ appoint­ments are nec­es­sary, but make sure that you’re not neglect­ing your own care. Talk to your part­ner or your loved ones about tak­ing things off your plate. Don’t be afraid to say no to plans and then take that time to be by your­self. If you spend too much time and ener­gy doing things for oth­er peo­ple, or if you’re feel­ing guilty that you can’t do every­thing your­self, you may grow to resent the peo­ple around you. 

5. Get Help for Symptoms

Nau­sea, vom­it­ing, cramps, mus­cle aches, extreme fatigue — it’s not uncom­mon to expe­ri­ence these not-so-pleas­ant symp­toms dur­ing preg­nan­cy. But that doesn’t mean you just need to grin and bear it. 

Your provider may be able to help you get some much need­ed relief. For exam­ple, they can pre­scribe med­ica­tions for severe nau­sea and vom­it­ing that you can’t relieve on your own. 

Don’t feel afraid to advo­cate for your­self. You don’t need to let symp­toms of preg­nan­cy stand in the way of qual­i­ty of life.

Also, there are some symp­toms that you shouldn’t just chalk up to preg­nan­cy, like headaches that won’t go away or extreme swelling in your hands and face (more than the mild swelling that many women expe­ri­ence). You need to take these seri­ous­ly because they could be signs of poten­tial com­pli­ca­tions for you or your baby, like preeclamp­sia or blood clots. 

6. Pam­per Yourself.

Get your nails done. Let some­one put your gro­ceries in your car for you. Take time out for your favorite real­i­ty show. Enjoy a pre­na­tal mas­sage (which can also improve new­born health!). Sit on your couch for 10 min­utes doing absolute­ly noth­ing at all.

What­ev­er pam­per­ing” means to you, go for it. There will be plen­ty of time for unwashed hair and only watch­ing car­toons very soon.

It doesn’t mat­ter how you pam­per your­self, what advice you seek from oth­er moms, or the type of help you line up for after giv­ing birth. As long as you remem­ber to make time for self-care, you’re tak­ing one more step toward keep­ing your­self and your baby healthy dur­ing pregnancy.

Health Topics:

  • I believe in kind and compassionate care. I value taking the time to make sure my patients feel informed and educated. I always strive for shared decision-making to ensure every patient is comfortable with their treatment plan and empowered to achieve their own personal health goals.