You and your baby are what you eat Good nutrition during pregnancy is vital, for you and your growing baby. A diet rich in protein, vegetables, healthy fats, fresh vegetables and whole grains will go a long way in keeping you both healthy. Fun fact: the amniotic fluid your baby is gulping down in utero is flavoured by the foods you eat! There is research to suggest that taste and scent memories are formed even before birth. This could result in preferences for these foods or odours for a lifetime. In other words, if you eat spinach while you're pregnant, there's a much better chance your baby will like spinach.
Supplement It is recommended to take a good prenatal supplement during pregnancy, containing folic acid and vitamin D (be careful not to take any supplements containing Vitamin A as this can be harmful during pregnancy.) Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects – serious birth defects of the spinal cord (such as spina bifida) and the brain (such as anencephaly).
Don’t wait for aches and pains to get worse Hip pain, pelvic pain, back pain - all are relatively common during pregnancy. The good news is that physiotherapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic adjustment can all really help. NHS waiting lists for physio can be long, however, so don’t wait until things get really bad to go to your GP or midwife.
Meditate like a mother It might sound a bit too “hippy” for some, but there is growing evidence that regular meditation or mindfulness practice has mental and physical health benefits. Finding time to connect with your growing baby and your changing body can be beneficial, not only in enjoying your pregnancy, but also in preparing for a relaxed, positive birth. If you want to get started but don’t know where, there are lots of meditation and mindfulness apps which can make the process easier. Expectfulis designed for pregnant mothers and has a free trial period.
Trust your instincts If you feel that something is wrong with your pregnancy or with your baby, go and get checked as soon as possible. Instinct is a powerful thing. If all is well, getting checked over will put your mind at rest. Don’t be scared that you are wasting time - midwives would rather see you a hundred times with no problem than to not see you at all and potentially miss something wrong.
Talk it out Although pregnancy can be a very happy and exciting time, it can also be a time of uncertainty. Worries about the responsibility of raising a child, money, your relationship, managing your career, how existing children will cope, and housing are all very common, even when a pregnancy is planned. Rather than bottling up these feelings, make time to talk to your partner or a friend about how you are feeling. You may find your partner is having the same worries!
Inform yourself about birthand your birth options A lot of women feel a huge amount of anxiety around the idea of childbirth. I can understand this - we live in a society where birth is presented as an ordeal to be endured. However, taking the time to inform yourself about birth can be very reassuring, as you learn that birth can be empowering and positive, and that you have rights and choices. Want to know more but not sure where to begin? A good place to start is my book, “The Secrets of Birth” which answers all your questions about birth, arms you with the knowledge you need to make informed choices and will fill you with confidence to trust your instincts and take control.