Firstly, congratulations on being pregnant! It is a very exciting time for you and your partner. For some women pregnancy is a lovely time where they spend the whole nine months in a euphoric state. For the rest of us… it's hard! Here are some tips to try to make the most of the experience.
- Rest and relax.
You will get tired. Take a nap when you need to, take long baths, get a pregnancy massage. Stress is not helpful for anyone. Also, massage your bump with oil, it helps with the tightness and itch and may reduce stretch marks. Your partner could also help and start building their bond with the bump.
- Join a pregnancy yoga class.
The relaxation and breathing techniques learned in class not only help during the pregnancy but can play a role during labour. Having a calm place to draw on can help if you are planning a natural labour.
- Keep an open mind.
The baby is going to come, and you need to prepare yourself for all the outcomes. You may have preconceived ideas about your labour. As the labour progresses, you may feel things you don't expect, and that's ok. It's important to stay calm and put your trust in your support team. You may have the following in your support team, partner, doula, midwife, or obstetrician. Everyone present is there to help you and your baby.
- Keep positive.
I believe it is a national sport to scare mothers to be. As soon as the wider community finds out you are pregnant, everyone has something to say. Whether it's your crazy aunty or the waitress at the local café, no one can keep their story to themselves. It is best to stop listening to these people, smile, and nod. Everyone's experience is different, and it seems only the bad experiences get shared.
- Second pregnancies.
It’s harder second time around. You don't have the same time to take a break or rest. Toddlers don't allow for that. If they still nap, take a nap while they do. Give yourself a break. Not doing the housework will not make the world crumble!
- Listen to your body.
Don't ignore that niggle in your back or hip. You need to be as comfortable as possible going into labour. Find your local osteopath and connect with them. Back and pelvic pain is common in pregnancy. Consider treatment with manual medicine such as osteopathy.
- Gentle exercise.
There is always debate around how much exercise to do when you are pregnant. Largely the answer depends on how fit you were beforehand. Were you exercising regularly? Now is probably not a good idea to take up running if you have never done it before. Before starting any new exercise programs during pregnancy discuss your individual risks with your midwife or obstetrician. Swimming, walking, Pilates or yoga are often good places to start.
- Dry biscuits.
For those suffering the dreaded morning sickness (or all day sickness as it is for many), never leave the house without dry biscuits. If you morning sickness is more than constant nausea or the occasional vomit, consult with your treating doctor. Excessive vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum) needs to be treated to avoid chronic dehydration.
Written by Dr Lisa Agnew, Registered Osteopath, Alliance Health Clinics Mitcham
Lisa is a mother of two and has a keen interest in assisting women in pregnancy. She enjoys giving lifestyle and ergonomic advice, discussing your impending labour and your options, as well as using manual medicine to alleviate your pregnancy aches and pains.