pregnancy pointers for healthy mamas

This info is for all the soon-to-be-mama's.

I have had a lot of questions about how I prepared for pregnancy, stayed healthy through pregnancy and "bounced-back" after the birth of Miss S. So here are some resources all in one place.

It is what I believe helped me along the way. I had a really great pregnancy and although I know we all have very different experiences I am confident that all of the nutrition and lifestyle improvements that I adapted had a big impact. 

You can read a bit more about how I prepared for pregnancy HERE:

  • Nourishing food: This goes without saying. The food that you put in your mouth is building your sweet little babe. I focused on drinking lots of pure water, fruits, veggies, protein {plant and animal}, healthy fats, whole grains, smoothies, juices and various superfoods to provide myself and my baby with what we needed. Of course I had the odd "cheat" food but this was very much in moderation. There is no need to eat for two friends. I gained a healthy 30 lbs for my body type and found it easy to recover after birth.
  • Choose an all-star support team: All of the work that I did with my Naturopathic Doctor in the couple years leading up to me getting pregnant was not only educational but I felt really great throughout my pregnancy and really appreciated her guidance. I would suggest finding a great ND that you connect with to your health and wellness team. Ask for referrals and book a consultation to make sure you are suited for one another. I also chose to work with my local Midwives which was one of the best decisions my husband and I made. Whatever health professionals you choose I hope that you can find ones that will support your birthing wishes, that you connect with, that will answer your questions and make time for you. It is such an important process and I believe that having the right support team around you ensures you better enjoy your experience and are best prepared for your delivery.
  • Movement: Regular workouts and yoga was my savour during pregnancy. I made time for both as much as I could and I really believe this helped my body to adapt to the changes that happened during pregnancy. I also believe it gave me endurance during labour and helped my body to heal. I do realize that this will be tougher during my next pregnancy with another child but I hope I can still prioritize movement 3-4 times a week in addition to chasing after another child. If you live in the Stratford, Ontario area Meredith Brown was amazing. She offers 6 week prenatal yoga programs and equips you with so much knowledge and several resources that I found very helpful. I think the most important was proper breathing techniques through the various stages of labour.
  • Chill out: We all have different amounts of stress in our lives each and every day but I believe it is super important for us to learn to cope and manage stress levels. Stress has a detrimental effect on our health both short and long term. I also firmly believe that the baby will feel what we feel. It is easy to become anxious during pregnancy as there are so many changes happening to your body. There is also a lot of uncertainty not knowing what to expect when having your first child and the unknown can really freak you out! If I ever felt overwhelmed I tried to keep perspective, focus on deep breathing, practice gratitude, have a nice warm bath with essential oils, go for a walk, workout, do some yoga or read a book.
  • Alternative Practitioners: I believe that by using the various modalities available to us we are able to bring our body into more harmony. I used massage, chiropractic and acupuncture pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post-pregnancy to help my body along the journey. There are so many other options out there but I would encourage you to consider using some of them to help you through the process.
  • Pre-Natal Classes: I am sure that you and your partner can find several pre-natal class options wherever you live. My husband and I were so happy that we chose a local chiropractor to prepare us for labour and delivery. If you live around Stratford, Ontario you must book an appointment with Dr.Tanya Chambers or sign up for her weekend pre-natal course. She is so knowledgeable, thorough and passionate.
  • Perineum Massages: I feel like nobody talks about this... so I'm going to! Perineum massages were recommended by our midwife and for a bit more of a detailed description on what it is and how to do it read THIS. In a nutshell it allows you to prepare your lady parts for delivery. In addition to the Epi-No {see below} I truly believe this prepared my body to deliver our baby who was 7 lbs 8 ounces without an internal or external rip or tear. There are so many horror stories and obviously SO many unique situations but I really think both of these were a huge help!
  • Epi-No: This is a little contraption that is to help prepare your lady parts for delivery, similar to a perineum massage mentioned above. The Epi-No {Epi = short form for Episiotomy} came highly recommended by a friend of mine. I figured it was worth the investment. So in my experience it certainly helped prepare my body for what birth would feel like. It definitely wasn't exactly the same  but when you do the exercises it does help you to know what to expect and to relax your pelvic floor.  To be honest, it is pretty pricey and I think the perineum massages do essentially the same thing but since I had success using both I will use both again for my next pregnancy too.
  • Mediation: I tried to take a bit of a time-out as often as I could to check in with my body and mind. I like to meditate by playing some relaxing music and focusing on deep breathing or say a positive mantra. I truly feel this helped me out during labour and delivery as I was able to use my deep breathing and allow my mind to be calm despite all the discomfort I was feeling. I used meditation as a way to visualize an amazing birthing experience in the weeks leading up to my due date.
  • Sleep: Listen to your body. I feel like this is especially important during pregnancy and even more so after your baby is born. I have always loved naps and I especially loved naps while I was pregnant. Of course once your baby arrives you are going to be up through the night. While Sloane was a pretty great sleeper from the beginning there were still those days when I felt exhausted. I would make napping when she did a priority, or take a quick siesta when family was over for a visit. Sleep is essential for restoration of our body and mind. Consider what our bodies go through over the course of 9 months as well as labour and delivery - it's nothing short of amazing. Sleep is also essential so that we can cope with a newborn - and I don't know about you but I feel like a crazy woman when I am lacking sleep for too long. Do what you can to ensure you get as much quality sleep as you can both during pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
  • Reading: There are TOO many books about all things pregnancy. But the one book that I loved that really helped prepare me for labour was called "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina My Gaskin . Two great movies to watch are The Business of Being Born and An Organic Birth.
  • Prep for life with babe: For me this meant getting the house ready but also prepping as much food as I could in the weeks leading up to my due date. You are busy with a newborn and even though I took time to make sure I had lots of healthy food on hand it was still a challenge at times. It is so important to nourish properly post delivery especially when breastfeeding. One of the best gifts from family and friends were in those first few months were meals! If you can I would recommend setting up a bit of a schedule with some of your closest family and friends who would love to help out and deliver ready-to-eat meals to your door.
  • Lots of love: This means lots of love for you and your babe. There are so many changes that you will experience during pregnancy and in the days/weeks/months after your little babe arrives. There will be ups and downs but I found it really important to shower myself with love and gratitude, think happy thoughts and stay positive. Challenges are only as big as we let them be. Be patient, understanding and enjoy the journey. Pregnancy is such a blessing and the reward of having a healthy baby is indescribable.

It's so hard to believe that I went from this...

To this, in a matter of days.

Here are a few more tips and observations that I talked about during my pregnancy that I hope will serve as helpful resources:

Please spread the love and knowledge by sharing this with your favourite pregnant lady.

I am super passionate about helping women take a holistic approach to prepare their body and mind for pregnancy. If you or anyone you know is looking for a little extra guidance I would love to connect to discuss a bit more about how I could help you with health coaching.

Have a fabulous day friends!