Self-Care Practices For Pregnancy and Beyond
Self-care is not a destination but a journey to figure out safe ways to nourish your health. In this blog, we identify 8 safe self-care practices to start during pregnancy and to continue even after your baby is born.
A Body Pillow (Physical Health)
Body pillows are designed to support your neck and lower back and due to their size and weight, don’t shift around as easily as your regular pillow. Body pillows provide the necessary support to your front and back body to alleviate pressure on your ever-growing (and glowing!) body. Body pillows extend the length of your body so side sleepers can have a pillow between their legs. Being in this position maximizes blood flow to the uterus without putting pressure on the liver. Body pillows come in various shapes so research which one works best with your sleeping position and where your pressure points are. The more comfortable you are, the sounder you sleep, and the less groggy you’ll feel in the morning.
Postpartum moms also benefit from body pillows since they offer comfort, support, and pressure relief. Your body may have adjusted to sleeping with one and going back to your regular size pillow (or partner) may feel… less than ideal.
A Lavender Bath Treatment (Emotional Health)
Since lavender promotes calmness and reduces stress/anxiety, it’s a great example of emotional self-care. Additional pregnancy-related advantages include lavender’s ability to ease us into sleep - which is something you should cherish while you can! Lavender can also help relieve nausea that occurs early on in your pregnancy.
Check the label for lavender essential oil because “lavender oil” is usually diluted with fillers and synthetic ingredients.
Meditation (Spiritual Health)
Even busy moms-to-be can find a few moments each day to meditate. If sitting puts unnecessary pressure on your belly, lay on your side using your body pillow. For ambiance, use a diffuser filled with lavender essential oil. If you find meditation difficult, apps like Headspace can guide you through short meditations.
Once your baby is born, especially in those early weeks when they’re actually sleeping, take that time to continue your meditation practice. If you’re lulled into sleep, you’re sleeping when the baby sleeps which still remains one of the best, yet obvious, pieces of advice we’ve ever heard.
Mocktails for Mama (Social Health)
When many of your social situations involve alcohol but you’re pregnant, don’t just dismiss yourself to missing out on seeing your friends. Invite close friends over for drinks while you enjoy a mocktail. And lucky for you, many bars in Oakland and Chicago have finally realized that soda water just isn’t cutting it.
Reclaim Your Time with Meal Delivery (Physical Health)
During pregnancy, the calming, mood, sleep, libido, and bone-enhancing hormone, progesterone, increases. This leaves you especially lethargic in the first trimester. Unfortunately, feeling tired doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily sleep like a baby- where did that phrase come from anyway? Totally inaccurate if you ask us.
Rather than stress about what to make for dinner and spend time preparing it, consider a meal delivery service or meal kit. Read this pregnant mom’s reviews of various subscription meal services. You will end up making fewer grocery store trips when you subscribe to a meal kit and you can customize your meals to get the nutrients your body needs during your pregnancy.
Want a heat and eat option? In Oakland, we like Planted Table and in Chicago, Eat Purely. Time is still a precious resource, pregnant or not, so consider subscribing to a service post pregnancy or add it to your gift registry.
Spoil Moms-to-Be with a Spa Gift Card (Mental, Physical and Emotional Health)
Maybe we’re a little biased, but Glow Birth and Body offers incredible regular and prenatal massages. Prenatal massage has been shown to reduce swelling, lower back pain, provide natural pain relief, and improve the quality of your sleep.
Prenatal massage not only bestows benefits to mama while pregnant but also while giving birth. Studies from the Touch Research Institute suggest mamas who get a weekly massage have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. Researchers have linked these hormonal changes to fewer childbirth complications, including a 75 percent reduction in premature births among depressed women.
Remember to drink plenty of water after your massage. Drinking water post-massage helps the body flush out any accumulated materials released.
Massage is beneficial for anyone who wants to lower their stress levels and sleep better, and these needs don’t disappear when you’re no longer pregnant.
Journal Your Pregnancy Journey - Spiritual
Glow Birth and Body’s Journal and Birth Deck set is the perfect gift for expectant moms to record their pregnancy and practice gratitude while the Birth Deck helps their partner support them throughout the pregnancy.
Keep up your journaling post-pregnancy. According to scientific studies, people who journal say it’s therapeutic and one of the best ways to consistently find gratitude when life is overwhelming.
House Cleaning Helps…..A Lot! (Physical)
Pregnancy and harsh cleaning chemicals are not a good combo. If you enlist a house cleaner, ask them to use natural, non-toxic cleaners.
Even before pregnancy, the average time spent cleaning is 6 hours a week. You may need those six hours back because you’re tired, you have pregnancy-related appointments, or you’re preparing your home for the baby's arrival. Having a clean environment, free of clutter can lessen anxiety too and a calmer mom-to-be is a win-win for all parties involved. Because personally, when our cars and houses are a mess, we are too.
What self-care practices have you adopted? What will you keep doing post-pregnancy? You can’t go wrong choosing whatever keeps you calm, well-rested (this is HUGE!) and with more time for the things that matter!