How can you ever say anything negative about your body after you have felt the dancing of life from inside your womb?
Hey mamas or future mamas! Whether you have had a baby or are pregnant with your first baby I felt the need to share what essentials I absolutely could not have lived without during my pregnancy. I have listed my top 5 essentials that helped me to experience the happiest and healthiest pregnancy. My pregnancy essentials are in no particular order.
Take those walks mama! You don't have to do crazy workouts to stay active during your pregnancy. Embrace whatever movements feel comfortable to you and do them mindfully on a daily basis, whether that's dancing, walking, etc. Try to move throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires you to sit on your butt. Drink lots of water to keep you and baby hydrated, which will get you on your feet walking to the bathroom numerous times during the day. Take the stairs when you can and don't be afraid to get a birthing ball to bounce on at home. Grab some free weights, sit on your ball and watch your favorite show while you get a little arm workout. Trust me, you will need all of your strength during labor and afterwards when your new free weight will be the actual baby. :)
The best investment during my pregnancy was hiring a doula. Since this was my first pregnancy I wanted to have all of the support and knowledge about what to expect during pregnancy and after pregnancy. Especially because I wanted to have an unmedicated birth which I knew would be more painful and I would require all of the emotional and physical support I could get. To find out more about how my doula supported me during the birth of Lucille read my birth story. Studies have shown that a doula is associated with shorter labors, less use of pain medications, lower episiotomy rates, and as much as a 50% reduction in the C-section rate. Destination Baby is the company I hired to provide me with doula services and I can't say enough positive words about them. I would hire a doula again for future pregnancies in a heart beat too. Doulas provide services for pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and so much more.
3. Eat like you have gestational diabetes
I was one of those lucky mamas that was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. At first I was frustrated and confused because I took good care of my body in regards to nutrition and movement. But little did I know that my case of gestational diabetes was genetic. My body was reacting differently to sugar while pregnant because of family genes, not because of any other factors. My diabetes were diet controlled and no medication was needed. Gestational diabetes meant that everything I ate during my pregnancy had to be balanced with good sources of protein, fats, and carbs in order for my sugar levels to stay at a healthy number. I had to check my blood sugar four times a day to make sure my body was reacting appropriately to the food I was eating. I thought this would be a nuisance, but it really was a blessing in disguise. This forced me to be more mindful of my splurges on not-so-nutritious foods and make sure to balance every meal with good sources of real food. I never felt restricted and was still able to eat what I craved by cooking more at home or by "healthing" up the meals eaten out by including any missing food groups, such as veggies, fats, and/or protein. Most of my meals eaten during my pregnancy are on my blog if you need some healthy, simple recipes. I gained a total of 15 pounds during my pregnancy and I felt my body quickly retreat to my normal self after giving birth (see photos below). Now please don't compare your progress to mine because every body is unique and beautiful in their own way. These are just the facts about my pregnancy and what I had experienced eating this way. Nutrition is so important, especially when you're growing a tiny human. Overall, just be mindful of what you eat and balance your meals with all the food groups. REAL FOOD all the way!
Knowledge is power! Find trustworthy sources to teach you everything you want to learn about pregnancy, child birth and postpartum. Postpartum is equally as important to learn about as your pregnancy journey. Self-care is vital for you while being pregnant and after pregnancy as well. That baby depends on you, so remember to take good care of yourself physically and emotionally. Sources that I used to educate myself on all things pregnancy are as follows. The Mama Natural by Genevieve Howland was my go-to text to learn week by week what changes my baby and body were going through. The author also includes recipes, tips and other mama experiences for staying healthy and happy as well. This book was basically my pregnancy bible. Podcasts were another great source of education. I was able to learn about the physiology of my body during child birth on The Birthful Podcast with Whapio Diana Bartlett: Rethinking the Pushing Stage, Episode #114. Another podcast that gave me insight into pregnancy, mom life, and postpartum experiences is Mom's Who Rule the World. When it comes to nutrition education and more pregnancy insight The Well-Fed Women is another informative podcast to really empower you through your pregnancy and birthing journey. Knowing more about my body and the child birth process gave me strength and confidence when it was game time in the hospital.
5. A support group for mamas
My support group was a pregnant workout class. This class motivated me to workout once a week, which I especially needed in the first trimester. This class is made specifically for pregnant mamas so the workouts are designed to meet my growing body's needs in a safe and fun way. Fit4Baby is the name of the class which I highly recommend if you can find one near you. It allowed me to meet other mamas in the area and share stories of what we had been experiencing during our pregnancy journey.
A woman's body undergoes more changes in nine months than a man's body does in his entire lifetime. With all of these transformations it was important for me to feel empowered and strong. My top 5 pregnancy essentials gave me the knowledge and support to trust my body, which was what helped me to have a wonderful pregnancy and childbirth experience.
I would love if other mamas could share their top pregnancy essentials below! Let's empower other future mamas out there to have a positive pregnancy and childbirth experience.