Preconception & Pregnancy Self-Care: Who’s Taking Care of You?

Healthy Selfcare Activities when Pregnant or Trying to ConceiveSelf Care Chart

Whether you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant, you must raise your selfcare to the highest level to be healthy during this exciting and special time. The word “self-care” might conjure up images of the lovely things you could ideally do for yourself: weekly acupuncture, taking a relaxing bath, or daily meditation. These are all wonderfully beneficial activities, but let’s discuss the absolute essentials of selfcare for a healthy pregnancy. 

Selfcare when trying to conceive and during pregnancy involve the true fundamentals of life: eating, drinking, and sleeping. Strange as it may seem, many of us have forgotten how to tend to these basic needs in our busy modern lives. Long days at the office, hectic home lives taking care of young children, and high-pressure jobs with plenty of travel time make it easy ignore your body and push aside your own essential physical needs.

When you are trying to conceive or get pregnant, ignoring your basic selfcare can be incredibly harmful. Listen to your body! When you are thirsty, don’t wait – DRINK. When you are hungry – EAT. When you are tired – REST or SLEEP. Sometimes, however, you may not hear your body’s signals (especially if you have been ignoring them for many years), so you also need to use your mind and your intention to remember to take care of yourself for a healthy pregnancy. 

Pregnancy Selfcare Tip #1: Remember to Eat!

Your healthy pre-conception and pregnancy diet should be balanced, made up of whole foods, free of processed foods, nutrient dense, and ideally organic. A healthy diet is a critical part of your self-care activities. To learn more from an excellent read, I recommend “Real Food for Mother and Baby” by Nina Planck.

An important goal is keeping your blood sugar stable by avoiding refined sugar, eating frequent small meals, and supplementing with low-glycemic snacks between meals. Never skip breakfast, include some protein with every meal, and try not to go more than 4 hours without eating something to prevent low blood sugar. Once you are pregnant, be sure to carry healthy snacks with you everywhere. When you inevitably get hunger pangs during pregnancy, you always have something on hand. This does not mean that you will be eating more food than usual. You will be eating more frequently, but having smaller meals as part of your concerted self-care activities while pregnant.

By keeping your blood sugar stable, you not only reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, you also keep your cortisol (stress hormone) levels more stable, help prevent adrenal fatigue, and avoid potential depression during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Selfcare Tip #2: Remember to Drink!

As a general guideline, the National Institute of Health recommends pregnant women drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. In addition, 1 glass of water should be consumed for every hour of exercise. The NIH also confirms that most municipal water contains fluoride, which can be helpful in the development of teeth and bones in the growing fetus.

Be sure to get a water filter to purify your tap water when trying to become pregnant, and also consider getting your water tested to determine whether there is any risk of heavy metal contamination. Studies have shown that water tainted with lead can result in spontaneous abortion, decreased stature, and neurodevelopmental deficits in the growing fetus. Plastic bottles that leach harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) should also be avoided.

Pregnancy Selfcare Tip #3: Remember to Sleep!

When you are trying to conceive or maintain a healthy pregnancy, sleep needs to become a high priority in your selfcare activities. If you have little ones at home who wake up during the night, this may be a challenge... but do your best!

Here are a few suggestions to help you think about your sleep:

By following this advice for basic selfcare when trying to conceive or pregnant, you will be well-nourished, well-hydrated and well-rested for the road ahead! Your levels of stress hormones will also be reduced, which is a great foundation for a healthy pregnancy, a happy baby, and a happy new mom.

What are your tips for excellent pregnancy selfcare? Please leave a comment below! If you have any questions about healthy self-care during pregnancy or when trying to conceive, please contact our friendly team anytime because we are always here to help.

 

ValerieThis is an updated article based on “Self-Care During Conception and Pregnancy” by Valerie Mendels L.Ac, Dipl.Ac, M.Ac., an acupuncturist specializing in fertility and pregnancy in Petaluma, California. She has been treating patients with acupuncture since 1999, and holds a Master’s degree from the traditional acupuncture Institute, School of Philosophy and Healing in Action (TAI Sophia) in Maryland.

Author
Dr. Danielle Lane Danielle E Lane, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist

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