As a mother, all you want to do is keep your baby safe. You want to cherish them and make sure all their needs are met. However, who is making sure that your needs are met as well?
For the most part, when you’re pregnant and giving birth, the majority of the focus is on the health of the baby, not necessarily on you. With 700 to 900 women dying every year from pregnancy or birth-related causes and 65,000 almost dying, it leads to a troubling truth about the care and protection of mothers.
Babies are important, but mothers are just as so. Until the health of mothers move to the forefront of people’s minds, it’s up to you to make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can so that you can be there to care for your baby.
No matter what your religious and social attitudes are about public health, there are many things you can do before, during, and after you give birth to give you and your baby the best chance of a quality life.
Even before getting pregnant, there are things you can do to ensure a more healthy outcome for you and your future baby. When it comes to self-care when you’re trying to conceive, it’s best to focus on the fundamentals. Meeting your physical, basic needs is not only good for you, it makes your body more viable to hold a baby. Here are some you should focus on:
- Diet: One of these needs is eating, but not just anything. In order to be healthy to conceive, you need to eat a balanced diet. The least amount of processed foods, the better. Whole foods free from pesticides will give you the nutrients your body needs.
- Blood Sugar: Also, keeping your blood sugar at a steady level is another goal you should meet. By eating small meals at least every 4 hours and keeping refined sugar to a minimum, you will reduce your risk of developing diabetes and maintain stable stress hormone levels.
- Staying Hydrated: Another self-care tip you should follow is to drink plenty of water. However, make sure the water you drink is purified. Heavy metals could be contaminating your tap water, so getting your water tested is a good idea.
- Rest: One final word of advice when you’re trying to conceive is to get plenty of sleep. There are a plethora of studies stating how good it is for your body to rest. This becomes even more so when you’re trying to get pregnant. Try going to bed early and sleep as long as you can. Even take naps if your body still needs rest throughout the day. To get an even better night’s sleep, skip caffeine and electronics at least an hour before you go to bed.
During the Pregnancy
Being pregnant can be the greatest thing, especially if it has been long awaited. As you know, though, the race isn’t over yet. There are plenty of things you can do to protect your unborn child. First thing is to get medical assistance, specifically from an OB-GYN or midwife. Try to gain a better understanding of the roles your nurses and other medical professionals play before you schedule a visit so you’ll be more informed of the care and treatment you should expect
That being said, make sure to keep up with every appointment so the medical professional you’re seeing can record vital signs and keep up with the health of you and your baby. With your body going through some major changes, you may not know what’s normal and what’s not. For example, one issue that can affect you during pregnancy is varicose veins; by following the advice of a medical professional, however, they can be avoided.
By getting pregnancy physicals, you and your OB-GYN or midwife will be able to determine what to expect with your body and develop a pregnancy plan with you. They’ll also approximate the most important date of all: due date.
Eating a healthy diet is just as important when you’re pregnant as it is when trying to conceive. Consuming plenty of folic acid from dark green vegetables as well as a variety of other fruits and vegetables is highly recommended during this stage, not to mention hearty whole grains to combat pregnancy fatigue.
Lastly, don’t forget to exercise. Keeping to a regular, low-impact exercise routine will help your body be more prepared for the time you will have to give birth. Discuss recommended exercises with your medical professional. Generally, exercises that pregnant women partake in include swimming, yoga, walking, and light weight lifting. Also, pelvic floor exercises are essential for an easier birthing process.
Now you have given birth to this precious baby but don’t get entirely lost in that cute bundle just yet. You have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself too. No matter if you’re a new mom or not, taking care of a newborn baby is hard work. One big obstacle in postpartum care is getting enough sleep.
With your baby waking up every two or three hours to be fed, it’s pretty much impossible to get a good night’s rest. The best thing you can do is to get sleep when you can. Try planning your sleep schedule around your baby’s to get as much shut-eye as possible. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Friends and family will be your greatest allies in helping you with the day-to-day running of your household while you’re taking care of your newborn. Continuing to eat a healthy diet is important after you give birth as well, along with drinking enough liquids if you decide to breastfeed. Although there are many health benefits of breastfeeding (and ways to make it as easy as possible), it’s completely up to you.
Another thing you should look out for is postpartum depression. It’s normal to have baby blues, but if they last longer than two weeks, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. It’s best to consult a medical professional if you believe this is happening to you so that it can be treated, resulting in a better state of well-being for you and your baby.
Being a mother is one of the greatest experiences you can have. It’s full of ups and downs, but you know it’s ultimately worth it. By caring for yourself before, during, and after having a child, you’re not only ensuring your own health and longevity, but your baby’s as well.