Managing Your Pregnancy Health In Isolation
By Rippan Sandhu
It can be scary being pregnant during this crazy time of ours. Even as the headlines keep coming in and this uncertainty continues, we want to remind the would-be mothers who read our monthly blogs that your first and foremost priority is ensuring your own health, physical and mental. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed even in the best of times, with all your loved ones easily accessible in person and your favourite hang-outs readily available.
In isolation, you may be feeling anxious or worried, starved for contact — but we say hang in there! Use this time to establish new rituals and make new habits that will help you blossom in the months to come. Don’t think of this as a period of pause — but a period of respite, of peace, when the world lets you breathe before you can head into an exciting new chapter of your life with greater momentum energy, and power.
CHECK YOUR DIET
It can be difficult to eat healthy in isolation, considering fresh vegetables aren’t exactly stocking friendly items. However, healthy doesn’t necessary translate to only vegetables and fruits, especially during pregnancy. Rather, we’re highlighting in this point the absolute necessity of a single nutrient that up to 50% of pregnant women don’t get enough of iron.
Iron is absolutely essential to ensure your body is running at optimum health, and once you are pregnant, your iron needs doubles. Iron is used to make extra blood for you and your baby, and helps to increase oxygen to your lungs and your babies. Because of this increased need for iron, you can find yourself tiring faster in the middle of the day if you don’t satisfy it — a common symptom of iron deficiency anemia.
Luckily, iron can be found in many foods that are easy to stock up — healthy nuts such as cashews and almonds, legumes such as chickpeas, beans, and lentils, and wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread, and oatmeal. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, opt for dried apricots instead of processed ice cream. An additional benefit of adding 1/4 cup of nuts to your diet? You lessen the chances of developing diabetes during pregnancy by 35%!
SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP!
The mother of all healing rituals! It’s no secret that sleep heals all small maladies, but it’s also true that many pregnant women suffer from insomnia, even when they’re absolutely exhausted during the day. This can be due to a number of reasons; stress over impending labour, hormonal changes, an increased need to urinate during the night, and heartburn. While you should consult your doctor if the insomnia is seriously impeding your quality of life, there are some little things you can do to increase your odds of getting those zzz’s.
To counter the increased need to urinate during the night, aim to keep your blood sugar low throughout the wee hours by having something high in protein right before bed — such as a warm glass of milk, maybe infused with some cinnamon and turmeric for added nutrients. Increase your body’s melatonin production by spending at least ten minutes in the sun everyday, which will help regulate your body’s internal clock, regulate calcium and lessen muscular pain, which means less shakes and aches when you’re snoozing through the night.
Pre-natal yoga is a thing! While you shouldn’t take up any new strenuous exercise routines during pregnancy without consulting your doctor, yoga poses have been proven to be a mild, stimulating exercise that can keep your limbs limber and blood flowing during these crucial months. By stretching out your ligaments and muscles routinely throughout your first and second trimesters, it can lessen the stiffness that many women encounter in the third. If you haven’t tried it, the ‘Birth Wave’ is one that can actually be taken with you into labour and can help you through your contractions! Simply kneel, toes touching, and come into child’s pose. Push up with your elbows, come up into a cobra with your arms straight and long, round your spine, drop your tailbone and bring your hips back to your heels. Inhale forward on your forearms, and repeat the entire sequence as you exhale! Do this five times before you begin your yoga routine, and you’ll feel the difference.
LISTEN TO YOUR OWN MIND
Physical health is never complete without mental wellbeing. Perinatal anxiety is something that afflicts one in seven women, and is a serious issue that requires gentle yet systematic treatment. Even if your anxiety doesn’t amount to a clinical level, it is still important, especially in these uncertain times, to take it easy on yourself mentally and seek support where you can. Living in this fantastic time of technology, your friends and family are just a button away — and we promise you that your loved ones and friends will be more than happy to while away an hour in the afternoon catching up, watching a movie together, or even sitting in a companionable silence while you each do your own thing. Feel close — even if you aren’t physically. And lastly, if you’re in isolation with your partner, the person you’ve chosen to embark on this life changing journey with, then you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to him/her for a little extra contact, a little extra love. Put your screens away after work, and carve out some time for yourselves: you, them, and the little one to come.