Pregnancy is an amazing demonstration of physiological adaptation. The first time being pregnant is a time of intellectual intrigue where your body is not your own! The adjustments are undoubtable widely varied between woman to woman depending on pre-pregnancy nutrition, genetic determinants and maternal women’s lifestyle behaviour. Here are three key things that are happening that can affect the way you choose …well everything.
1. Eat good food (& start before you become pregnant)
Make sure you eat wonderful nutrition, before becoming pregnant and throughout gestation assuring a good milieu for babies growth and development. Most importantly you need nutrients need to support your ever changing “basal metabolism”, for your babies developmental demands, and for extras, such as physical activity and exercise. Your body is very efficient during this time at absorbing nutrients it needs for the baby. So if intake falls below the threshold, baby growth and development is affected more than the woman’s maternal health. This might mean that you have to pay more attention to eating smart foods, with attention to particular nutrients like folic acid, iodine, vitamin d and iron! Trimester 1 and 3 have greater nutrient demands and the “value” of nutrients change.
2) Sleep, sleep, sleep
Fatigue before you are pregnant is predominantly about your choices of balancing stresses and recovery. But during pregnancy, once again, your body is not your own. At times when your baby is in large development phases you will feel the demands. You will simply have to make time for more recovery, taking it easy and good sleep, as there will be no escaping it. Trimester 1 is a common period of experiencing an inescapable fatigue. Then again in Trimester 3 this is similar but also a time to take heed and start to slow down more to build up some resilience for the birth and first few exhausting months of motherhood.
My favourite giggle time in early pregnancy was in my weekly yoga class. At the end of the session during shavasana (pose of total relaxation) routinely women would be snoring away in seconds. I admit it was partly arrogant as I still had some level of "control" over my energy levels, aka hadn't had one of those periods of baby growing = steeling your energy! By the time I got to T3 I was amongst those women zzz'ing and looked forward to the routine as nothing got in the way of that little “nap”.
3) Move your body!
Change as your body changes – emotionally and physically you will find yourself needing to listen and remain adaptable to your ever morphing body. A basic need outside of scheduled exercise is to keep moving. Basic activity levels will help to energise you. Avoiding sitting for too long helps boost circulation to your legs and baby, stimulates glucose metabolism and your joints will thank you. Whether you’ve exercised before or if you haven’t, seek extra professional advice. The information will be very different for each person, and throughout a healthy versus a complicated pregnancy the professionals’ advice also needs to change. You will learn with your standard scheduled medical visits and scans about your baby and pregnancy health – but not great detail on how to maintain your personal health. Allied health or adjunct therapies I found were the key to learning about caring for your individual self and your NEW body and identity.