Seven Ways to Practice Self Care When You're Pregnant
Hello from the start of another week where I’m still pregnant! I mean, I’m currently 39 weeks which is full term but not FULL full term. Apparently my doctor says I could keep going until 41 weeks, even 42 weeks if they have to wait to induce. But let’s not go there because I’m more than ready to have this baby.
So much of pregnancy is amazing but also so much of it is hard. In the first trimester I felt kind of guilty about not enjoying it after waiting and hoping that I would become pregnant. Guilt also came from knowing that there are so many others who are trying so hard to become pregnant. Then I realized that it was okay to find pregnancy difficult because, well, it can be difficult. There were days when I could barely get out of bed, my body was changing in weird ways, and I couldn’t even have a Wawa hoagie. Having a baby is a miracle but it can also be incredibly hard.
As this little baby continued to grow and things continued to change, I realized that along with helping her grow, I had to take of myself. I always work really hard to maintain a good care routine for myself (whether I’m always successful is another story). Being pregnant, self care became an even more important part of my daily routine. Here’s what I realized about self care when you’re pregnant.
If you think it’s going to help, invest in it!
Being super uncomfortable from the get-go with this pregnancy, I went in search of anything and everything to make being pregnant easier. There are lots of recommendations from pregnancy pillows to maternity jeans to teas and mints for nausea. Not everything is going to work for everyone. Most times I put off buying whatever it was because I was worried about overspending or buying the wrong thing. However, 9 times out of 10, when I got something that was supposed to help me be more comfortable, it worked as promised. The two things that made the most difference for me were a pregnancy pillow and nursing bras. Believe me, it’s never too early to invest in nursing bras when you want to be comfortable with your pregnant body.
And on that note of buying the pregnancy things you need…
If it’s comfortable, buy more than one.
Unfortunately being totally comfortable is pretty elusive when pregnant, at least in my experience. One of the easiest ways to bring some comfort to your pregnant self is with comfortable clothes. Every day, as soon as I was home from work, I would change into something stretchy and cozy. Maternity clothes kind of stink; they’re usually expensive, the sizing can be difficult, and they’re somewhat dowdy and old-fashioned. So when you find something that fits, is comfortable, and doesn’t make you look like a sack of potatoes, buy it and then buy another one.
I loved Aerie since before becoming pregnant and even though they’re no way a maternity brand, I found so many good things that work from first trimester to now. I wish I had more than one pair of these waffle knit leggings which have incredible stretch and I’m definitely getting more cozy joggers since they can kind of pass for real pants. Maybe? Who cares, just be comfy.
Always take the nap.
I have been tired through most of this pregnancy. Like really tired. Like take a nap a few hours after getting up and a nap after dinner kind of tired. For some reason I felt like taking a nap was a waste of time and I only have so much time before the baby comes. But, as everyone will tell you (and it gets annoying), get your sleep now while you can. Carving out a little extra time for a nap is always a good way to take care of yourself.
Find healthy snacks you love and get a big reusable water bottle.
Pregnancy is hard, especially with having to watch what you’re eating. You also need to drink as much water as possible, about 100 oz. each day. At first I found it stressful. Then I grabbed a reusable water bottle with a straw and bought a couple boxes of extra healthy snacks from Trader Joe’s to toss in my bag. Both things were easy and I didn’t have to think about being healthy or hydrated since I’d already planned it all out. It also kept me from feeling guilty about craving Chick-Fil-A every day of the week.
Let go of the extra things for now.
From the moment I graduated college (let’s be honest, even in college), I got used to doing all the things. My daily teacher life feels like a never-ending cycle of grading, meetings, and planning. It felt like if I wasn’t involved in everything, I would miss out on something. Being pregnant made me realize that I had to let go of some things. The energy I once had to sit through afternoon meetings just wasn’t there. I had to choose between grading into the night or getting some desperately needed rest. What I realized is that this is a season of my life where it’s okay to let go of things and slow down. Figure out what’s necessary and do that.
Grab all the beauty products and creams you love or want to try.
This is the time to indulge in all the beauty products! You need to keep your skin moisturized, hormones will make your complexion all sorts of funky, and you’re just feeling all sorts of different in your own skin. This is the time to really take care of yourself, working from the outside in. Just watch: make sure that you’re using a product that’s safe when pregnant or try to use all natural products!
Disconnect when you need to.
The biggest self-care advice I can give for pregnancy is to be a little bit selfish. Like I said before, preparing your body, mind, house, and life for baby is overwhelming. The mindset shift to go from me-me to mom-me has been huge. What helped was picking and choosing how and who I connected with. Sometimes it meant having a completely at-home weekend with face masks and reading. And that’s okay. When you’re pregnant, it’s time for you to take care of you.