Self-Care for Pregnant Women
I’m currently 23 weeks pregnant with our first baby (a boy!) and I must admit: it’s been such a beautiful, but intense ride. From 24/7 sickness to the first baby kicks, being pregnant is an amazing adventure. I learned quickly that I needed to change the way I took care of myself and today I’m here to share my favorite self-care practices for pregnant women.
Thanks to my all-day sickness, I stayed in bed and on the couch for weeks, but even when the sickness got a bit better, I still needed to rest. A lot. That’s why I took plenty of naps, went to bed early and skipped morning yoga to stay in bed longer. Also, I always put my legs up on the couch when I’m home and make sure to wear comfy clothes, so I feel comfortable in my changing body. Every day, I try to sit down and rub my belly gently, to connect with my baby. I also play Krishna Das and Snatam Kaur, or I chant. His kicks are such a magical feeling and I think it’s so important to sit down and soak this in.
Oil on my skin
I try to keep the skin of my belly and boobs soft, so I massage my body every morning and evening with a body oil. (I use this stretch mark oil from Weleda). It’s not just good for my skin, but it also feels really good to connect with my body after a shower or before I go to bed.
Epsom salt baths
Around week 20 I started getting really bad leg cramps at night and even my pregnancy pillow didn’t help anymore. That’s why I turned to the almighty magnesium, which is always so helpful against cramps. Instead of taking a supplement, I prefer taking a foot bath with epsom salts in it. This is very relaxing and our bodies absorb the magnesium much better through the skin. Winner! (I use this brand).
I’m definitely staying home more now I’m pregnant, which means I have more time to read. Lately I’ve been loving Deepak Chopra’s “Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives” and “Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful” from Gurmukh Kaur. These two books are very different from the standard pregnancy books and focus more on the holistic and spiritual aspect of it.
I’ve been a fan of essential oils for quite a while now, but I stopped using them altogether when I got pregnant. There’s very limited scientific information on the safety of the potent oils in the first trimester, so I stayed away from them. When my second trimester started though, I opened the bottles again. Not all of them, because not all the oils are safe during pregnancy (more about that in a separate article), nothing internal and only the best quality oils. I started with my best friend Frankincense in the diffuser and felt that magic, instant calm rolling over me. I also use Lavender, and I love peppermint and ginger when I’m nauseous.
I had a very stable meditation practice before I got pregnant. I would get up early, sit down on my meditation pillow and meditate for about twenty minutes. When the sickness kicked in, I lost my meditation practice. When I started taking medications for nausea, I was able to sit and meditate again. I started with five-minute sessions and am slowly building it up again. I mostly use an app called Headspace, which has a special pregnancy package with thirty meditations. I also love using Expectful, a special pregnancy and mommy meditation tool. By simply sitting or laying down and meditating, I feel I connect better with my baby and I feel better in my body.
Being pregnant made me want to document what was happening. Not just for myself, but also for our son. That’s why I journal by writing to him about the things I go through, the way I see things, what I’m looking forward to and how I feel. So simple and so powerful.
Special treat: pregnancy massage
I wish I could do this every day, but this one is more of a treat: getting a pregnancy massage. This is definitely the most relaxing thing I’ve experienced in months. It’s just total bliss to get a full body massage and to lay on my belly again, thanks to the big hole in the massage table. I’ll definitely make a new appointment in a couple of weeks. If you’re getting a massage too, be sure to order a special pregnancy treatment.
Not all types of massages are safe during pregnancy and it’s important that your therapist has experience with pregnancy women.