How to Feel Confident, Prepared, & Mindful Through Pregnancy
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- Listen to your body
- Start advocating for yourself
- Collect resources
- Mental health check in
- Listen to your gut
- Choose a birthing class
- Prepare for recovery
- Listen to your body: Resting and nourishing your body are the top priorities at this stage. Your body is working so hard to launch this pregnancy and start the process of growing a human. Fatigue and exhaustion are common symptoms of the first trimester. Giving yourself grace during this time will not only help your mental health, but give you the permission to truly rest. One of my all-time top recommendations for early pregnancy is to read Real Food for Pregnancy, as this will give you a solid foundation for what nourishment you need to grow a healthy baby.
- Exercise: tiredness and movement aversion during this time is common, especially if you’re feeling nauseous much of the time. Walking, especially outside in minimal shoes is one of the best things you can do for your body. Listening to your body for when to slow down, and how you should move is key. Reading the Pregnancy Fitness book will guide you through what changes are happening physiologically, and give you a plan for how to work out through each trimester, whether you’re moving from home or the gym.
- Start to advocate for yourself: Starting the process of advocating for yourself during the early stages of pregnancy will only set you up for success. Write down your symptoms, questions, and thoughts so you can be sure to remember to ask a trusted health care provider. And speaking of a trusted healthcare provider, do your research on a provider prior to interviewing them for your care. Knowing what type of birth you’re wanting can help you narrow down your search as well. Here's a great episode with Kelly & Tiffany of Beautiful One Midwifery where we talk about taking responsibility and choosing a healthcare provider:
- Collect your resources: Find great sources of information. You may just want to choose one book and avoid overwhelm from so many resources, like the Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide. Look at sites like Evidence Based Birth to determine where you stand on standard practices throughout pregnancy (this will only help you as you move through motherhood!) Finding a community of people who support you and your decisions is crucial. Who will bring you meals when you need them? Who do you trust to talk with about your choices throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum? These people will be your best supporters. Hire a doula, because besides family members, they care the most about you having your best birth experience. Put a doula fund on your baby registry!
- Check in with your mental health: create a plan for what to do if you start feeling down in any way. The Expectful App is a great place to start.
In your second trimester, you typically start thinking about the actual labor and birth process, maybe some about postpartum recovery, and likely what you should add to your baby registry.
- Listen to your mama gut: As you navigate all the recommendations from friends, family, and strangers, listen most to your mama gut. Your body knows exactly what’s best for it, and if you listen, you will find that choosing what you bring into your pregnancy experience (whether physical products or attitudes/perspectives) will be what’s just right for you and your journey.
- Choose a birthing class: that teaches from a holistic perspective. Ask your doula for recommendations. Classes should empower you to feel confident in your body and it’s abilities. Consider creating a mental birth plan along side your regular one. Listen to this episode with the Mental Push Plan:
- Exercise: Increasing activity as your energy increases is common. Continue to modify exercises as needed, and seek out a qualified pelvic health physical therapist and trainer to help you determine what movements are right for you.
You are strong and capable, but right now isn’t the time to set PRs or sign up for a marathon. It’s time to do movements that will make you strong and ready for labor positions, as well as learn how to breathe and activate your deep core in a way that helps prevent many injuries and can reduce typical pregnancy aches and pains. You’re preparing and training for the very physical event of labor and childbirth, and will learn how to prepare for recovery safely and with a long-term perspective.
This episode I did with Christina is an amazing one to listen to if you've been lifting heavy or are worried about it during pregnancy:
- Search for a Pelvic PT near you: https://trainat.li/pelvic-guru
Exercise Trainer certifications to look for:
- Core Confidence Specialist
- Girls Gone Strong
- Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Coach
During the third trimester, I highly encourage parents to prepare for their fourth trimester. You have nesting instincts and are already probably planning out a nursery, baby shower, names, outfits, and all the things you envision doing with your baby once he/she arrives. I challenge you to prepare more for your postpartum recovery than you prepare for baby outfits and all the products you buy.
- Prepare mostly for recovery: Give yourself the gift of being prepared for postpartum recovery. Here's how you can do this well:
- Establish with a Pelvic PT and/or schedule for 8 weeks past your estimated due date as they’re often booked out for months. It's easier to just book it now than with a newborn and sleep deprivation.
- Prepare freezer meals - doing it with family and friends makes it more fun! This list has 50 recipes that are nutrient dense and freeze well.
- Have realistic goals/expectations. Read The First Forty Days.
- Keep moving mindfully, and doing activities you enjoy.
- Meet with an IBCLC/attend a breastfeeding class if you plan to breastfeed. Listen to this podcast:
6. Understand what tethered oral tissues are, and how they impact babies. Listen to this podcast and this one:
7. Put items for yourself on your registry, like a massage gift certificate or doordash/food gift cards, a fund for a postpartum doula, and postpartum essentials like Frida Mom items.
8. Cherish your time with your partner prior to having baby. Go on some dates!
9. Check in with your mental health and have a strategy for what to do if you start to feel off.
Pregnancy can feel overwhelming, but if you take it week by week, you'll do so well. Your body will thank you for being prepared and moving through pregnancy in a mindful way.