Pregnancy is a great chance for maximising wellness. Here are some tips for increasing your chances of feeling great and having a healthy body and baby after the birth.
Almost every challenge to our health in pregnancy can be improved through better nutrition. Eating well increases energy, improves mood and raises your chance of a normal uncomplicated birth. We also now know that how we eat in pregnancy has lifelong effects on our developing babies and their chances of becoming obese and developing diabetes in later life.
Nikau Midwives challenge you to:
- Eat when you wake up and have regular small meals through the day.
- Increase the amount of leafy and crunchy vegetables in your life – aim for half a plate of non-starchy vegetables for lunch and dinner. This improves the health of your gut, reduces constipation, increases iron and folate intake and reduces your chance of developing diabetes. Look here for ideas: www.vegetables.co.nz
- Go for iron-rich foods like dark greens, red meat, tofu, fresh mussels served piping hot, well cooked fish, eggs, and blackstrap molasses. Have vitamin C eg a squeeze of lemon juice in your water with your meal to help absorb the iron. Avoid having milk, cheese, caffeine or fizzy drinks with your iron-rich meals as these reduce your iron absorption. Iron carries oxygen in your blood for you and baby so you need a lot more in pregnancy. www.nutritionfoundation.org.nz
- Ditch fizzy drinks, lollies and other high-sugar zero-nutrient foods. They increase your chance of diabetes, gaining too much weight and tooth decay.
- Focus on good quality protein to support baby’s growth. Eggs, kaimoana, nuts, beans, tofu and meat.
Keeping or increasing your fitness in pregnancy helps you stay energised, reduces blood pressure, ensures good stamina for the birth and makes the recovery easier.
- Aim for 30-60 minutes a day of gentle exercise that gets you breathing harder. This can be broken into 10 minute chunks. Walking, pushing a buggy, swimming, even housework are all good ways to stay fit and strong.
- Pregnancy makes your joints looser so be careful with any strenuous exercise. If you were running or cross-training before your pregnancy you can continue but do listen carefully to your body and go for lower impact exercises as needed and avoid risk of falls. Pregnancy is not a time to take up a new sport.
- Try pregnancy yoga or aqua yoga. See our Facebook page for local options.
Pregnancy takes many women on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Partly this is hormonal, partly this can be re-evaluating your situation and relationships. Looking after the basics can make a big difference to your emotional well-being.
- Ensure you are getting at least half an hour of exercise and sunlight a day.
- Eat nutritious food – increase your fruit and vegetables.
- Get sleep and rest (see below).
- Talk to family, friends, a support group (see our Links and Resources page).
- Let your midwife know what is going on.
There are many good people keen to support mums. Have a look at these options: