If you’ve read any of my other posts, you may realize that I like to go against the grain or conventional wisdom with most topics surrounding health. I promote a diet based on eating real food, rather than convenience & processed foods (even the ones that claim to be healthy); I use all natural and environmentally friendly cleaning and household products as well as skin and body care products, etc.
That being said, I want to share some of the activities I’ve done during my pregnancy in an effort to make it go as smoothly as possible. I understand that I am considered lucky because I haven’t been sick or had food aversions, and that some of these things may seem crazy if you can barely function because of morning sickness. I do think, however, that a lot of these may actually assist with feeling better and can be explored as part of a self-care routine
So I’ll share these ideas and recommend you give one or all of them a try! In my opinion there aren’t any negative side effects and therefore really nothing to lose, but many positive benefits to be gained.
- Prenatal Yoga: Here in Tampa, there is a wonderful studio, Yoga Loft, which offers a free prenatal yoga class Friday at 11:30am. Because of my schedule with the gym and nutrition clients, I have been fortunate to attend this class twice so far. The instructor, Rachel, leads you through a series of poses designed not only for relaxation for you as a mother, but also optimal positioning for the baby. She is holistically minded and shared stories of her birth center birth.
- Chiropractor: Speaking of optimal positioning, seeing a chiropractor weekly throughout my pregnancy has helped me in numerous ways. Dr. Rachel Settles from Innate Chiropractic is trained in the Webster technique, which is directed at aligning a woman’s pelvis. She not only has helped with round ligament pain from my expanding uterus, but also the increase in headaches I’ve experienced since getting pregnant, which have been alleviated with releasing the tension in my neck with adjustments. Chiropractors are able to assist with positioning the baby closer to delivery to ensure the best chances of delivering without interventions.
- Prenatal Massage: With all the changes your body and mind are going through, sometimes you just need a break. That’s where a prenatal massage can be highly beneficial in relieving stress and the aches and pains you are experiencing. When I went to Essentials of South Tampa for a reasonably priced massage ($55 for an hour), I found it to be extremely enjoyable. I was on my side with pillows between my arms and legs for support and felt completely relaxed. This is something I need to do for myself again as I get closer to my due date.
- Acupuncture: Though I’m not in love with the thought of needles sticking all over my body, I did find that getting acupuncture helped relieve some of the pain from my headaches, as well as anxiety. During the 6th month of pregnancy, I began to have sensations of panic that I could not explain. They happened a lot while I was driving, and would manifest in thinking I was going to crash, feeling like I couldn’t breathe well, and a light-headed feeling. This was obviously troubling to me and I decided to try acupuncture for the first time. I described my symptoms to my acupuncturist, and he was able to pinpoint sites on the body that would alleviate some of the anxiety I had been experiencing. Acupuncture has an almost endless list of ailments or concerns it can assist with – even infertility! I definitely don’t think it hurts to try it!
- Epsom salt baths: So this is an easy one you can do at home and don’t need to hire anyone to assist you with! Buy a bag of epsom salt (I like Ultra Epsom Salt) and pour a generous amount into a warm bath while the water is filling up. I like to add a scoop of coconut oil and some lavender essential oil as well. Soak for as long as you can, and when you get out you will notice how relaxed your muscles feel from the magnesium content. If you want a super-duper version of this, try a flotation tank. A float tank is usually shaped like a pod and has a door you climb in and out of. You lie in several inches of warm water and are completely suspended in a floating experience. The studied benefits to this practice are numerous, but it relaxes muscle tension, alleviates stress, and helps sleep to name a few. While I haven’t yet gone into a float tank while pregnant, I have done it in the past, and it is on my list of things to do!
- Working out: Last but not least! Before I got pregnant, I was working out 4-5 days per week doing the class workouts at CrossFit, and sometimes with added “competition-style” workouts. On my off days I would still try to be active with walking, ROMWOD, and sometimes yoga classes. Over the past few months, my workouts and schedule have certainly changed based on how I feel and what workout is programmed. I have modified certain movements – no olympic lifting, no ab-specific movements, no box jumps – instead using dumbbells or kettlebells, box step ups, kickbacks for burpees, etc. And some days I have skipped the workout entirely if I did not feel up to it. I’m probably working out 3 days a week now while still walking and stretching almost daily. I think the more sedentary you are, the harder labor will be. So I am trying to set myself up for a successful labor.