As a blogger and makeup enthusiast, self-care has always been one of my top priorities. I enjoyed looking good and helping others do the same. I was living my passion, and nothing was going to change that.
That was until I learned I was pregnant.
It’s true what they say: motherhood will turn your life around, especially for someone like me.
Deep down, I’ve always wanted to be a mother. So the moment I learned that I was going to become one, suddenly my passion began to take a backseat. Part of it was because I was feeling that rush of excitement that other first-time moms-to-be feel. At the same time, I felt this overwhelming sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that I never felt in my career, despite the love and success I had for it.
Moms-to-be need TLC, too.
Pregnancy can also be an overwhelming and strenuous experience for first-time moms because of the many changes happening in your body. Setting aside time and making the conscious effort to create a self-care routine for yourself will help you enjoy this journey this new chapter of your life while giving your growing baby a safe and healthy haven to grow.
1. Get as much sleep as you can.
If you’re struggling to sleep well, you’re not alone. 80% of women complain that the quality of their sleep drops the moment they’re pregnant. That’s the reason why pregnant women, especially first-time moms-to-be, feel tired and sluggish in the morning.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, much of this is because of the changes that are happening in your body. One reason is that your body produces more progesterone, which is a crucial hormone to help you carry your baby to full term. The downside of this is that this increase of progesterone in your body causes you to feel fatigue and drowsy all day.
Other causes are:
- Getting up several times in the evening to go to the bathroom,
- Restless leg syndrome,
- Having wild and vivid dreams, and
- Finding a comfortable position (this happens in the later part of your pregnancy)
Make sure to sleep whenever you get the opportunity to do so. Turn in earlier in the evening so that you get a few extra hours to sleep at night. Put a night lamp in your bathroom and use this instead of turning on the light. The dim light it emits won’t wake you up, so you can go back to sleep more quickly.
Taking several naps throughout the day can also help. If you’re working full-time, take a nap when you get home before you start making dinner to allow your body to rest. Also, take advantage of the weekends to get as many naps as you need.
2. Prioritize what you do.
When I got pregnant, I started struggling in keeping up with the list of things I usually do in a day. It was very frustrating and overwhelming at first.
What I found that worked for me is to go over all my activities and group these into three different lists. The first ones are those that are those that need my attention like my blog and my business.
The second are those that I can delegate and ask my husband to help me with. So instead of doing all the household chores, we split these so I can have time to rest and take my naps.
The third are those that I can subscribe to a service that will allow me to have someone else do the work for me. For example, instead of doing the weekly grocery, I started having our groceries delivered to my home. That way, I get that errand done without becoming too exhausted.
3. Pamper yourself.
Just because your pregnant doesn’t mean that you need to forget yourself. Pampering yourself can do wonders in helping you reduce your stress levels and uplift your spirits.
One of my favorite ways to pamper and treat myself when I was pregnant was doing the 10-step Korean skincare routine. This comprehensive skincare routine is very close to the deep cleaning and treatment process you go through when you have a facial in your local spa, except that you don’t have to spend a lot of money for it.
Plus, you get to choose which products to use. I noticed that my skin became very sensitive and prone to nasty breakouts when I was pregnant, so I had to be extremely careful about the skincare products I used.
4. Take time to exercise.
A common misconception that many first-time moms-to-be have is that they shouldn’t work out while they’re pregnant.
Quite the opposite. Working out helps strengthen your muscles and boost your energy levels, both are essential when you’re pregnant.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you just keep doing that CrossFit routine or begin lifting weights. Instead, choose light exercises like walking, yoga or swimming to help you stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy.
5. Avoid information overload.
Perhaps the biggest concern first-time moms have is making sure that they’re doing everything “right” for them and their baby. These days, we have the benefit of parenting websites, mommy blogs, and even apps where we can go to find answers to our questions.
According to Orin Wojciechowski, Director of Marketing of ConceiveAbilities, “the problem with researching online is that you’re bound to come across conflicting information. So instead of finding answers to one question, you find yourself confused and have more unanswered questions than when you started. It’s enough to get any first-time mom-to-be’s head spinning.”
If you got questions, ask your doctor about it during your prenatal checkups. Since your doctor knows your medical background and your growing baby’s, he or she will be in the best position to answer all your questions so that you have peace of mind.
Spending even just 10 minutes of your day meditating gives moms-to-be a host of benefits. Studies show that meditation can help reduce pre-natal anxiety and post-partum depression, enhance your immune system, sleep better, and prevent premature labor.
Meditation also helps with your baby’s development. One study shows that moms-to-be that meditate regularly during their pregnancy have babies with high emotional intelligence and are less prone to becoming cranky.
7. Start a journal.
I found that writing all my thoughts and feeling in a journal helps me to release and process all the emotions I was going through during my pregnancy (and not take them out on my husband).
It also gave me a place where I can track all the changes and symptoms that I was going through. That way, when I start experiencing the symptoms, I can always go back to what I wrote and find out the things that I did that helped me alleviate them.
8. Consider going to a prenatal chiropractor.
A well-trained prenatal chiropractor will help “adjust” your pelvic area to help relieve the pain and pressure from your lower back and hips brought about by the weight of your baby.
I admit that this can be quite expensive. But it’s worth it, especially during your second trimester all the way before you deliver.
9. Watch what you eat.
This is critical especially during your first trimester because this is when your baby develops at a rapid pace.
Your baby is dependent on the nutrients you take in your body. In addition to your prenatal vitamins, make sure you eat lots of dairy products and nuts because these are excellent sources of protein, calcium, and minerals your baby needs.
10. Stay connected.
Even with all the information and tips I’ve shared here, nothing beats being able to reach out to your mom, other female relatives, and even your friends who have kids of their own. Having someone listen to you and hearing from their voice that they genuinely understand what you’re going through is sometimes more than enough to help you go through the emotional roller coaster first-time moms-to-be experience.
At the same time, they can help you calm down when you experience something out of the ordinary, and your doctor isn’t available. I personally found it very reassuring whenever I would call my mom, and she would tell me that it’s normal in a way that she knows will immediately comfort me.
Each pregnancy is different, but the one thing all moms-to-be share is the fact that what they do can affect the overall development of their babies. These 10 tips are those that I personally found that helped me enjoy my journey as a first-time mom-to-be.
And even though you’re going through your second, third, or fourth pregnancy, these self-care tips can still help you take care of yourself and have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
What are the things that you do to make sure that you take care of yourself during your pregnancy? Share these in the comments below.