So, you have 9 long months ahead of you (it's actually 10 months, just to overwhelm you a little more!) and in between the excitement and magic there are moments of madness, physical challenges and emotional changes to overcome. Growing a baby will never be a walk in the park but with a few tools, tips and tricks, it can be made an easier journey...
1. BIO OIL
Lather. It. On. I mean it. There is no such thing as too much oil when it comes to preventing stretchmarks. I recommend layering a good dose of oil on the belly every morning and night and taking a small tube of rich moisturizer out with you during the day to do grease free top ups. Whenever your skin itches it is a sign that it is being stretched and can't keep up so be ready to offer your body excessive doses of moisture. The best products I have tried and can't recommend enough are Bio Oil, Moo Goo Skin Milk Moisturizer and Nutrogena Body Oil - these are all affordable and work a treat! I rotate them because taking this approach and casting the net wide means the skin is being delivered a wider range of ingredients and you have covered all your bases.
2. MORNING SICKNESS CURES
If you are one of the lucky ones you will not experience morning sickness. But for some, it is a grim reality of pregnancy. There is no hell quite like the endless weeks of nausea and vomiting. Everybody seems to find their own cures or remedies but when the doctor says to you "try to eat small meals and nibble on a cracker before you get up in the morning" you will want to slap him square in the face because how dare he minimize something so absolutely debilitating. The truth is, there are various ways to deal with morning sickness which include - dealing with it (yeah right), taking a combination of Vitamin B and Antihistamines, resorting to medication, trying natural therapies such as wearing a copper band and water therapy. There are certain anti histamines (which your doctor can explain to you) that dull the part of the brain which creates the nausea signals plus they make you sleepy so if you have the luxury of being able to take some time off, sleep, sleep, sleep. A copper band might seem airy fairy but many women report it makes a difference, somehow affecting the bio chemistry through the skin (I can attest to this method, it worked for me but seemed to wear off after a few days, was definitely worth the few days of relief though), then there are medications like Moxolon and Zofran. Discuss your options with a doctor - there are side effects to all medications and this is a last resort for anyone so explore everything you can before jumping on the med train.
My number one natural relief for morning sickness was water therapy. Being submerged in water worked wonders for me (not drinking it because that made me ultra sick so if you are the same, stick to cordial or flavoured water if the thought of plain H2O makes you gag), but actually physically being in water was a huge help. Try regular swimming, baths, showers, foot baths or even a wet towel on your forehead - the sensation takes away from the nausea and even if only temporarily, the relief can be incredible and reset your frame of mind when it all just feels too much.
3. REGULAR HAIR CUTS
First your hair will be dry. Then it will be oily. Then it will be thick. The rate of hair growth during pregnancy speeds up like crazy with all of the extra blood streaming through the body and one of the first places you will notice this is on your head. Weird, yes, but it is true. You might also notice your legs, belly and any other part of your body are also harrier. Grrr. The extra hair on your head can be a blessing and should be enjoyed because shortly after giving birth you will notice a lot of hair shedding so enjoy the luscious locks while you can. You will need to stay on top of your hair throughout your pregnancy though, if only for the confidence boost of having a nice cut and colour because while the body changes drastically and will be somewhat out of your control, your hair can be your vanity project which will never turn on you if you treat it right. Up your cut's to every 6 weeks if you can and stay on top of it. Good hair = good mood.
The first 3 months of pregnancy can wreck havoc on your skin. Welcome to scaly lizard land where you can quite literally see your face peeling off. To combat this, consider regular microdermabrasion treatments or if this is out of your budget, use a gentle exfoliating cream and slather on face oil or night cream as often as you need. It will go back to normal in the second trimester so hang in there.
5. BERRIES, PRUNES AND METAMUCIL
You do not want to learn the importance of this the um, hard, way. Pregnancy hormones cause the bowl to slow down as food is directed to the baby. On top of this, the heart increases in size by 12% to pump all that extra blood around to get to bubs and so what you find is a #$%! storm in a very dehydrated tea cup. Believe me when I say, you will spend forever trying to achieve healthy bowel movements and it will be torturous if you forget to add these things to your diet. 4 prunes a day should suffice but if you hate them opt for berries and some Metamucil. Basically, the more fresh and clean food you can manage the better. Smash as much water as you can manage too, anything to keep your stomache functioning properly is incredibly important.
6. YOU TUBE WORKOUTS
What did anyone do before Youtube? Ok, a lot. But Youtube is a pregnant woman's greatest resource - you can look up workouts, Yoga, mediation, labour skills, anything at all really. I can't recommend a daily Youtube workouts enough, especially prenatal yoga videos, they are grounding, keep your body in shape without being grueling or adding to exhasution and add some structure to the very long journey that is pregnancy. One of my favourites is Tonic Yoga.
7. PHYSIO & MASSAGE
This sounds a little indulgent, or at least I thought so, before I tried it. Most pregnant women experience some, or a lot, of back pain as the joints soften and relaxin is released into the body, with these chamges happening internally and quietly. it doesn't take much for you to move the wrong way and accidentally throw something out. To combat or treat the aches and pains of pregnancy, a good physio will be your very best friend. Add in some remedial massage and you will find yourself experiencing a much more peaceful and comfortable journey as your body changes and things move out of place. Try and scrimp somewhere to allow yourself the financial means to treat yourself to a monthly or fortnightly session of physio and massage, keeping your body functioning is vital in a positive, healthy and happy pregnancy.
8. COMFORTABLE BRA'S AND UNDERWEAR
Your chest is going to get bigger, a lot bigger. So too is your butt. Around the 12 week mark you might notice that everything just feels uncomfortable even if it still technically "fits". Head to your nearest shopping centre and stock up on boy leg shorts or high waisted underwear, underwire free bra's and the softest in lounge wear because the number one thing you will be craving is comfort. Go for Bonds or KMart Wide Band Full Briefs - comfortable and ultra affordable.
9. OVER BELLY TIGHTS
These are a pregnancy must, especially if you plan on staying active. Well designed maternity tights will grow with you and your bump so you don't need to keep forking out over the course of your baby growing experience. The best ones cover the whole bump, offer in built support and hold their shape well. I can't go past Blanqi!
10. MAGNESIUM (yes one more because as I mentioned, it isn't really 9 months, it's 10!). If you are struggling with the aches and pains of pregnancy, which let's face it, are an inevitable part of the process, there are some great natural relief options which you may have never heard about. Magnesium is a life saver and one I wish I had discovered earlier! Magnesium Oil is an essential mineral during pregnancy, both for the growing baby and the mother too. Magnesium is important for energy metabolism, nerve conduction, muscle activity, immune function, and DNA synthesis and degradation helping with joint pain, aches, insomnia, migrains, bone density and stress/mental clarity. During pregnancy, the demand for magnesium increases and the best way to ensure you are getting what you need is with a multi product approach.
I've been using Amazing Oils and cannot recommend it enough! Sourced from pristine local salt lakes of Australia, Amazing Oils is a family run and operated Sunshine Coast company specialising in magnesium chloride health solutions, uses organically registered magnesium chloride to actively replenish magnesium levels in the body and assist in optimal cell, bone and tissue health. They have a range of different products, from a Natural Relief Oil Spray to a Gel Roll-On as well as Bath Flakes which offer a minimum of 100mg of elemental magnesium absorption by the body and all are very affordable and easy to use!
I am a very open book when it comes to pregnancy, my body, the good, the bad and the ugly - if you have any questions about pregnancy, feel free to get in touch. I personally find so much comfort in talking with other pregnant women about what works for them and knowing we are all in the same boat. Sharing is caring! x