Pregnancy Self Care Tips That Will Benefit Mom and Baby

Practicing self care during pregnancy can benefit moms as well as their growing babies.

Expectant mothers have a lot on their minds, in addition to making it through the discomforts and excitement of pregnancy.  These pregnancy self care tips are something all moms can try in order to ease symptoms of prenatal depression, anxiety, stress and to ensure a healthy 9 months for both mom and baby. 

Pregnancy Self Care Tips That Will Benefit Mom and Baby
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice.  Always speak to your doctor before implementing any changes to your normal routine during pregnancy. 

Pregnancy is a time of massive change in a woman’s life, and becoming a mom brings the most significant life transformation ever. Society tells us that pregnancy is a magical time, and while this is true, it is also a time of many other emotions too.

Many women can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of their impending arrival and may feel anxious about what they will experience as life as a parent. With such a life-changing moment just around the corner, it can help to put some self-care habits into place to help you feel as prepared as possible for your new baby’s arrival, and to make the rest of your pregnancy as relaxed as it can be.  As soon as you find out that you are expecting, subscribe for monthly Bump Boxes to make your pregnancy go smoothly.

Nutrition

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is of course always important, but doing so in pregnancy can feel like a challenge if you are suffering from morning sickness, or worse still, hyperemesis gravidarum. Trying to eat a diet which is as healthy as it can be is not only a great way to keep yourself feeling good but could also keep your baby healthier in the future too. 

According to the Early Life Nutrition Coalition, the First 1000 Days are a crucial time, where your diet can impact on the chances of your child becoming obese in the future, and can also affect them having allergies. 

What you eat at the preconception stage and throughout pregnancy is worth considering carefully to get your child off to the best start in life.

How to Stay Nourished with Hyperemesis Gravidarum
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Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to use in life in general but can come in especially handy during pregnancy and your life as a parent. Mindfulness is all about bringing your attention to the present moment and letting your thoughts come and go. With regular practice, mindfulness becomes second nature for use at times of anxiety and stress.

Keeping calm, and practicing mindfulness should help you from worrying about future scenarios, and past events, enabling you to focus on the here and now, and yourself and your baby.

Maternity Photo Shoot Ideas 1
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Gentle Exercise

During pregnancy, you will probably need to change your existing exercise routine if it could be unsafe to follow during your pregnancy. Although you may have to put your usual routine on hold for a little while, you can try out some completely different activities instead, which will provide you with some gentle exercise.

Pregnancy yoga is a popular choice of exercise, which is no surprise as it offers many reputed benefits. Pregnancy yoga enables you to focus on your growing baby without all the interruptions of everyday life to disturb you. Your yoga session should fit well with your mindfulness practice, meaning that you can relax and exercise all at the same time, which should leave you feeling much calmer after the session. Joining a pregnancy yoga class is also great for making friends with other local expectant moms, and if you keep in touch, your baby will have a ready-made friendship group as soon as they are born!

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All women experience pregnancy differently but one thing remains the same.  It’s a time to prepare for the changes ahead.  Once baby arrives, life will become significantly different.  Taking the time to focus on yourself now, means that baby will also benefit from your peaceful state.  Using some of these pregnancy self care tips will give you a head start for maintaining your self care routine once you’re juggling the demands of a newborn baby.  


 

Kristina’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Kristina’s Postpartum Depression Story”

11 Surprising Side Effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG for short, is a condition that affects less than 3% of pregnant women but can have dreadful side effects.

Due to the fact that it’s so uncommon and hard to pronounce and the majority of people have no idea what it is, it’s often described as “an extreme case of morning sickness.”  Unfortunately, this description tends to lead others to believe that it’s no big deal.  But hyperemesis gravidarum is NOT just an extreme case of morning sickness!

While it is characterized by nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, it is actually so much more than that.  The side effects of hyperemesis gravidarum include dehydration and malnutrition which then cause one problem after another.

If you really want to know what it’s like living with this cruel condition, here are an additional 11 side effects hyperemesis gravidarum has on a pregnant body.
11 Surprising Side Effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
11 Surprising Side Effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

1. Fainting Spells

Actual fainting spells and feeling faint are a very common complaint for pregnant women with HG.  Dehydration, low blood pressure and low blood sugar levels are all to blame.  Standing or even sitting upright for long amounts of time can be very difficult to do.  You may want to invest in a blood pressure monitor to help you keep track.

2. Muscle Atrophy

Women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum spend most of their days lying in bed (when they’re not hanging headfirst over the toilet bowl).  With very little energy to spare and a steady stream of sleep-inducing medications, there’s not much else they can do.  This usually results in their muscles becoming weak and stiff.  A gentle massage with some pain relieving essential oils can greatly help.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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3. Leg Cramps

I can honestly say that the pain of leg cramps while bedridden with hyperemesis gravidarum was the closest thing to labor pains I have ever experienced.  While many women experience leg cramps, HG or not, dehydration makes them 10 times more painful and harder to recover from (pretty sure I was limping to the toilet for a month).  *Take note that sometimes, a pain in the calf can signal something worse*

4. Sore Throat

This should be an obvious one to anyone who has ever thrown up before… It’s not uncommon for women with hyperemesis gravidarum to vomit up to 50 times a day.  This can result in a raw, sore throat that makes even speaking painful.  Considering that most of what comes up is bile,  the lining of the throat can be severely damaged and it’s not uncommon for women to have blood in their vomit both from tearing the throat and/or esophagus.  An anesthetic throat spray is a great alternative to sucking on lozenges.

5. Acid Reflux

So we’ve established that everywhere from the mouth to the stomach resembles a war zone.  This means,of course, that acid reflux will be the norm for the duration of the pregnancy.  This, again, is something many women without HG experience, but this time – it’s not just a common case of heartburn.  With torn tissues in the throat and esophagus – it can cause a constant burning sensation in the chest.  If you can manage liquids, there are organic teas that can help with heartburn.  If regular antacids aren’t working, then talk to your doctor about a prescription strength one.

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6. Diarrhea

And if you weren’t spending enough of your time in the bathroom already, then this ought to fix that.  You can expect this mess after receiving a round of IV fluids, taking a suppository anti-emetic or eating and drinking a little bit after a few days of not eating or drinking at all.   It can be especially difficult to stay hydrated while you’re losing fluids out of both ends.  Basically your entire gastrointestinal system gets messed up thanks to hyperemesis gravidarum.  You may have to wait it out, or consider using an all-natural remedy.

7. Tooth Decay

All of that acidic vomit does a real number on your tooth enamel.  And if you’re not getting the calcium and other nutrients you need for strong bones then you will notice it first in your teeth.  We tend to forget how important chewing actual food is to keep our teeth healthy and when you’re suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum there is very little chewing, biting or eating going on at all.  Let’s not forget about how even inserting a tooth brush into the mouth can induce vomiting.  Instead, choose a mouthwash that has enamel protection AND is alcohol free and rinse out your mouth after you vomit.

14 Ways to Help a Woman with Hyperemesis Gravidarum
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8. Hair Loss

We know about postpartum hair loss but did you know that you can also lose your hair if you’re extremely dehydrated and malnourished?  So many vitamins and minerals are important for the growth of healthy hair and when you’re not getting those, your body has to steal them from somewhere else.  So instead of boasting the luscious locks that many women claim to have during pregnancy – I was plucking handfuls of it off my pillowcase.  Switch to a shampoo with castor oil to help strengthen your hair, and continue to use it postpartum.

9. Dry Skin

Dehydration can do some pretty crazy things to your skin.  Not only does it get really dry and itchy, but it also loses a lot of it’s elasticity.  I remember nurses doing “the pinch test” on the back of my hand each time I went into the hospital and each time it stayed up longer and longer.  If you’re battling dehydration on the inside, try to seal in moisture on the outside.  Make sure to choose an unscented moisturizer so as not to irritate your ultra-sensitive sense of smell.

Testing for Dehydration
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10. Motion Sickness

If you’ve never experienced motion sickness before then prepare for the bumpy ride that is hyperemesis gravidarum.  The delicate state of the stomach just can’t handle being tossed and turned.  While anything and everything seemed to trigger nausea and vomiting anyway – moving around at all brought it on much faster.  I would get motion sickness if I walked too fast or moved my head too quickly or even when I turned over in bed.  Car rides were unbearable.  Even feeling the baby kick, which should be a joyous sensation, triggered the nausea and vomiting.  Sea bands became my best friend and I kept them on for the entire 9 months.

Sea-Band Adult
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11. Depression

This was perhaps the worst of the side effects of hyperemesis gravidarum for me.  The loneliness of the long days and nights I spent in bed – unable to even hold a conversation, left me feeling isolated and imprisoned.  I couldn’t care for my other children and had to depend entirely on others for help which was very difficult for a control freak like me to do.  I even needed help to shower.

The most depressing thought of all was that I had months and months of this ahead of me, unlike a bout of the stomach flu or food poisoning which tends to resolve itself in a matter of a few days.  Nothing I tried gave me any relief – no combination of prescription medications, IV fluids or hospitalization solved the problem.

I seriously regretted getting pregnant and briefly contemplated terminating the pregnancy in order for it to end.  Throughout my second pregnancy, I suffered from prenatal depression, which was made worse by the side effects of hyperemesis gravidarum.

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Hyperemesis gravidarum and morning sickness are not the same.

A woman suffering from HG is unable to care for herself and will require help and attention during her pregnancy, she may even be admitted to the hospital for intravenous fluids or tube feeding.  And while there are a lot of home remedies and even pharmaceuticals available for nausea and vomiting – the only real cure for HG is giving birth.  

For more information and resources visit the Hyperemesis Education & Research Foundation at www.helpHER.org H.E.R. Foundation