So you’re pregnant– woohoo! Thoughts flood your mind of how you’re going to take care of your little one from this day forward. In utero, in infancy, as a toddler, as a young child, as a teenager, and as an adult- you’re thinking about the ways you’ll nourish, serve, and lead this new life. But that care, it starts now, and it’s not just reserved for that growing baby- it’s for you too!
Healthy pregnancies and deliveries are linked to many factors (about which you should talk with your medical provider and team), but there are a number of ways women can be proactive in lowering stress, increasing understanding of the body and process, and engaging in practices of self-care that help both the mother and the baby.
Self-care means something different to each of us. The most important factor here is restoration. Restoring the mind, body, spirit (or ideally all 3!) Self-care takes time and intention in a world of busy schedules and the needs of others all around us, but remember the idea of “filling your cup”? It is SO important in pregnancy! While you might have ideas of your own, I want to share with you six ways you can practice self-care in pregnancy and take care of your body while doing so.
Self-Care During Pregnancy
1. Prenatal Coach
A prenatal coach provides education, guidance, and support to moms-to-be to prepare them mentally and physically for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. In a session, you can expect to learn tools and strategies to help prepare for a positive birth experience and, in group sessions, do so alongside other moms-to-be who are going through the same thing. Coaching is often done in person or online. Coaches each have different approaches with the same goal- to prepare your body for the transition of birth and motherhood in a way that addresses your core, pelvic floor and more. Here in Columbus, you can check out Strong Body Strong Mama, Pelvic Floor and More or Fit4Mom’s Fit 4 Baby (4 Columbus locations available.)
2. Prenatal Yoga
I put yoga in a category of its’ own because the approach is different from the above-mentioned prenatal coach, and here in Columbus, there are a variety of resources to share with you! Prenatal yoga also helps to connect the body, specifically pelvic floor, and core, through yoga and meditative practices. You can choose to do this in your home following an online program or in-home training or in a group setting. Local resources include Mindful Mama Method (online or in your home) and group classes from Be Yoga Columbus, Pai Yoga, Bexley Yoga.
3. Chiropractic Care
I used to think chiropractors were just for post-car accident work or people over the age of 60. Oops. Come to find out, chiropractic care can be very beneficial for the pregnant mom. They can help make sure things are in line for delivery and give you relief from the changes your body is undergoing. Again, you want to find a chiropractor who is trained in pregnancy care and can modify for safety. Dr. Kyle Alexander, Infinite Life Chiropractic, VIBE chiropractic, Chiro Care for Women, and Ohio Family and Sports all provide pregnancy-specific care.
4. Prenatal Massage
There’s never a bad time to get a massage, but in pregnancy, you might feel all the aches and pains as your body changes in many ways. A massage is a great way to find relief. While you are pregnant, there are ways in which your massage needs to be modified for safety. Make sure your masseuse knows you are pregnant and has the training to care for the pregnant body. As you progress in pregnancy, more modifications will be needed. There are several places you can receive a massage in Columbus. My personal favorite is Replenish where Shawn was a lifesaver for me. Friends of mine have also recommended Columbus Pregnancy Massage.
5. Float Spa
Getting into a sensory-deprivation space sounds like a dream to some and a nightmare to others. When this was recommended to me in my pregnancy, I was reluctant but intrigued. Turns out, being in a sensory-deprivation tank was a dream on my pregnant body. The float tank allows you to float and not feel the weight of your body, which is nice when you’re carrying the extra weight of a baby. This provided relief for my lower back and joint pain and gave me a time to relax without distraction. Here in Columbus, you can visit True Rest or the locally owned Ebb and Float.
6. Birth Support Doula
Yes, birth doulas are known for their presence in the delivering room with you. They can help you to navigate the process, advocate for you, and bring a peaceful and empowered presence. But, there’s more than that. Many birth doulas also provide prenatal health coaching, individualized nutrition and exercise programs, aromatherapy and meditation sessions and prenatal yoga to prepare you for your experience. Services vary by the doula but finding one that aligns with your needs can be transformative for the prenatal and birthing experience. Locally, 614 Doulas, Central Ohio Doulas, Kelli Blinn, and more offer these valuable services!
So remember mom-to-be, taking time to honor your body and mind is vital. Self-care can mean something different to each of us, but each of us needs to find ways to practice it!