From exhaustion to “morning” sickness, swollen feet and mood swings, pregnancy can be tough! But there are ways you can practice self-care and use professional support to benefit you in this tricky time. From choosing the right medical provider to looking after yourself. Doulas Ellen Turchini and Samantha Gunn have more.
Self care is important at all stages of your life, but especially during pregnancy. Women, and mothers-to-be too often put themselves at the bottom of their priority list! Pregnancy is the perfect time to put yourself first, and create a solid foundation for self-care as you move into motherhood. Here are some ways to maximise your emotional and physical health.
The importance of independent education
Hospital-led childbirth and parenting classes are excellent, but some can be limited in the information they give you around birth preparation. For this reason, we recommend you check out some independent childbirth education courses, such as a breastfeeding class and others listed below, that can range in time and commitment from a few hours to a whole weekend. These may help equip you with a greater understanding of birth, how your body works, and a host of other strategies to use in childbirth and beyond. Here are some areas to explore:
Explore Breastfeeding classes: The best time for a breastfeeding course is while you are pregnant. This not only sets you up for a positive start, but you also then have access to resources if you need them when baby arrives. This is crucial because if you are having trouble breastfeeding, you will want and need help quickly.
Practice pregnancy pilates/yoga: Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy and these classes can bring many benefits to help you manage- including strength, balance, breathing techniques and giving you the opportunity to slow down. They also bring you together with other pregnant women, creating a community and support network that can continue once baby has arrived.
Consider chiropractic care: Chiropractic care during your pregnancy may benefit you and baby. Keeping your body aligned and balanced will help you feel more comfortable as your body grows and changes. This balance can also helps baby get into its best position for birth
Try acupuncture: Acupuncture during early pregnancy can help stabilize hormones, relieve anxiety and alleviate morning sickness symptoms. Closer to baby’s due date, acupuncture can get you ready for birth, and often assist in avoiding a medical induction. Postnatally, acupuncture can also assist with mastitis symptoms, breastfeeding difficulties and overall wellbeing.
Pregnancy massage: This might feel like an indulgence, but is important for a few reasons. Massage keeps you relaxed, and feeling physically and emotionally great all of which is conducive to a happy pregnancy. Feeling calm and nurtured create an environment that is perfect for birth. Take the opportunity to treat yourself now, it might be some months before you can do it again.
Sign up for doula support: Doula support is independent, emotional and practical. We work alongside your care providers during this special time. The support is individual, as everyone is different and can include anything from writing your birth plan, giving you confidence during your labour to breastfeeding and settling support postnatally. It can even be as simple as just having a coffee, and chatting through any anxieties or concerns. What is special about doula support is connection and time for both you and your partner.
Ellen Turchini and Samantha Gunn are doulas based on the North Shore. You can find out more about them through their listings on the North Shore Mum’s Directory or through Ellen’s website or Samatha’s website. They refer to practioners specializing in all of the above areas and happy to chat any time.