Some women love being pregnant. They enjoy the happy glow that surrounds them as their belly swells with life, as well as the anticipation while preparations are made for the baby. For many, however, the journey to motherhood can be long, exhausting, and downright painful. Here’s a few reasons to pamper your body and mind during the long months of pregnancy.
Why All the Fuss?
Especially if you’re working full-time, taking the time and effort to pamper yourself may seem like too much trouble. It can be difficult to motivate your tired and overtaxed body to make the effort, but the extra care and attention can help to relieve the more unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy. Here are some reasons why:
- Nausea can be detrimental for both your health and your mood.
- Back pain is almost inevitable and can make a long work day even harder to get through.
- Constipation can add to feelings of bloating and swelling during pregnancy.
- Dry, itchy skin can become a daily plague.
- Headaches are common during pregnancy.
- Insomnia may steal hours of much-needed sleep every night.
- Stress levels and hormones both increase during pregnancy, causing mood swings and emotional instability.
Doesn’t that sound like fun? Not really, which is why self-care and pampering are so vital to a healthy pregnancy. Taking care of your own body and emotional well-being will benefit both you and baby in the months leading up to (and after) birth.
Perfect Ways to Pamper Your Pregnant Self
1. Soothe Unpleasant Symptoms with Herbal Teas
Not only are herbal teas relaxing and nutritious to drink, they are wonderful alternatives to toxin-laden pharmaceuticals for soothing some unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy. Here are some herbs to try:
- To relieve morning sickness, nausea, and occasional constipation, try a strong ginger and peppermint tea.
- For headaches, try a combination of chamomile tea and a cold compress infused with lavender oil applied to the forehead and temples. Also make sure you are drinking enough water. Try the Rehydration Protocol.
- To help induce sleep and battle insomnia, drink a tea brewed with dried lavender, linden, and chamomile. Also, make sure you are getting enough magnesium, which will also help prevent constipation. For more information on magnesium and nutrition in general, read Let’s Eat Right to Stay Fit, by Adelle Davis.
2. Massage, Massage, Massage
There’s no such thing as too much therapeutic massage during pregnancy. Not only will a prenatal massage relieve the obvious back pain, it can also provide a range of other benefits, such as:
- Reducing stress and tension
- Lessening anxiety and improving your mood
- Reducing water retention and swelling
- Relaxing the body to improve sleep
Many think of exercise as a chore rather than pampering during pregnancy, but staying active can make you feel better in a variety of ways:
- Yoga and light cardio activities can do wonders for back pain, especially in mid-to-late pregnancy. Keeping your back strong also helps support the increasing weight in front.
- Regular exercise will improve your mood and emotional well-being.
- Light exercise can relieve some other disagreeable symptoms of pregnancy, like constipation and nausea.
- Staying active can help combat the buildup of excess pregnancy weight gain and consequently support the health of both mother and baby.
- Physical activity can also help improve sleep patterns and reduce insomnia.
- Remember not to do anything that squeezes, stresses or impacts the baby! And if that happens by accident, stay silent afterwards to let the baby recover.
4. Treat Yourself to Something Special
Especially for first-time moms, pregnancy represents the closing of a chapter. After the little one is born, simple treats like a night out on the town or a weekend getaway with your partner will be much more difficult to arrange. Take the time to treat yourself to a few special experiences and pleasures before the chapter ends. A few weekend getaways or mini vacations are excellent options, if possible. Even simple pleasures like trips to the movies and eating at upscale restaurants may not be so common in the future. Take advantage of these last few months of child-free independence.
5. Cultivate Good Sleep
Despite insomnia and the constant discomfort that often thwart sleep during pregnancy, your body needs even more sleep than usual while it’s building a tiny human. Moreover, getting enough (maybe even more than enough!) sleep during pregnancy can go a long way to calm tumultuous hormones, decrease stress levels, and improve health overall. Here are some ways to cultivate healthy sleep patterns:
- Nix the electronics: Screens are a terrible detriment to sleep. Do everything in your power to stop using electronics at least an hour before bedtime and remove electronics from the bedroom.
- Invest in a good blackout curtain: If you don’t have to wake up at the break of dawn, then don’t! Use blackout curtains to block out bright morning light as well as bright nighttime street lights.
- Naps and more naps: It may not be easy to schedule in a nap or two, but even 20 minutes of extra sleep during the day can improve energy levels and mood. If you work full-time, pack a lunch that you can eat quickly so you can sneak in a quick nap during your lunch break. Just the act of falling asleep itself can be very refreshing, even when you wake soon after.
- Calm your mind: Find ways to calm your mind and body before bedtime. This may involve a relaxing yoga routine, deep-breathing, a short walk to look at the stars, a warm milk drink, or even just a half hour of reading (preferably an actual, physical book) to help bring on a peaceful sleep.
6. Indulge Your Skin
Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your skin. Many expecting mothers suffer from dry, flaky skin and incessant itching. Acne and, of course, stretch marks are also likely. You can alleviate and occasionally prevent pregnancy-related skin problems by indulging your skin with all-natural, nurturing skincare products from the beginning. Try a tummy butter made with essential oils for itchy, strained skin and to help prevent stretch marks.
Don’t forget to give the same care and attention to the rest of your body as well. Skin may become more dry and sensitive in other places, such as the face, hands, feet, and elbows. Look for botanical skincare routines to pamper all of your epidermis, and use natural antiseptic oils like tea tree oil to fight pregnancy-related acne.
Remember that skin health comes from the inside-out as well. Pregnancy requires good general nutrition.
Don’t forget to treat your baby to natural, non-toxic care as well. Find all-natural skincare for babies and mothers in the Living Clean store, or read more about pregnancy on the Living Clean blog:
- Mommies Rejoice! New Organic Skincare for You and Baby
- This Vitamin is Vital for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers