Over the last few weeks I have been developing my own You Baby Beyond ‘Circle of Care’ for pregnant Mums. I want to ensure that the mindset is trained and fed well, not just the body. I am so passionate about a Mum-to-be’s pregnancy journey, and excited to share this programme with you today.

Whether you are in your First, Second or Third trimester, there is something here that can help you. Firstly, this is a massive subject lasting nine months, so we are going to take it one step at a time.  Some of you may be having daily anxious thoughts, and if you are then you will lose valuable time investing in yourself and baby.  Being pregnant is a rollercoaster of emotions and hormones. Have you worried about what to eat, gaining weight, or what exercise to do? How many of you create time for relaxation? Easier said than done! Especially if you have other kids, a husband/partner, you are running a household or working.

I’ve been there!

I’ve been exactly where you are. Twice in fact! And I’ve also worked with many women just like you.  So be assured that there isn’t anything you want to know that I won’t have an answer for. So today I am going to touch upon 3 things you can start immediately. These will help you create a happier, healthier sense of well-being whilst pregnant.  We know this subject is huge, too big for me to cover in one blog, so if you want to know more, you can contact me at sue@youbabybeyond.com or head on over to my website www.youbabybeyond.com to check out more useful information on my blog page.

The Circle of Care

As I mentioned, I have developed a ‘Circle of Care,’ focusing on three pillars:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Exercise
  3. Stretching and Mindfulness

You may have heard about these before, so please remain open and inquisitive. They co-exist together, forming the foundation for your pregnancy journey.  If you only take away a couple of points from each, you will be in a much better place.  If these become second nature you will realise your full potential as a Mum-to-be and beyond. I trust this sounds good?

I love the quote, ‘I grow humans, what’s your superpower?’  This is exactly what you are doing – growing another human being. How amazing is that? Never mind all the other stuff you’re busy with… husband/partner, toddlers, cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, shopping, a job!  Come on, right now, I want you to give yourselves a pat on the back!

So what is this ‘Circle of Care?’

The heart of it is you and your baby! Can you remember the moment you found out you were expecting?  You, your family and your friends were so excited, overcome with joy. And then it hits you and suddenly you are left with your thoughts, “oh my gosh I’m pregnant, what do I do now?” And that’s when the worry can start. Especially with all those One Born Every Minute episodes, or the horror stories every other Mum feels compelled to tell you. My advice? Don’t listen!  There is so much you can do to support yourself and baby.

Pillar 1: Nutrition

Even people who aren’t pregnant struggle with this subject. But it is especially important for you Mums.  I’ve identified 7 important areas, of which I am going to highlight 3 today. For a full explanation head on over to my website www.youbabybeyond.com and you will find lots of interesting information about this important topic in my blogs. 

Breakfast

Don’t forget to have breakfast! Every meal is important and none should be skipped but in particular breakfast is key.  Start off the day with a meal that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, one that keeps you regular and fills you up with healthy energy.  Sounds like a tall order?

Try to include the following:

  • Filled with fiber
  • Rich in Protein
  • Abundant in Calcium
  • Wholesome Whole Grains
  • Loaded with Iron

Choose healthy snacks, not the quick fixes

Forgot ‘eating for two’ because this way can stack on the pounds. Instead try these snack ideas:

  • Apple & Cheese
  • Homemade Trail Mix
  • Greek Yogurt Parfait
  • Veggie or Chips and Guacamole – lower sodium tortilla chips about 100 mg per 1oz
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Dried Fruit & Granola
  • Melon with Lime

Limit caffeine and avoid alcohol

Aim to drink 8 glasses of water, herbal teas, fruit juice (sugar levels) per day.

Pillar 2: Exercise

Your body is a walking, living, breathing miracle!

Posture

Changes occurring during pregnancy can contribute to pelvic and/or back pain.  So it is important to maintain good posture to reduce the risk of pain and discomfort.

  • Standing. Correct posture will prevent the ‘waddle’. It may look cute, but actually puts stress on ankles, knees, pelvis and lower back. 
  • Sitting tall prevents rounding in the shoulders, and stress on the lower back.
  • Sleeping with pillows for support can prevent breathlessness. In the image below, Sarah (who at the time of writing this blog is one week from her due date) is working on posture and strength, focusing on her upper back, shoulders and neck.  We have been working together since the start and her results have been amazing. It has given her confidence that she can do what is expected of her in a week’s time!
Sarah, one week before her due date.

Pelvic Floor & Core

These two combined make up a strong corset for your body. If properly strengthened and conditioned, they will prevent many symptoms. For example, the growing strain of baby weight, upper/lower back pain, leg cramps, fatigue, nausea, insomnia, swelling of the limbs. Strengthening your core and pelvic floor helps reduce or avoid stress during birth. There are so many exercises to train the pelvic floor and core, not a plank or crunch in sight!

Strength & Cardio Training

I bet some of you are thinking ‘are you having a laugh, how am I going to get the time, let alone the energy to do this?’ Pregnancy can mean ‘tired, tired and a little more tired.’ With tiredness comes weak muscles, and poor posture, which then takes a toll on your body during pregnancy.  Your body and mind need to work together, especially during labour and birth when energy, strength and mental stamina are all required. Your body will do things during labour it has never done before. And you will feel things you have never felt before. So how would it make you feel to know you would have an abundance of all three?

The picture below is of Imogen. She is in her Third trimester and continues to do a 20 minute run 2-3 times per week. She is able to do this because she was an ardent runner before. Keeping up with her training will prepare her for labour and birth!

Pillar 3: Stretching & Mindfulness

First up, Stretching

Active daily living causes our bodies to feel overworked and tired.  Stretching will help relieve tension, and achieve a sense of release. Stretching is always under rated, but when you get into the practise of releasing and surrendering, you body will thank you and so will your baby.

Mindfulness

When days are full on, we become disconnected and forget what our bodies are doing. Instead we feel stressed, overwhelmed and tired.  I have a little mindful exercise I want you to try right now. Sit comfortably in a chair, straight back with hands resting gently on your tummy or on the top of your thighs.  Close your eyes. I want you to concentrate on your breath. Inhale on a count of 4, pause and relax as you gently exhale on a count of 4. Focusing on the breath will help stop the million thoughts racing through your head. The goal is to think of nothing, but to just concentrate on that breath.

Now open your eyes, how did that make you feel? Now times this by 10 or more with practise! Imagine every day finding a quiet space to just connect with your baby – bonding, building that relationship with your baby, even before he or she is born.  How would that make you feel? So take that moment to find peace and tranquility, to feel your body, your baby, your heartbeats. To reflect upon this little human being inside you.

So there you have it, my You Baby Beyond ‘Circle of Care’ built upon three foundational pillars; Nutrition, Exercise, Stretching & Mindfulness, from which I hope you discovered something new today.

I want to leave you with one thought. That is to remember these body changes will last for only nine months, but the beauty of motherhood will embrace you for the rest of your life.  And then growing up begins and that’s a whole different story.

As ever my goal for pregnant Mums is a healthy mind, healthy body, healthy You and Baby.