Once you discover you’re with child it can seem like there are a million of tasks you need to accomplish ahead of time.
From prepping the baby’s room to purchasing clothes, readying your car, and doing everything else necessary to raise a healthy child it can feel as if you don’t have enough time to focus on yourself.
While there is plenty to do, you need to make sure and enjoy yourself during this amazing time.
Whether this is your first pregnancy or your fourth, you spend just a short amount of your life pregnant and far too many women don’t soak it in and enjoy the incredible changes they go through.
Yes, it isn’t always fun and glamorous, but most women will tell you above everything else, enjoy the ride. One of the best ways to help you enjoy the ride is to properly care for yourself and your body.
From doing what you can to boost your level of sleep to improving your skincare, it doesn’t take much to both take care of yourself and your baby.
Here is everything you need to consider when it comes to the best practices of taking care of yourself during pregnancy.
Basic Information On Pregnancy Self Care
There are a handful of basics you already know that we won’t cover here. You need to follow your doctor’s recommended appointment schedule. If they have a specific diet they want you to follow make sure and follow it. And, of course, make sure to avoid smoking, alcohol, and cut back (if not completely eliminate) caffeine.
These are all basics your doctor will go over with you. These tips are for the betterment of your child and to help improve their development. That is why we are instead focusing on self-care tips your doctor may not tell you. These tips are often not expensive but will go a long way in boosting how you feel. And a happy mother is a happy baby.
Your body will go through several changes throughout your nine-month pregnancy. After all, you’re not doing everything for yourself and the baby you’re carrying. This means many of the nutrients and calories you consume go toward the health and wellbeing of your developing child. However, it also means the better you care for yourself the better your child will develop.
Just about everything you do is connected with your health, which in the end will have some kind of effect on your child. For example, if you do not get your necessary sleep your body will not be able to fully repair itself, which means it ends up straining to try to repair itself while you’re awake. This can result in fewer nutrients sent the way of your baby.
Every pregnancy is different from the next. However, while some of what you experience may not be the same as the next pregnant woman (or even other pregnancies you go through) much of what you can do for yourself will transfer over.
Whatever you do, take these tips and suggestions for taking care of yourself during pregnancy and edit, tweak, and adjust it to better fit your personal needs. These are all base suggestions which you can then mold to fit your requirements perfectly.
Things To Consider When Caring For Yourself During A Pregnancy
Self-care is about taking care of your body both inside and out. This doesn’t change when you’re pregnant. However, what does change is the fact that you will suddenly have additional weight on your frame that the rest of your body isn’t accustomed to.
Due to this, you’ll need to make some general alterations to help keep your body comfortable. The best ways for caring for yourself can typically be broken down in a few specific categories. And by best taking care of yourself, you’ll help improve your ability to care for your baby.
After all, a well-rested you will be able to power through the day easier than the version of you struggling to sleep through the night. As you follow the tips and suggestions for how to care for yourself during a pregnancy here are a few things you need to consider.
1. Do You Need It Now Or Later
One thing to consider is when you might actually need some items. Should you wait for discomforts to pop up or should you buy a product beforehand, just to be prepared. For some items, such as skincare and shampoo, you should buy ahead of time.
Your hormones will change, so you should plan accordingly. But what about the other items? You may not experience the same kind of discomforts as others. The best way to go about this is, if possible, to ask your mom about pains and discomforts she had.
There’s a good chance your pregnancy will, at least someone, be similar to hers, so if she suffered from swollen knees or a sore back there’s a better chance you will as well.
Now, it’s always best to play it safe (if you buy something you don’t use you can always give it to someone else or return it), but do a bit of family research ahead of time so you have a better idea of what to expect.
2. Post Birth Use
After you have given birth to your baby can you use the item or is it strictly a pregnancy only item? Now, just because something is only used while you are pregnant doesn’t mean you avoid buying it.
After all, if it helps improve your quality of sleep or boosts your confidence as your body changes it is well worth the investment. However, it’s also nice when you can use the item after you have given birth. It just helps stretch your dollar that much further.
Having a baby is not cheap. You’ve probably been adding up dollars in the back of your head since you first discovered you were pregnant. So you should always keep price in mind. Your first child will likely cost more than any additional children you have. Due to this, budgeting will be much more important.
Thankfully, even if you’re on a tight budget there are always options in just about every category. Now, some of the more expensive devices do have additional features, so you’ll need to determine if the added cost is worth it, but always keep cost in mind. There is usually a large variety in possible costs.
Categories Of Self Care
You know your body more than anyone else. Now, you can prepare for the birth of your child and your pregnancy as much as you want, but there will almost always be issues that arise.
Perhaps you’re not getting the kind of sleep you would like, or you’ve suddenly noticed your skin is breaking out as if you were back in junior high. These can affect your body both mentally and physically.
Thankfully it is possible to improve these issues and, by doing so, you’ll help take better care of yourself (and, likewise, better care of your baby). From reducing pain on your body while you sleep to making it easier to walk around as you start to put on weight, these are some of the self care categories you’ll likely want to shop around for.
Best Ways To Sleep Better While You’re Pregnant
Sleep is one of the most important ways you can better care for yourself. The better the sleep you get at night the more refreshed you’ll feel during the day. Poor sleep while pregnant will weigh on you even more than poor sleep withing a growing child inside of you. That is why you need to focus on improving your quality of sleep.
Now, there are a handful of tips you should follow without a product investment. You should cut out caffeine during the day and drink plenty of water throughout the day, but stop several hours before you go to bed (otherwise you’ll be getting up during the night to go to the bathroom).
You’ll also want to exercise and even snack on a few bland items before bed (something like crackers) as the snack will help you avoid nausea.
Of course, while these items can help put you to bed and prevent you from jumping up in the middle of the night and needing the bathroom for one reason or another these tips don’t help improve your quality of sleep. Thankfully, there are several items available that can help you with this.
Also called a pregnancy pillow, a maternity pillow is a great investment as it is inexpensive and it helps secure your body while you sleep. To reduce pain (and pressure placed on your bladder), it is often recommended to sleep on your side.
However, side sleeping brings about some problems as well, including pain on your knees and, due to the weight shift in your body, you may begin to shift back to a back-to-mattress position. With a maternity pillow, this no longer is an issue. The design, which is a long, worm-shaped pillow, curves around your body.
This allows you to press it against your back while you spoon the front of it. The pillow can also fit between your knees, which helps reduce pain caused by sleeping with your knees pressed against one another. Check out our selection of Best Pregnancy Pillows to find the right one for you.
- Large pillow designed to wrap around your body
- Easy to adjust to better fit your sleeping needs
- Helps prop up your head and separate knees for improved comfort
$20 – $75+
Breathable Mattress Pad For Comfortable Sleep
The thing about adding on extra weight that you may not think about is your sleeping temperature. Now what use to be comfortable is too hot, and when you open up the windows or turn down the AC you’re too cold. It’s a constant chess match with your comfort level.
That is why the best way to help combat this issue is to invest in a breathable mattress cover. Now, you could go all the way and buy a brand new breathable mattress, which if you have the financial resources available go that route as it will make a world of difference.
But if you’re comfortable with your current mattress you should instead consider a new mattress cover.
There are several mattress pad options available. Some simply use a more breathable material while others have a centralized fan that can push air through the mattress pad and help cool your body, warm it, or simply pull your excess body heat. Ultimately you’ll need to decide which is better for you, but you’ll be amazed at how much improved your quality of sleep becomes.
- Helps improve airflow around your body, which reduces night sweating
- Higher-end pads use a centralized fanning system to push air through the mattress pad and can be adjusted to better fit your desired temperature
- Protects your mattress
$100 – $800+
Best Ways To Stay Active While Pregnant
Remaining active is very important while you’re pregnant. While there will be days where you just want to sit on the couch with your feet up you should still do what you can to remain active. When you remain active it improves your heart rate.
An improved heart rate will help boost your blood flow throughout your body. With an improved blood flow, you’ll deliver more oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and to your baby. So while you might not be able to hit the gym as hard as you did pre-pregnancy there are still all kinds of ways to remain active.
The biggest complaint many women have isn’t their ability to stay active while pregnant but their ability to remain comfortable and pain-free. You’ll need to listen to your body and make adjustments accordingly, but here are some of the best items you should consider investing in when it comes to improving your active lifestyle.
Best Shoes To Wear While Pregnant
There’s no denying your feet will likely begin to swell at some point during your pregnancy. This is one of those things you really can’t do anything to prevent. However, what you can prevent is the pain you suffer from overly-tight shoes wrapped around your feet.
To remain active you’ll need to have comfortable shoes (and even when at the day job you’ll want to have comfortable shoes that don’t pinch).
When shopping around for shoes you’ll want to look for something made with flexible material. Don’t go for the leather designed shoes as these will not shift and stretch. Instead, you’ll want a pair of shoes that are made out of breathable material.
This material will have more stretch and give. The shoes will also help improve airflow around your feet. You may also want to consider shoes that are slip-on and do not go above your ankle. Your ankle is one area of your foot that will likely increase in size the most. So keeping your show top-down below the ankle will help improve your comfort level.
- Stretchy, breathable material that will shift in width to help with any shift in the size of your feet
- Improves airflow around your feet which helps keep your toes dryer for longer
- These shoes are often made for athletic activities so you can easily go to the gym or go for a walk with these shoes and remain comfortable
- Plenty of design options so you can pick out a pair that not only is comfortable but looks cute as well. After all, just because your pregnant doesn’t mean you should give up your style!
$10 – $100+
Reduce Knee Swelling While Pregnant With A Knee Brace
As your body continues to develop and the baby inside of you continues to grow you may begin to feel more tension and even pain stemming from your knees.
This is because more weight is now pressing down on your knees, which is squeezing the ligament and cartilage of the joints, causing more tension and even forcing the bones in your knee to press into each other.
Before becoming pregnant, it is a good idea to exercise your lower body and perform some basic weight training as this will help strengthen the muscles and tendons around your knee. However, if you are suffering from knee pain currently you’ll need to do what you can to help alleviate some of this pain. The best way to do this is to invest in a knee brace.
You don’t need to purchase a bulky brace. You can buy a brace that is worn for basic athletic activities. This knee brace is designed to help reduce the pressure applied to the joint. And don’t worry, if you don’t like the look of a knee brace when you’re at work or out about town there are some ways you can hide it.
You can invest in yoga pants and purchase a knee brace of the same color, or you can purchase a maternity dress and wear the knee brace under it. Whether you want to let people know you have a knee brace on or not is up to you, but this inexpensive purchase can be the difference of walking comfortably or suffering through knee joint pain.
- Helps support the joint of your knee and reduce direct pressure applied to the bones and surrounding tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Many knee braces are either stretchy or adjustable so you can easily find a brace that fits your size requirements
- Most can be washed along with your clothing, so if you sweat through the brace or spilled something on it you don’t need to replace it
$10 – $100+
Exercise At Home While Pregnant With A Yoga Mat
Remaining active is important for not only the health of your baby but your overall personal care. However, there might come a time where it’s simply too difficult to head out to the gym.
Whatever the reason might be you can still exercise and elevate your heart rate at home without investing in expensive workout machinery. Yoga is one of the best ways to exercise at home while you are pregnant. Yoga will help maintain flexibility, which reduces joint pain.
It also helps cut down on fluids building up in joints (or swelling in your ankles). If you are nearing the end of your third-trimester yoga can also help induce labor. To help improve your stability and comfort you’ll want to invest in a yoga mat.
Yoga mats are great as you can perform your yoga routine at home or even at the office. Plus, a durable yoga mat will last you far longer than your pregnancy. If you’re interested in which Yoga Mat is the best for you, take a look at out selection of Best Yoga Mats.
- A cushioned mat that can be used both on the carpet and on a hard surface. It adds enough give to help keep you comfortable throughout your yoga (or another floor workout) routine
- Grip built into the yoga mat so you won’t slip while performing different yoga poses. It also helps when you sweat so you won’t slip on the sweat
- Easy to carry with you so you can go to yoga classes at your favorite yoga studio or to work with you in case you want to squeeze in a few poses
$10 – $70+
Maternity Skin Care
Have you noticed your current skincare regimen isn’t working as well as it used to? It isn’t because the products you buy now use a different formula. Instead, it’s because your body now releases a different level of hormones, which may prevent certain skincare products from working.
Others might clog pores or drying out your skin. However, just because your pregnant doesn’t mean you need to accept having anything less than radiant skin. Now, you can still use the same makeup, but it the moisturizers and the pre-makeup skincare products that you need to change up.
That is why there are specialty skincare items designed specifically for pregnant women. The products are formulated based on the shift in your hormones. Of course, because not everyone experiences the same change or hormone levels you may need to experiment a bit with the different products, but there are some great options out there just for you.
Take Care Of Your Skin While Pregnant With Body Oil
There’s no denying your body is going to put on sudden weight during your pregnancy. While each woman is a bit different in how they carry their weight the sudden weight gain can lead to stretch marks, especially if the skin is not ready for the body’s transformation.
To help potentially reduce stretch marks, you need to invest in proper moisturizer. With that said, any old moisturizer will not do. You need something that packs an extra moisturizing punch and is designed specifically for this kind of situation. This is where a treatment oil comes in.
A body treatment oil (some brands might call it an elasticity oil or belly butter) helps nourish your skin while also give it the necessary vitamins and minerals to help improve its buoyancy. The ability to expand with the added weight without leading to stretch marks is especially desirable, which is why you need to find the best body treatment oil designed for maternity.
- Designed specifically for maternity care to help improve not only the skin’s ability to repair itself but to avoid damage, which in turn reduces the potential for stretch marks
- Helps nourish your skin and give you a radiant glow in addition to protecting your skin
$15 – $75+
Fight Breakouts With Maternity Acne Control Treatment
Your body will go through hormonal changes throughout the course of your pregnancy. Every trimester will be a little different as your body nourishes and cares for your child. A change in your diet might have an impact on your hormonal production as well.
Due to this, you may be more susceptible to breakouts. While you can continue with your standard facial cleansing regimen you should also consider investing in acne control products designed specifically for maternity care.
Now, if you’re not suffering any breakouts you won’t need to purchase these products. However, if you have noticed an increase in blemishes, despite your normal hygiene routine, you’ll want to buy a maternity acne control product. This will help maintain your skin, which will help reduce acne blemishes while giving you confidence at the same time.
- Designed specifically for the increase in hormonal production to better combat blemishes
- Easy to add to your daily hygiene regimen
- Maternity skincare is more likely to be fragrance-free as some everyday cleaners may have a fragrance that can cause nausea
$10 – $40+
Hair Care Products To Use While Pregnant
When you’re expecting you may discover your hair is thicker than ever before. This is because the hormonal changes which can spur on hair growth (of course, this can also spur on unwanted hair growth in other areas of the body).
While the thicker hair might be nice you’ll also find your scalp is producing significantly more oil than before. If you’re using a basic, store brand shampoo, dandruff shampoo or any other cheap shampoo there’s a good chance these products are packed with chemicals.
These chemicals can enter your bloodstream through your scalp and potentially reach your baby (in fact, your doctor will likely tell you to stop using a medicated shampoo during pregnancy for this very reason). That is why you’ll want to find a shampoo to use while pregnant. The right shampoo will rid your scalp of oil and help you deal with the extra volume you might not be accustomed to.
- Chemical-free and made up of quality, natural ingredients which will not only improve the health of your hair but prevent chemicals from soaking into your bloodstream
- Improve your ability to handle the increased volume of hair
- Fragrance-free shampoos will help you avoid nausea issues hat other shampoos might cause
- Shampoo options that are great for pregnancy while also safe on color-treated hair
$15 – $70+
Most of them you can wait on. You might not suffer skin outbreaks or sleep hot and sweaty. However, it is a good idea to invest in the shoes and maternity pillows ahead of time as these are items you’ll want on hand before any discomfort sets in.
First, the products, if you’re using the same container, might be expired. Beauty products just like food can expire. However, if you’re using brand new skincare products it’s likely because your hormonal makeup is different for this pregnancy than the last one and you’ll need to adjust accordingly and try out a different product.
Knee pain can take all the joy out of being pregnant. When every time you take a step you feel pain it just isn’t fun at all. But you still have stuff to do and things to take care of. If the knee brace is currently not helping consider talking with your doctor during the next visit. They can recommend higher-end braces that will help reduce pressure on the joints. And who knows, insurance might help cover the price of the brace.
First, it will take time for your body to adapt to the weight it is putting on. However, beyond this you need to consider your diet. Namely, you need to consider how much salt you’re consuming. Some of the foods you are craving (such as those pickle cravings) are loaded with salt.
The salt will dehydrate you faster and really slow you down. It will also dry out your skin. There’s nothing wrong with eating foods with some sodium from time to time, but by cutting most of the salt out of your body you’ll feel more energized and you’ll likely even see improvements in your skin.
Also, make sure to take your prenatal vitamins. You need to boost certain vitamins, such as calcium, folic acid, and iron significantly while pregnant. So if you’re not getting the kind of vitamins you need your body will start to feel sluggish, even if you’re getting solid sleep.
First, invest in a pair of great shoes (as mentioned earlier). It’ll help with your comfort levels. Second, just going for a nice walk 30 minutes a day or longer can help. It gets the heart pumping, which delivers more blood and oxygen throughout your body, so you’ll feel better throughout the day.
Now, you’ll want to go somewhere that is not only easy to walk but has seats for if you need to rest. The mall, for one, is a fantastic destination. You can walk at your own pace, there is ample seating, and there’s probably even a foot court.
Going during the middle of the day or earlier in the morning is best as it won’t be as crowded. If there’s a park near you that’s also a good option. Walking around nature with fresh air always does the body good.