Prenatal care: tips for a smooth pregnancy

Pregnancy is a joyride. But it can be a bumpy ride if you’re not careful with prenatal care. First of all: congratulations if you’re pregnant! It’s high time you take care of yourself. With the help of a few yoga poses and prenatal care tips, you can get through this special phase of your life without hassle or excessive stress.

Prenatal care tips for a healthy pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body is constantly changing and any change must be addressed each trimester. Before we get into that, it’s important to keep two necessary tips in mind.

* ‘Eating for two’ is a myth. So remember not to overeat during this time, but make sure you eat nutrient-rich foods, get your vitamins and eat a balanced diet.

*Emotional support is just as important as your physical well-being. Consider joining a support group or connecting with a mother’s network to ensure holistic care during this unique journey of hosting a new life.

Prenatal care tips for the first trimester of pregnancy

During your first trimester, consult your doctor to see what precautions you should take when it comes to being active. This consultation forms the basis for your exercise plan. If they give you the green light, start Pranayama.

During the first trimester there aren’t many physical changes in your body, but the stress can become a bit overwhelming, which is why the Pranayama is a huge game changer. It calms you by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you relax.

Be careful about the exercises you choose during the first trimester of pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Avoid any yoga pose (prenatal yoga) or exercises with deep twists or inversions. Remember to listen to your body. If you feel uncomfortable in any position, stop and don’t force yourself.

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Morning sickness begins in the first trimester, and despite the name, it is not limited to one time of day. You may feel sick all day long. Try ginger tea and warm water to calm your stomach. Avoid trigger foods. These include any foods that make you feel nauseous. No matter how good they are for your health; if they make you sick, it’s not worth it.

Prenatal care tips for the second trimester of pregnancy

By the second trimester, the nausea should have calmed down. But if you’re still dealing with it, make sure you stay well hydrated.

Your body undergoes many changes during this trimester, and this is the time when you will feel the physical effects of pregnancy. Since your body is actually growing now, the weight gain can make you feel a little self-conscious. But even now, you need to eat a balanced diet and practice self-affirmations for your mental well-being and for the baby’s health.

Your center of gravity shifts at this point, so you may feel wobbly and you should take that into account when you exercise.

Prenatal care tips for the third trimester of pregnancy

During the third trimester you will feel tired more quickly than normal. Remember to get plenty of rest and not overexert yourself. Do not stretch too much during exercise. During this period, start practicing Kegel and pelvic floor exercises.
Start focusing on postnatal care and preparing for the baby’s arrival.

Keep in mind that no two births are the same, so even if you have given birth before, talk to your doctor about all the options and what to pay attention to during labor.

Exercise during pregnancy
Breathing exercises during pregnancy can be helpful. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Postnatal care for a new mother

The fourth trimester is just as important as the previous three, but is often overlooked because the focus has now shifted to the baby. The baby is here, but you still have to take care of yourself. Your body has changed significantly over the past nine months and it is incredibly important that you continue to take care of yourself and treat yourself with as much kindness as you did during pregnancy. Your hormones that were out of whack are now back to normal, so your mind should be clearer.

Once you have stopped bleeding and have fully recovered from childbirth, gently resume pelvic floor and Kegel exercises, but only after consulting with a certified postpartum instructor to begin your journey again.

Schedule a DRAM (Diastasis Rectus Abdominis Muscle) check and an abdominal muscle check before returning to exercises. Get as much rest as you need and remember that it’s okay to rely on the support of your family, friends, and certified caregivers to help you during this time.

Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before making any of these changes. This is not medical advice.

(Anshuka Parwani is a wellness columnist for Health Shots. She writes an exclusive bi-weekly column for the women’s health platform. Anshuka is a leading yoga and holistic wellness expert in India and trains celebrities like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt. A former pilot, she is the power behind Mumbai-based yoga studio Anshuka Yoga.)

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