Harmony Inspired - Surviving pregnancy and beyond

Posted by Caroline West on

Recently we hosted a well women’s webinar series, talking about pregnancy, post natal and everything in between.  If you missed the series, we have put this blog together highlighting our most important survival tips through this stage in a woman’s life.

 

At Harmony Inspired Headquarters we understand what Mothers go through with pregnancy and beyond.  We understand first hand the adrenaline and excitement of becoming a Mother for the first time, the tiredness of feeding and the exhaustion from minimal sleep.

 

The first topic I was going to touch on was all the exciting body changes and medical issues that may (or may not) develop while you are pregnant.  You may be lucky enough not to encounter many of them at all, or you might be one of those females that blows up like a balloon, you feel nauseated for most of your pregnancy, your short of breath for part of the pregnancy, you have black legs from all your varicose veins popping out under the pressure of the baby growing in your belly and your ankles look like cankles, hmmmm am I making it sound appealing??  But the truth is, you forget about it pretty fast after that bundle of joy arrives in your arms.  These symptoms can be normal in pregnancy, but just to become aware of how you are feeling, what feels ok to you or what might need more medical attention.  You just need to LISTEN to your body!!!

 

The next big topic that I guess most women struggle with is their diet whilst pregnant and post pregnancy.  During pregnancy its kind of a bit of survival game.  Trying to eat most foods in your diet so that your baby grows and gets the most nutritious nutrients is important, whilst also making Mummy feel satisfied throughout the day.  Unfortunately its sometimes difficult when you are nauseated all the time and your body craves certain foods.  But its about Balance, Balance, Balance. Small nutritious snacks often, is one of the better ways to help with cravings, hunger and sickness.  Drinking lots of water is important for the hydration of yourself and the baby in uterus.  If time is an issue to prepare and cook meals then there are plenty of ready made meals that offer delivery and healthy options for your diet, whilst certain supplements are also important for both the Mother and baby in uterus and post birth.  Obviously when it comes to supplements and certain specific dietary requirements in pregnancy, consult with your doctor before consumption (I will leave some website links at the end of the blog).

 

Exercise during pregnancy and for the first few months post natal can vary with each individual.  I went with the flow and what felt right with each pregnancy.  If you already train most days, then continuing those training sessions with consultation from an appropriate personal trainer and variations in certain activities can be perfect.  But if you don’t regularly workout prior to getting pregnant then low impact exercise like walking and pregnancy yoga would be ideal.  But consultation with appropriate medical professionals is paramount.  For some women, due to pregnancy issues, exercising is not on the cards.  Once again you need to listen to your body, do what feels right.  During my first pregnancy I did all my workouts as usual right through to 34 weeks but with my twin pregnancy I felt very average the entire pregnancy and walking/yoga were my only activities for a lot of the pregnancy.  Post pregnancy I had a large abdominal separation (this is separation of the connective tissue joining the muscles down the middle of the abdomen).  For my recovery I consulted a specialist physiotherapist who gave me specific exercises to do each day to recover from this.  So my recovery was slow but positive.

 

Stress and anxiety can be a huge factor whilst pregnant and post birth.  The stress of working whilst being pregnant or juggling other kids, commitments and household duties can be overwhelming.  For me this was one of the biggest juggling acts, mostly with the twin pregnancy.  My husband worked away, I had my 3 year old to care for, whilst working and household duties and managing my pregnancy.  Taking time out for myself was and still is important.  Once the baby arrives the adrenaline kicks in and the excitement of a new born combined with the anxiety and stress of finally becoming a mum has arrived.  It’s a massive hormone shift and I mean MASSIVE.  You actually forget about the tiredness of not sleeping a wink because you keep staring at your beautiful baby and because you are feeding half of the night.  Once the adrenaline settles down the fatigue and tiredness sets in and this is where looking after yourself is so so important.  So accepting offers of help, babysitting, house cleaning so you can use that opportunity to have a rest is important.  I was really bad at that because I thought I could do it all myself.  My biggest help was employing a nanny for the first year after the twins were born.  It may a huge difference to my life.  If you are like me and don’t have a lot of family around then there are plenty of nanny/babysitter agencies available.  Make it easy for yourself so you can enjoy your baby, because they grow up way too fast.

 

So this brings me to relationships.  Remember, before you had kids it was just you and your partner, so maintaining that relationship is important and healthy.  The father role when a baby is born is difficult because they didn’t give birth (thank god), nor did they carry the child (thank god again), so their connection to this child is very different.  They probably feel like they have been ignored and forgotten about for a period of time.  Including them in the journey through pregnancy and when the baby arrives, giving them a bottle to feed the baby once a day, burping duty and cuddles is important and crucial for both the father/baby bonding and the mother/father bonding.  However, as time passes and the child/ren take up most of the parent’s time, it is still important to have Mother/Father time.  Setting various rules that work for you as a couple is a good idea, whether that be after dinner and kids in bed, spending time talking to each other or planning next dinner date or holiday.  But just keep it alive, respect each other and the needs of each other.

 

This brings me to my last topic which is sleep and routine.  You are probably listening to the wrong person if you want some valuable advice about sleep and routine.  I really went with the flow.  I did flick through a few of the baby sleep books but found them difficult to follow when the twins were born as their needs were very different and with one baby always sick, most routines went out the window.  So I guess what I am saying is if they work for you then great stick with it, but remember, what works for one child, may not work for the next and it can also be different for each household and their circumstances.  With my first child, she was pretty good with feeding and sleeping and I couldn’t complain much.  But with the twin pregnancy I felt like I lived off 2 hours sleep for well over a year.  If one baby had an ok night, then the other didn’t, so I had interrupted sleep almost every night.  Remember, you can’t predict when your kids get sick and every routine will go out the window when this happens, its kind of like a survival game for the first few months.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  If certain sleep and feeding times work for you and your baby is settled and you are both getting rest, then continue with that, if changes need to be made, then use the books and consultants to help you with that, to give you ideas and help make changes.

 

I write this blog using my own personal experiences of being pregnant and the hurdles of being a mum.  If you require any medical advice, then please consult your GP.  I mainly wanted to write this to hopefully allow you all to see that this rollercoaster ride we go through with pregnancy and beyond is exactly that.  Its amazing, terrifying, exhausting and rewarding all at once, but we are all human and we all experience this in various ways.  You are all doing an amazing job at this unknown survival game.

 

Caroline xx

 

LINKS

 

 

If you are needing some new vibrant activewear post pregnancy, to motivate you to get outside in the fresh air and exercise then check out my online activewear business @ www.harmonyinspired.com.au

 

If you are also looking for a yummy organic, locally made on the Gold Coast meals then check out

www.performanceeating.com.au

 

If you want some health and nutrition coaching then check out

www.harmonyinspired-healthhub.com.au

 

Jema Lee (Nutrition & Health Educator) Instagram: wellsome_jemalee

(This webinar series was hosted alongside Jema Lee)


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