Pregnancy and self care: identity, balance and becoming a new mum
If you’re still waiting for your new-mama glow to arrive, it’s time to prioritise some self care during your pregnancy.
Feeling like you’ve lost your sense of self, or swept up in baby-mama mania? Read on for simple tips to take care of you at every stage of pregnancy.
Pregnancy self care essentials for every trimester
Massage - reduce stress, ease aching muscles, improve blood flow and disconnect from the mental rollercoaster of pregnant life. What’s not to love about a prenatal massage? It’s not just self care, it’s pregnancy survival!
Fresh air and exercise - take time to get outside, get moving and boost those endorphins. Walk, cycle, surf, do an outdoor bootcamp or take your workout to the backyard for an oxygen and Vitamin D boost.
Breathwork - breathing deeply is a simple restorative practice you can do every day, anywhere. And it’s great practice for childbirth! Listen to a guided meditation, watch a YouTube tutorial or simply try box breathing - in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4 and repeat.
Eat well - you might be craving all. the. carbs. but eating a diet rich in leafy greens, clean protein, healthy fats and micronutrients is a daily act of self care. And managing your pregnancy weight gain can reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and high blood pressure.
Sleep - one of the greatest gifts in life is a deep, uninterrupted sleep. And it’s totally free but also incredibly rare. Suffering from pregnancy insomnia? Try our tips to drift into zzzzs.
Prioritising your health when you feel like hell
When you feel sick, queasy and achy, the last thing you might want is a green juice (blended green bits? Bleurgh) or facial (scented serums? Bleurgh!). But that doesn’t mean self care goes out the window. Just rethink your concept of stress management and recharge rituals:
- Walks on the beach or in nature, completely unplugged, can hit the mental re-set button.
- A warm bath, the latest magazines and a locked door can be the ultimate luxury, especially if this is not your first pregnancy (kids keep out!).
- A PJ day in bed with absolutely nothing to do and no commitments gives you complete freedom to sleep, read, Netflix binge, journal or create your nursery Pinterest board to your heart’s content.
Easy self care techniques when you’re pregnant
When you’re on a budget:
- Create your own day spa at home. Make a booking in your bathroom once a month and treat yourself - hair mask, facial, nails . . . whatever floats your boat. Take the time to treat yourself, like you would in a salon.
- Digital detox. Ditch the phone, the endless Google searches for best baby essentials, the social media rabbit hole of birth stories and pregnancy Before and Afters. Give your brain a rest and just be.
- Girl time. A picnic platter at the beach, after-work takeout on the couch or sunrise walks with your besties give you the emotional support you need.
When you don’t have time:
- Make daily small rituals your priority. If you don’t have an hour to spare or a weekend away, give yourself 5 minutes - journaling, yoga stretches before bed, self-massage, breathwork or meditation can do wonders for increasing your sense of calm.
When you feel like you’re losing your identity:
- Write a list of the things you’re scared you’ll lose in your new role as ‘mum’. Whether you’re worried about your career, friends, relationship, finances, bod or something else entirely, once you write it down you can proactively plan for it.
- Keep doing the things you love. Keen athlete? Swimming, pilates and machine-based workouts at the gym can be safe even in your third trimester. Lost your mojo with your partner? Go back to your early days with date nights and love notes.
- Ditch maternity clothes - nothing says “I’ve lost my sense of self” like an elasticated waist. Yes, you need to be comfy. No, you don’t need to dress in a sack. Celebrate your bump - stretchy fabrics, boyfriend shirts and your regular brands, up-sized, won’t sacrifice your sense of style.
What to avoid: pamper session pitfalls
Before you book your massage and start swirling the essential oils, take note of these precautions for your self-care sessions.
- Beware extra hot baths - research has shown a link with neural tube defects, and the Mayo Clinic recommends spending no more than 10 minutes in a hot bath.
- Massage must-do - seated or side-lying positions are best for your prenatal massage. Avoid lying on your back for long periods of time, while laying on your tummy is just downright uncomfortable. Ask the therapist for pillows and bolsters to support your breasts, hips, knees and lower back.
- Avoid these essential oils - cinnamon, clove, rosemary, and clary sage can cause contractions. Always check the label and consult your doctor before using essential oils in pregnancy.
- Check your skincare - retinol should be avoided during pregnancy, and prenatal skin sensitivities may mean your existing skincare regime is suddenly irritating your skin. Scrubs, body lotions, hair removal cream and facial exfoliants might cause flare ups. Tread lightly.
Pregnancy self care gifts
Want to treat yo’self and your bump? Our five fave pregnancy self care essentials:
- Prenatal yoga class
- Float session / reiki / massage
- Pregnancy facial - the Pregnant Pause from Endota starts with a warm footbath, includes a head, neck and shoulder massage, then a preggie-friendly facial and foot massage. Book us in!
- Gift box - the Baby Mumma Kit from our friends at Frank Body is a must-have gift to self or baby shower pressie.
- Pregnancy pillow - we said it before, deep sleep is one of life’s greatest gifts. So treat yourself with our Aussie-made maternity pillow that won’t take up the whole bed while supporting your back AND your bump.
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