“Let us make pregnancy an occasion when we appreciate our female bodies,” said author Merete Leonhardt-Lupa, indicating the life-changing time that pregnancy can be in terms of health and wellness. When you’re eating (and living) for two, it can somehow seem easier to understand and prevent the negative impact of stress on wellbeing, or to take a little extra time to feed yourself life-giving foods. If you have just found out that you are pregnant and you are hoping to embrace wellness from a more natural, holistic perspective, you may find these tips inspirational enough to keep on going, even after your baby is born!
Holistic Stress Reduction
Studies have shown that prenatal stress can affect a baby in many ways – for instance, by increasing the likelihood of pre-term birth. It is therefore vital to embrace stress reduction proactively, turning to proven holistic methods such as yoga, Tai chi, and meditation. All these techniques have been found to significantly reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Therefore, yoga for pregnant women has come to play an important role in the anti-stress strategy of women across the globe.
Food for Body, Mind, and Soul
Did you know that gut health and brain health are strongly linked? Recent studies have shown that there is a vital relationship between insufficient levels of healthy gut bacteria, and mental conditions like depression and anxiety. When you are pregnant, it is important to consume a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet that contains lean protein sources, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.
When cooking, opt for cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, which is high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Also, aim to consume organic produce when you can, since these are higher in antioxidants than their conventionally grown counterparts. Prenatal vitamins can complement nutrition if necessary, helping you cope with a busy schedule and giving you a special boost on days in which time is of the essence.
Embracing Good Sleep
Most studies indicate that there is an increased need for sleep during pregnancy but, especially during the later stages of gestation, the physiological and psychological changes you encounter may make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Moreover, progesterone (which promotes daytime sleepiness) also causes difficulties with sleep by night. It is important to take sleep seriously, because if you get less than six hours of shut-eye a night, you could have a higher risk of longer labor and Cesarean delivery, and a higher risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other conditions. Do all you can to make your bedroom an appealing place to sleep. Ensure it is cool, dark, and uncluttered; use blackout curtains and earplugs if necessary to block out noise. Enjoy a soothing nighttime routine, which may include a warm bath, pregnancy-friendly essential oils like lavender, and meditation or progressive muscle relaxation right before sleep time.
Natural wellness is a wide subject that combines nutrition, exercise, and sleep. If you are feeling a little stressed, visit a spa, take a walk in nature, or engage in a powerful stress-busting activity like yoga. Ensure night time is restful, by avoiding stimulating foods and drinks and by embracing relaxing activities at home. All these techniques can promote wellness throughout your life, so stick to the ones that make a difference to you.
Written by Sally Collins
About the Author
Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
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