Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions and physical changes, some of which are positive and others which can be difficult to face. You want to keep yourself in the pink of health so that your little one is kept safe and sound inside of you. It’s also important that you stay fit and happy, so that when your baby is born, you’re ready to handle the challenges of motherhood! Of course you’ll want to be feeling good so you can enjoy the early stages of having a young child, from rubber duckies to playing in cubby houses and everything in between. So here are a few tips to help you keep healthy and look radiant during your nine month journey:
Get Plenty Of Fresh Air And Sunshine
It’s important that although you may go through phases of feeling ill and lethargic while pregnant, you don’t let this stop you from getting outside into the sunshine and fresh air. Even if it’s just a few minutes of walking a day, this still qualifies as sneaking some cardio into your day! You could even go for a low impact, relaxing swim if you have access to a nearby pool. Getting out and about can in fact help with morning sickness, as long as you don’t over exert yourself!
It’s also great to soak up heaps of vitamin D while pregnant, as deficiency in this can lead to a higher risk of various undesirable consequences for your baby. However, it is important that you wear sunscreen and take care of your skin if you want that radiant glow that is said to come with pregnancy, without the added risk of skin cancer! Enjoy your pregnancy spending heaps of time out in nature, and you’re sure to carry this habit into motherhood, bringing your kids outside for fun, adventurous outdoor play time.
Be Careful With The Ingredients Going Into Your Body
Your body is your growing baby’s home for the duration of your pregnancy and you want to make sure it is kept in top condition, which means researching what ingredients are good to consume during this period, and which you should avoid! Here is a recipe, provided by food and cooking coach Aimee Clark, from Primal Influence, to get you started:
Banana Cinnamon Jelly
Bananas contain many important nutrients that can be especially beneficial during pregnancy. Nutrients include:
Potassium: can help reduce fatigue and can stabilise blood pressure
Iron: can prevent anaemia
Calcium: Helpful for improving bone strength
Folic Acid: helps to develop nerves, brain and spinal cord of a growing foetus
Vitamin B6: acts as a neurotransmitter and can help boost red blood cell content
Gelatin, one of the ingredients in this recipe, is a superfood and can be helpful before, during and after pregnancy for a number of reasons:
It’s a great source of dietary collagen
Supports joints and ligaments
Helps to support healthy skin, hair and nails
Can improve digestion and healthy gut function
It can prevent stretch marks as it helps to improve the elastin in skin
Now for the recipe:
400g banana flesh cut into small pieces - after being peeled and skin discarded (Tip: opt for organic bananas to reduce chemical exposure, and look for bananas with lots of brown spots on the skin. They’re the healthiest and sweetest!)
4 tbsp pure beef gelatin powder
3 tbsp spring/filtered water
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1. In a large saucepan, with the stove turned OFF, add the water then gently sprinkle the gelatin powder over the surface of the water so it coats evenly. Do this one spoonful at a time until all 4 tbsp have been sprinkled over. The water will start to absorb into the gelatin granules, this is called “blooming” and makes dissolving the gelatin much easier than by stirring into hot water. Leave it for a couple of minutes. A saucepan with a large diameter works best for this so as much gelatin as possible can be exposed to the surface of the water.
2. When you see the gelatin powder has all become slightly translucent turn the stove onto medium heat to slowly warm the liquid up. Grab a whisk and start stirring as soon as the water has warmed through. Whisk until gelatin granules have completely dissolved.
3. Remove the saucepan from the stove then add the banana pieces and cinnamon powder then use a stick blender to blend until the mixture looks like a banana smoothie – it should be quite thick. You can leave chunks of banana in there or blend it until smooth, it’s up to you. If you don’t have a stick blender simply pour the gelatin water into a regular blender then add the banana and cinnamon to blend thoroughly.
4. Pour the mixture into either individual serving cups or one large container to then refrigerate. It should only take a couple of hours to set in the fridge. If you use a large container you can slice the set jelly to serve individual pieces on a plate or in a bowl.
Avoid Stress - Stay Relaxed & Calm (As Much As Possible!)
During pregnancy you are likely to be overwhelmed with information from all sources - your friends, doctors, parents, random strangers you meet etcetera. This can all become exceedingly overwhelming and you are likely to feel like you need an escape. During these times it is important to use techniques that work for you in order to stay calm and prevent yourself from getting overly anxious. Michelle Lia, a prenatal yoga teacher, has the following advice:
“Many pregnant women can feel stressed and anxious about the upcoming birth, and other external factors that are causing stress. Implementing a simple but effective belly breathing practice can reduce your stress and anxiety within minutes and can be done anywhere, anytime.
Sit in a comfortable seated position
Close your eyes
Place your hands on your belly
Breathe in through the nose and your belly will expand for a count of 4 seconds. Feel your belly expand with air.
Exhale slowly through your mouth for 4 seconds and feel your belly expand with air.
Repeat this cycle of breath for 5 cycles”
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
It’s hard to look and feel your best - physically and mentally - when you’re stressed out of your mind. This final tip, is from Vicki Bryce, a midwife of 35 years and mother of 3, and focuses on how to stop questioning every move you make during your pregnancy and birthing process (Vicki has delivered over 3000 babies!):
“Most pregnant women question their every move, and if they don’t, someone else will - their mother-in-law, colleagues, strangers at the cinema. Anything to do with pregnancy and child rearing tends to elicit a strong emotional response from people who are not afraid to share their opinion. Remember that it is their opinion and not necessarily the right thing for you to do.
After thirty-five years in this game, I can tell you that advice changes, and the ‘right’ things now will probably be wrong in a decade or so. The only certainty is change.
My advice - take a breath, forget the horror stories you’ve read and been told, and realise that to get through this pregnancy there are only two things that need to happen:
You bake this baby, ideally, anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks.
Your baby exits your body.
That’s it. That’s pregnancy and birth in 16 words.”
So there you have it - a few tips to keep you feeling happy & radiant throughout the nine month journey you have ahead. Remember, taking care of your body and staying as stress-free as possible will be good for you physically and mentally, and will also benefit your baby!