Even though our focus is education from birth, I have mentioned before that the child’s mental development actually starts in the womb. When the mother is happy during pregnancy, her body produces endorphins which pass to the baby. Why does this matter?
Well, endorphins are natural pain relievers which also give the feeling of well-being or euphoria. They give a natural high! They also reduce stress levels and support the immune system. All of these are so great for the baby and in addition to these, they give the child a message of acceptance. When the child feels well, accepted and unstressed, his/her focus can be on brain development instead of survival. A happy mummy makes a happy baby. A happy and content baby is able to develop properly.
It can be hard to stay happy when you feel fat and nauseous but the following are 10 ways to enjoy your pregnancy and be a happy mummy (to-be)!
1. Prepare your body: Every woman of childbearing age with the possibility of ever getting pregnant should take care of herself, so that if, or when she gets pregnant, her body is ready. You can do this by taking prenatal vitamins or at least 400g of folic acid daily. You should also: avoid drugs and cigarettes; limit medication, alcohol and caffeine, and generally keep yourself in good health. It is important to do these things even before getting pregnant in order to reduce the chances of early pregnancy issues which can occur even before you even realize you are pregnant. Doing these things will also give you some peace of mind which can boost your happiness.
2. Eat Healthy: It is important to nourish yourself and therefore your baby while pregnant. A satisfied baby will thrive and not focus on survival. What we eat can affect our moods and general wellbeing positively or negatively. Healthy eating also allows you to gain the right amount of weight which will definitely make you happy. Nourish yourself with lots of vegetables, fruits and proteins. Also ensure that you eat food that supply the body with iron. Some great staples for pregnancy are spinach, beans, oatmeal, almonds, avocado and eggs. A great way to start each day is with a green smoothie made with spinach, lettuce and any fruits blended together. That way you start of with a good dose of fruits of vegetables. Avoid sugars and remember eating for two does not mean doubling the size of your meals.
3. Stay Hydrated: For me, this is a big key to a healthy pregnancy. Ditch the juice, soda or any other drinks for that matter and just drink water. Drink a lot of it! Have it with you at all times and at whatever temperature works best for you. Some people say you shouldn’t drink cold water. I say drink whatever temperature of what you enjoy! If you really want some flavor, you can squeeze some lemon juice into it or add a capful of juice just to give it some flavor. Drink drink drink! Most pregnancy guides recommend 2-3 liters a day. I recommend getting a 2L container and filling it up in the morning with the goal of finishing it by the end of the day.
4. Stay Active: Exercise! Walking and Swimming are great and can be done at every stage of pregnancy even week 40. Exercise helps release endorphins which we discussed earlier. If you do not work, or if you work at a job that does not involve a lot of movement, make a conscious effort to stand up and walk around a few times a day. Whatever you do, don’t lay around all day. Find a way to stay active… Dancing with a big belly is fun and comedic so you get two benefits
5. Limit Information: Between all the people who will give you advice, books, antenatal classes and the internet, there is so much information about pregnancy available these days. The worst part, a lot of it is conflicting. To stay happy, I recommend limiting the amount of information you expose yourself to. Don’t download 10 apps, sign up to 15 newsletters, buy 20 books, subscribe to 25 blogs and make google your best friend. Maybe 1 of each? Use your judgement but limit the information so as not to have cause to worry. Another way to Limit information especially negative information is to surround yourself by positive people who love you and only want the best for you.
Now for the fun ones:
6. Involve your partner: Two people are usually involved in the conception of a baby. A lot of times however, it is the woman who is said to be pregnant. I think both partners should be considered pregnant. Some ways to involve your partner are to
- Go to prenatal appointments together
- Choose a week by week pregnancy book and read together
- Take a birth class together
- Shop for the baby together
- Stay active together. You can take evening walks or weekend swims
- Pick a name together
- Let him rub your belly and talk to the baby daily
- Maintain your intimacy as a couple. It is safe to do so and does not affect the baby negatively
- Celebrate each milestone together
- Together, come up with a list of fun things to do together while pregnant
- Approach pregnancy as a team
7. Dress up! When you look good, you will probably feel good. Regardless of how much weight you gain during your pregnancy, you can continue to dress up and look good. This will probably also help your relationship with your partner ad encourage him to stay involved. Invest in good make up and use it. Pregnancy sometimes causes skin discoloration on the face. Instead of being conscious of it, you can use foundation or powder and get even more “pregnancy glow”. Belts are a good way to make an outfit more flattering. They give the semblance of the waist that pregnancy has taken away. *Belts should be worn above belly. When trying to shop for maternity clothes, it can seem like all the clothes are black or grey and very unflattering. Instead of giving up or buying clothes you don’t like, you can buy regular clothes in a larger size. This way you can buy clothes in the styles you usually like. Don’t be afraid of bright colors. You don’t need to buy too many. Just a few flexible pieces that you can dress up or down
8. Document the Process: Not everyone likes pictures but it is great to see your belly grow weekly and have a visual confirmation that your baby is growing. While you can see it growing in the mirror, there is something about seeing a picture. Plus they can become keepsakes. Make it a ritual that you share with your partner. Choose a day of the week, a nice outfit that will fit throughout your pregnancy and a spot. Let your husband take a picture of you in the outfit and at the spot at the same time weekly and you can track the expansion of your bump. Another way to document the process is to keep a journal. You can write down how you are feeling, what the baby is doing and what is going on in your lives. It will be great to go back later and see how you were feeling etc. An added benefit is that instead of “I don’t remember”, you will have answers for your children when they ask specific questions about your pregnancy. You can use your pictures in the journal or just print the picture each week and write the date and notes on the back and keep in an album.
9. Trust the process: Pregnancy is a pretty amazing process. A baby starts off as a tiny cell and gradually develops body parts and comes out as a little human being. We are barely aware of the process or how and exactly when it happens but we have to trust the process and expect the best! It helps to trust in a higher power to see you through. This is also important because you can do everything right and things still go wrong. Therefore, it is important to have a rock or shelter to turn to and to put faith in beyond one’s self. For me, this is God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They help ease doubts and give me hope when worries try to slip in. Maybe its something different for you but whatever the case, you have to trust the process!
10. Finally, Choose to be happy and Enjoy the process. Pregnancy and Birth are beautiful processes! What a privilege to bring life into the world. While it comes with some inconveniences, the reward is amazing and should be a good reason to CHOOSE HAPPINESS!
I would love to add to this list so please share other ideas for enjoying pregnancy.
Live a Good Life!