Pregnancy is a joyride. But it can turn into a bumpy ride if you are not careful about prenatal care. First of all, congratulations if you’re pregnant! It is high time you take care of yourself. Using a few yoga poses and prenatal care tips, you can get through this special phase of your life without any hassle or excessive stress.
During pregnancy, your body is constantly changing and each change needs to be tackled trimester-wise. Before we get into that, it is important to keep in mind two necessary tips.
* ‘Eating for two‘ is a myth. So remember to not overeat during this time, but ensure you are eating nutrient-rich food, taking your vitamins and maintaining a balanced diet.
* Emotional support is as important as your physical well-being. Consider joining a support group or connecting with a mother’s network to ensure holistic nurturing during this unique journey of hosting a new life.
During your first trimester, consult your doctor to see what precautions you should take when it comes to being active. This consultation will form the basis for your exercise plan. If they give you the go-ahead, start with Pranayama.
During the first trimester, there aren’t many physical changes in your body but the stress can get a bit overwhelming, and for that, the Pranayama is a massive game changer. It calms you down by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you relax.
Avoid any yoga pose (prenatal yoga) or exercise that includes deep twists or inversions. Remember to listen to your body. If you feel discomfort in any pose, then stop and do not force yourself.
The first trimester is when the morning sickness kicks in, and despite the name, it’s not limited to one time of the day. You may feel sick throughout the day. To calm your stomach, try ginger tea and warm water. Avoid trigger foods. These include any foods that make you nauseous. No matter how good they might be for your health; if they make you sick it is not worth it.
By the second trimester, the nausea should have calmed down. But if you are still facing it, make sure you remain properly hydrated.
Your body undergoes a lot of changes in this trimester, and this is when you will feel the physical effects of pregnancy. Since your body is actually growing now, the weight gain could lead to feeling a bit self-conscious. But even now you must maintain a balanced diet and practice self-affirmations for your mental well-being and for the health of the baby.
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Your centre of gravity shifts at this point, so you may feel wobbly and you should keep that in mind when you exercise.
During the third trimester, you will feel fatigued sooner than usual. Remember to get lots of rest and not over-exert yourself. While exercising, do not stretch too much. During this period, start practising kegels and pelvic floor exercises.
Start focusing on post-natal care and prepare for the coming of the baby.
You have to keep in mind that no two childbirths are the same, so even if you have given birth before, talk to your doctor about all the possibilities and what to keep in mind during labour.
The fourth trimester is as important as the previous three, but it is often overlooked, as the focus has now shifted to the baby. The baby is here but you still have to take care of yourself. Your body has changed considerably over the past nine months and it is incredibly vital for you to continue taking care of yourself and treat yourself with as much kindness as you did during pregnancy. Your hormones that were jumbled are now back to normal, so your mind should be clearer.
Once you stop bleeding and have recovered completely from labour, gently continue with the pelvic floor exercises and kegels, but only after consulting a certified post-partum instructor to start your journey again.
Schedule a DRAM (Diastasis Rectus Abdominis Muscle) check and an abdominal muscle check as well before getting back to any exercises. Get as much rest as you need, and remember that it is perfectly alright to rely on the support of your family, friends and certified caretakers to help you during this period.
Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before you adopt any of these changes. This is not medical advice.
(Anshuka Parwani is a Wellness Columnist for Health Shots. She writes an exclusive bi-weekly column for the women’s health platform. A leading celebrity yoga and holistic wellness expert in India, Anshuka trains celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt. A former pilot, she is the force behind Mumbai-based yoga studio Anshuka Yoga.)