Articles discussing the essentials of what you need, occupy the many pages of Google results with everything from medicines to diapers and furniture. Yet the single MOST important factor that will influence the baby's well-being is most often ignored.
If you have numbered the last point as No.1 then you are correct! The fact is you have to do all of those things above, they are all important. However, looking after yourself should be priority Number 1.
Regardless of how ‘equal’ we now are in sharing our domestic, financial and parenting responsibilities, the mother remains the cornerstone of the family. You get sick and your whole family is in trouble.
Supported by the latest evidence some of the most important learning happens while we're still in the womb. Some of the amazing things that scientists are discovering about what foetuses learn while they're still in their mothers' bellies1:
To watch or read this fascinating research summary go to https://www.ted.com/talks/annie_murphy_paul_what_we_learn_before_we_re_born/transcript?language=en#t-512305
So what’s best for YOU, is by default best for baby. There are so many references online, so to save you some time we have compiled a list of those good things in chronological order.
The fitter you are before getting pregnant and the fitter you stay through your pregnancy, the faster you are likely to recover. Here are two great articles on “getting fit for pregnancy”, and starting your journey on the right foot:
Do not stress if you are already pregnant - it’s not too late to start.
Today many women make it a priority to start looking after themselves as they get pregnant. Just make sure you consult your health care professional for a suitably gentle routine. Here are 3 articles that look at exercises during pregnancy regardless of your level of fitness.
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, but especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Healthy eating keeps you feeling good and gives your baby the essential nutrients they need in the womb.
The latest research shows that you DO NOT NEED TO EAT FOR 2. During the first trimester, a woman’s energy (kilojoule, kJ) intake should remain about the same as it was prior to the pregnancy, which means that extra food is not required.
During the second and third trimester, the energy needs of pregnant women increase. To meet energy and nutrient needs during this time, pregnant women are recommended to increase their intake of grain foods (an extra 2 ½ serves per day), and lean meats and alternatives (one extra serve per day).
There are also a number of foods you should aim to avoid.
If you want to know more about Folate or have a personalised assessment you can contact a Naturopath and Nutritionist who specialising in fertility, pre-conception care, pregnancy and women’s health, like Shannon Stokes of Natology they have Skype appointments and cater to women all around the world.
Healthy diet during pregnancy | Pregnancy Birth and Baby (pregnancybirthbaby.org.au)
Food & nutrition in pregnancy | The Royal Women's Hospital (thewomens.org.au)
Nutrition for pregnancy » Dietitians Australia
Post-Partum check-up is critical to your wellbeing. American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists now recommends that postpartum care be an ongoing process rather than just a single visit after your delivery. Have contact with your health care provider within the first 3 weeks after delivery. Within 12 weeks after delivery, see your health care provider for a comprehensive postpartum evaluation to address symptoms like:
- Vaginal Soreness
- Vaginal Discharge
- Haemorrhoids and bowel movement
- After caesarean, caring for your wound and avoiding strenuous activity are also part of a healthy caesarean recovery.
A good quality compression garment designed and made specifically for post-partum recovery will go a long way to speeding up the healing process; reducing episiotomy, c-section and perineal wound swelling and pain. Buy SRC Recovery Shorts or Leggings here
Some other great products and information to check out for post-partum care:
SRC Reusable Bamboo Breast Pads - 8 pack – SRC Health
SRC Relief Femme-Eze Perineum Ice & Heat Packs – SRC Health
Recovery after caesarean: first six weeks | Raising Children Network
Kick-start your recovery and fitness post-baby with daily exercises, interviews and video resources designed to help you rebuild your core after pregnancy and beyond from one of Australia’s leading physiotherapists, Shira Kramer who has helped over 5,000 women recover post child birth with safe and effective exercise, including restoring core muscle function and diastasis recti (DRAM) recovery. Restore your Core with Shira Kramer
Anatomical Support Panels of the SRC Recovery garment range deliver targeted compression, ideal for treating multiple conditions such as perineal wounds, C-Section and abdominal muscle separation (DRAM) as well as lower back support. Buy SRC Recovery Shorts
Enjoy the support to move more freely after delivery and make lifting, feeding, bathing and caring for your
baby easier. With no adjustable buttons, velcro or zips, this specialist compression garment is like a second skin with no need to constantly adjust while wearing. Buy SRC Recovery Shorts
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding you need to look after your breasts. A good quality well-fitting nursing bra is a must. We love CAKE 😊 and are pretty sure you will love Cake Maternity too. Maternity Lingerie & Nursing Wear | Cake Maternity
Soothing nipple cream and a breast ice pack will go a long way to easing your breast aches and pains. Reusable Breast Pads
Here’s a great article on nutrition during the “4th Trimester”
Just as important as your physical health is your mental state. Most mums agree that doing something, anything, that makes you feel good once a day is a great idea. It maybe as small as getting dressed and getting out of your pyjamas, putting on make up or getting out of the house and going for a walk outside.
Perinatal anxiety and depression is common, has many faces and does not discriminate – it can affect anyone, and have devastating consequences for individuals and families if left untreated.
If you or someone you know is struggling with perinatal anxiety and depression, please seek assistance by visiting PANDA– Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia or calling the National Helpline 1300 726 306.
PANDA - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia
Alternatively, Postpartum Support International Postpartum Support International to find support in your country.
1. Ted Talk; What we learn before we are born.