Dr Jessica Sammut
Top Tips to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
At Whole Health Osteopathy, we have several years experience treating pregnant women, and at Eltham Heath and Wellness, we look forward to joining forces with some wonderful practitioners who take special interest in supporting women through conception, pregnancy and post-partum health.
Alongside Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Massage, Psychology and Perinatal Counselling, Whole Health Osteopathy looks forward to supporting you through this magical time. Here are my top ten tips on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy:
Eat little and often. Regulating your blood sugar level will help with nausea and fatigue particular in early pregnancy. Even though your body may crave junk type food (high sugar and high fat) you'll definitely felt the benefits of eating good food. So although you can eat cakes and donuts in moderation, try to fix your sugar cravings with various fruits and fat cravings with good fatty products like avocados and cheese. If you are experiencing sickness and nausea where you can’t eat then I would recommend acupressure nausea bands (available in most pharmacies) and boiled sweets throughout the day.
Keep hydrated. This is so simple yet effective. If you drink plenty of water (try for 6-8 glasses a day) your whole body will feel the benefits. When I say water I mean water because juices, fizzy drinks, tea, coffee etc. won’t rehydrate you in the same way.
Exercise or just move regularly. I know some expecting mums are nervous about exercising during pregnancy especially in the early stages and this is totally understandable, but it is actually quite safe. If your body is used to a particular exercise then it is safe to continue at that intensity for as long as you feel comfortable (within reason… no contact sports please). Just make sure you ease up on any form of exercise that will make you overheat, feel dizzy or faint. If you are not used to exercise don’t be afraid to do some gentle movement and exercise to help your circulation and energy.
Sleep when you can. Sleeping is when your body recoups and adjusts, so the more the better! Planning ahead with meals and stocking up on easy to cook dinners like stir frys can make life a lot easier in the evenings for an early night.
Take vitamin and mineral supplements. Booking in with Phoebe Thomas, our Naturopath, to find out what supplements will best support your body through pregnancy. I would recommend pregnancy supplements from the start, don’t wait to be told you are lacking something later on.
Lay in the sun – Hopefully at some point in your 9 months there will be some sunshine. Laying out in sun is controversial and remember your skin may react differently to UV rays when you pregnant so continue to take sun protection precautions. However, from a bone and foetal development point of view it is really hard to get enough vitamin D from your diet so get out there and get some sunshine if you can!
Hypno-birthing courses. The course simply teaches you how to use your breathing and ability to relax to help control pain and remain calm. It also gives you great information on the birth process so you can understand what is happening. Things seem a lot less scary when you know what your body is capable of doing in the birth process.
Avoid stress. I know this is easier said than done but you produce specific chemicals when you are stressed that are counter-productive for a good pregnancy and birth. Try to do something every day that makes you feel happy and peaceful.
Be very mindful of your pelvis and back. Thanks to a wonderful hormone called "relaxin", ligaments during pregnancy become lax, and sometimes unstable. As the ligaments that support your spine and pelvis start to loosen up, you will be vulnerable to straining joints particularly with certain activities. Avoid anything that will create a lot of twist or pressure to this area like pushing a heavy supermarket trolley or vacuuming. Also avoid sitting for long periods, especially on a hard chair, as this will restrict the pelvic joints. Sit on a swiss/exercise ball for part of the day, take regular movement breaks at work and when resting lay on your side. Listen to your body throughout pregnancy, if something causes you discomfort then stop.
Have some Osteopathic treatment. I recommend treatment every 4 weeks or so until 30 weeks, and then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks and then I find pregnant women want a weekly session until they pop! Treatment often consists of balancing the pelvis, increasing movement in the low back and manipulating the upper back and ribs. Towards the end of the pregnancy we can also worked on pelvic floor muscles in preparation for birth. Dry needling otherwise known as medical acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment that can be used throughout pregnancy. We also treat with specialised pregnancy pillows so you can lie face down comfortably!