Top 5 Tips From Your Midwife;
Key areas to focus on for a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby, smooth birth, and happy postpartum.
1. Nutrition is important! Get at least 80 grams of protein and 300 calories more than the recommended intake for your body. Focus on eating plenty of protein, veggies especially leafy greens, good healthy fats, limiting refined sugars, and staying well hydrated. Focusing on those areas will keep you feeling great, grow a healthy baby, allow your skin to supple and stretchy as your belly grows, and for when it needs to stretch to make way for baby to come through. You will also find that you feel much better and heal faster after birth. After baby is here keep up with good diet. It takes more calories to breastfeed than you needed while pregnant, 500 more than what you need when not breastfeeding or pregnant!
2. Don't be a couch potato! If you are active, stay active avoiding high-impact or risky activities. If you are not, take it slow but get moving now. Daily walks, swimming, and prenatal yoga are gentle ways to get your heart pumping. Aim for at least 20 minutes a day.
3. Make sleep a priority! When you are full term this is critical. You never know when the next opportunity is going to be. (Midwives live by this piece of advice too!!) It makes your birthing time more challenging when you begin already exhausted from lack of sleep. I often am asked by clients with early surges that are pretty spaced out whether they should go back to sleep. I assure you that my answer will always be yes. During the postpartum time sleep becomes even more precious and can make all the difference in how you feel physically and emotionally.
4. Ignore labor as long as possible! In fact until things are really active and requiring your complete attention my primary advice is to just "do life." Sleep if you would normally be sleeping and just ignore the contractions as long as you can while they are not demanding your attention. If during the day and you are well rested continue on with daily routine until you no longer can. I promise if you are able to go back to sleep the baby will not arrive without waking you with plenty of notice. In fact, your body in the full relaxation mode of sleep is the prime environment for the process to keep moving forward.
5. Don't rush your postpartum healing! After your baby arrives, continue to focus on good nutrition and hydration. For the first several days I hope you only leave your bed to use the restroom (which you will have to make a point to remember to do more regularly now that you have decent bladder capacity again.) Your only jobs should be to feed your baby, feed yourself food someone else has prepared, and sleep every chance you get. Do not lift your older children for several weeks. Even if you feel great, your body is still healing and it needs time to heal and strengthen to avoid pelvic floor issues, incontinence, uterine prolapse etc. Arrange for extra help for you and your family during this time. Consider hiring a postpartum doula and having close family and friends help with meals and other household tasks.