4 Energy Boosters in Pregnancy
Do the words pregnant and energetic seem contradictory? They do not have to.
Are you familiar with the pregnancy image of fatigue women, and sitting around eating chocolate? This is an inaccurate representation of pregnancy do’s that should really be don’ts. The truth is that nearly every pregnant woman experiences a decrease in energy at some point during her pregnancy, but it is not permanent. There are ways to boost energy levels and keep strong throughout your pregnancy until you give birth.
Get Moving: Make it a habit to get 30 minutes of exercise a day. Walk to and/or from work, walk outside at lunchtime, take bi-weekly yoga or Pilates sessions, join a gym, hop on a bike trainer, pop in an exercise DVD, or hike with a friend. A balance of cardio and strength training is ideal for childbirth. Remember to check in with your provider to verify what, if any, exercises you should be avoiding.
Make Exercise Fun: When you were a child, you naturally got exercise by running around on the playground, playing tag, and riding your bike. By applying this childlike approach to exercise, you can make fitness more fun! Work out with a friend, play music, and mix it up.
In our fast-paced society, making time for sleep is essential to feeling alert. Even more so when pregnant, and especially postpartum, sleep helps you to be ready to take on the day. The key to maintaining energy is getting at least eight to nine hours of good sleep every night. This may seem shocking with the majority of the country is running on six hours on average, but you can and need to do it. Facilitate sleep by reducing fluids two hours before bed and creating a bedtime ritual. Consider taking a bath or shower, followed by stretching and breathing exercises, and a foot and leg massage with a lavender lotion from your partner.
Anything you eat can be considered energy, so choose wisely. Whole foods in their natural states are ideal to get plenty of nutrient and energy-producing substances. Avoid fast food when possible and choose healthy prepackaged options instead, like nuts over chips. Focus on eating a plate of food that represents every color in the rainbow. This will help you to get all your macro and micronutrients. Consider a whole food prenatal supplement with folate (not folic acid) to make up for daily pockets in your nutrition.
Along with your food intake, be sure to drink plenty of water. Pregnant women especially should drink the recommended eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day (64 ounces) to keep healthy and maintain stamina. Also limit caffeine to one beverage a day in the morning, only if needed.
Having a calm and collected mind is vital to staying healthy during pregnancy. Consider a childbirth class so that you are prepared for all things related to birth.
Learn some comfort strategies: Practice birth visualization by closing your eyes, clearing the mind, and focusing on a single image or thought for a few minutes a day. If mediation is not your thing, practice deep breathing exercises. Both of these will reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, and generate more energy for the day.
Make time for self-care: Being pregnant can be stressful at times. Taking time each day for yourself can significantly lower stress and keep your energy levels high. Both a bath and a massage can help you to feel rejuvenated. If you are experiencing more chronic or daily pain, reach out to a chiropractor, or physical therapist, or try some acupuncture. Additionally, rent a TENS unit which can be helpful for sciatica and other pregnancy aches as well as labor pains.
Schedule time with your partner, friends, and family: You and your partner are on this journey together; make time for each other and their needs. Cuddling and laughter with those that you love can boost your energy and your mood.
By listening to your body and taking care of yourself energy can be more readily available. The more energy you have the better you and your baby will feel.