#6 things you can do to support your pregnancy
When your road to pregnancy hasn’t been straight forward, then those two little lines bring with them a whole world of emotions. Joy is probably doing battle with fear and anxiety right now as you try to figure out if it’s safe for you to start hoping and trusting that this could all work out just as you desperately want it to. So, it’s the most natural thing in the world to start thinking about what you can do to help make this work. What can you do to support pregnancy?
The first thing to know is that you’re not going crazy, whether you’re taking a million pregnancy tests a day, finding yourself in tears rather than jumping for joy, or feeling like you have become obsessed to the point of no return. If you’ve had a hard road to get to this point… problems with fertility…the heartbreak of pregnancy loss…or are filled with anxieties for any other reasons…feeling this way is completely normal. Even if in your head it seems irrational or a million miles from how you normally feel or want to feel. I promise you, you are in incredibly good company. We’ve been there ourselves and between us have supported hundreds of women that have been there too.
Feeling like you’re not doing enough or you’re not doing it right comes with territory so, what CAN you do to make this work?
Even though you are probably feeling totally responsible for EVERYTHING right now, the first and most important thing to know is that there is very little that you can do that will cause a problem for your pregnancy. Although it’s also true that there is a limit to what we can do that will prevent miscarriage, there are still lots of things that help and make sure you feel you have everything beautifully in place to support pregnancy.
Of course, the most important thing of all is to concentrate on taking the best care of yourself that you can. But, what exactly does that mean?
Literally everyone you meet will have some sort of ‘advice’ about pregnancy and there are so many myths around that it can be mind-blowing just to try to figure out what you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be doing. First up let me just say that there are pregnancies that survive ALL the things that we are not supposed to do, so the focus here is just about reducing any potential risks and putting in a plan that works for you.
#1 Taking care of your own health
Obviously avoiding the known risk factors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, and having a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of water, is the #1 best thing you can do for your physical health, but it is also protective of your emotional health. All good stuff, which means the very best building blocks are all available for your pregnancy.
If it’s sending you a bit loopy trying to figure out which foods are safe to eat and which to avoid, check out the NHS guidelines. (We’ve also pulled all of this together with our own professional experience, and poured it into our Precious Cargo Pregnancy Kit, along with loads of other helpful stuff, in case you want a bit of extra reassurance with this.)
Remember too, there’s no need to panic if you have eaten or drunk something that you think you shouldn’t as the advice is much more about things you are consuming regularly, rather than an accidental one-off.
This is the time too to check out any concerns you have about your own health, to ensure that you are managing any chronic conditions that you have, as well as staying on top of the usual bugs that crop up and may need treating a bit more sensitively during your pregnancy, keeping the risk of any infections to a minimum.
# 2 Supplements
If you’ve been taking supplements to help you conceive, it can be hard to know whether to carry on or stop once you find out you’re pregnant. At the moment, there isn’t sufficient research evidence to suggest that it is completely safe to take high levels of vitamins during pregnancy. Apart from Vitamin A, there is also nothing that definitively suggests it is a problem. Checking it out with your doctor, herbalist or naturopath, as well as doing your own research, is the best idea. That way you can be sure that you have a plan that is safe and that you are comfortable with for switching to a generic pregnancy multi vitamin with folic acid. It will also give you the chance to see whether other specific supplements such as Co-Enzyme Q10 or Magnesium, which are thought by some to hep reduce the risk of miscarriage, might be something that is recommended for you.
# 3 Exercise and Rest
One of the big myths is that it is possible for too much or too little exercise to affect your pregnancy. Again, if you have any worries about your specific situation, best to check it out with your medical adviser but unless you have been advised to avoid it, gentle exercise like walking, swimming, and pregnancy yoga, can be very beneficial and thought to actually lower miscarriage risk. Avoid anything that’s very strenuous though. If it’s been a precarious path to achieve your pregnancy, it can be really scary when you feel like you’re walking on eggshells. I know I felt terrified of even walking fast. The best advice is always to listen to your body. If you’re feeling exhausted, rest rather than exercise is where it’s at. Your body is working hard to nourish your growing baby and you are likely to need all the rest and sleep you can get, so don’t push yourself to do anything that doesn’t feel right for you.
# 4 Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
This is probably the scariest bit of all. It is likely to be the only time in your life when you will REALLY want to feel sick or for your boobs to feel sore, and don’t be at all surprised if you find yourself scanning your body on a minute by minute basis! We’re generally led to believe that we’ll either bloom or throw up. Nobody tells you that you might feel pain, aching, have spotting or feel NO symptoms at all. Most of these symptoms, or lack of them, cause a massive amount of worry, but all of these can be completely normal and fluctuate up and down at different times. Check out anything you feel concerned about, and your doctor or clinic may be able to offer some additional testing or scanning to help provide you with a bit of extra reassurance which is about the best way ever to help you and your pregnancy feel as safe and supported as possible.
# 5 Taking care of yourself emotionally
One of the biggest worries for most people is whether stress can affect pregnancy. However, it’s natural for stress to be part of pregnancy, and this is even more true when you’ve been through a lot to get to this point. Add to the mix, all those surging hormones and it definitely makes for some interesting ups and downs. But rest assured, there is no evidence to show that general stress levels (about your pregnancy, or any of the other day-to-dat worries that crop up in relationships, or with money or work), can cause a miscarriage. (If you think that you may be experiencing severe stress or you are feeling affected by depression, it can be really helpful to talk it through with your GP and ensure you have all the supports you need in place for you and your pregnancy.)
It’s definitely the time to give yourself all the permission you need to take the pressure off and pull out all of the stops, to put some lovely stuff in place to nurture yourself. Whether it’s enjoyable distractions, TLC or treating yourself to some soothing and strengthening complementary therapies, it can really work some magic. When you’re feeling wobbly, it can feel like all the things that you would normally do to help you de-stress go out of the window, and trying to follow the things you can and can’t do during pregnancy, makes it even harder. So just in case you’re finding this bit all bit much, we’ve piled loads of tips and suggestions into the Precious Cargo Pregnancy Kit…along with 8 meditations and guided visualisations, to take some of the hard work out of this for you, and put it all right at your fingertips.
Because there’s such a strong culture about not saying you’re pregnant until you’re 12 weeks, especially when you’re feeling extra worried, it can be really difficult to reach out for support. But here’s the thing…good support works wonders. The instant benefit you get from talking to someone that understands what you are feeling and just ‘gets it’, is huge – bigger than huge even. And everything that holds and supports you, helps you to hold and support your pregnancy. It’s why we are so passionate about putting every little bit of love and support in place for you that we can and weaving it all together with good medical care, to help you to know that you have all the best building blocks in place for your pregnancy that you possibly can.
Having tip-toed through each of our own pregnancies, and cried, grieved and celebrated, we know only too well how stressful it can be when all you want is to know is that your baby is going to be fine. Hopefully to make things just that little bit easier for you, we have poured all this love, science, magic and more in to the Precious Cargo Pregnancy KIT, to give you all the tools and reassurance possible that you are doing everything you can to make this work.
All of our very warmest wishes for your pregnancy.
Lucy and Cath