I had an amazingly uneventful pregnancy. After all my tummy problems some people said I deserved a break. Others said I was just lucky. I, however, would like to offer a third explanation: I I advocated for myself and worked hard to be able to feel good. It's not that I was never tired or nauseated or unmotivated, but I did everything within my power to feel as well as it was possible for me to. And the result was that I virtually diminished nausea, swelling, pains, and lack of mobility (I was duck walking in a full squat just days before I was due). So if you'd like to have an easier pregnancy too, here are the seven keys that I followed.
Eat a balanced diet of fresh, unprocessed food. No big revelation there. I preach this for anyone—pregnant or not—and firmly believe that it can make a huge difference. It can be hard to cook when you're tired so try some of my meal-planning tips, and come up with simple, fresh meals with minimal prep, or give your husband a chance to practice his culinary skills. Avoiding processed foods also seemed to help reduce my cravings.
Don't give in to cravings. Have you ever tried to get a song out of your head by listening to it? Maybe it's just me, but this always seems to just get it more stuck. Perhaps we see cravings as a right of pregnancy, but giving in to them seems to be just like trying to get a song out of your head by listening to it–it only leads to more cravings, rather than leaving you satisfied. And considering the fact that most cravings are not fresh and unprocessed, this only becomes a vicious cycle, destroying key #1.
Stay hydrated. For more about how to do this see my post on Secrets of Hydration. When you're pregnant you need more water than usual to remain hydrated. Research how much you personally need. My personal goal was about 100 oz per day and I experienced very little swelling.
Stay active. Don't go crazy or push too hard, but continue whatever level of activity you had before. And if that was a big ZERO for activity then take up walking or something else that will keep you moving. Consult your doctor or midwife about your specific case, but as a general rule you should still be able to do most things that you did before, with the exception of ab exercises or anything that poses a risk of falling/impact to the abdomen or requires you to lay on your back. That still leaves a lot of possibilities. Something is always better than nothing—even if that something is half-hearted.
Push through when you "just don't feel like it". I have to be careful about this one. I'm not saying that pushing past the point of exhaustion or physical limitation is healthy. But sometimes all it takes is getting past the initial lack of desire in order to feel better. When you get up and just don't feel like it commit to trying to make it to work for just onehour, and see if that's enough to help you forget about your discomfort. Chances are that mind over matter will win out most days and you'll end up being able to get through way more than you thought possible and feel much better than you would have if you had stayed in bed thinking about how miserable you are. Then when you've reached your max come home and take that well-deserved nap!
Eat frequent snacks. It seems counter-intuitive to eat when you're feeling sick to your stomach, but it works. Keep tips number one and two in mind and avoid junk food, but have something on hand to eat before the nausea kicks in.
Get enough sleep. I started waking up with headaches early on in my pregnancy and found that simply going to bed earlier helped a lot. It can be hard to get enough sleep when you're constantly waking up uncomfortable throughout the night, but giving yourself an earlier bed time sure helps at least improve the chances of getting enough sleep, even if it's interrupted.
Sound too easy? I told one girl these tips, and her response was "Isn't that just being healthy?" My answer: Yes.
There some women with specific unavoidable health problems who are going to struggle no matter what, but I believe that the vast majority of women could at least improve their state by doing these things before, during and after pregnancy. It's really hard to start good habits when you're already pregnant and unmotivated or when you're suddenly trying to juggle a baby on top of everything else in life. So start today. Give it a try. I guarantee it won't make things worse.