Preparing for Pregnancy: Beyond the Food
Thanks to Anna's post last week, you now know a few reasons why it is important to fuel BEFORE you start baby-making. Taking extra care to nourish your body 6-12 months before getting pregnant will support a healthy baby, boost your energy and mood during pregnancy and improve your chances of conceiving. All things the aspiring mom-to-be hopes for!
Today I want to go beyond the food and talk about preparing for pregnancy from a different perspective.
Getting your body ready to have a baby is one thing, but there is another huge component of health to tune into as you journey towards motherhood. What's that you ask? The answer: Your mindset.
From the moment you decide you want to start trying, the road ahead is full of unknowns. Will I have trouble getting pregnant? What if we have multiples? Is my body ever going to be the same? Will my baby be healthy? How will we afford daycare?!?
Did I hit a few of the questions running through your head? Yep, that is because I have ALL the same thoughts. Over the past year I made some mindful changes that have helped me feel ready for pregnancy. Please borrow with pride.
three mindful changes that will prime you for pregnancy
1. MOVE IN A WAY THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
Sounds obvious, right? Yet so many of us find ourselves moving too much or too little, making us feel less than our best. It is particularly surprising how many of us actually push our fitness to the point of physical exhaustion, day in and day out soreness, missing valuable hours of sleep, all in the name of "working out". I was in this camp for YEARS you guys. I am an 8-time marathoner and 140.6 mile Ironman triathlon finisher so I speak from the heart when I talk about chronic fatigue and aching muscles. Let me tell you, when you are used to putting in 10+ hours per week to training, there is a level of shame that comes with missing a workout.
I finally asked myself last year, what is all this for? Do I feel my absolute best being this active? Why is there unease when I skip a day of exercise?
Your answers will be unique to your experience. For me, the light bulb went off that it was time to shift my mentality around physical activity. Let's be clear, this shift did not happen overnight.
- I started by giving myself permission to sleep in! I am a TOTAL morning person. I often naturally wake up pre-5am, but there are plenty of days when my body says "heck no!" to early rising and I am now OK with prioritizing sleep over sweat.
- Next I eased up on the intensity and realized I had more energy. I wasn't sore or injured. I probably moved my body MORE throughout the day because I wasn't exhausted. My appetite regulated. I felt fluid and it felt GOOD.
- Now I have settled into a routine that feels good in my body and sustainable throughout my life.
One of the amazing platforms I discovered during this journey was Kait Hurley's Move + Meditate online workouts. Kait takes such a supportive approach to movement and the ability to get active anywhere is amazing! We are beyond excited to say that included in our Prepare for Pregnancy online program is a free month of unlimited access to Kait's Move + Meditate platform!
Moral of the story, if you check in with your daily movement pattern and decide it isn't supporting you, take action to find a way to move in a way that makes you feel GOOD.
I'll be honest, this has been hard. It blows my mind how carving out 10 minutes to sit quietly can be so challenging! Luckily there are so many great avenues to help us fit meditation into our modern, fast-paced world.
A year ago, before I started a meditation practice, I would have brushed this suggestion off. How helpful could it really be? Turns out, SUPER helpful! Research has shown that meditation can improve hormone balance, stress-based inflammation, anxiety, mood and relationships. Woah! Yep, all of those things make a big difference in day-to-day vitality, but also play a huge role in fertility.
Think of meditation as a daily shower for your brain. Block out a 10-minute slot for this in your calendar each day so it becomes part of your daily routine. It might feel uncomfortable to sit with your thoughts at first, but trust me, in time you will start to look forward to it!
3. DON'T TRY HARD, TRY EASY
I once had a yoga teacher that said this during class. During difficult poses or long holds she would encourage us to breathe and find the path of least resistance. It definitely worked on the mat, but it applies even more so off the mat and in the world.
We live in a society where people wear their busy-ness as a badge of honor. It seems more hours worked and more stress is often equated to achievement. Have you ever stopped to think about how you could make things easier on yourself? Do your daily work and life tasks have to be so hard? Can you find a way to feel less "busy" and more engaged in meaningful work? Can you prioritize more effectively to maximize your efforts?
First, take yourself out of auto-pilot. Breathe. Pull your shoulders out of your ears and get curious about where in your life you could try easy instead of hard. This will take some exploration and practice, but is a practice that comes with great reward.
Next time you find yourself trying really hard, ease up and shift your approach. Try easy and see where you end up. I bet it will surprise you.
did you know we work with women 1-on-1 in our portland clinic and on our virtual tele-health platform?
Yes, we talk a lot about nutrition in our sessions, but stress-reduction and mindful lifestyle changes are other key areas we work with our clients on. These go hand-in-hand with healthful living and we would love to team up with you as you work towards becoming a mama!
Let us know in the comments what mindful changes have helped you on the road to motherhood. We love hearing from you!