As I’m coming to the end of my second pregnancy, I thought I’d highlight a few of my top health hacks that have got me through the last nine months (feeling good - I mean it's all relative)!
Pregnancy is not meant to be easy.
You're growing a human being which is always going to be hard work, but hopefully some of these will help you navigate your own pregnancy feeling healthy, energised and confident in your body...
Supplements - I’ve been ‘taking supplements’ for years however my consistency hasn’t always been the greatest…until now that is. Earlier this year I discovered KNOWN Nutrition supplement gummies and they have been an absolute game changer, essentially because they taste so good you don’t forget to take them. Throughout pregnancy I’ve taken ‘Mood Support’ and ‘Bump & Me’ gummies and genuinely haven’t missed a day. Definitely worth checking out.
Water - When you’re feeling rough and tired, it’s always harder to stick to nutritious options in the morning - so easy to reach for sugar and caffeine! This pregnancy I created a new ‘non-negotiable’ habit to ensure I'd drunk a pint of water before 9am every day. This really sets the tone for the rest of the day and has had a huge effect on my energy levels first thing. It's also not that hard to achieve when you’re generally up at the crack of dawn with a toddler.
Daily smoothie - already a staple in my daily diet, but increasingly important during pregnancy when other food choices might not be, should we say…quite as clean. I’ve been mixing up my ingredients as much a possible (fruits, vegetables, ginger, herbs, nuts, seeds, protein) to get as varied a nutritional content as possible.
Physiotherapy - I started experiencing pelvic girdle pain around 20-25 weeks, much earlier than my first pregnancy. Unfortunately work and walking seemed to be the main culprits however getting help early doors has really helped to mitigate this pain so I could carry on working and walking. It’s by no means gone, but it didn’t get any worse which is always a bonus. There are so many pregnancy and postnatal symptoms that you do not have to live with, so whatever it is you are suffering with I’d always recommend getting help early if you can.
Pregnancy Belt - I had my doubts about this one, but my physio recommended I try it and whilst it’s probably not been worn quite as much as it should have, it has helped to alleviate some of the pelvic girdle pain I’ve been experiencing, particularly on days when I know I'm working or walking a lot.
Expandable activewear - There was only so long the next size up at Sweaty Betty was going to work for me so I invested in some good quality maternity wear from Natal Active and the infamous Wunder Under leggings from Lululemon (literally the stretchiest fabric ever - my pre-maternity size is still fitting over me and bump)! These have seen me through work, life and training with comfort and confidence this year. Highly recommend.
Slowing down - taking time for myself, recognising when I need to rest and saying ‘no’ have been key to protecting my mental health, particularly after a flat out summer left me severely energy depleted. Once I’d identified I was overdoing it, it felt empowering to take a step back and focus on prioritising myself, my family and work. The impact on my mental state of knowing I had some time back, was almost instant. You have to do what you need to do to get yourself through, the people that care will still be there.
Body Oil - more of an aesthetic one this, I have religiously applied body oil to my belly throughout both pregnancies and (whilst I appreciate there is still a little way to go) so far no lines. Keeping the skin super supple and hydrated definitely has its benefits. I’ve not stuck to a particular brand but a general combination of Cowshed, L’occitane, Burt’s Bees and Bio Oil have so far done the trick.
Rest days - managing my training expectations from day one and planning ample rest days to avoid fatigue, under recovery and overwhelm has been super helpful whilst I try to balance everything else. Getting to the gym is hard enough without adding pregnancy to the mix, so I set myself realistic targets with plenty of recovery in-between.
Pregnancy definitely has it's ups and downs, but it's definitely worth identifying what will make it easier and investing a bit of time and energy into yourself where you need to.
Hope this helps and good luck!