Good health is so much more than eating nutritious foods, exercise, and doctors' appointments. Different professionals and organizations define health across several dimensions. Today, we look at having a healthy pregnancy through 11 of the most influential areas in a person's life. Use this list as a personal check-in and/or get-started guide. Ask yourself: in what areas do I feel the most healthy, and where can I improve?
One of the most common mental health concerns during pregnancy is anxiety. It's common to deal with some added anxiety during pregnancy -- a time when so much is at stake. But when anxiety becomes overwhelming and unmanageable, it negatively impacts your health and requires intervention. First, contact your provider -- whether primary care doctor, OB, or midwife. Your provider should refer you to a specialist for help with anxiety. If you already work with a therapist, make an appointment to discuss new symptoms.
Emotional health means being aware of your emotions and knowing how to manage and care for them throughout the ups and downs of life. In pregnancy (and anytime), you can begin to take care of your emotional health by first becoming aware of your emotions. Notice when you react strongly to an event or interaction with someone. What emotions are you feeling? Then, without any judgement or shame, ask yourself why you might be feeling that way. Validate your own feelings the way a loving friend or family member would console you. Then, investigate different coping strategies like journaling, meditation, or talking to a therapist.
Moving your body provides benefits far beyond weight management. Strength, stress relief, and increased energy are just a few of the reasons to participate in regular intentional movement. Before starting any new exercise routine, talk to your care provider. Most people who are pregnant can participate in physical activity and exercise. If exercise is not something you regularly do but would like to, start small, like walking. Stay consistent with your efforts and aim to move your body intentionally at least 3-4 days a week, 20-30 minutes at a time.
Spirituality means different things to different people. If your spirituality practice is well established, lean into it during your pregnancy. Spirituality helps people find peace and comfort, especially during the more challenging times in life. If you don't yet have a spirituality practice, but are curious to know more, research, talk to people, and experiment to find out what resonates with you.
There are so many things we reach for to stimulate our intellectual health. For pregnancy, why not take a good childbirth class? You'll stimulate your brain and benefit directly (and quickly) from the learning! Lamaze classes are being offered live online all over the world.
How is your job adjusting to your pregnancy? Take stock of how your job affects your mental and physical health in pregnancy and if possible, make adjustments. Ask your employer for modifications or accommodations. If you are unable to change working conditions that are affecting your health in pregnancy, talk to your HR department to learn about your options.
Humans are hardwired to connect with people. Pregnancy is no different and in fact, may propel you to reach out even more. You may find that connecting with others who are also pregnant or who have been through pregnancy is especially important and comforting during this time.
Financial health is often a large source of stress. When you better understand your finances, including saving and spending practices, you can offload some of your stresses, even if your money remains tight. Get free financial help with one of these resources.
A green(er) pregnancy is good for you and good for the earth (which, in turn, is good for you, your children, and your future grandchildren). Get started with these few simple steps.
There is SO much information on nutrition during pregnancy -- it's overwhelming. The good news is that nutritional health isn't all or nothing -- you can make small, incremental changes and still benefit. In fact, even this one change can make a difference. Focus on the things you can do to improve your nutritional health instead of the many things you aren't doing.
Medical health for most people during pregnancy is fairly easy: attend prenatal appointments throughout your pregnancy. You can take your medical health a step further by bringing questions and concerns, written out, to your prenatal appointments and present them to your provider. It's easy to forget between appointments the items you want to discuss with your OB or midwife. Jot down things as they occur to you and you'll have plenty to discuss at your next appointment. Your provider should respond to your questions thoroughly, respectfully, and with patience. If they do not, consider it a red flag and think about changing providers.
TagsHealth During Pregnancy Wellness