Pregnancy places your body under extra pressure but it will cope much better if it’s in great shape before, during and after pregnancy.
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And here are some great top tips…
1. Get your pelvic floor in great shape
Your pelvic floor is made up of the muscles that keep your bladder and bowel ‘under control’. Pregnancy and birth places your pelvic floor under pressure.
Incontinence is a short-term issue that affects many pregnant women, and although there are a variety of incontinence supplies for women, it can be prevented or controlled easier with a pelvic floor that’s in great shape.
Start your pelvic floor muscles before, during and after pregnancy, if you don’t already do these important exercises.
1. Clean up your diet
A gardener will ensure that the soil for their seedlings is full of all the nutrition they need to grow into strong plants – you need to do the same with your body.
Take a hard look at your diet and your lifestyle – what needs to change?
1. Increase your folic acid intake
Folic acid is critically important for any women pre-pregnancy. It is a synthetic form of the vitamin B9, known as folate. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) as well as birth defects of the spinal cord, such as spina bifida. It is also beneficial for brain development in the foetus too.
1. Get fitter
Just like cleaning up your diet, getting fit will help your body cope with all the changes that pregnancy brings. Gentle exercise is important pre-pregnancy, as well as during pregnancy and after the birth.
Many women turn to exercises such as yoga, which they can continue throughout their pregnancy and has proven effects to help the body cope with pregnancy and birth, both physical and emotional.
1. Ditch stress
Modern life is stressful. When stress is out of control, it has a profound and negative effect on your health, both physically and emotionally.
If you feel stressed, activity such as yoga can help, along with meditation and massage. Being rested and de-stressed is important, especially during the conception stage.
1. Make space in your life
When lives are too full, there is no room for anything new, no matter how much you may want it. But, for some people, having too much space can make them feel uneasy and anxious, thus they fill their lives with activities.
Being pregnant doesn’t mean stopping life and hibernating for nine months, but it does mean creating space to relax and enjoy being pregnant.
1. Visit your GP
It’s important to get a check-up, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. As well as checking your blood pressure and weight, you may also want to check that your smear test is up to date.
If you think you may be at risk of carrying a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you can be checked for these too. Some STIs remain hidden for a long time and so it may be that you don’t know you have one. Most STIs are easily treated, especially if they are diagnosed early.
1. Stop smoking
There are many vices that can have a serious impact on the developing foetus and smoking is one of them. It will be very hard to give up smoking during pregnancy and so it is probably best to quit smoking before you become pregnant.
There are free cessation classes available on the NHS – ask your doctor when you go for a check-up – and many of the nicotine replacement treatments are available on prescription too.
1. Visit your dentist
A pre-pregnancy dental check-up is important for all kinds of reasons because during pregnancy, your teeth and gum health can suffer. This is because the growing foetus is taking most nutrients from the food and drink you are consuming, thus your teeth can suffer.
1. Chart your menstrual cycle
It may seem complicated at first but when you stop taking contraception, your menstrual cycle can be slightly out of routine. By making a note of your periods, you will have a better idea of when you are ovulating, usually mid-way between one period and the next.
This is the opportune time to get pregnant. Keeping a note of dates will also give you a more accurate date for when the baby is due to arrive.
Taking time to get your body in great shape is no guarantee you will sail through pregnancy, but it will give your body every advantage to be able to cope physically and emotionally with the demands of pregnancy and birth.
HARTMANN Direct has a range of incontinence products suitable for use during pregnancy and post birth, times when you may need discreet but effective incontinence pads.