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As any expectant or new mum will tell you, pregnancy and parenthood bring changes to your life that you never thought possible. One of the biggest shocks to the system is often the physical changes that you experience. From morning sickness to your ever-changing body shape during pregnancy, the birth experience, birth recovery, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation… the list of changes is endless. There is no doubt about it – being a parent is challenging on both a physical and emotional level, but of course, more than worth it!
With so many changes happening all at once, it can be useful to plan ahead and do whatever you can to make the changes take less of a toll on you. Here are some of the ways that you can take care of yourself and in turn, pass the benefits on to your baby:
Pregnancy can play havoc with your palette, foods that you once loved can turn your stomach at the slightest sniff of them. Meanwhile, foods that you never even liked previously can become a persistent craving. Throughout your pregnancy, it is essential to follow the NHS guidelines on what you can and can’t eat during pregnancy, as well as trying to maintain a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
According to the Early Life Nutrition Coalition, the first 1,000 days can have an impact on your baby’s future health, such as chances of becoming obese, and even having allergies. You can read more about the first 1,000 days in the ELNC’s Free Information Booklet.
Trying to keep your diet balanced in the days, weeks and months after giving birth to your baby is also crucial in enabling you to cope with the added physical stress of sleep deprivation. Eating healthily will help to keep your energy levels up, and more prepared for whatever surprises life as a new parent throws at you.
Exercise and Fresh Air
Keeping yourself active in pregnancy and as a new parent may not look or feel the same as it did pre-pregnancy for a while, but that doesn’t mean that some more gentle forms of exercise are not beneficial. Pregnancy yoga or aquanatal classes offer a great way to stay active and are an excellent opportunity to meet other mums-to-be and to grow your circle of mum friends.
As many sleep-deprived parents can testify a walk in the fresh air may seem like old-fashioned advice, but it does work. If you have been stuck in the house with a screaming baby, taking your baby out for a stroll in the fresh air can clear your head and relax your baby too; which is sure to leave you both feeling much better! If you fancy taking part in a more sociable walk and meeting other new parents from your local area at the same time, you could join a buggy walk group; there are lots of them in various locations, all providing a great way to meet other local parents, as well as getting some exercise.