Support for your Pregnant Body (Some may be more fun than just a bubble bath)
As promised, continuing on the topic of SUPPORT.
Without telling you to quit your job and take naps in a lavender-scented bubble baths every day until Baby decides it's time to say Hello, I wanted to still stress the importance of taking care of your body, especially in the last days leading up to baby. It is not merely pampering, it is preparation. That being said, there is a whole lot going on right now. There could be a whole post on your mind, your emotions, your relationship. This one is going to be for your BODY.
This is crazy important because, well, the baby is growing inside of your body. Yes, I know. Big shocker. Secondly, that baby is going to come out of you and then try to feed from you. All things you may be aware of, but just take a minute and really think about that. Your body does all of that! It grows, houses, dispels and then feeds this human. Your body. The one that is never skinny enough, strong enough, toned enough. The one that you may have battled since the introduction of TeenVogue into your pre-pubescent life. Yes, that body is going to do all of that because it is perfect and it is doing just exactly what its supposed to do!
And so let's support that crazy amazing body with a few practices that you may not already be doing!
Super-easy and super-effective. Use an actual dry brush that you can find at Target, a silk glove, or a simple dry washcloth. Start at your feet and brush your body in long circles toward your heart. On your belly, breasts and butt, go in clockwise circles.
Then take your favorite all-natural oil or other natural moisturizer and do the same with that. With each circle, repeat a thought or mantra of gratitude for all that your crazy, beautiful, amazing body is doing for you!
This will 1. increase healthy circulation within your body. Especially good if you are holding water, and 2. has even been stated to help with stretch marks. Mostly, though, makes you slow down and give that body some love!!!
Great health benefits as you already know, but what you maybe didn't know are the benefits for baby too:
- When you chant such as "OM" or "Hum" or "Om Bhur Bhuva Svaha..." that vibration connects with and soothes baby in the womb. They learn your voice and snuggle into it just like they will when they're in your arms.
- Different postures allow for baby to flip and flop inside of you, reorienting them in the right direction (downward).
- Squatting and strengthening leg muscles have been said to shorten the birth canal, leading to a quicker birth experience.
- Breathing mindfully can help train you for working through the discomforts of childbirth.
- Stretching the back, hips, and chest muscles can keep your blood flow optimal and your muscles relaxed as your body changes.
3. Kegels or vaginal breathing
As someone who is passionate about supporting mothers before and after birth, I have to say that vaginal care is up there on my priority list! I absolutely can't wait to share with you some post-birth tips for vaginal care, but you can start while still pregnant.
I don't like using the word "Kegels" because what does that even mean, anyway? I think the first time I heard it, I was a teenager and someone said, "Oh yeah, you totally have to do Kegels," and that was about as far as my training on the matter went. No explanation, no demonstration. When it comes to pregnancy, I prefer to refer to it as vaginal breathing.
This practice is easy and can be quick. You can do it anywhere at anytime. Lying on the couch, in bed, in the tub, in a yoga class, in a meeting... you get it.
Super simple: Inhale and without squeezing your butt or thigh muscles, focus on drawing up and in on the pelvic floor area. Perineum, urethra, vaginal opening. Exhale and fully relax this area, feeling or seeing the exhale release down and out.
This area is largely made up of internal muscles that we very often do not use. Being connected with them and accessing them mindfully is invaluable for birth and healing after!
4. Breast Massage
This can be a fun one for partners. It is likely that if your breasts are not already tender, sister, they soon will be. A simple breast massage will ease some of that ache and encourage circulation and milk supply. After nursing, it has also been said that breast massage can be used to perk those babes back up!
A simple circle moving up in the middle and down on the outside of the breasts.
5. Sacral Pressure
This was my absolute favorite thing ever in the history of pregnancies. As those babies got bigger and my body was just done with all of it, I would make my partner do sacral pressure until he felt my pain :-) It is soooo good, but it is a two person gig.
You: Hands and knees or elbows and knees. Either way, butt in the air
Partner: Place palms on the ridge of the sacrum. There is a triangle from hipbone to hipbone to tailbone. The sacrum is that ridge that crosses them. Be sure that when applying pressure, it is not to the tail bone, nor the spine. Press in and out.
And Ooooohhh mama, be prepared to feel the release! It is so good!
6. The Big "O"
Yep, you know the one that I'm talking about. Get yourself an orgasm, mama! It has been said by many a wise midwife that what made baby is good for baby when it comes to pregnancy and birth. Orgasms release endorphins to make mama happy, oxytocin to relax mama, some doctors have said it works as a painkiller, equivalent to morphine, and even has been known to help with postpartum depression symptoms as well. Get that O!
Do it for you. Do it for the baby. Do it for the pregnancy!
Oh, this list could go on forever and ever. The bottom line is this; Take care of your body during this time. It feels like it is never going to end, but it will, and some of us will even have hormones that wish it didn't.
As always, with anything having to your body or your baby, please consult your doctor or midwife before practicing and especially if something is not feeling right for you!
Remember, if you need anything else, Booboos is here to support you, your booboos, and the best mothering experience that you can have!
You are strong. You are amazing. You are everything!