8 Great Tips to Surviving Your First Pregnancy
Dr Kylie Sergentanis
I worked with pre and postnatal women for a number of years before experiencing pregnancy first hand. There are some things I felt very prepared for but others that came as a surprise.
Probably the most unexpected thing was the feeling of vulnerability and instant crazy protection of my unborn baby. I think it is in combination with all the hormones plus physical changes going on within your body. It meant anything I was doing I approached with an extra level of scrutiny to ensure it was safe.
I loved my pregnancy (minus the nausea and perhaps the first 15 weeks) and was constantly reminding myself that this is the last time it would all be about me – I will never have a first pregnancy again and will most likely not have the same time to dedicate to myself in any future pregnancies.
Remembering that I was pregnant and listening to my own advice became key. I had some mild pelvic girdle pain around 18 weeks, but I implemented some strategies (that I have educated countless women on) and didn’t have any problems for the rest of the pregnancy.
The following is what I felt helped me through and ultimately gave me a wonderful foundation and strength for labour and that intense period of having a newborn when there is literally no time for you!
1) Osteopathy treatments:
I chose to have regular treatments from early in my pregnancy. Partly this is because I have a physical job – on my feet as an Osteopath and also Pilates instructing. Having treatments from early in my pregnancy meant I could address any issues before they became a problem.
I found that an Osteopath who was also trained in biodynamics was wonderful for pregnancy as it is a lovely gentle way to be treated.
Read more about biodynamics here.
I was also lucky enough to receive treatments on demand from Dr Mike – who did wonders for a niggly hip.
2) Clinical Pilates and Pregnancy reformer Classes
I loved Pilates during pregnancy – I made sure I did 1 clinical Pilates class a week (with the amazing Riley at Core) where any individual issues & imbalances could be addressed plus I did at least one group pre natal reformer class.
I also did some of my own Pilates (which is never as much fun as being told what to do!) on the days I worked.
Pilates was THE BEST! After my labour my midwife even asked what exercise I did as she was impressed with my ability to squat so late in labour – it was definitely the millions of squats & leg exercises that helped and I’m sure that’s why I could birth the way I did.
There is so much wonderful research on the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy. I won’t say too much about it as it is not my area of expertise – but I did have acupuncture regularly all the way through my pregnancy and right up until the day before labour!
4) Prenatal Massage
I class this as a “luxury” extra – but really we should all treat ourselves to massages, they are so wonderfully good for your health.
Not all masseuses are equal though – I would definitely do your homework and make sure you see someone qualified in prenatal massage – it took me a few goes to get someone who I really enjoyed and felt completely comfortable.
I also like a good pregnancy pillow so ask about that when booking if you want to lie on your tummy. I had an experience where I quite liked the therapist but found the pillow to be so uncomfortable that I didn’t return.
I loved walking and particularly once I finished work and was officially on maternity leave- I walked daily to the beach. Not only good for my body physically – it was perfect for my mind and I loved getting out doors. I was very happy to have a December baby so the weather was magnificent!
Walking is excellent during pregnancy as long as you do not have any pelvic girdle pain.
6) Tubi grip
I never released how amazing this stuff actually was until I hit 15/16 weeks and started getting achey from work. When I gave myself the talk and asked “if I had a patient presenting like this – what would your advice be?”, I straight away prescribed myself tubi grip! 😉
I started wearing tubi grip at work (I am on my feet all day – if you are sitting you might find it uncomfortable) and it was a LIFE SAVER! It gave me the support I needed around my expanding belly.
Womens bodies are rapidly changing during pregnancy, plus there is plenty of relaxin hormone floating around doing its wonderful work on relaxing the joints all ready for labour and the feeling of “instability” can be quite disconcerting.
For me – this was enough and provided a very cost effective, perfect solution.
There are a lot of other products on the market that women have sworn by – SRC shorts and SIJ belts to name a few and I think it depends on the individual which product will work. However – you can’t go wrong starting out with tubi grip and seeing how you respond, considering it is about $10!
I found my sleep disrupted during pregnancy and nightly meditations were a fabulous way to calm my brain and relax before bed.
We (my partner) and I also did a hyno-birthing class during pregnancy which included a nightly mediation which I found put me straight to sleep.
8) Pregnancy Pillow
I loved my pillow & purchased it quite early in my pregnancy due to hip pain. It was amazing and I could not sleep without it – taking it with me the few times we went away. It became like a security blanket for me – I loved it so much!