It’s no secret that your body goes through loads of changes throughout pregnancy. At each stage there are various symptoms and physical changes that many women experience – some are just a hassle while others can be downright unpleasant!
Each woman and every pregnancy are different – I know the difference between my pregnancies with Polly and with Theo were like night and day! There are so many variations of ‘normal’ when it comes to pregnancy but there are some common experiences that most women will experience at least at some point during their pregnancy; things like finding it difficult to get comfortable in bed, morning sickness and general aches and pains as your bump grows.
The main thing is that you do whatever you can to ease the pressure you place on yourself, make yourself as comfortable as possible whenever you can and find little tricks to make life easier. You’ve got enough to plan and prepare for without trying to get through the days (and nights!) feeling more uncomfortable than necessary.
In this post I’ve rounded up some of the top pregnancy hacks that are quick, simple and effective.
As your pregnancy progresses and your blooming bump becomes heavier and more awkward, getting a full night of sleep can become a distant memory. There are plenty of pregnancy specific pillows on the market which many women find work wonders to help them get more comfortable for a good night’s sleep. However, I’ve found that a classic boomerang shaped pillow can be just as effective and more affordable. Place one end under and around your bump and the other between your knees to relieve pressure on your back and pelvis.
While most women can get through a few months of pregnancy without having to upgrade to maternity wear, most will need at least a couple of new pieces to accommodate their gorgeous new belly. Always opt for comfort over anything else; tight, irritating clothing will only be more annoying as your pregnancy progresses. Pants and skirts with a bit of stretch are always a good idea as too are natural fabrics that breathe – it’s not uncommon to feel extra hot and sweaty throughout pregnancy.
Other little hacks that can help you extend the life of your existing wardrobe include the hairband trick for jeans (whereby you loop an elastic hairband through the button hole and around the button to buy you a few more inches of space) and belly bands that cover the tops of your pants or jeans so no one can tell that you’ve left the button open as well as buying you a little extra length when your tops become too short.
While there are loads of stylish maternity wear options around these days, you shouldn’t feel pressure to go and buy a whole new wardrobe full of maternity clothes. Always opt for comfort and function over fashion, avoiding anything that is going to be tight and restrictive around your mid line.
OK, well perhaps not a feast but a snack at least! Many women find that their morning sickness is most pronounced in the morning because their stomach is empty which can make the nausea worse. Keep some snacks on-hand such as raw nuts, fruit or a muesli bar on your bedside table and if you wakeup for a middle-of-the-night toilet visit, help yourself to a small snack to avoid your stomach becoming completely empty.
Some of the other tips our Birth Beat Tribe suggested included eating carbs in the morning even when you don’t really feel like it to keep the nausea at bay as well as having plenty of Jatz (any plain crackers will do) on hand!
Most women know that they can prevent or reduce stretch marks with regular moisturising throughout pregnancy. A top tip is to start a daily moisturising routine as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. This not only establishes a lovely self-care ritual that you can carry on with each day throughout pregnancy, it also means that you’re aiming to prevent stretch marks well before they appear rather than treating them once you start to notice them. Another big benefit of moisturising throughout pregnancy is that many women find their skin becomes dry and tight, particularly around their belly which can be uncomfortable.
Plain, organic coconut oil is a wonderful option that is free from any artificial fragrances, just use a tiny amount and rub it all over your belly, boobs and hips after your shower.
As your pregnancy progresses your feet may either become a little swollen by the end of the day or more achey than normal thanks to the additional weight. You’ll regret poor footwear choices more than ever when you are pregnant!
A pair of good-quality, supportive sneakers is a great option – not only are they more comfortable but they’re safer for those baby-brain moments and feeling extra wobbly (which can happen as your centre of gravity shifts).
As your pregnancy progresses though, bending over to tie shoe laces becomes a thing of the past! A great hack is to invest in a paid of elasticised laces so that you can slip your shoes on and off with relative ease.
Pregnancy brain can be real, so it pays to get organised as soon as possible. Write things down as you think of them, book all your prenatal appointments as soon as you can, keep a diary or details of all your check-ups and appointments in your phone calendar – even when you think you’ll remember something, it pays to jot it down somewhere to remind yourself! Start keeping a list of all the things you’ll need for bub as you think of them or hear about them and make sure you book prenatal classes early so that you don’t miss out or it’s not too late. If you’re worried that you wont have enough time to squeeze in weekly prenatal classes around your busy schedule or you don’t like the idea of giving up an entire weekend, our Birth Beat Ultimate Online Prenatal Program covers everything you need to know about preparing for your best birth and it can be completed from the comfort of home in your own time – and re-watched as many times as you need!
Think it’s annoying dropping the soap in the shower? Try doing it when you’re 8 months pregnant and there is a giant belly in the way! Buy a pair of BBQ tongs to keep handy in the shower and when you inevitably drop the soap or your wash cloth and it’ll be far less awkward and slippery to recover them!
Now is the time to embrace the afternoon Nanna nap! If you can squeeze-in even a 20-minute power nap during your lunch break or in the afternoon if you’re work schedule is flexible, then go for it! Growing a tiny human and entire organ (the placenta, which is the only ‘disposable’ organ) is tiring work. It’s very common for women to feel sleepy in the early stages of pregnancy as well as towards the end when everything gets extra heavy, tight and uncomfortable. The moral to the story; never feel guilty about getting extra sleep when you can manage it. It doesn’t need to be long to be effective and your body and mind will thank you for it.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that practising some form of prenatal yoga, Pilates and/or general exercise can help you to manage general pregnancy aches and pains. In addition to helping your overall mobility, regular pregnancy-specific stretching and movement can help prevent and relieve back, hips and pelvis pain associated with the additional weight and pressure caused by your growing bump. Our Birth Beat Ultimate Prenatal Program includes an entire module dedicated to Prenatal Yoga as well as pregnancy stretches and a guided relaxation – the perfect pregnancy hack that you can do from the comfort of home at any time, as often as you like!
There is no question that your ever-expanding bump can put extra pressure on your lower back and pelvic area, so if you feel like the discomfort is preventing you from going about daily tasks or is simply irritating for you, there are other things you can do in addition to exercise and stretching to help.
Some women swear by belly/pregnancy bands and other aids designed to support baby bump. Other’s love using Kinesio tape, which is an elasticised tape often used by physios or athletes. There are several different taping techniques that can be used depending on your unique needs and what gives you the most relief. Initially it’s best to visit a trusted physio who specialises in women’s health in order to understand how to apply the tape correctly; you may need your partner or a friend to give you a hand once you’ve learnt how and where to apply it. This can be a relatively inexpensive and effective way to help redistribute some of the weight and pressure, providing relief for several days at a time (it can be worn to bed too) before it’s refreshed with new tape.