Now that I am approaching the end of my second trimester, I’m beginning to feel very pregnant. And I am loving it. There were so many times when I wondered if I would ever get to experience this. So now I am just soaking it all in! That being said, my growing belly is making it a little difficult to stay comfortable.
But since I am bound and determined to enjoy every moment of pregnancy, I’ve learned a few practical, free things that have really helped me stay as comfortable as possible. I’m actually getting quite spoiled, because each of these things are things I look forward to every single day! Some of them (like #7) are things that I would not be able to take advantage of so often if I were not pregnant.
So, here are 10 FREE things that have made my pregnancy comfortable, and even more enjoyable:
1) Walking– I try to make myself walk at least a few miles a day, most days of the week (I shoot for every day of the week, but I usually end up missing one or two). Walking provides a nice energy boost, helps ease constipation, and helps fight excess weight gain. It can also help manage insulin resistance. Walking or exercising regularly during pregnancy may also help you have a shorter labor. I have noticed that my pace has slowed down a little over the past couple of weeks. I guess I’m not used to lugging such a big belly around!
2) Stretching– This is something I do every day. If you’ve taken birth classes, your instructor has probably provided you with stretches that she believes will help you during labor and delivery. I do the couple of stretches that our teacher gave us, and I also do my own. I would just recommend doing what feels good to your body. Stretching helps fight off those little aches and pains that seem to pop up so often during pregnancy. Also, if I stretch before bed, I’ve noticed that my legs do not cramp up so badly at night.
3) Napping– Any day I can fit a nap in, I do! Since it’s difficult to get a good night’s rest, compensating with an afternoon nap is 100% acceptable and beneficial! If I don’t take an afternoon nap, then by the time my husband gets home from school at night, I am either already in bed for the evening, or I am so grumpy and tired that he probably wishes I was in bed asleep. On the weekends I usually take a serious nap in my bed, but during the week I often sneak in quick naps on the couch with my body pillow. It truly is important to get adequate rest during pregnancy, so naps are especially essential if you are not sleeping well during
the night. I’ve read some articles that suggest skipping the nap so that you sleep better at night, but I’ve tried it, and a nap does not make me sleep worse at night. But if I don’t take a nap, and then don’t sleep well that night, I’m in trouble.
4) Sunshine– Through my first trimester, and most of my second, it was cold, dark, and damp outside. But on the days when there was sunshine, I took advantage as much as possible! And now that we are finally getting into spring, and then summer, there should be no lack of sunshine in my third trimester! Spending time in the sunshine helps lift my mood, gives me an energy boost, and provides a dose of Vitamin D.
5) Drinking water– Drinking water is something else that helps prevent and/or ease constipation. It can also help prevent cramping and contractions, as well as any issues with your kidneys during pregnancy.
6) Baking– Bake cookies for hospital nurses and freeze them until you need them, or bake muffins to freeze for after the baby is born. The aroma is calming, the warmth of the oven helps heat a cold kitchen during the winter, and you are burning more calories than you’d be burning if you were sitting on the couch!
7) Back rubs– I have a wonderful husband who rubs my back when we get in bed at night. This helps me unwind and relax, making it easier to fall asleep. And since he is in chiropractic school, he great at finding any tight spots and knots, and he is really great at ironing those things out, although I’m sure “ironing” is not technically the correct term.
8) Warm baths and showers– Sometimes these are the highlight of my entire day! Apart from the back rubs I just mentioned, they are one of the things I look forward to most during the day. I love a good bubble bath, but I also enjoy turning the shower on, sitting down, and just letting the water run until it starts to get cold. If you let the water beat down on your back, the sensation of the water hitting the skin really helps to relieve any back pressure or pain you may be feeling, and the heat is just so relaxing.
9) Elevating your feet– I did not realize how important this is until the night after my sister’s wedding. My mom and I were on our feet all day during the two days leading up to the wedding, and we were on our feet again the day of the wedding. By that night, my feet were so swollen and sore. My mom insisted that I go home and prop them up, so I did. And it was heavenly! Now I prop my feet up every night when I sit down to relax before bed… not because they are swollen, but because it just feels so good!
10) NOT overeating– This one is really hard for me some days, because I just get so hungry. But I’ve noticed that on the days I eat too much, I’m usually eating crap, and I never feel well afterwards. Pregnancy is a real lesson in listening to your body: Eat when you are hungry, but don’t over-indulge. And choosing whole, real foods is helpful too. In light of having PCOS, it is really important to catch that blood sugar roller coaster before it gets going. Eating four, five, or six times throughout the day is fine and good, as long as you aren’t eating full-blown meals every single time. Eat mindfully, remembering that you only need a little something, because you will probably be eating again soon! (: