By Mary Malyon
1/ Iron out the tiredness
Seriously, take those iron supplements ladies. Imagine how much blood it takes to create a placenta, let alone a baby? And on top of that you’re working, planning for a new arrival, possibly running after any number of siblings. There is nothing like the all-consuming fatigue caused by iron deficiency, and there’s no need for any of you lovely pregnant ladies to experience it. Unfortunately, iron supplements can be hard on tummies, not ideal when you’re contending with a daily bout of morning sickness. Enter Floradix: this stuff works. Packed with natural ingredients that are easy for your body to absorb, I could literally feel myself glowing back to life when I took it pregnant and iron deficient. (pssst… Floradix is also great if you have heavy periods or a teenage girl who gets very tired.)
2/ Rocket fuel that core, tighten up that pelvic floor.
Pregnancy is the time to nurture your body in and out, and no this has got nothing to do with being ‘bikini ready’ two weeks after giving birth (grrr…). This is about saving your lower back, helping you pee pre- and post- labour, making sure you’ve got the strength to carry the small one – day in, day out – and generally keeping aches and pains at bay. A good dose of self-confidence from a toned body is no bad thing either, just as long as you remember it’s for you and not the media’s body-police. Check out www.pregnancyexercise.co.nz for great advice on fitness pre- and post- birth and specifically tailored online courses that you can do from home.
3/ Keep that skin supple.
Now here at The Natural Parent we’re not adverse to a few stretch marks, the flames of motherhood some would call them. But to avoid deep scarring, to keep your skin supple and to nurture yourself and bond with your baby, then you could spend some time every day rubbing oils into your belly (or, more fun, ask your partner). This is especially lovely when you start to feel the first kicks. Palmer’s Coconut Oil is a firm favourite with mums-to-be with its rich texture and delicious, creamy scent.
4/ Invest in Your Wardrobe.
Time to look at a new wardrobe to keep your self-worth sky high. Mrs Smith Maternity has a nifty range of tops and dresses to flatter your pregnancy curves. If you’re due any moment the Merino Breastfeeding Hoody is also a great option: a beautiful, flattering cut that will keep lower backs and tummies warm when feeding out and about this winter.
I also love this quirky-chic striped dress perfect for maternity and breastfeeding. You could dress it up for work and wear with trainers, or even over skinny jeans, for all those mamma cafe meetups soon to come.
5/ Back to School: Antenatal Workshops
There are such a huge range of these suiting all needs. I took a home birthing course in Christchurch with the fabulous Homebirth Canterbury. It was social support, homebirth prep and anatomical brush-up all wrapped in one course. They even organised a week’s worth of evening meals for each mum when she gave birth.
In Auckland, look up Intuitive Birth’s workshops. They take a more boots and braces approach for busy Aucklanders: less role play, more getting the important information out there. They also offer women-only support groups – Mama Cafes that create a safe, private environment to dig deep into those worries that can really affect labour, share birth stories and create a rock-solid support network for mums-to-be. Conversely, Intuitive Birth also organise Birth@YourLocal where birth partners can meet in an informal environment and have frank chats about their role in labour as well as the days, weeks (years) ahead.
6/ Tummies in Ladies
Belly binding is a long held tradition in many cultures, somehow lost in ours but on the rise again. Imagine the shock to our body post-birth, one moment holding a 3kg baby plus placenta. And then? Empty space. As you might expect, Belly Bandits wrap around your belly post labour helping everything – the uterus and so on – back into its rightful place and supporting the lower back when abdominal muscles are weak. A side benefit is the extra belly coverage when you’re playing around with early breastfeeding.