1. Manage morning sickness
A third of pregnancies come with that queasy feeling, when you find it hard to hold down food, and feel tired and unwell. “Eating little and often will help ease your sickness,” says midwife Sarah Noble. “It will also help balance your blood sugar if you choose foods with slow-release energy, such as bananas.” Ginger is a well-known stomach settler — try it in tea form or nibble on a biscuit.
2. Get some sun
Vitamin D is synthesised in skin on exposure to sunlight. “It’s very important for bone strength, and you need it in pregnancy to help your baby’s growing bones as well as reduce your risk of osteoporosis,” says Noble. Small amounts of vitamin D are present in foods like oily fi sh and eggs, but check with your gynae whether you need to take a daily supplement.
3. Cut caffeine
While you don’t need to go cold turkey on your morning kopi, you should cut down on your caffeine intake. Limit caffeine to no more than 200mg daily, equivalent to two mugs a day. But remember, tea and chocolate contain caffeine, too. “There’s also been some studies on animals suggesting that too much caffeine could give rise to babies with anxious or irritable natures,” notes GP Dr Sarah Brewer.
4. Get folic acid
“Folic acid is…vital for cell growth,” says Dr Brewer. “Supplements are the most reliable form because you know how much you’re taking and the folic acid is in a simple form that’s easier for your body to use.” You’re recommended to take 400mcg a day even before conception because it’s so important for the healthy development of the neural tube that goes on to form the spinal column and brain in the first three weeks of pregnancy. “And because it is so important for the division and growth of cells, I recommend that patients take folic acid throughout pregnancy, especially when expecting twins,” she adds.
5. Strengthen your pelvic floor
“Your pelvic floor is a trio of muscles that acts like a hammock to keep your uterus, bladder and bowel in place,” explains fitness expert Jane Wake. “The weight of your baby will put pressure on your pelvic floor, so give it a workout every day to keep it flexible and boost recovery after birth.”
Think of your pelvic floor as a diamond shape attached to your pubic bone. Pull the four points up and together, and release slowly. “You should aim for 10 repetitions, three times a day,” Wake advises, and it doesn’t matter where: You can even do it while you’re brushing your teeth or standing in line.
6. Stay cool
Overheating in pregnancy — especially during the first trimester — can harm your baby’s development, which is why you should avoid steam rooms, saunas and spa hot tubs. “It’s also why you need to keep an eye on your temperature and drink lots of water when exercising,” Wake says. “As long as you don’t overheat and work out to a moderate intensity such that you can still hold a conversation, you’ll be fine.” We suggest that you walk moderately — you should be able to hold a conversation — for 30 to 60 minutes every day to improve your stamina. Research also shows that it has a positive effect on baby’s heart.
7. Practise squatting
Use an exercise or birth ball — as you keep moving on it, it will release tight muscles and relieve back pain. To build up strength in your thighs. Hold on to the kitchen sink and squat back into your heels, legs turned out at 45 degrees. Hold down and breathe deeply for four to five breaths, lift up and repeat 10 times.
8. Learn good breathing techniques
Yoga breathing techniques are excellent for easing labour pain. Try making a “shoosh” sound as you breath out — this slows your breath down.
Photo: ING Images