Every woman is different when she’s pregnant. Some women might feel like it’s the best time of their life, and they exude confidence along with a healthy glow. Other women might feel less-than-ideal because of morning sickness, lack of sleep or other common issues that come along with pregnancy.
Regardless of where you might fall, there are steps you can take to help yourself look and feel your best while you’re pregnant, including the following.
Get as Much Sleep As You Can
Sleep is more important than ever while you’re pregnant, and this is especially true during the first trimester. You likely feel tired because your body is putting in serious work creating and nurturing a baby. You’re making more blood, and your heart is pumping faster too.
It can be tough to get all the sleep you want and need while you’re pregnant, however.
One reason that pregnant women have problems sleeping is because of the growing size of the baby, making it hard to get comfortable. A pregnancy pillow can be a good way to alleviate this problem.
With a pregnancy pillow, you can experiment and see which way makes you most comfortable and gives you the most support for your growing belly.
Along with a pregnancy pillow, the following are some other tips to get a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant:
- Try not to have caffeine, especially close to bedtime
- Don’t have a very large meal or a lot of fluids within a few hours of when you plan to go to bed
- Try to create a routine where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- Explore relaxation techniques such as meditation or gentle stretching you can use before you go to bed
- If you are having issues with anxiety or fear, you might want to enroll in a childbirth class—it can actually alleviate anxiety if you know what to expect. The fear of the unknown can be worse.
Invest In Great Skincare
Pregnancy can heavily impact your skin. Some of the benefits are positive, such as that pregnant glow we hear so much about. Some aren’t as positive—for example, the development of stretch marks can occur during pregnancy.
Your hormones are changing a lot during this time so you could find that your skin is the opposite of what it is normally or that you have skin-related issues you never experienced before pregnancy.
For example, you might develop dark spots called melasma, or your skin could become drier or more oily than usual. Your skin might also start to itch, and you could notice the development of new moles.
You want to make sure you find the right skincare products for your changing skin during pregnancy.
You also want to ensure you’re only using skincare items and other beauty products that are deemed safe during pregnancy, and many moms-to-be also look to organic and non-toxic products during this time.
Some of the things you should avoid with your pregnancy skincare routine include:
- Retinoids are found in products like Differin and Renova, and there has been some evidence linking these products to birth defects when they’re used during pregnancy.
- Tetracycline is an acne treatment that’s an antibiotic and it could impact a fetus’s teeth and bones.
- Hydroquinone is heavily absorbed into your skin when you use it, and while there aren’t currently any known adverse effects linked to its use in pregnancy, it may be best to avoid it.
- Salicylic acid is many different skincare products that are meant to combat acne, and some dermatologists advise against using it while pregnant.
- Benzoyl peroxide is another acne treatment that may not be safe to use during pregnancy.
So what about the skincare products you should be using?
Look for options that have primarily natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals. It’s best to speak with your dermatologist who can guide you in the right direction and you should be cautious with the products you use during breastfeeding as well.
Options like Vitamin A can work well for acne as opposed to something with retinoid or retinol. Products that are vitamin C-based can be a good option as well, and they may help treat hyperpigmentation, which is common in pregnancy.
Get A Prenatal Massage
A big part of how you look when you’re pregnant is about how you feel, and there’s not much that feels as good as a prenatal massage.
A prenatal massage is a therapeutic practice that should only be done by a trained professional. There are some massage therapists specifically trained in prenatal massage.
With regular prenatal massage, you may feel less pain as well as less anxiety and depression. It can help ease joint pain and improve how your labor goes.
Massage therapy may also help regulate your hormones, which can be good for your skin.
If you’re experiencing swelling in your pregnancy, it may be because of reduced circulation, as well as the increase in pressure on the blood vessels around your uterus. Massage can help stimulate the release of fluids that collect in your body and it can also help remove tissue waste that your lymphatic system is responsible for carrying.
It’s tempting when you’re pregnant to give in to cravings and perhaps overindulge but it’s so important to eat well and also ensure that you’re gaining weight in a healthy way. Everyone will gain weight while they’re pregnant, but if you’re gaining weight very quickly or you’re consuming a diet low in nutrients and high in processed foods, it can affect how you look and also feel.
It will also be difficult to get back to feeling your best after delivery.
Finally, try and move your body as much as you can. Yoga, walking, and swimming are all good options that are gentle and can help you mentally and physically strong and healthy during your pregnancy. The fitter you are at delivery, the better.