This article is provided by our partners at Flo Health. Flo is a women’s health app, that supports women at each stage of their reproductive cycle. It tracks menstruation, cycle prediction, preparation for conception, pregnancy, early motherhood and menopause.
Now that you know you’re pregnant, you may feel like you need some new ways to take care of your body and your mind. This often happens because pregnancy means adjusting to creating a new baby — and that can change us physically and psychologically.
So if you’ve never given much thought to self-care before, this is a good time to brush up on these vital skills. There are countless ways to go about practicing self-care.
While you are picking options from a long list of well-rounded diets, prenatal yoga classes, and the like, it may be helpful to remember a couple of psychological skills that will help you choose exactly what you need during pregnancy.
Listening to your body
is truly the healthiest option for you and the baby. While there are typical recommendations for pregnant women like staying active and hydrated, you may find you have different needs than what you’ve read about.
So put your feelings first and try to stay positive about your body and your condition. Maintaining an emotional separation from things that prevent you from feeling calm, positive, and in touch with your body is a good self-care practice.
Fostering tolerance to delayed pleasure
Indulging pregnancy cravings can sometimes help overcome stress or provide some solace. However, it can also be beneficial to add some mindfulness to your routine. It’s normal to crave things like sugar because they can make us feel better immediately.
If you find yourself experiencing such cravings, take a deep breath and ask yourself: what is the emotional condition I crave? What are other possible ways to get there? What will make me feel like I’m doing the best I can for myself and my baby?
Supporting your social life
Research shows that both women’s and men’s brains switch to “parenting mode” in response to oxytocin stimuli.
You might enjoy discovering social aspects of this new mode and the new possibilities it creates, like new acquaintances or new forms of employment. Finding your place in the “big world” as a new mother may enhance a feeling of connectedness and make your recovery time after giving birth more vibrant.
Making time for play and relaxation
Constantly trying to choose the healthiest option for every single thing (regardless of how important it is) can feel like a strenuous job.
It’s important to relax and let go from time to time. Neuroscience says letting your mind wander facilitates creativity as well as problem-solving and future-planning activities. So time spent in play or daydreaming is not wasted.All these skills might help you make your pregnancy more about you and less about following recommendations, processing tons of information, and waiting for delivery. Pregnancy can be a marvelous time in and of itself, but it often takes perspective and practice see it this way.
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