Do you remember a time when you were feeling so tired that even toothpicks wouldn’t have kept your eyes open? Like the following day at work after a late night of dancing and drinking (B.C. Before Children!). Or a time when you just got back after an overseas trip and your tiredness was so overwhelming that you never again questioned if jet-lag was a real thing. Now, think about that tiredness but on steroids! That’s what pregnancy tiredness feels like – when your body is using all of its energy to create a little human – especially in the early stages of pregnancy.
It may have been possible to push past the tiredness pre-pregnancy, but now it will be virtually impossible.
Even though you probably can’t push past the early pregnancy tiredness, there will be many times during your pregnancy where you might be tempted to push through tiredness, discomfort or pain. However, the stakes are higher now because your baby’s health is solely dependent on you and your health.
You might be wondering, ‘How will I know when I need to slow down?’ If this is your first bub then this is an ideal time to start tuning into your intuition – this will serve you well after you welcome your newborn into the world and are faced with the many decisions on how to care for your bub.
5 TIPS ON HOW TO SLOW DOWN IN PREGNANCY
Tip 1: Listen to Your Mind and Body
Your pregnancy hormones will have an impact on how you feel. According to Beyond Blue CEO, Georgie Harman, ‘At least one in seven women will experience postnatal depression and up to one in 10 will experience it during pregnancy’.
Pregnancy can also bring up feelings of fear and uncertainty which can cause anxiety.
Participating in a pregnancy yoga class can reduce the risk of developing depression or anxiety by teaching you breathing and meditation techniques to help calm your mind. These tools will not only help you in pregnancy but in labour and birth too. As a bonus, pregnancy yoga classes can also help alleviate the common pregnancy aches and pains while also keeping you strong and fit.
See your doctor if you’re feeling depressed and anxious in your pregnancy.
You know your own body better than anyone.
‘Your intuition is your superpower.’
You’ll need to tune into your body’s needs as it starts to change to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible. When you can, eat when you’re hungry and rest or sleep when you’re tired and pay attention to any changes to your health. Seek out information about the changes that happen in pregnancy to help you gauge whether what you’re experiencing is normal or not.
Tip 2: Run Your Own Race
You’ve probably already started noticing and connecting with other pregnant women or you may be following the journey of pregnant celebrities on social media.
While it’s great to share your journey with others, you could easily fall into the trap of thinking your pregnancy experience should be the same as someone else’s.
This is a great time to remind yourself that every ‘body’ is different and every pregnancy is different. And that’s OK. The size and shape of your baby bump, the amount of energy, nausea, aches or pains you have or don’t won’t be the same for everyone.
Let go of any comparisons if you notice you’re starting to judge yourself. You’ll be fine as long as you’re listening to your intuition. Just because another woman had her hospital bag packed at 16 weeks or was able to work until the end of her pregnancy, doesn’t mean you need to do the same. It’s OK to slow down and run your own race.
Tip 3: Ask for Help
The chances are you’re working during your pregnancy. A 2017 ABS survey found 73% of women with a child under two held a job at some stage during their pregnancy. You may be able to carry on with your work right up until your due date, or you may not. It’s hard to predict how you’ll feel in your pregnancy but the most important thing is to have a plan, keep an open mind, and if necessary, be prepared to change it.
If you’re finding it challenging, you may need to ask for greater understanding and flexibility from your employers. E.g. If your job involves being on your feet all day, you may need to take extra rest breaks. Or if your morning sickness is severe, you may need to consider reducing the number of hours you work.
Then there’s the unpaid work you do at home. You might have been able to spring clean the house in one day before pregnancy, however, you may need to consider breaking down chores into little bursts. The main thing is not to overdo it and to ask for help. Be open to outsourcing some of the household responsibilities, especially if you already have other children to look after. If outsourcing isn’t affordable, reach out to family and friends for help.
Tip 4: Seek Expert Advice
Even if this isn’t your first pregnancy, you might have different concerns in this pregnancy than you did with your first. Whether it’s your midwife, doula, GP, gynecologist or psychologist – give yourself permission to seek help when you need it because it’s OK to not have all the answers.
Now would also be a good time to seek advice from fitness experts on how you can modify your exercise routine. Exercising in pregnancy has many benefits as long as you understand the safe forms of exercise. You will likely need to stop doing high-impact activities like skiing and horse riding.
It’s important to slow down for various reasons. Firstly, your ligaments soften in pregnancy, which can increase the risk of joint injuries. Secondly, your weight distribution and your body shape changes which alters your body’s centre of gravity. This can affect your balance and coordination. Thirdly, the amount of blood pumped by the heart increases in pregnancy so it’s important not to over-exert yourself.
Prenatal Yoga is a safe form of exercise. If you enjoy going to classes, seek qualified teachers who are experienced in teaching pregnant women like the team at Mother Nurture Yoga.
Alternatively, you can also do safe prenatal yoga poses or a guided relaxation at home. Get our FREE download with 3 easy and safe yoga poses for the first trimester, or check out our Pregnancy Guided Relaxation on our online studio!
Here are some warning signs you need to stop your activity and see your doctor:
- You feel pain during (or after) exercising
- Blurred vision
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fluid leaking from your vagina
- Feeling faint
- High heart rate
- You can’t have a conversation while exercising
- Decreased foetal movements
When seeking pregnancy health advice, Dr Google can be helpful, but see your midwife or doctor if you have any specific medical concerns.
TIP 5: REPEAT STEPS 1-4 (as often as necessary)
Stay connected to your intuition to know when you need to slow down. Listen to your mind and body and remember your pregnancy journey is unique. Ask for help when you need it (it may change from week to week) and seek expert advice when necessary.
Get Your FREE Copy Of The Pregnancy Yoga Handbook