Welcome to Part 2 of my own Holistic Health guide for self-care in pregnancy.
This is by no means, prescribed medical advice but if you are interested in approaching your pregnancy from a holistic perspective you may find some of what I share helpful.
Please make sure you discuss any herbal or dietary supplements and exercise regime with your primary care provider to ensure they are suitable for your needs.
In Part 1 I ran you through the medical and naturopathic care I received as well as my dietary choices. In Part 2 here I’ve provided an overview of the physical care/ exercise, spiritual practices, indulgences, knowledge/ responsibilities and any further personal choices I made throughout the pregnancy.
Physical Care and Exercise:
- Walking to the market, uni classes, shops etc regularly.
- Dancing around the apartment when I had the urge or energy!
- Normal Vinyasa Yoga until 5 weeks when I stopped as I had an inkling I may have been pregnant.
- Started Vinyasa again at 21 weeks and then another class at 24 weeks.
- After that 24 week class I had an episode at home where the mild sacral joint pain I’d been having became major. I went to take my shoe off and the pain was like a huge spasm. I could barely walk or move for the next hour.
- It turned out Vinyasa required way too many poses on one leg for me. A big no-no if you suffer from ‘pelvic instability’ in pregnancy, which I discovered I did!
- I went and saw a physiotherapist at Fitwise Physiotherapy in East Melbourne to address this at 26 weeks, had a follow up at 27 weeks and a 1:1 clinical Pilates session at 28 weeks.
- From 31 weeks – 39 weeks I attended a 3:1 clinical pilates session once per week. Seeing a physio and going to these Pilates sessions was one of the best things I did for my body in pregnancy. I can’t recommend it more highly. Around that 28 week mark I’d actually begun to feel “really pregnant.” I was sore and uncomfortable and didn’t feel strong at all.
- As the weeks progressed and with my new understanding of how to hold my body, protect my sacrum and pelvic floor I began to feel stronger and more comfortable in my pregnant body rather than worse. It was money very well spent!
- I started Pre-natal Yoga at Kundalini House in Nth Fitzroy from 31 weeks – 39 weeks also. I went once a week on Mondays. This was soooo gentle, nurturing, soothing and the beautiful chants our teacher did at the beginning and end of each session helped me feel so connected with my babe.
- I had a Dental check-up at Eco Dentistry on High St in Westgarth. They are so kind and lovely there. My gums bled soo much in pregnancy and I can’t seem to do much about it. It was stressing me out a little that I’d developed hard core gum disease but the dentist said it wasn’t anything to be overly concerned about. However, he did recommend a full scale clean and potential deep gum clean next year post pregnancy. Oil pulling with coconut oil in the mornings and salt water gargles have helped a little.
- A must for me and something I believe kept me grounded and calm throughout the pregnancy. I found I did less in terms of daily, solo rituals but group sessions with other women were very healing.
- I attended a powerful workshop called “Waking the Wild Divine” run by Beata Afoldi in March. It was about 4 days after I believe I conceived! I really think this played a huge part in cementing our child’s conception.
- Around 6 days post conception I went to Claire Baker’s “Adore Your Cycle” women’s workshop. If you despised your menstrual cycle prior to falling pregnant or would just like to be more in touch with the cyclic nature of being a woman – Claire’s work is for you!
- I had Reiki with a friend at 13 weeks, felt the best I’d felt for the next 2 days and thought my nausea was cured! It wasn’t unfortunately but the Reiki did make me feel better for a little while.
- I attended a Chakra Dance workshop with my Reiki teacher Sara at 16 weeks. This was SUPER powerful and my nausea did improve significantly after this!
- At 22 weeks I went to a New Moon Women’s Circle run by Corinne Nijjer.
- At 29 weeks I attended a full day Creation Workshop with Sara Brooke. Again, another very powerful day and I found this so healing and supportive for releasing any fears I had about pregnancy or birth. It helped me to get out of my head and into my heart and body.
- At 34 weeks I had a Mother Blessing Ceremony in lieu of the traditional ‘Baby Shower.’ This was facilitated beautifully by Corinne Nijjer.
- At 36 weeks I attended a casual, informal women’s circle run by my friend Cheray at her sister’s house in Carlton. If you’re lucky enough to live in the Tellabudgera area in QLD Cheray runs sound healing sessions regularly as well as women’s circles. She is also available for one on one Palm reading, Reiki and Astrology birth charts. You can connect with her on Ig @treeofstars
- At 38 weeks after all my exams were finished I booked in for a 1:1 Reiki session with Sara Brooke. This was SO beautiful. I received some very important affirmations and insights about our baby and felt so rejuvenated afterwards. Sara can also do some really important work on fear releasing with pregnant women who need to work on healing birth trauma and fear.
Knowledge & Responsibilities (Mental/ Intellectual):
I have the type of personality that needs to know and understand things before I can clearly listen to my heart. In fact, the statement associated with the sun sign of Aquarius is “I know.” Suffice to say, I did A LOT of reading in pregnancy! It wasn’t okay with me to just accept the status quo in pregnancy as good enough.
I needed to understand all of the possible interventions in birth, why they were used, benefit and risk of each one and come to a place of peace in myself once I’d done my reading. I’m not going to go into my birth preferences here as I’ll write about this is detail in a future post.
- Clarity Fearless Childbirth classes for my partner and I at 23/24 weeks. These were separate to the hospital offered classes and recommended by our Obstetrician. We didn’t attend any of the hospital ones. The Clarity classes were good and definitely worthwhile but I didn’t personally find them excellent. I think it’s very important to attend some form of birth class with your partner and if you desire a natural birth I’d definitely recommend looking into some private classes to empower you both. The Clarity classes are quite hypno-birth oriented so do a little research to find classes that will suit your needs. I later heard about a program called “She-Births” which sounds all encompassing and very comprehensive. It is quite pricey though.
- We did a Maternity Tour at the hospital at 28 weeks. A great way to get familiar with your surroundings.
- As I explained earlier in Part 1, I studied throughout the pregnancy, did some casual teaching and tutoring but other than that my “work-load” was relatively stress free. I attribute much of the predominantly calm, joyous experience of my pregnancy to a low-stress work load. If I had have been teaching full time, one – I don’t think I would have fallen pregnant in the first place and two – I think it would have been a completely different experience!
- I read and researched A LOT: Books, blogs, Cochrane journal articles, questions to friends and strangers. If I wanted to know something, I sought the answer! I have saved a lot of research about birth interventions, fear in childbirth and natural childbirth so feel free to contact me if you’re after something specific; I probably have it saved or bookmarked. I read many articles by Dr Sarah Buckley.
- Books I read include: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Birthing From Within, Gentle Birth- Gentle Mothering, Sacred Birthing, Birth With Confidence: Savvy Choices for Normal Birth.
- We went on a holiday to Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island at 19/20 weeks. This was perfect timing as I’d begun to feel a lot better at this point. A bit of sun during winter was also great for both of us!
- I had a pregnancy massage on the holiday at 20 weeks. This was divine!
- I had another pregnancy massage at 37 weeks with a gift voucher friends had kindly given to me. If people ask you whether you need anything for the baby; maybe try hinting at something like this…the baby will be fine for clothes but a massage for yourself is such a treat.
- I had my hair done twice and my eye-lashes tinted twice. Anything that gives you a bit of a lift in pregnancy and makes you feel good is worthwhile. I try to avoid toxic chemicals in pregnancy but felt okay about doing these just twice. The hairdresser also used ammonia free bleach so it wasn’t too strong.
- We went away together for a weekend in Daylesford at 31 weeks.
- At almost 41 weeks (the day before I went into labour!) I treated myself to my first ever pedicure which was heavenly! When I asked my Mum what she wished she’d done to prepare for labour she said ‘Slept more and painted my toenails!’ Haha! So I thought ‘Now I can look down at my beautiful red toe nails in while I’m in labour and think of my Mum!‘
- Two days before I went into labour I had an acupressure based Induction Massage at Kundalini house. The massage was incredible!
- I was booked in for Acupuncture at Kundalini House to try and help baby along the way on the day I went into labour- needless to say I canceled the appointment that morning!
- Quitting Facebook in the first trimester. I was mindlessly scrolling, reading rubbish and it made me feel physically sick. I haven’t looked back!
- Avoiding the news.
- No violent or disturbing TV shows or movies.
- Positive birth stories only!
- Lots of NAPS. Naps are THE BEST.
- Loosening my food boundaries and restrictions on dietary choices and not beating myself up about it. Life is fluid and cyclic- roll with it.
- Less discipline and routine in my days and weeks, more ‘going with the flow.’
- Adopting a positive, joyful and grateful approach to pregnancy. This wasn’t hard!
Wow…just re-reading on all of the various methods of self-care I employed (as our 11 week old sleeps soundly while I type) has reminded me of what a journey that first pregnancy was. I really embraced the experience and sincerely hope that if you are reading this pregnant or hoping to be pregnant in the future that you too can enjoy the benefits of a holistic approach. I honestly believe that this holistic approach contributed to a positive birth experience, healthy mother and baby and my healing post partum.
I hope this guide proves helpful to you or anyone else you feel may benefit. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like more information about any of the services or strategies I implemented throughout the pregnancy.
Stay tuned for my guide to preparing for a Natural Labour and Birth and our Birth Story!