Thursday, 14 April 2016

Healthy Mummy Healthy Bump!

The first few weeks or months of pregnancy are tough on most mums;
Whether it is morning sickness, exhaustion or just feeling out of sorts it can be the most difficult time- (if you're a mum who sails through the first trimester, lucky you!)
We're encouraged to start taking pregnancy supplements, avoid heavy lifting and expected to remember the lengthy list of foods we have to avoid now we're eating for two.
It can be a juggling act and one that can be both stressful and draining.
Looking after yourself is now the priority as by looking after yourself you are caring for this precious person who has made their home in your tummy for the next nine months.
In those first few weeks sticking to a healthy diet is important but if like me, you're hit with dreaded morning sickness or severe food aversions it can be tricky to find balance.
I struggled immensely first time round as I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarium; a nausea and actual sickness which can last all day and night and cause your stomach to empty itself multiple times a day. It's a horrible experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone.
During that time I remember the worry that my baby wouldn't be nourished as I couldn't nourish myself; the sight and smell of food sent me running to the bathroom and despite trying all the home remedies I could the nausea was intense and overpowering.
I was quite reassured to find that despite living on toast and boiled water most babies in the womb are unaffected and continue to grow and develop well.
I am aware there are severe cases, and where dehydration occurs hospitalisation is very necessary to avoid risk to the baby's safety.
As I started to feel better in myself I could eat more foods but more often than not they weren't green smoothies or salads but bags of crisps and bars of chocolate. As I was thankful to be able to eat at all I did allow myself to indulge my cravings within reason, something I don't think any mum should feel guilty for!
With this pregnancy I have had awful all day nausea but nothing compared to last time (thankfully!) and by the time I got to the second trimester I was able to eat a variety of "good" foods that were of nutritional value to me and the baby.
I have put together some of my own tips for trying to keep health conscious while pregnant and some of my favourite foods/snacks that have helped keep my energy levels up or combat some of the difficult days of pregnancy!

Keeping Hydrated
I am usually awful at drinking water but in pregnancy it really shows. There are so many problems dehydration causes even at a lower level so it really is important to keep drinking.
I tend to drink a lot of coffee and tea throughout the day and reach for the fizzy drinks when I actually feel thirsty; As I don't think of drinking water I've found that buying bottled water and keeping it in the fridge/on my bedside table/ in my bag means I'm quicker to notice that I haven't had a drink in a while and remember to drink water!
Popping frozen lemon or mint into the bottle helps with a queasy stomach too.
As far tea and coffee goes, luckily I go off coffee straight away as I find the smell too strong;
I do still drink tea but I try to keep it to two cups a day and I generally drink it very weak and milky so it doesn't worry me too much.
I love fruit tea's but of course you have to be careful as some are not suitable for pregnant mama's!
   I have a couple of other favourite hot drinks that I tend to reach for before tea;
one is Golden milk which I discovered last year- 
My own recipe is simply hot milk with half a teaspoon of ground turmeric, a couple of cardamom pods and a squeeze of honey. I find it so soothing and turmeric has so many health benefits.
It's easy to adapt the recipe according to your own tastes and you can swap the milk for a lighter alternative such as coconut or almond milk.
Another drink I recently discovered was Matcha Green Lattes-
Hot foamy milk with Green tea powder to which I added honey and a little cardamom
This is a great alternative if you're missing your morning coffee and I think would taste equally good ice cold!

Snacking
I find it difficult to eat big meals as the weeks and months go by so I try to keep snacks on hand in case I feel light headed or suddenly in need of food!
My blood pressure is usually slightly low so I try to stick with healthy salts and not overdo it on sugary snacks.
One of my favourites is peanut butter and banana on toast-
Peanuts are fine to eat during pregnancy (so says Google!) and are a good source of protein;
add the benefits of eating fruit and brown bread to keep your fibre intake up and its a winner.

If you can get in the kitchen, making your own snacks and treats is a great way to keep an eye on your sugar intake and add healthy ingredients without your stomach noticing!
Things like flapjacks are so easy to do- throw everything into a bowl- mix it up-throw it into the oven.
Add flax seeds, almonds, apricots or dates and substitute sugars with honey or natural sweeteners like agave, and top with dark chocolate.
A good slice of cake does everyone good- although I'm not a nutritionist. (!)
I still think the odd treat is good for mum and baby!
Tea loaves and breads tend to have less sugar and a easy to make and freeze in advance.
I love adding extra goodness like flax seeds, dried fruits, oats and seeds for added fibre.
Carrot cake is filling and you don't need as much sugar; 
they make great breakfast muffins.
 Banana bread is easy to make and you can easily reduce the sugar and add oats to the topping to make it a little more healthy.
 You can find my Banana Crumb Cake recipe here
We all know we need to eat more fruit and veg... (!)
 I've noticed that if have fruit or veg prepared in the fridge I'm always more likely to grab it. In the early days I did buy it prepared in little pots just for the sake of effort but these days I try and chop extra when I'm preparing it for the little guy and stick it in a tub or bowl in the fridge.
If it's easier and you can do it in advance, divide the fruit into little containers and stick some in the freezer- you can grab a couple when you leave the house and keep in your bag for you and your little one.
Easy ways for me to incorporate it into my daily routine include adding fruit to cereal or porridge, making easy home-made soups to keep in the freezer whilst I'm preparing other meals and making smoothies in the Nurtibullet of course!

Hopefully I've given you a few different ideas to keep your mama strength up during the pregnancy days and after!
Do you have any top tips to share?

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