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Soon you’ll be adding a new member to your family and you’re in the process of doing your research to ensure the next 9 months are filled with smart decisions when it comes to your wellbeing — and the wellbeing of your baby. You understand the importance of wellness in general and specifically during pregnancy, and you would like to pay attention to factors such as your diet or your skincare routine. If it sounds like you, then you’ve landed in the right place!
Whether you are a first-time mother or this is not your first pregnancy, there are certain rules any mother-to-be should follow to ensure the period of gestation goes smoothly. It’s a time of changes and exciting first times, and at Maison Ito, we would like to provide some advice when it comes to wellness when you’re expecting.
We invite you to get comfy, prep a hot beverage, and read the below list of seven wellness tips for mums-to-be. Plus, do not miss our wellness bonus for fathers-to-be.
#1 Limit the Amount of Caffeine You Drink
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Whether you’re already expecting or planning to get pregnant, avoiding caffeine whenever possible is highly advisable. However, if you’re really into coffee or tea, you still will be able to enjoy that special moment of the day when you sit back, relax and drink your favorite beverage.
The Food Standards Agency advises pregnant and breastfeeding women not to have more than 200mg of caffeine a day, which is the equivalent of two mugs of coffee. So the good news is you don’t have to say goodbye to your morning cup of coffee as long as you limit your daily caffeine intake.
If you would like to explore some caffeine-free alternatives, you can consider delicious beverages such as herbal and fruit teas, hot water with lemon and honey, hot almond milk, or one of our big favorites: turmeric milk with some spices on top such as cinnamon or ginger.
If you would like to know more about turmeric milk (AKA golden milk), read more about its many health benefits here, or even discover Maison Ito's favorite latte turmeric recipe.
#2 Get a Good Night’s Sleep
When it comes to sleep patterns during pregnancy, there are a few challenges you might need to overcome. Even though every woman experiences the period of gestation in a different way, many mums-to-be have to deal with some physical discomfort, changing hormones and a bit of extra excitement.
Sleeping well is fundamental to both expectant mothers and babies. The lack of sleep can cause sleepiness throughout the day, loss of appetite and mood changes, among others. Psychologist Danielle Pachecho and Dr. Ealena Callender, both regular collaborators of the Sleep Foundation, recommend a few strategies to fight sleep deprivation during pregnancy. Some of them include adjustment to sleeping positions and sleep hygiene habits.
Generally speaking, they recommend sleeping on the left side with the legs slightly curled. This is the best sleeping position to sleep as it facilitates blood flow and the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. Extra pillows to support your belly or to put between the knees can also help relieve physical discomfort.
Regarding sleep hygiene, the recommendation is to have a cool, quite dark bedroom to sleep, stick in a consistent bedtime routine or avoid taking technology into the bedroom. For more information, read Danielle and Dr. Calendar’s article on Sleep and Pregnancy.
#3 Upgrade your Diet with Healthier Food Options
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Your pregnancy is the perfect opportunity to upgrade your diet and opt for healthier food options. Women are advised to follow the five pieces of fruit rule when they're expecting.
Other components of a healthy pregnancy diet include carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes, rice, or pasta, as this will provide the energy any mum-to-be needs to go through the day. With regards to fats, make sure you opt for ‘healthy fats’ such as olive oil, nuts, or avocados.
Fibre (beans, lentils, wholemeal bread), a healthy daily intake of calcium (cheese, milk, yogurt) and zinc (turkey, ham, fish) are also a fundamental part of a healthy, balanced diet for mothers-to-be.
Contrary to the general belief, you’re not eating for two. Pregnant women’s calorie consumption just goes up a hundred calories per day, so make sure you ration the amount of calories you consume. You can still treat yourself with a well-deserved ice cream or chocolate bar once in a while, just make sure you eat them in moderation.
Read about which foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy and ensure the next 9 months are filled with smart food choices.
#4 Don’t Stop Moving! Exercise Frequently
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Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to stop doing physical activity. On the contrary, exercising frequently is completely recommended, unless your doctor advises otherwise. Exercising whilst you’re expecting is beneficial for both your body and mind.
Some of the physical benefits of physical activity during pregnancy include lower risk of excessive gestational weight gain, and is also associated with a reduced length of labour and delivery complications. Some of our go-to options are yoga, pilates, aquafitness, aquabike and any sports you can practice assisted by a professional and that has your doctor’s consent. Keep in mind you will have to lower the intensity of your practice on the last trimester of pregnancy. Read about the experiences with pregnancy and exercise of five fitness experts at Equinox.
With regards to mental health, among the many psychological responses to exercise we can name reduced fatigue and stress as well as improved well-being.
Learn more about physical activity during pregnancy and make sure you follow these guidelines to prep your body for labour and for after birth!
#5 Listen to Music with Your Baby
Have you ever watched a film in which a woman puts headphones on her pregnant belly? You should know this is not just fiction! According to Dr. Ibrahim H. Baltagi, a lecturer at the Lebanese American University and the author of a series of music books for children, exposing your child to music can ignite all areas of child development.
Dr. Baltagi claims that listening to music is beneficial for both the mother and the unborn child. Music has a soothing and uplifting effect for both of them. Did you know that in the 16-18 weeks of pregnancy your baby can hear its very first sound?
In the third trimester, the baby will be able to hear the music. Dr. Baltagi recommends expectant mothers to play gentle sounds to their unborn child as classical music, lullabies and other melodies that inspire happiness or that are designed to be soothing. Take this moment to deeply connect with your little one and make it a special and relaxing time for both of you.
#6 Stay Hydrated
Up to 60% of the human body is water. Even though the amount of water we drink per day may vary from person to person, staying hydrated is essential for our health, and especially the health of pregnant women.
Water helps build the fluid surrounding your baby, and it also helps increase expectant mothers’ blood volume and fight morning sickness. Taking into account you’ll be losing some extra fluid during pregnancy, it’s highly advisable to drink a little more whilst you’re pregnant to make up for this.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends between 1.5 and two liters of water per day. Mothers-to-be should increase this by another two to four glasses (meaning up to three liters). Plain water is what’s widely recommended, although you can also rely on milk, fruit juices, vegetables, smoothies or hot drinks to stay hydrated.
For more information about staying hydrated during pregnancy, read the British Nutrition Foundation’s guidelines on hydration and pregnancy.
#7 Treat yourself with massages and a healthy skin care routine
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You can be expecting a child and still have a glowing skin care regime. There are a few factors to take into consideration though, as there are some chemicals and ingredients mothers-to-be should avoid. It’s the case of retinoids, a compound derived from Vitamin A and a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-acne and anti-aging ingredient. Even if you’re not pregnant yet but are planning to conceive, you should avoid retinoids in both oral and topical forms. The same applies to breastfeeding mothers.
Other ingredients to avoid include Tetracycline (an antibiotic acne treatment), Salicylic Acid (often used in products for acne-prone skin) or Benzoyl Peroxide (common in topical acne treatments).
The fact you should avoid the above doesn’t mean you have to overlook your skin care. There are many fabulous products and ingredients you can still use whilst pregnant, not to mention well-deserved experiences you can treat yourself with such as Maison Ito’s nurturing and rejuvenating facial experience for mums.
There are some pregnancy-safe skin care products that are completely organic, which is highly advisable when you’re expecting. Emilie Celine, facialist and founder at Maison Ito shares her tips about skin care 'Chemicals aren’t all bad. We just need to avoid the toxic ones. I would strongly recommend Josh Rosebrook’s all-natural, wild-crafted range. The organic selection we offer at Maison Ito is also green, clean and pregnancy-safe, so women visiting the salon can rest assured their facial skin is well looked after when they’re expecting and when the baby has arrived'.
If you’re thinking about whether or not to use a specific product or what chemicals are among its ingredients, you can trust Think Dirty. This straight-forward app helps you choose beauty products. All you need to do is scan a product, review its rating and pick the best and safest choice!
Bonus wellness tip for fathers-to-be
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The fact women are the ones carrying the baby doesn’t mean that the 9 months of pregnancy are only a time for ladies to pay extra attention to their well-being. Dads-to-be are the other half of this tandem and they also should be considered healthy and wellness experiences to make the wait a smooth journey.
From joining mums in their healthier food choices throughout pregnancy to keeping a good record of physical activity, fathers-to-be should also ensure they get enough sleep and become part of different wellness moments such as listening to music with mums and their unborn baby.
An exciting time for dads as well, men can also treat themselves with wellness experiences such as outdoor time with the entire family, yoga and meditation sessions, or relaxation massages. Maison Ito's team encourages expecting fathers to try out the signature or the beard massage, the hydrating and nurturing rituals are Japanese inspired and originally developed for samurai for recovery.
Exciting times lie ahead! Your pregnancy is just another opportunity to do research and learn more about wellness, not just for you but also for your little one. At Maison Ito, we’re always in the search of new tips and information that help you take care of yourself, and we’re thrilled to be able to share our knowledge and experience with you. Stay tuned for more useful tips for mothers-to-be and have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
BY JULIANA R. & EMILIE CELINE
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