Top Tips for Well-Being in Pregnancy with Rosie Stockley
This post is all about well-being in pregnancy, and it matches my podcast episode from Season 2 Episode 9, where I chatted with pre and post-natal exercise specialist Rosie Stockley of Mama Well. If you’d like to hear our chat in full, please click here.
As you know, I am not an expert in pregnancy but having had two babies myself I can fully appreciate the changes to our bodies in pregnancy. I wanted to open the conversation into being pregnant in general and how you feel; the things that really helped me personally in pregnancy and my top tips.
From my experience of two pregnancies, my biggest tip for pregnant mothers is to focus on your breathing. I do not just mean during birth, either, but rather more focused breathing throughout your pregnancy, including spending time learning breathing techniques that will ultimately help in birth. With my first pregnancy, I read ‘Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond’ by Nancy Bardacke and was fascinated by the science behind mindfulness and how breathing can calm our nervous system, support our well-being and help throughout pregnancy and beyond. It is a skill that I practised and now still use during my every day routine with my children.
My second biggest tip is to get an early night as often as you can! Although it can feel that there is so much to prepare and organise as you get towards your third trimester, but nothing really supports the pregnant body like sleep and rest. Looking back, I realise that you are never as tired as you will be when you have children! Any hour you can have before midnight is so restorative. There’s a brilliant book by Matthew Walker called ‘Why We Sleep‘ and I would highly recommend it. The science behind sleep is mind-blowing! During pregnancy this is so, so important.
Surrender to the tiredness; it is ok to be tired – you are growing a human!
Give yourself permission to rest
Finally, something I struggled with first time round, was the pressure to keep up with my ‘old life’ whilst balancing this against the tiredness. So my third tip is to allow yourself to be pregnant! Be tired, be overwhelmed at times, be grateful and allow yourself that rest that your body needs.
Ultimately, everyone does pregnancy differently and everyone’s circumsances are different. Giving yourself the ok to take things slow is really important.
Rosie Stockley’s top tips for exercise and wellness in pregnancy
‘Dos and Don’ts’ of exercise in pregnancy
There are so many dos if you are having a single, healthy pregnancy:
- Noticing what’s happening day to day and be in tune with your body.
- Less of the ‘push through to the end‘ mentality and more of the listening to your body and your mood on a particular day will serve you so well for the 9 month duration.
- Don’t allow yourself to run out of energy; 10 out of 10 intensity workouts should be avoided.
- HITT workouts are great but keep it to an 8/10 intensity; make sure you can always hold a conversation and keep your oxygen intake up at all times – no holding your breath or straining movements with a very high heartrate.
- The first trimester is known as the most risky trimester so workout if you feel like it and do things that you’re familiar with. If you don’t feel like working out – don’t force yourself!
- A light cardio walk and some stretches are really good in all trimesters but particularly the first, when your energy levels may be lower overall.
- You want to be happy and confident with what you’re doing in the first trimester so be confident in trusting how your body feels.
- Take your workouts down a notch in intensity.
- In the second trimester it is often a good phase for a lot of people and you might find that you want to take your exercise up a notch. If you feel your energy is back again, you are welcome to return to your normal workout programmes.
- A lot of women opt for one of the many pregnant programmes out there and find a lot of enjoyment in them in the second trimester.
- In the third trimester your bump may get in the way of you doing as many exercise moves as you might manage in your second trimester and you may find that you have physical niggles in your back and pelvis that prevent your range of movement from being as comfortable. If certain moves feel good then go for them but leave out anything that might hurt. Listening to your body, as it prepares for birth, is essential here.
- You want to move every day but in a comfortable way – you should not feel any pain in your exercise movements.
- Pelvic girdle pain – if you are suffering from it, it’s good if you can keep moving but some moves may be very triggering so choose the right movement for you.
- Look into how you’re moving in your everyday life- repeated movements can be causing pelvic girdle pain so really consider: How do you walk? If your stride is too wide, consider reducing your stride length. How do you get up from a chair? What is your posture like for ten hours a day? All of these things can increase pressure on the pelvis and contribute to pelvic issues in the late stages of pregnancy.
- The NHS state that exercise helps with giving birth. Any exercise that you can do will prepare you for birth and speed up your recovery after birth, too. Keeping the body active, if you can, is helpful in so many ways.
- Exercise post-birth can be a perfect way for you to find time for yourself. Spending half an hour on your mat doing some stretches is brilliant for self-care and can really help you mentally and physically, taking time for yourself and breathing consciously when you’re tired can help keep your strength up.
Rosie’s main message is to listen to your body and really take the time to become in tune with it; being mindful throughout your pregnancy will set you up for a healthy birth and post-natal recovery. No two women’s bodies are the same and learning to listen to your own will serve you well.
If you would like to learn more about Rosie, please click below: