1. Meditate (or at least do some deep breathing) for 10 minutes or more.
I love recommending this to clients who are experiencing stress they have no control over because everyone still needs a way to feel calm, taken care of and in control of at least their own body and mind. Meditation is ideal since it incorporates both the calming of the mind and the intentional breathing. I find that I benefit from meditation with increased focus, creativity, improved mood and relaxation but I love that deep breathing is accessible no matter what you are doing. You can access it whether you are working, eating, driving, exercising, wrangling children, brushing your teeth or falling asleep, and the amazing thing about it? It is the only voluntary way we have of deactivating our otherwise involuntary fight or flight response which is very detrimental to our physical and mental health if experienced for long periods of time and triggered by all sorts of daily stressors including sitting for long periods (not usually a problem for moms, am I right?). A bonus feature is that deep breathing relaxes the psoas, a muscle that attaches to you diaphragm and also acts as a rails the baby travels along out of the womb at the time of birth. You could practice your deep breathing as you finish this article 🙂
2. Do Optimal Fetal Positioning exercises
Did you know that your baby is an active partner in the birth process? It has to rotate it’s head to navigate through the bony pelvis and guide the body through the birth canal. Do you know what can get in the way, making it hard to get into a good position? Overly tight muscles and ligaments. Do you want to know how it feels to have a baby in the posterior position or with it’s head off center while laboring? Not awesome, I assure you. You can be proactive about keeping everything supple by doing some of the exercises suggested on www.spinning babies.com daily. I recommend 1 forward leaning inversion, a psoas stretch and 50 cat cow stretches per day.
3. Switch up your smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to get a whole lot of nutrition at once.
My current favorite smoothie is:
1/2 cup almond milk
2 kiwis, peeled
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
2-3 cups of fresh spinach
1/2-1 TBSP coconut oil (or 1/2 avocado but i prefer the coconut oil)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 squeeze of lemon juice
Other nutritious add ins include mulberries, goji berries, cacao nibs, lucuma, rose hip powder, acai, camu camu (great source of vitamin C) ground flax seeds, bee pollen, hemp protein powder, avocado, turmeric (with black pepper to activate), coconut oil, chia seeds, lingonberries, and kale (but I’d only recommend that if you have a vitamin).
4. Take omega 3’s, especially Krill oil for the most benefits to your baby’s brain.
Omega 3’s are important to get for your own health and the health of your baby. Omega 3’s can decrease depression, anxiety and ADD, they are anti-inflammatory, important for your brain, heart and eye health. What makes Krill oil so beneficial for your growing baby is that it’s omega 3’s are bound to phospholipids including phosphatidylcholine (PC) which is an essential nutrient for brain function. As if that weren’t enough Krill feed on phytoplankton, algae and zooplankton so their oil doesn’t contain heavy metals! Remember when taking Omega 3’s that fats are a MACRO nutrient not a MICRO nutrient. 1 capsule contains 1 gram of fat so it would take 14 capsules to equal 1 TBSP of oil. You need more than that! I encourage my clients to take Omegas by the spoonful whenever possible.
5. Take or eat probiotics.
Consuming probiotics in your 3rd trimester reduces your child’s chance of having eczema, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18762327 and reduces your chances of being group beta strep (GBS) positive. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27590374 (If you are GBS positive you generally are given IV antibiotics in labor. Not ideal for you or the baby so it’s best to test negative) As the studies state, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus rheuteri are the strains that have been found to be effective, so look for those on your labels.
You can get some of these probiotics from your diet as well if you include things such as fermented sauerkraut, kimchee, miso, fermented pickles, kefir, yogurt, creme fraiche etc…I don’t recommend kombucha for this since it only contains 2 probiotics according to GT’s label (Bacillus coagulans and Sacchromyces boulardii) but it can still help some people with regular bowel movements.