I’ve been very lucky to have a pretty smooth pregnancy with minimal symptoms. I’ve also been lucky, for the most part, to crave more of the healthier foods than anything super bad for me. However, adjusting to a new and ever-changing body as well as different feelings, energy levels, and even a new way of life, still presents inevitable challenges.
Whenever I’m feeling in a bit of a funk, or uncomfortable/unhappy with the way something is going, I need to deal with it head on. My motivation is to instinctively and sometimes obsessively fix it. Sometimes that’s not always the best quality, as it can take longer for me to accept things that can not be changed. But in the right context, it can also be a wonderful tool for rising above challenges. So when I started realizing I was going to have to adjust my lifestyle to get the most out of my time while pregnant, I did what I always do. Research and re-hone!
I want to share what has helped me feel and look my best while pregnant. And while you can’t predict what’s to come, I’m sharing some of the things I am doing now to (hopefully) aid in the postpartum recovery as well.
This post is focused on the morning, but there will be a follow up post focused on the rest of the day coming up as well. Here’s a breakdown of all the little habits I’ve worked into my mornings that together, make a huge difference.
Mornings are my time. I tend to get up an hour and a half before Nikko in order to get in a little yoga or another prenatal workout, and to make sure I drink lemon water before I reach for my coffee (yes, still drinking coffee, alas, just a lot less of it) and do my Kegel exercises before I get distracted from the inevitable madness of the everyday.
After that, it’s breakfast and a carefully measured 8 oz of black coffee before I hop in the shower before jumping into my morning beauty routine - unless we are going to the gym later that day, in which case I shower the night before and do a quick 20 min of morning yoga to stretch and center.
1/2 squeezed lemon
Lemon water gives you an instant hit of folates, potassium, and Vitamin C from a natural source (i.e. not just your prenatal)
It also helps balance your body’s Ph and helps with gut health
It can also cleanse out calcium stones and prevent calcium deposits from building up in your arteries
Collagen Peptides can help reduce inflammation and puffiness and aids with joint support
On the vanity side, it can help with elasticity of your skin which, in theory, not only helps prevent stretch marks, but should help also help your stretched skin bounce back a little more easily after birth as well.
AT HOME PRENATAL WORKOUTS
I do two of the first three listed every single morning to start, and if I’m not going to the gym, I’ll add on accordingly, depending on my focus:
Buns of Steel pt. 1 (don’t laugh, but this is still one of the best outer butt workouts I have ever found - I do this portion twice, once on each side)
Bar Method Online also has two great Prenatal Bar Classes and subscription costs $19 a month - if you don’t have a gym membership, this is a great way to get a serious workout that even my doctor has said is one of the best workouts you can do for an easier delivery (fingers crossed) and recovery. Considering this was my favorite workout pre-pregnancy and before we moved to where there is no longer a Bar Method location nearby, I’m excited to have at-home access!
KEGEL/PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES
KPFE - This app is the best one I’ve found, and I’ve tried a ton. You can set a reminder and track your progress, as well as up your exercises if you feel the need. Aim for about 6 minutes in the morning and 3 more minutes (optional) in the evening if you have time….
Breakfast 1: Yogurt Bowl
Organic Greek Yogurt (plain, full fat - or vanilla full fat on days when you’re feeling snacky)
Bear Naked Granola (fruit & nut is a go-to, but they are all amazing)
Organic Chia Seeds (I add about a tablespoon but you can definitely do less if you want)
If you have berries, you can also toss those in
Breakfast 2: Omega-3 Scramble
3 Non GMO Pasture Raised Eggs
Leftover veggies (zucchini is my fave)
Breakfast 3: RXBAR Protein Bar
I’m still convinced these are the best Protein Bars out there. The ingredients are real food and simple - and the bars actually taste good! Plus, they have 12g of protein and the only sugar they have is from the actual food ingredients themselves. These are great for days where you have to sacrifice a little time in the morning to get out the door, and also as a snack later in the day.
It might seem funny to add in one’s shower as part of a wellness routine, but if you think about it, taking a shower can be as much a self-care moment as going to the spa. It’s time to relax, enjoy a little silence or listen to favorite music, as well as to tune into your body and see how it’s doing. There are also small habits that I’ve worked into my routine that really do help with overall health.
While there isn’t time to dry brush every day (busy days often call for bare-bone shower routines), dry brushing as little as 2 times a week can make a huge difference. Not only does it help with with smoother skin, but it also aids in lymphatic drainage, which is actually a part of our immune system. Dry brushing is supposed to help the body detoxify naturally, and helps increase blood flow throughout the body. It’s also supposed to help with the appearance of cellulite, but my guess is that this is mainly due to the fact that it helps with blood flow and drainage.
Ever since we moved to the desert, I’ve been researching how to increase skin hydration naturally. One tip I’ve found to work well is to put your lotion in the shower so you can apply it immediately to damp skin, locking in all the moisture from your shower.
I also like to leave the shower fan off until after I get out of the shower and finish my skincare routine so that I’m applying everything over damp skin.
Pregnancy is a time where your belly (and boobs) go through a lot more changes and stress than normal, so why not treat that skin with as much love as you do the skin on your face? I will be dedicating an entire blog post to this in the coming weeks, so stay tuned…
And that’s the morning! If you like this post, I’m happy to do a post for the rest of the day as well, including tips on how to remember to drink enough water, favorite pregnancy gym routines, simple smoothie recipes, night stretching routines, prenatals and other supplements, and other skin tips.