Every day -- if I even had time to do all of these things -- I had to take prenatal vitamins, keep my feet up, drink a gallon of water (I tried but couldn't), do Kegel exercises and perineal massage, slow breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, stretching and prenatal exercises and eat lots of nutritious foods, especially protein, calcium and iron. I also had to clean and get the necessary baby gear, work my job, have a life and walk, walk, walk.
On a practical and spiritual level, pregnancy changed my life. It taught me how people are supposed to live to be healthy.
It's an amazing and beautiful gift. Some of this wisdom is related to physical health.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day, for example, instead of big traditional meals is one thing that pregnancy necessitates as the stomach of a pregnant woman has less room because of pressure from the uterus.
Lots of water in pregnancy is important for circulation (pregnant women have 50 percent more blood in their bodies), fetal temperature, amniotic fluid volume and more. Walking is the best exercise known to woman -- pregnant or not. Avoiding alcohol or caffeine is generally a good rule to follow during pregnancy. The jury is still out on caffeine, but research has shown that it might cause birth defects in some capacity.
I feel like pregnancy has taught me what I normally should be doing to take care of myself.
Emotionally, the experience did wonders for me. I was hardly ever upset or anxious. Other women I know say that they were the same way during pregnancy due to the hormonal shift.
In addition, pregnant women begin to consciously avoid stress or stressful environments for the health of their babies. This actually teaches us the mental state we should strive for normally.
Breathing is the foundation and beginning of life. I couldn't wait to hear my son take his first breath.
Pregnancy teaches women how to breathe to relieve stress, too. This can be achieved through slow breathing techniques or meditation. Practicing my breathing cut down on my stress and anxiety levels tremendously.
Simple, basic things: water, movement, breathing and simplicity. I knew I would be teaching my child but found that he taught me some things as well.
CONTACT REBECCA CARTER-NOVOTNI: snovotni(at)citybeat.com