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Self-care in Pregnancy – Staying comfortable and looking after yourself

I’m at the tail end of my pregnancy, and reflecting on it I have to say I’ve really enjoyed being pregnant. It certainly has presented challenges to me – first trimester nausea (and some of the second!), anxieties (both rational and irrational), uncomfortable light sleeps, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and now back pain and exhaustion! But, there were plenty of symptoms I missed out on (reflux, constipation, discomfort/fatigue earlier on etc.), so I tend to look at the positives! Why I say this is that everyone’s journey is their’s, no two are truly the same. You have to take the good with the less good, and just embrace it for what it is… a seriously miraculous time in our lives where we bring new life into the world. My awe and admiration of the female body has never been greater! 

With this in mind, I thought I would share some helpful tips I have for pregnant mumma’s to get them through any difficult patches along the way. 

 

Nausea/Morning (ALL DAY) Sickness:

This one my loves, we just have to ride out. It’s truly part of it, except for those lucky mums who really don’t experience it. Things that helped me:

Sleep – sleep through the discomfort if you can! The more tired I was, the worse it was too, so definitely don’t skimp here;

Ginger tea or lollies – I found the lollies probably helped more, but some people love the tea;

Plain foods, a beige diet! This couldn’t be more true. As a nutritionist, I thought it might be harder for me to accept but you really do just need to listen to your body;

Acupuncture – I found relief in weekly acupuncture visits, and also loved that this was another opportunity to sleep!

 

Anxiety:

The storm of hormones, coupled with a deep innate love for this little child growing inside of you and feeling somewhat out of control in knowing how he or she is doing, can be challenging. I found myself worried about a lot of things that deep down I knew I was blowing out of proportion… but it doesn’t feel that way in the moment and it can really tear you apart. My best advice:

Voice it to your partner, let them be the voice of reason you so need. It’s their baby too and they can give an honest opinion;

Call your OB, midwife, doula, GP… whoever you are seeing as your healthcare provider and ask them for feedback or to check on the baby if they can. They tend to always understand and help bring you down a notch with some perspective;

Relaxation techniques – Whatever works for you. Give yourself space to wind down and then reassess how you are feeling. Some of my favourite were short guided connection meditations to bub, a barefoot beach walk, and writing to her (somehow that made me more rational and tap into my gut instincts more). 

 

Discomfort/Exhaustion:

Make your life as easy as possible! This might seem ridiculously out of the question with work and perhaps other children, but seriously sit down and decide on some areas that you can cut back on. Maybe it’s your partner walking the dog, cooking/cleaning more, or perhaps its outsourcing these things to a dog walker or meal delivery service if possible. Especially as you progress toward the end of your pregnancy, rest and freeing up time for yourself and the things you can’t get help with, is paramount. I found the following particularly helpful:

Weekly luxuries – a massage, facial, acupuncture or osteo session… make sure to look after your body in a way that serves you if you can. If financially this is not an option, do a face mask, self or partner massage, bath, a day in the sun etc.;

Pregnancy chef at 38 weeks I got to try these chef-made, accredited practising dietician approved frozen meals and I can’t tell you how relieving it was to have meals ready to go in 15 mins! With no clean up! The convenience factor cannot be overlooked, but what also felt really good was knowing the nutritional information of what I was eating at a glance and feeling great that baby and I were being properly and safely fueled. There are so many “can’t have’s” in pregnancy, it can be a bit overwhelming, so it really is reassuring to have someone prepare food for you that you know is pregnancy appropriate. Pregnancy Chef have four vegan options, and I found them incredibly tasty and satiating! You can try it using my code bloom15 for 15% off 🙂

Relying more on my husband – COVID and work from home policies made this much easier than I am sure it would have otherwise been, but Mike really stepped up during this time. This isn’t a time to resent our partners, often they don’t know what to do to help so don’t feel cheated if they haven’t offered! Just ask them if they can take on a specific chore from now on because you feel that physically it is too much for you. Some examples might be dog walking, bathtime for other children, helping clean, doing the heavy shopping etc.

 

I hope these ideas have inspired you to prioritise yourselves and really work out areas that you can cut back on. It isn’t indulgent, it is necessary. To carry on like nothing has changed is so unrealistic and doesn’t give you the time you need to prepare for this monumental life shift that is about to happen. We need extra time to rest, sleep, relax and nourish to be the best versions of ourselves, as well as read birth/parenting books and prepare for baby around the house.

Best of luck on your pregnancy and motherhood journey!

Sami

xx

 

Skincare During Pregnancy: Suggestions for Expectant Mums

Finding your perfect skincare routine can be challenging at the best of times, but during pregnancy this can be even greater! You may find that your skin changes and can suddenly behave completely differently. Fear not! To overcome these challenges read on and discover our top skincare recommendations. Remember to always consult your doctor before introducing any new products or treatments. 

The First Trimester: Soft, Hydrated Skin

For some expectant mums the promised pregnancy glow can be completely missed, and you may find dry and irritated skin instead. Eminence Organics National Trainer Rae Williams shares: “Hormonal changes can heavily impact on the skin. It can mean skin is more prone to dryness and may feel uncomfortable or is easily irritated.” To combat this, Rae suggests using a gentle, oil-based cleanser like our Stone Crop Cleansing Oil coupled with a soothing oil like our Facial Recovery Oil. This will help lock in that extra moisture and ensure your skin is feeling nourished and comfortable. To help minimise dehydration, introducing the Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Treatment into your routine is a must. This beautiful night cream contains unique melt-in-spheres of jojoba oil, that not only comforts but leaves your skin soft and dewy.

The Second and Third Trimester: Body Care & Aromatherapy

As your pregnancy progresses and you start to show, the skin around your stomach area starts to stretch. For some this can result in stretch marks, however, not everyone develops them. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water each day and incorporate a rich, moisturising product around your stomach area. One of our favourite Eminence products to ease the skin stretching is Apricot Body Oil. This product uses grapeseed, jojoba, apricot kernel extract, and seabuckthorn oils to create a rich nourishing oil that absorbs beautifully into the skin. Applying this body oil helps nourish and replenish the skin with moisture. For a luxurious, at-home treatment, mix a few drops of this body oil with our Coconut Firming Body Lotion. This will minimise the visible impact of stretch marks and also soothe irritated or dry skin.

If you find yourself struggling with lingering nausea or a change in your mood and sleeping patterns, rest assured these are only a few things to ‘expect when you’re expecting’. Using essential oils and herbs is a natural way to address these issues. According to Fit Pregnancy “in the second and third trimesters, some essential oils are safe to use, as your baby is more developed”. Some oils to calm the mind, relax the body, and encourage sleep include lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang. As with any of our recommendations, please consult your doctor before trying aromatherapy at home. Pregnancy symptoms and sensitivities are unique to each individual, and as such it is important to always stay safe.

A simple way to include aromatherapy in your life is to add natural fragrance to your skincare routine. Our top pick is the Lavender Age Corrective Night Concentrate. This is a beautiful lotion that adds a lightweight dose of moisture to your evening skincare routine. It deeply hydrates and replenishes the skin with beautiful ingredients such as shea butter, argan, and jojoba oils. Your skin will thank you for it in the morning after a good night’s sleep and a radiant morning glow.

During and After Pregnancy: Clear, Smooth Skin

Hormonal acne can fluctuate throughout your pregnancy and during breastfeeding and can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. Rae says “Hormones can also cause the glands in your skin to produce more sebum which will make your skin feel greasier and can lead to more issues such as acne. Every skin responds differently”. The ‘pregnancy hormones’ HCG and progesterone increase the number of oil glands in your face. While this can cause that coveted pregnancy glow, the excess oil may also clog pores, causing a surge of hormonal breakouts. After giving birth, your estrogen levels drop and your testosterone levels increase. As the body tries to regulate itself, there can be an excessive increase in pimples. Rae recommends our Eight Greens Collection as these products include yucca extract containing phytoestrogens. These products are ideal for reducing the appearance of hormonal blemishes with the added benefit of anti-ageing properties.

“Hormones can also cause the glands in your skin to produce more sebum which will make your skin feel greasier and can lead to more issues such as acne. Every skin responds differently” – Rae Williams; National Trainer

The Eight Greens Youth Serum helps absorb excess oil, improving the appearance of hormonal breakouts, and keeps the skin feeling young and smooth, with just one to two drops. The Eight Greens Whip Moisturiser helps to balance the skin while calming any red, dry areas. The final member of the eight greens collection is the Eight Greens Phyto Masque (Not Hot). This is an amazing weekly treatment for both pregnant and nursing mums. To use this gel masque, apply a thin layer all over your face to target dry, sensitive, and problem skin types. Your skin will be left glowing without any of the spiciness found in our Eight Greens Phyto Masque (Hot).

 

Do you have any experience using Eminence Organics during your pregnancy? Are there any specific products or treatments that you thought made a big impact on your skin? Find us on Instagram @eminenceaust and let us know!

Yoga during Pregnancy with Eliza Hayward

One of the most inspirational yogis I’ve met, both for her divine, nurturing way of teaching her flows, to her commitment to all aspects of yoga on & off the mat… it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Eliza, owner of Divine Flow Yoga & sweet friend.

I became hooked on Eliza’s classes immediately after moving to the northern beaches & the sanctuary her & her husband created at Divine Flow.

A new mumma herself, Eliza gave birth to her beautiful baby girl Indiana last year! Watching her graceful transformation through pregnancy & motherhood has been incredibly helpful for my own journey, so it made complete sense for me to turn to her when it came to all things prenatal yoga – especially as we navigate these uncertain times where we are practising at home. I can’t for you to read & soak in her honesty & wisdom. You’ll see why I love her!

 

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I began my yoga journey over ten years ago. I fell in love with the physical practice but was in awe of the mindfulness and stillness that rippled into all facets of life. I created Divine Flow Yoga and immersed myself in the growth of the business, which resulted in me leaving the corporate world in 2017. Now mum to Indiana, I am truly thankful for leaning into this journey and following my passion of yoga and meditation. Indiana is so lucky to be surrounded by a beautiful community at the studio!!

My husband, Andrew and I built and created the studio you see today in Brookvale with the vision to make it feel earthy, grounded and warm. A place of transformation, deep rest, awakening and nourishment. We lead  retreats as far as the Maldives, Bali and Blue Mountains NSW.

The holistic journey continues as I pave the way to bring more joy, freedom and transformation to my coaching clients both on and off the mat. 

 

What are the benefits of practicing yoga during pregnancy?

I personally loved continuing my practice whilst pregnant. I practiced from about 13 weeks right through to 38 weeks. For me it felt really natural to stay active and whilst there are many benefits I will highlight what was notable for my journey. 

  • I loved maintaining my strength and flexibility through vinyasa, pilates, slow flow & yin
  • I suffered from sciatica pain and I got a lot of relief from yin and slow flow. 
  • I meditated daily to reduce any nerves, stress or anxiety 
  • I found by focusing on breath during class really helped prepared me for my birth – as it is a powerful tool during labour

 

Which poses are most beneficial during pregnancy and why?

  • Wide knee childs pose ~ If you are familiar with yoga you may already know the deep restoration and grounding of this shape. I describe it as “coming home to the body” The bigger your belly grows the more heavier so anything to take a bit of pressure off is … well, lovely! 
  • Legs up the wall ~ A remedy to alleviate swelling in the legs. I loved having a blanket under my hips and head. There will be a point in your pregnancy where you will no longer feel comfortable lying on your back for longer periods. So to release the swelling in my legs I kept massaging to increase the circulation. 
  • Downward Facing Dog ~ Great to keep up your strength, release tension in your neck and soothe the hamstrings. I loved using a calming breath and if needed exhaling out of the mouth
  • Cat & Cow ~ Ease and movement of the spine. During pregnancy your body is often changing and this gentle flossing is a great way to scan the body through these two rotations and help guide baby in an optimal position. 

 

Are there specific poses pregnant women should avoid? 

  • Twisting along the midline like twisted chair (A more gentler and accessible twist whilst pregnant is an easy twist with a block under your hand. 
  • Avoid lying on your back for longer periods of time 
  • Stick to your more subtle and calm breaths during pranayama avoid any retention and kapalabhati which is rapid inhales and exhales. 
  • It goes without saying, lying on your belly after the first trimester

This is a time to nurture yourself. Soften into your practice as it may change weekly be very flexible to adapt your practice to your body and baby’s needs. I practiced very intuitively to my needs and if that meant not doing something in a class. I would find something similar or rest in childs pose.

 

If a mumma-to-be was to do one or a few poses each day, what would you recommend? 

I would recommend combining a few poses that flow into each other such as: Cat & Cow | Childs Pose | Cat & Cow | Downward Facing Dog | depending on your energy a gentle Sun Salutation | Take Savasana with legs up the wall 

  

Was there any particular practice on or off the mat you found particularly useful during your own pregnancy? 

I meditated daily both prenatal specific and my own practice. It really helped me to harness my breath and shape positive thoughts to prepare for such a calm and natural birth. During labour my breaths were so long, meditative and deep. My husband Andrew described my exhalation during labour as “primal, like they had an energy to them”.  

Not long after my birth and my baby girl was in my arms my Midwife Karen chuckled “well that was incredible all that yoga really paid off” 

 

Any advice on returning to yoga after giving birth?

Oh sweet mumma! Do not rush! Wrap yourself in this sacred time of healing and connecting. Give yourself permission. 

I did not return to my practice until 8 weeks. I arrived on my mat just needing rest so I came back to YIN and I felt like I was still pregnant. I felt my core soft so whilst lying on my back it would actually give me a little bit of discomfort in my lower back so I would roll off to my side OR I would take savasana on my side. This was honouring part of my recovery. Before I moved into any flows I went to a women’s physio around 8 weeks post birth to receive a full assessment of my pelvic floor & core. 

I would start practising at home – I know there is no real routine at this point but whenever you have the space I would be opening up my shoulders and chest to alleviate the rounding that comes with breastfeeding for new mothers. 

 

What offerings do you have at Divine Flow for pregnant and post-natal women?

  • We offer prenatal yoga classes on our timetable including Mum & Bub
  • Online pre and post natal pilates classes
  • Online pre and post natal yoga classes
  • Including meditations you can do whilst breast or bottle feeding baby
  • We hold Sacred Mothers Groups including post natal yoga and meditation. An opportunity to meet like minded mums and feel nourished during these tender times. 

Follow Divine Flow on:

Instagram: @divineflow_yoga

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/divineflowyogastudio/

Youtube: Divine Flow Yoga

Website: https://divineflowyoga.com

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