I did it! I finally gave birth to a beautiful baby! She arrived right on the day of her due date which is rare for a first time mother! I had no complications throughout the pregnancy but struggled while giving birth as my water broke early and contractions were sporadic after 23+ hours of labor. Thankfully, I gave birth at a hospital where they were supportive of natural labor and had the best OBY/GYN. She was wonderful and inspired me to become a doctor like her one day. The doctor was skilled, patient, respectful towards everyone, was nearly always smiling and laughing but also knew when to be calm and professional. I also had the love and support of my husband and mother who tirelessly massaged me and stayed by my side as I cried out in pain from the contractions. I was so happy that my loved ones were there when I gave birth and they both cut the umbilical cord separately. It was a very emotional and happy moment as we all cried after my daughter was born.
After giving birth, my mother wasted no time in making miyokgook (Korean seaweed soup) for me as it helps with blood circulation and breast milk production. I’ve been eating it everyday and sometimes three times a day with each meal and it still tastes delicious! Not only is it prepared with love daily but it is also nutritious and beneficial for my health. 😊 I hope to upload a recipe in the near future! I will upload my recipe for delicious lactation cookies very soon!
The following are the top 10 tips I have for a healthy and happy pregnancy from my own experience. The tips are not in any particular order. I hope they can help you but it’s important to follow what works for you!
I love to exercise because it’s the number one thing that makes me feel better both physically and mentally. I find that exercising helps me with headaches, puts me in a better and refreshed mood, and keeps my body strong. I’m a huge fan of martial arts and cardio. If I’m not able to attend martial arts classes then I rotate through my Insanity workout collection. (Insanity Max 30 is my favorite!) I did Insanity and Insanity Max 30 from the very beginning of my pregnancy and did it six days of the week until the very day I had to get admitted to the hospital. Always receive approval from your doctor before doing any intense workout. I believe that part of the reason I was able to continue working out was because I did it religiously before I got pregnant. I had to start modifying during my second trimester and knew when to listen to my body and stop when something didn’t feel right.
Yes, there were days I didn’t feel like exercising (or even dreaded it) but I always felt better after getting up and just doing it. I might have felt tired and unmotivated in the beginning of a workout but I never regretted it and felt much better after finishing a workout. I also believe that exercising helped me not gain an excessive amount of weight and helped me give birth to a strong and healthy baby despite odds being against me. My baby was able to lift her head and tried to stand on her two feet the day after she was born!
- Eat healthy as much as possible.
I always thought that I would relax my standards and pig out when I get pregnant for the first time. However, I really wanted to be healthy during my pregnancy for myself and my child. Gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy is also really uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how much it would negatively affect me both emotionally and physically if I really let myself go and ate everything I wanted. I tried to remind myself that I was in control of my cravings. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t indulge sometimes. I just tried to not over do it and eat healthy as much as possible with a lot of whole grain, fish, fruits, and vegetables. I also tried to avoid foods that were prone to listeria and kept up to date with news regarding listeria outbreaks on a regular basis.
- Drink a lot of water/fluids.
I drank a lot of water before I even got pregnant but it’s so important to keep hydrated during pregnancy. At one point during my first trimester, water didn’t taste good to me anymore (yes, I can taste minerals and the difference between waters.) I had the hardest time drinking regular water which was one of the weirdest feelings. My doctor suggested Gatorade but I am not a huge fan since it contains dye, artificial flavors, etc. I ended up drinking a lot of barley tea to help keep myself hydrated. Barley tea also helped with my painful headaches that tended to come at nights. During my second trimester, I also drank coconut water and made mint and fruit infused water with lemon slices.I believe drinking a lot of water helped me cope with my headaches and promote blood circulation. I also never had an issue with overly swollen or puffy hands and feet throughout my pregnancy.
- Relax and take it easy.
Unfortunately, most of pregnancy and giving birth is not really in your control. I’ve read several books, did a lot of research, and made plans but sometimes life doesn’t go the way you exactly hoped. Whenever I felt anxious or worried of all the things that could go wrong, I would pray and try to trust in God regardless of the outcome. I also meditated daily, did biofeedback, and exercised which helped release tension. I also recommend a nice warm soak in the bath with your favorite salts, aromatherapy, and music. Do any enjoyable and safe activity that helps you relax. You deserve it! 😊
- Enjoy the journey (as much as possible).
During one point or another, I felt like I was looking forward to the future or missed the past. When I was in my first trimester, I was looking forward to the “golden” second trimester which was not that drastically better for me as people said it was. During my second trimester, I missed the first trimester where I had a slimmer figure and was able to sleep on my back. During my third trimester, I wanted this baby out because I was SO uncomfortable towards the end. After the baby was born, I missed being pregnant and able to sleep a little bit more. Even Chai recently said he can’t wait for the baby to be six years old and already at school. Right now, I’m letting go of all that and just enjoying the moment. As I write this, it’s been a little over two weeks after I gave birth but I can tell my baby has already grown so much compared to when she was at the hospital. Her personality is starting to really shine and she acts differently. She smiles a lot more and knows what she wants. I really want to stop looking to the past and future but just enjoy the present so I don’t miss out what’s happening right now whether it’s baby related or not. Studying and learning about mindfulness also really helped with being present in the moment.
- Know your body and limits. “Know when to say no.”
If you’re the “A blood type” who tends to be a perfectionist and push themselves, then we have a lot in common. My mother advised me both during pregnancy and post-partum to rest well as much as possible and eat well for both my and the baby’s health. I wish I rested better during my pregnancy and didn’t push myself so hard. After giving birth and going home, I felt like a truck hit me several times over as I woke up every 2 hours to feed my baby. My baby was also fighting with me for 1-2 hours because she had difficulty latching for the first week. I never gave up but my body was at its limit on top of trying to recover from giving birth. Recently, I pushed myself into going out and running errands and my body gave me a huge wake up call. I needed to stop and rest even if there were so many things that needed to get done. I would say that I prioritized my health but didn’t really act on it. Deep down, I knew that I needed to get healthy first in order to take care of myself and my family. I am also blessed to have the support of my family to help me with everyday tasks so I can take a break or not push myself as hard.
- Know what works for you and drown out the rest of the noise.
I feel like this is one of the most important key points. During my pregnancy, I tried nearly all the popular advice on what to do and eat for an easier birth. I drank raspberry tea leaf daily, tried to eat a lot of dates, ate a lot of eggplant with herbs towards the end of my pregnancy, etc. I felt like they honestly didn’t do much as I did not have an easy labor. The one thing that really worked for me was exercising nearly everyday and staying hydrated. I also ate well before I was in active labor to give myself the strength I needed as I went more than 24 hours without food. After giving birth, I was given so many contradicting advice from family members, nurses, doctors, and internet resources. It was overwhelming and discouraging at the same time. Medicine is not a perfect science and people are constantly researching and learning new things and overturning older advice. I would say to keep an open mind and make your and your baby’s health a priority. Try not to listen to advice that would compromise your baby’s health or weight gain. There is no one “right” way to do things and you have to find what works for you since everyone’s experiences are different.
- Sleep better at night.
Sleep sleep sleep as much as you can! I suffered from insomnia during my pregnancy but do whatever you can to make yourself comfortable and rest well. What worked for me during pregnancy was using a long body pillow to put in between my legs when my hips hurt me and my feet fell asleep. I was contemplating on buying those special pregnancy pillows but they are really not necessary. I would meditate again at night that was specific to sleep or put on some meditation music that would help me doze off.
Massages help you relax and, most importantly, they feel good! Massages helped me get through pregnancy and cope with the pain during active labor. If you get a professional massage during pregnancy, make sure to find out in advance whether they can accommodate pregnant people!
- Babymoon & Going on Dates
I highly suggest you and your partner go on a babymoon during your second trimester. It’s a wonderful way to relax and enjoy one last big vacation before the baby arrives. My husband and I went to Hawaii for our babymoon and it was one of our favorite trips so far. You can find out more about the trip and some tips and recommendations for travelling in Hawaii here. It doesn’t have to be a destination where it’s too far. As long as you both can enjoy the trip together, I believe that’s what matters! 😊 I also recommend that you continue to go on regular local dates even after the baby’s born to help re-connect with your partner. It’ll be easier if you have a babysitter or a family member who can help watch the baby during your date!
How was your pregnancy and what helped you get through it? Please let me know through your comments below!