safe motherhood

Looking after yourself

Women's bodies were made to produce babies and many feel great while pregnant, however, growing a baby is hard work. During those nine months the blood supply increases by as much as 40 per cent, the kidneys work harder and the need for oxygen increases. This means that you may get breathless more easily. Therefore pace yourself - as soon as you begin to feel tired, postpone any projects that you may have planned for another day.

Suggestions to overcome tiredness

• Have a word with someone at work to see if you can re-negotiate your hours. If your journey to work is a hard one, it may help to miss the rush hour and start work an hour later, leaving early too.

• It's worth having a nap if possible when you come in from work. Having rested, you might feel a lot better and enjoy your evening meal more.

• Alternatively, try to go to bed early. Have a warm bath first - not a hot one, overheating can affect your baby's nerve development - and you'll sleep better.

• Think about finding a regular 'quiet time' each day for relaxing completely and focusing on your baby. Throughout the months of your pregnancy, these shared times will become very precious.

• Persuade someone to give you a foot massage - often!

• Tell the dentist you now qualify for free treatment. Try to see the hygienist at least twice during your pregnancy and floss more than usual - your gums will be softer and more vulnerable to infection. Avoid X-rays and having fillings replaced. The jury is still out on whether replacing mercury fillings is safe.

Pregnancy is a good time to review the way you look after yourself, for example, your diet, exercise routine and lifestyle choices.

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