Practicing self care during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself during the exciting, yet important stage of life. While nutrition and exercise are important, let’s break down what self care for pregnant moms can look like to prepare for the future.
As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. You can read more here on our Disclaimer and Privacy Page.
Disclaimer – This post is for informational purposes only and is not for diagnosing or treatment. See your medical provider or Registered Dietitian for individual recommendations.
I originally wrote this post before having kids, and I’ve since gone back and reviewed it now as a mom of 3. These are some of my favorite self care ideas for pregnant moms that I either did when I was pregnant, or wish I did.
Going from 2 to 3 kids has been, perhaps, the hardest transition of my life. Now that I’m on the other side and know what I’ve had to weather, I thought it would be helpful to talk about self care activities during pregnancy.
And this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pamper yourself while pregnant (though if you do enjoy pampering during pregnancy, amazing!).
But instead, just some realistic tips for how a pregnant woman should take care of herself during those long 9+ months.
What is Pregnancy Self Care?
By definition, self care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
So, applying that to pregnancy self care would mean: actions taken to improve your own health and/or the health of your pregnancy.
And while we think self care means bubble baths all day long (a bubble bath could be a great form of pregnancy self care!), it also extends beyond to nutrition, movement, seeing your doctor/care provider regularly, mental health, relaxation, social health and more.
Anything that you do to care for yourself.
Something doesn’t have to be indulgent for it to be nourishing to your body. For example, it may feel indulgent to pay $100 for a 60 minute massage, but what if you took an epsom salt bath (with permission from your doctor, of course) before bed to help achieve that self care instead.
Self care can be simple and practical. It means putting yourself first and listening to what your body wants.
Knowing how to self care during pregnancy will set you up for success once you have a baby/babies. You need to care for yourself first and foremost.
What do boundaries look like for you? This may be saying no to more late night events so you can instead go to bed earlier.
This may be setting boundaries around the negative people in your life, or people who bring you down.
Perhaps, it’s boundaries around screen time and social media, where you often feel bad about yourself after comparing your pregnancy to a friend’s or influencer’s.
You are unique and you need to trust the process – instill any boundaries that feel safe and right for you during this special, exciting time.
Do Some Meal Prep
I promise, any postpartum freezer meals you can make ahead of time will be such a game changer when you’re on your last nerve of hearing your newborn cry for no reason.
Or, you just have no energy to feed yourself in those early days/weeks.
Eat On a Schedule (+ When You’re Hungry)
We all know that pregnancy hormones can make appetite wonky. In fact, I had to rely on a healthy pregnancy breakfast to make sure I got nutrients, because I never knew what the rest of the day entailed.
I’m usually all about listening to your body, but when you have so many aversions and may not feel like eating, sometimes you have to power through. Getting enough protein is especially important during pregnancy, so I relied on several of these pregnancy protein snacks.
And practicing gentle nutrition during pregnancy is one of those situations.
So, eating regularly during pregnancy is an act of self care for your body and baby. Even having a smoothie is much better than skipping a meal!
By doing this, you are honoring your hunger and developing trust and connection with your body. Think about how you feel if you ask a question or make a statement and no one acknowledges you.
Now, think about how your body feels when it asks for fuel and we ignore it? It’s going to trust us a little bit less, rightfully so.
The more practice we have at listening to our hunger cues, the more our body learns to trust us. This is one of the steps of Intuitive Eating.
Treat Yourself to a Fancy Coffee
I have since upgraded to the ninja coffee machine, but before that, I would do drip coffee, which just isn’t the best.
There’s just something that can’t be matched with a fresh latte from a coffee shop. Staring out a window, lost in your thoughts. Or, even journaling and embracing productivity.
Discuss with your doctor the caffeine recommendations (it’s usually safe for pregnant women to enjoy 1-2 cups a day, or opt for decaf!).
Journal Your Thoughts Or Write To Your Baby
I used a pregnancy journal in each of my three pregnancies because I wanted to remember them. How I felt, what foods I loved/didn’t love (some of them actually correlated with what my kids liked!), what kinds of exercise I did, where I traveled to, etc.
Believe me – pregnancy brain is a real thing! So write down what you want to remember.
Find a New Hobby
Look up Trips (Without Actually Booking Them)
I’m a traveler. I love the idea of going somewhere new to explore new sites and eat new food. For example, we did our babymoon in Savannah.
But, planning a trip can be stressful. Sometimes, just looking up trips (without going through about planning) provides just enough excitement and pep, without having to pull out your credit card, book flights, make up itineraries, etc.
It makes me happy and excited for the future and sometimes that’s all I need in that moment.
Have No Plans At All
Yes, zero it all out! Stretch your legs out horizontally for as long as comfortable – without those pregnancy cramps.
I look forward to weekends with no plans more than I ever have before. Something about having that opportunity and space to just reset.
Ignoring the work. Enjoying the weather. Living in the moment. Transforming our home into what we envision. Spending time with pets. Sleeping in before I can’t do that anymore with a newborn.
Along with the no plans, sleep in. Believe me, future you will thank you.
If you’re not a person who sleeps in (you enjoy those early 6am wakeups!), then try to at least take an afternoon nap or go to bed earlier. Grab those z’s while you can!
There is so much research on the benefits of meditation for physical and mental health, such as positive brain changes, decreased depression and anxiety, improved immunity and inflammatory processes and more.
Hydrate with Homemade Electrolyte Drinks
Pregnancy hydration is probably very much underpromoted. Your needs are much higher than normal since your body is growing and you are also fueling another human being.
I LOVED these homemade electrolyte drinks for pregnancy to help me get those necessary electrolytes for pregnancy without relying on yucky supplements.
Make Your Favorite Mocktail
If electrolyte drinks aren’t your thing, make a fun pregnancy mocktail! There are so many ways you can enjoy yourself (and hydrate!) sans alcohol, plus you’ll sleep better and be more healthy for it, too.
If it’s fall or winter, a nice alcohol-free sangria may be nice to get those extra antioxidants from fall produce. Or, in the summer, a nice mint strawberry fizz cocktail – just omit the vodka, and substitute seltzer for the prosecco.
Another nice way to cool down is with a nice creamy coconut popsicle.
Write a Birth Plan
You may not see this as self care, but this is preparation and something you want to think about. You can do it with relaxing candles lit, some nice music, and even over or after a nice dinner with your partner.
Preparing for home birth was one of the best things I could have done, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Stretching was SO Helpful for me during pregnancy because I was always so tight. The body was growing and my joints just weren’t used to it!
I used a rebozo a TON after my birth class recommended it. It was great to rub over the belly (your partner can do it while you’re on all 4’s and it’s great during labor!), but also to stretch out my hamstrings and more.
On a day you have energy, go out and view some of the baby sales and deals, rather than ordering everythign online. It can be fun to pick out your crib, stroller, and plan the theme of your nursery.
If you want to be more low key, Pinterst has so many ideas and visual inspiration for themes and decorating. You can even start to plan your play room if you have the space.
Form a skin care routine
After all, our skin is the entry to our body and we want to have clear skin! PRegnancy hormones can sometimes wreak havoc on skin (mine especially). I had so much success using my 1-2-3 cleanser/serum and night cream from Fre (use code “BUCKET” for 30% off!)
Wear Comfy Clothes
I swear, I lived in this nursing hoodie during pregnancy and postpartum.
You also HAVE to have comfy undies, and these are the best!
Enjoy Food with Others
Food is social. There’s so much more that can come from the enjoyment with others.
Like watching your friends’ enjoy your grandma’s favorite chili recipe. Or, having a monthly theme for dinner dates. This pregnancy salmon recipe is also a hit!
Getting other perspectives on food. Sharing dishes and telling stories. Good for the heart and soul. I made my hummus pasta salad while our friends made the chicken wings and blue cheese salad.
Running while pregnant may not be for everyone (I did it for 2 pregnancies and here are my tips for running in the third trimester), but there are so many other ways to move your body.
I adopted alot more strength work in my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies, and I think my body and joints thanked me for it.
I do think exercise can be a type of self-care activity during pregnancy if and when it makes you feel good. To me, the feeling of letting go of a stressful day with a long run or an exercise class is bliss.
But, if you’re exercising to burn off that pizza from yesterday or last night’s dessert, you aren’t demonstrating self care, but instead food guilt. And you should never feel guilty after eating.
Whether it’s cycling, hiking, walking, or even just sitting outside, nature has a way of bringing me instant appreciation and uplifting mood. Reveling in this space around us is so grounding.
Exercise may look a little different after baby comes – especially if you’re breastfeeding. You’ll definitely want to see a pelvic floor therapist, and really plan when balancing running and breastfeeding.
Tips for Self Care During Pregnancy
Remember, that while self care might be gentle movement for you, while it may look like a long run for someone else. The bottom line is that we are all different, our needs are different, and we’re in different stages.
These are the simple ways I listen to my body and find joy in this life.
Don’t get me wrong – I love massages, bubble baths with candles, enjoying a bottle of champagne, and weekend away at a mountain resort.
I’d probably jump at any of those opportunities. But, when we miss the simple forms of self care (like rest, sunsets, walks) that life offers us, I think we’re missing out on quite a lot.
It’s okay to put boundaries up, and say no to others. It’s also okay to ask for help in whatever way needed.
Remind yourself this is just a (new) season of life.
Pregnancy Self Care Gifts
If you’re someone who relies on giftsversus than experiences, here are some of my favorite self care pregnancy gifts.
- epsom salts
- memory book
- Comfy undies for your bump
- Skin care set
- Belly band
- candle with essential oils
- Cocoa butter for stretch marks
- Compression socks that are actually cute
- Calm yourself with a watercolor paint set
- Sonogram frame
- Maternity leggings
- Pregnancy prayer cards
- A good prenatal with omega 3’s
- Heating pad
- Rebozo – great for strerching and you can actually use this during labor!
- Body pillow – sleeping gets hard and this helps!
- Padsicles – These will feel so good postpartum
- Virtual pelvic floor course – priming your pelvic floor with proper breathing is SO important! Why not start now?
- nursing pads – if you plan on nursing
Use these for self care after pregnancy as well!