What Can I Do During Pregnancy – Part 1: Fitness & Beauty

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This is the first in a series of articles on making healthy and safe choices during your pregnancy. Make sure to read the follow up to this post!

It seems like these days, you can’t turn on the TV, open your email or flip through a magazine without being bombarded with 10 ‘easy’ steps to a better, healthier lifestyle. The amount of unsolicited advice can be overwhelming. Never will this be truer than when you are expecting. You’re not eating enough; you’re eating too much. You need to ditch the heels and the underwire bras. Stay out the pool and keep out of the sun.

Expecting Expats - Things you can do when pregnant

The vast majority of advice you’ll receive will no doubt come from those who truly mean well. But why is so much of it negative? No sushi. No sprouts. No hot tubs. No bungee jumping.

I believe that how you approach pregnancy should be the same as how you approach life in general. That is to say that moderation is the key.

The no shellfish, no sprouts, no hot tub rules have a firm basis in scientific fact (ok, and the bungee jumping). But some of the other “rules” regarding pregnancy no-nos are simply outdated. There are a whole host of other ways that a mommy-to-be can pamper herself.

Maintain your highlights!

Expectant moms were once cautioned to refrain from dying their hair. This is no longer necessarily the case. The chemicals found in most reputable salons are a lot less toxic than they were in your mom’s day. Highlights, because the process doesn’t involve chemicals touching the scalp, are generally accepted to be safe at any stage in your pregnancy. Do be aware though that because of changes in your bodies chemistry (those pesky hormones!) your ‘normal’ shade may not take the same way it used to.

For more information on hair dyeing and pregnancy, read this article.

Go on! Get your nails done!

And who among us can deny the mood boost associated with a good mani/pedi? It’s true! One of the perks of those pesky hormones is stronger, faster growing nails. You may want to skip the acrylic but having a manicure in a well ventilated spa is perfectly safe. Just make sure that you choose a salon that sterilizes their instruments between clients.

Do you have to kick the foot massage habit?

There is a lot of debate – volumes in fact – on whether or not a foot massage is a no-no during pregnancy. Anecdotal, and even some pseudo-scientific, evidence suggests that a foot massage (specifically the practices employed in Reflexology) can induce labour. To be honest, the jury is still very much out on this one. However, the facts seem to be on the side of those who say that it’s perfectly safe. After all, massages tend to decrease stress and a stress-free mom makes for a happier baby. Advice on the Mayo Clinic’s website goes as far as to say that, “…some research suggests that regular foot massages might help decrease foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy.” You may, however, have a hard time convincing your regular foot spa in Bangkok of this. They tend to frown on the practice. What I did find was that most higher-end spas were more than happy to accommodate a pregnant gal for a full body massage.

As with anything, knowledge is power so I encourage everyone to go out there and inform yourself and then to make the right decision for you.


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My name is Jodie. I'm a 38 year old Canadian working and living in Bangkok, Thailand. My husband and I are both international teachers - though I'm taking this year off to be a full-time mom.

When we're not busy with other people's kids, we try our hand at raising our own very curious nearly four year old son and his 9 and half month old brother. When it comes to parenting, like most of us, I’m making a lot of it up as I go along .

2 Comments

  1. Emily Freeman  /  November 2, 2012, 12:13 pm Reply

    Another great article from Jodie! Will definitely be waiting for her next post!

  2. Jodie  /  November 9, 2012, 11:41 am Reply

    Thanks Emily!

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