During pregnancy, hormones play a vital role in your body and help to maintain the health and growth of your developing baby.
However, these huge hormonal changes can have a range of effects on a woman’s mental and physical health, as well as on their emotions and behaviour. An imbalance can cause extreme fatigue, mood swings, and leave you feeling overly emotional.
For some expectant women, it can be particularly intense, but thankfully there are many ways to cope and manage. Here we look at some simple strategies to help you to feel happier and healthier by regulating your hormones.
A healthy, varied diet is essential in order to maintain balanced hormones and to ensure the baby is getting the right nutrition. Eating foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, is important. Consult with your GP or naturopath before making any dietary changes.
Women should also ensure they are drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily to stay hydrated and to help flush out toxins. If you’re not enjoying water during pregnancy, or it’s just not quenching your thirst, you could try adding berries, citrus fruits, or cucumber to some cold sparkling water.
Regular low-impact exercise, such as walking or swimming, can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, as well as to boost mood and energy levels. It can also help to improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.
Sleeping for at least 8 hours each night is also important for maintaining hormonal balance and your mood. Get into a good wind-down routine and practise healthy sleep habits now. For instance, have a relaxing bath, listen to calming music, reduce screen exposure a couple of hours before bed, get yourself a good pregnancy pillow or two, and ensure that your bedroom is pitch black.
Getting comfortable is easier said than done when you’re pregnant. This might help: Overcome the difficulties of sleeping during pregnancy.
This includes avoiding smoking, alcohol and drugs, as these can all disrupt hormonal balance. Women should also try to manage their stress levels and practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises.
What about caffeine? Read here how it can affect you and your bub physically, and find out how much is safe: Caffeine during pregnancy
You should already be taking prenatal supplements. In addition, hormonal changes during pregnancy can also be managed with the help of natural remedies. Speak to your naturopath or nutritionist about certain herbal supplements that could help to reduce the intensity and frequency of hormonal fluctuations. Essential oils, such as lavender and ylang-ylang, can also help to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Finally, it’s vital to reach out for help if needed. Talking to friends and family, or to a healthcare professional, can help to provide support and advice, as well as enabling women to share their experiences and feelings.