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Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy as a Birth Mother: Taking Care of Yourself and Your Baby 

By Amaya Jones 

You had an unplanned pregnancy. It’s alright; these things happen. You were really overjoyed at the idea of potentially becoming a mom. You love babies. And kids! However, after giving it more thought, you realized that you’re in no shape to have a baby right now, financially speaking. And you’re a little devastated; you were really excited. But you don’t lose hope. Instead, you begin considering adoption. You do an internet search for ‘adoption agencies near me.’ You come across ‘adoption Kansas’ and ‘adoption agencies in Kansas’.

After some digging, you come across Adoption Choices of Kansas, and you discover all of the resources they have for women in situations similar to yours. You can get set up with a birth counselor, and they’ll help you with the latter parts of the adoption process. You learn about the different types of adoption. (Open: high level of contact between birth and adoptive parents; semi-open: contact between birth and adoptive parents is done through a third party, like an adoption agency; closed: little to no contact between birth and adoptive parents) Who knew there were different types? It even shows you how to formulate your adoption plan. It’s all so straightforward!

So, you’ve got your adoption plan. You’ve chosen the type of adoption you want for yourself and your baby. You made contact with your birth counselor, and you two will keep in touch. Everything’s coming together. Now, you just need to carry out your pregnancy. It is of the utmost importance that you try your best to be absolutely healthy during this time, for your sake and the baby’s. The more drastic changes in your body and mind won’t come for some time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritize your health now. 

Cravings, Cravings During an Unplanned Pregnancy

We all know that with pregnancy come cravings. And pretty interesting ones at that. You may find yourself wanting to eat things you would never willingly consume on any given day. Pickles and peanut butter. Carrots dipped in yogurt. Whatever suits you. Don’t be afraid to give into your cravings. A word of caution regarding cravings. You may find yourself developing a sweet tooth during this time, and while you may want to indulge in the occasional sugary treat, be careful not to overdo it. This can lead to gestational diabetes. It’s also worth noting that you should strive for a healthy diet while pregnant. Your baby will thank you.

Prenatal vitamins can also help you obtain other nutrients that will aid in the health of you and your baby. Ask your doctor about these at appointments. 

Consider Staying Active Even During Your Unplanned Pregnancy

Like the late Olivia Newton-John song, you have to keep in shape during this time. One article giving tips about staying fit during pregnancy advises that you “keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise (sport, running, yoga, dancing, or even walking to the shops and back) for as long as you feel comfortable.”

So, your dedication to fitness while pregnant is completely up to you. Go on that morning jog. Do your living room yoga. Do you like to lift weights? Go ahead and do your reps. Just remember not to overexert yourself. The last thing you want to do is wear yourself out. You’re already growing a human; there’s no need to add more stress to your body. And be sure to rest your body and muscles after strenuous activity. Body soreness is no joke. A nice warm bath after completing physical activity is a great way to tend to your body’s soreness.

You should be very mindful of this as you near your due date. As you enter into the third trimester, physical activity might not be as easily doable as it once was, which is perfectly fine. No doubt you’ve seen in movies where the closer a pregnant person gets to their due date, pretty much all they’ll be able to do is walk.  Be sure to talk to your medical practitioner for more information on physical activity during your pregnancy.

Taking Care of Your Mind as a Birth Mother

While your body will be put through quite the transformation during pregnancy, it is equally as important – if not more so – to take care of your mental health during this time, too. One can only imagine the thoughts and feelings coursing through your head right now. Some of them are pleasant, some not so pleasant. Some might be altogether confusing. All of this is normal; don’t beat yourself up for feeling any of these feelings.

You just have to learn how to healthily process, deal with, and understand your emotions. Therapy or counseling is a great way to do this. Talking to someone with an unbiased opinion or no personal stake in what you’re going through can greatly help you work through your feelings. 

If a day comes when you’re feeling a lot of things and you feel like crying, cry. Let it all out! It’s been shown that we feel infinitely better after having a good cry. Keep your tissues handy. 

Finding support groups for pregnant mothers or mothers who are also considering adoption, and mothers who are giving their child up for adoption could be a really big help, too. While it is good to talk to an unbiased professional, not many people will truly know how you’re feeling during all of this, and that may cause you to feel even worse. Being surrounded by women who are in similar situations as you will no doubt create a feeling of belonging and understanding.

It’s important to remember that you are making a monumental decision and embarking on an incredible adoption journey. You are giving a lucky couple or single parent the greatest gift they’ve ever wanted: a baby. You are making their dreams come true. With this comes a great sense of responsibility. You owe it to yourself, the baby, and the baby’s adopted parents to take the greatest care of yourself during this time. Mentally, emotionally, physically. All of it. 

Resources: 
  • Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients – Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-nutrition/art-20045082 
  • Exercise in pregnancy – NHS (www.nhs.uk): https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/#:~:text=Keep%20up%20your%20normal%20daily,in%20later%20pregnancy%20and%20labour.
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