The Seasons of Pregnancy

“In order to reclaim our full selves, to integrate each of these aspects through which we pass over the course of our lives, we must first learn to embrace them though our cycles.” ~ Lucy Pearce,  Moon Time: Harness the Ever-Changing Energy of Your Menstrual Cycle

Just as Mother Nature has her seasons, so does your body (and the body of the child growing with you). We’re taking a look at how your pregnancy ebbs and flows with the change of season.

There is something wonderful about creating new life in the midst of spring, your belly blossoming with the flowers and your skin glistening in the sun.

Embracing the warmer season is an excellent way of staying healthy and fit for a wonderful birth experience. From seasonal activities to nutrients at your fingertips, this is one of the easiest times of year for prenatal health. Is there something more than boredom to the baby-making trends of the colder months?

A mother who conceives during the colder months has the benefits of reduced activity in winter during the first trimester when she is feeling low on energy and during the more delicate period of gestation. A pickup of activity during the spring and summer is perfect timing for the more energetic second trimester.

A harvest of wonderful nutrients right before birth helps to build blood levels, develop the baby’s brain, and prepare for the energy needs of healing during postpartum.

Mom has the ability of soaking up an abundance of sunshine which increases her baby’s vitamin D stores for the winter months (as well as her own for breastfeeding), and she is prepping for this life changing event with nothing more than daily chores and casual activity. Maybe this is nature’s efficient design for our species’ survival.

Babbling creeks with spring rain provide a lulling harmony for emotional balance when mom wants to take a walk in the woods. The warm air and quiet spring breeze is a welcome change to the chills of winter, and mom is ready to get outside and enjoy her growing baby. I can’t think of a more relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Walking during pregnancy has a variety of benefits including increased stamina for labor and birth, proper posture for pelvic floor tone and decreased back stress, and aligning the baby in the pelvis for smooth movement through the birth canal.

Walking 30 minutes daily is a great way of keeping stamina up for an unknown length of labor. Swimming is another activity that is easier to enjoy in the warmer months which not only has the same benefits of walking, but the added advantage of increasing circulation and making mom feel weightless. There’s nothing better than a few laps to get healthy while easing back pain and leg tension. Ensuring you can carry on a conversation during your activity is a great trick for keeping the heart rate and oxygen levels at a steady point. With all this exercise, mom also needs to ensure she stays hydrated.

Hydration may be a bit more difficult during warm spells with more activity but a steady flow of water to the system aids in digestion, circulation, and perspiration. Keep a sports bottle with you at all times to encourage consistent sips. A slice of cucumber in your water can aid in natural electrolyte balance without the additives of commercial sports drinks. Likewise, you can spritz up your water with a handful of fresh berries (or frozen if you like your water ice cold) for a refreshing flavor that provides a splash of vitamins and minerals.

There isn’t a set limit of water intake as long as you’re drinking to thirst, and you can recognize your body’s thirst symptoms. Remember, feeling thirsty signifies that you’re already dehydrated. Some recommendations include at least 96 ounces of water daily during pregnancy, but you also want to listen to your body and avoid gorging yourself, especially to the point of limiting food intake. Healthy food selections limit your body’s need of receiving hydration from only pure water sources.

Gardening provides an efficient way of obtaining healthy food for you and your growing baby.

Locally grown produce isn’t only cheaper; it actually provides you with more nutrients than purchased options because you can keep most of the food ripening on the vine until just before meal time. A local farmer’s market can supplement a limited garden space, but your baby will thank you for any time spent in the dirt.

Years ago, all families had gardens; and women weren’t pampered by lying back during pregnancy. They were tending the gardens, planting, and harvesting food throughout the warm season which has the added benefit of prepping mom for birth.

Mom’s hunter-gatherer lifestyle is the perfect physical prep for the stamina and strength needed for birth. Squatting was an accustomed method of food gathering- a posture that does wonders for our pregnant body and growing baby by opening the pelvis up to 30% larger while also strengthening muscles and stretching the pelvic ligaments. This creates a toned pelvic floor for birth and postpartum healing, a baby that tucks his chin for a smooth birth, and a mom with back muscles that proficiently support the growing fetus. Now she is exercising and gathering nutrients for her baby with a simple daily activity. Are you seeing a trend here?

Maybe it is coincidence, but it makes sense as to why some studies show a rise in both male and female testosterone levels as the summer fades, and why August and September are consistently the months that most babies are born (in the US). Testosterone, a sex-driving hormone in both sexes, also increases as stress is reduced, likely happening after the growing season is over; and mom and dad are set for a relaxing winter. If you were warming up by a crackling fire and enjoying what may appear to be a human mating season, take advantage of the little extra effort needed to stay healthy and fit through a spring and summer gestation while you ripen alongside earth’s harvest.

Images via Lisa Holloway and Roberts Family Photography

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