Self Care in Pregnancy

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Self Care in Pregnancy

Prenatal care is more than just the checkups you receive from your practitioner every few weeks- it is the care you give yourself each and every day!Here are some of the main components of self-care in pregnancy, with a rating system to help you see how well you are doing.Enter one of the following with each category:

4: Do this automatically, naturally

3: Do this consistently but with definite effort

2: Do this occasionally, with some resistance

1: Just canít seem to do this, or havenít thus far



___Eat from the four basic food groups daily

___Take supplements that I know I need

___Drink at least two quarts of water, juice, etc. per day

___Pay attention to my inner voice of hunger and respond accordingly

___Treat myself to something I know is especially good for me and the baby

___Indulge myself in favorite foods (that are also healthful) for pure pleasure


Exercise and Relaxation

___Take fresh air and (if available) sunshine daily

___Do something to work up a sweat each day

___Stretch out my back, legs, shoulders, and neck daily

___Do exercises specific to pregnancy several times a week

___Dance, move rhythmically and freely with music

___Do vaginal exercises daily (kegels)

___Completely let go at least once every day

___Practice progressive relaxation at least twice a week

___Have my partner (or someone else) massage me at least once weekly

___Dress in clothing that allows freedom of movement and is comfortable

___Deliberately release areas where I know I hold tension, several times daily

___Allow myself the necessary comforts to curl up and take it easy before bed


Emotional Wellbeing

___Let myself cry whenever I feel like it

___Ask for support, acknowledgement, touch, sex from my partner whenever I need it (if applicable)

___Vent my frustrations before they become explosive

___Feel free to be loving and tender with my partner (if applicable) day-by-day

___Feel loving and tender with myself at least once each day

___Give myself time alone, and find new ways to enjoy it


Intellectual Preparation

___Read something on pregnancy at least once a week

___Formulate and ask questions of my care provider

___Take stock of my status in pregnancy by reviewing my daily or weekly activities and looking for areas that need improvement

___Discuss technical aspects of pregnancy, birth, and parenting with my partner and/or supporters on a regular basis

___Work on developing my birth plan by noting ideas and preferences as that arise

___Attend information sessions or film series on birth whenever possible


Social Preparation

___Meet with other pregnant women at least once a week

___Talk to mothers of infants or pregnant women in public places

___Observe infant behavior and family interaction whenever possible

___Ask for concrete support from friends and relatives for needs in pregnancy and postpartum

___Think about the changes having a baby will bring and formulate ways to adapt

___Support my partner (if applicable) in talking to other new parents, reading about parenting, or discussing the baby with me.


There are several different ways to score this exercise.First add up your total score in each section; this will give you a general idea of areas where you are strong and those where you could use improvement.Your overall score can be viewed as follows:


110-144: yes, you are enjoying being pregnant and are taking good care of yourself.


80-109: you are doing well enough, but could stand to focus a bit more on the pregnancy.Look carefully at your areas of resistance, and see what you can do to discipline or motivate yourself more.


36-79: well, perhaps you are very busy with other things, but you definitely need to give your pregnancy some attention.Try combining an activity where you scored low with one where you scored high; for example, if you get outside every day but canít seem to take your vitamins, make it a prerequisite before leaving the house (like locking the door, turning off the lights, etc.)


Youíll feel much better if you care for yourself regularly!


Taken from Heart & Hands A Midwifeís Guide to Pregnancy and Birth 3rd Edition 1997- By Elizabeth Davis

An excellent book for Midwives, aspiring Midwives and those curious about Midwives.



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