Pregnancy can be a time that really puts your health (mind and body) into perspective. For Jeannie Mai Jenkins (How Do I Look?, The Real), who recently welcomed baby Monoco earlier this year with husband Jeezy, bringing a baby into the world was another chance to reevaluate what it really means to follow through with taking care of herself. 

In an exclusive with Kristyn Burtt for SheKnows at an event for the American Heart Association, Mai Jenkins shared how she was previously unaware of how heart disease is such a danger to pregnant people and new parents (it is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the US) — but how learning about it put her approach to health into perspective.

“Not only was I not aware of it, but I also didn’t know that new moms are even more at risk of heart disease because of what a stressful life it is,” she said. “The last four months of my life, have been the most tumultuous, most hair-raising, most tiring and the most rewarding. So the rewarding part makes you forget that you also have to take care of yourself.”

And, when it comes to what that actually looks like, she adds that caring for your health is something that can totally switch up the picture you have in your mind of self-care. It doesn’t have to look like high-key pampering (though that stuff is fun too!) but can also look like doing the more unsexy and practical things that your doctor would be proud of too. 

“You know, I know about self-love, but to me, self-care is like a spa and getting a manicure. I never thought to actually go and take a walk and maybe change my diet up and even go get tested to see how my heart is doing,” she said. “So being a part of tonight is a reminder to myself, that girl, if you’re walking it, you better talk it… you better actually go and show up and get yourself checked.”

Before you go, check out our favorite post-workout recovery essentials for an extra self-care boost:




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