Congratulations! You’re expecting and motherhood is just 9 months or less away. The moment you find out that you’re pregnant, you should do anything and everything to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Doing so also ensures your baby’s health.
How You Can Stay Healthy While Pregnant
Make prenatal care a priority
See a doctor or midwife as soon as you find out that you’re expecting. Getting your antenatal care organized immediately will keep you one step ahead on nutrition, vitamins and supplements, and any other advice that you’re going to need to keep you and your baby in great health. This also gives you plenty of time to plan ahead about ultrasound scans and other tests that you may need.
Know what to eat for a nutritious pregnancy diet
What you eat can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s welfare. Some foods can help in your child’s development, while others may increase the risk of birth defects. You would want the former, of course. To achieve this, you need to have a well-balanced and nutritious pregnancy diet. You should eat foods that will supply folic acid, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin C, and adequate fat.
Your diet will include five portions of fruits and vegetables, plenty of whole grains and fiber, and a serving of iron-rich and protein-rich foods. You should also get Omega-3 fatty acids from two portions of fish a week.
Know what not to eat to keep you and your baby healthy
Avoid anything considered unhealthy for expectant mothers. Most importantly, you should avoid anything that will expose you and your baby to bacteria or parasitic infection. Make sure milk, juice, and cheese are pasteurized.
Do not eat pate, undercooked ready meals, raw meat or shellfish. Cook everything thoroughly and make sure eggs do not contain salmonella bacteria. You should also wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly.
Take prenatal vitamins
If you’re too busy to eat a nutritious pregnancy diet, you should take pregnancy vitamin supplements. Although most of the nutrients you need when pregnant should come from food, taking supplements can augment whatever you lacked. But make sure you’re taking the right amount of vitamins.
For the first 3 months of your pregnancy, supplements must contain folic acid at 400 micrograms (mcg). Vitamin D supplements should be taken throughout your pregnancy. If you don’t eat fish, take fish oil supplements. But make sure they’re made from the body of fish instead of liver. You can also take multivitamins. Refer to your doctor for advice.
Stay active with moderate exercise
Exercise in moderation can do wonders for you and your baby. It can help minimize weight gain, too. You can do aerobic and Kegel exercises. The former includes walking, jogging, swimming, and the like.
Squatting should be added to your daily regiment as well. With daily exercise, you will be able to build strength, improve sleep, reduce backaches, relieve constipation, strengthen muscles and endurance, help circulation, and decrease stress.
Keep an eye on weight gain
Because being overweight increases the risk of birth complications, including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, you should maintain a healthy weight. Make sure to keep the calories off for the first six months, and add about an extra 200 in the last three months. There’s no need to go on a diet or starve yourself, though. Just eat a well-balanced diet.
Cut out the bad habits
Cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol can cause ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, respectively, among other things. So you might want to stop smoking and cut out alcohol. Cutting back on caffeine is also recommended to minimize the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight.
Get enough of rest or more than allowed
Fatigue and stress are not good for you and the baby, so make sure you get enough rest and avoid stress. If you can’t sleep at night, take a nap in the middle of the day. Lie on your left-hand side and bend your knees if a backache keeps you from sleeping well at night. Try some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and yoga.
Know the signs of possible complications
Some symptoms, although mild enough to be ignored, may be a sign of something more serious. Dizziness, nausea, fainting, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and vomiting may lead to premature birth. The same is true when you have trouble walking, blurry vision, pain or burning during urination, or when it has been more than 24 hours that fetal activity has decreased.
Minimize exposure to harmful chemicals and injuries
Did you know that prenatal exposure to pesticides increases the risk of cognitive problems in children and infertility? So buy organic foods and go green in your choice of household cleaners.
Injuries, such as motor vehicle injuries, have been a leading cause of maternal death while pregnant. So you should be extra careful in everything that you do when you’re expecting.
By remembering these tips and following your doctor’s advice, you will be healthy before birth, during your pregnancy, and right until delivery.