Staying healthy during pregnancy is essential for your and your baby’s physical and mental well-being. By making some simple lifestyle changes such as getting proper nutrition and regular exercise, you can keep yourself and your unborn baby healthy and you can also avoid unnecessary weight gain. If you’re trying to get pregnant or if you already are, check out our tips for staying healthy during pregnancy.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
If you are planning to get pregnant, it’s good to start taking prenatal vitamins now. Prenatal vitamins play an important role in pregnancy because they can provide that extra nutrition that your developing baby needs. Baby’s neural cord which will later become the brain and spinal cord, develops within the first few weeks of pregnancy, so you need to get all the essential nutrients like folic acid, iron, and calcium, from the start.
Some women find that the prenatal vitamins they are taking are making them sick. If this applies to you, then try to eat something before taking the supplement, or talk to your doctor and ask him to prescribe you a brand that won’t be so tough on your stomach.
Regular exercise is important if you want to stay healthy during pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. Exercise can help you control your weight, boost your mood, and relieve some of those annoying pregnancy symptoms. Yoga, pilates, swimming, and walking are some of the best activities for moms-to-be. Moderate exercise will increase circulation, reduce stress, ease pains, and will help you sleep better. Not to mention that exercise will make getting back into shape after the birth of your baby, much easier.
Kegel exercises should also be added to the exercise routine. Kegel exercises focus on the vaginal and perineal muscles and they can help during the birth of the baby.
Just to be on the safe side, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Also, do not push yourself too hard to avoid overheating and dehydration.
Watch What You Eat
You might be eating for two, but you only need around 300 additional calories per day. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein and calcium. Protein is essential for blood production and cell growth, both your own and your baby’s. Some good sources of healthy proteins include eggs, Greek yogurt, beans, peanut butter, tofu, and lean meats. Stay away from undercooked eggs and meat, raw seafood, and unpasteurized dairy products to avoid ingesting bacteria that could be harmful to your baby.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts). Also, make sure you’re eating enough food that contains folic acid. Great sources of folic acid include spinach, peas, kale, chard, squash, beans, and nuts.
Break Your Bad Habits
It’s really important to cut out drug use, smoking, and alcohol consumption because they have been linked to numerous serious complications in pregnancy. Any drug you use also gets into your baby’s bloodstream and may lead to miscarriage, placental abruption, growth problems, or premature delivery.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is also dangerous and can lead to a number of problems in the growing fetus, miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery.
Cigarette smoking during pregnancy negatively affects blood flow and oxygen delivery to your baby. Smoking is also the most common cause of low birth-weight babies and increases the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and premature labor and delivery.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting plenty of sleep during the nine months of your pregnancy is essential. Your body is working hard to accommodate a growing baby, so you’ll probably feel exhausted and more tired than usual. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep a night.
As your little one gets bigger, it will be harder for you to find a comfortable position to sleep. Try to lie on your side with your knees bent – this will probably be the most comfortable position in the later stages of pregnancy. Sleeping on your side also helps blood flow to the placenta and your baby and prevents hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and swelling in legs.