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While your health is always important, when you’re pregnant it becomes even more so. After all, now you’re not just nourishing your own body, but your growing baby’s. Here are 4 simple steps to a healthier pregnancy.
You’re doing an amazing thing, growing a tiny human inside of you. It’s exhausting work and leaves you with weird feelings, crazy cravings, and swollen ankles…but you know it’s going to be worth it.
But it’s also a responsibility. After all, every decision you make for the next 40 weeks affects not just your own body, but that of your growing baby.
It can seem overwhelming, but the truth is that some simple, intentional choices paired with common sense and good prenatal care will have both of you in great condition.
Healthy Is Important For Both Of You
You should always maintain a healthy lifestyle but once you decide to have a baby, it’s even more important. You need to take good care of yourself so your baby will be healthy, too.
In order to have a healthy pregnancy, you need to eat right, focus on the best exercise for pregnancy fitness, get plenty of rest and eliminate stress as much you can. You also need to make sure you see your doctor for the proper prenatal care.
Laying The Foundations For A Healthy Pregnancy
On your first visit, your doctor will get your medical history, confirm your pregnancy, estimate your due date and decide how often to see you based on your overall health and how far along you are. The first visit usually takes the longest because they need to gather so much information.
Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will do a number of different tests that include ultrasound, cervical, urine and blood tests. You’ll probably receive prenatal vitamins on your first visit, too.
Prenatal care gives you access to the health care you need for you and baby, but it also helps to educate you about your pregnancy and childbirth. If you need any type of support or counseling, they can help you find the right resources.
Your first doctor visit is a good time to discuss ways to have a healthy pregnancy so you can get off to a good start.
Please note: I am not a doctor and the following information is not intended to provide or replace medical advice; it is for entertainment and informational purposes only.
To fully understand what your body is going through, check out this Mom’s Guide To Her Pregnant Body By Month. For even more information on both yours and your baby’s development during pregnancy, check out The Ultimate Pregnancy Trimester Blueprint.
Healthy Pregnancy Tip 1: Stay Active
It’s important for you to stay active when you’re pregnant. If you had an exercise routine in place before you got pregnant, continue with this after discussing it with your doctor. He can tell you if your existing routine is safe and if it’s not, what modifications your need to make.
If you don’t already have a routine, he can help you find the resources needed to start with one.
Some exercises that are good to do when pregnant include walking, swimming, jogging, stretching and dancing. Low impact aerobics are also good and so is yoga.
Of course, what you can do will depend on your individual situation and overall physical health. You can even find prenatal exercise DVDs that range from challenging to soothing yoga stretches for pregnant women.
Never engage in any activity that causes you to bend or twist at the waist, overexert yourself or anything that could cause trauma to your stomach. Also avoid getting too hot; overheating isn’t good for you!
And stay consistent with your workout. It’s not healthy for your body if you do a lot one day and then go for a long period before being active again.
While you may be limited in the types of exercises and activities you can take part in, it’s still important to do what you can.
This will help you maintain a healthy weight, have more energy and it can even help your labor to go more smoothly. Just talk to your doctor to make sure anything you want to try is safe for you and your baby.
Healthy Pregnancy Tip 2: Eat a Healthy Nutrition Diet
Along with staying healthy through proper prenatal fitness, eating well is also important for a healthy pregnancy.
In order to have a healthy pregnancy diet, you need to eat good, nutritious foods. Your diet is more important than many people know. Your baby gets its nutrition from the foods you eat.
If you make good choices and eat healthy, your baby will be healthier. He’ll have a better chance of growing and developing normally.
Here’s a list of the main foods that you need to include in your pregnancy diet:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Lean Meat
When you eat a healthy diet both you and baby will get the nutrition needed to stay healthy. Even though you may be taking prenatal vitamins this is just a supplement to go along with the nutrients you consume from foods. Therefore, you need to have a good diet.
To get the pregnancy nutrition you (and your baby!) need during this special time in your life, you need to eat a balanced diet that has all of the essential nutrients.
Water also plays an important role in having a healthy pregnancy. Water is incredibly significant; staying hydrated can help reduce your risks of having premature labor near the end of your pregnancy.
During your first and second trimesters, it can help prevent bladder and urinary tract infections, excessive swelling, and constipation that contributes to hemorrhoids.
Water also carries vital nutrients to your unborn baby that comes from the foods you eat.
Healthy Pregnancy Tip 3: Get Rid of Bad Habits
Most people acquire some type of bad habit through the years and there is no better time to get rid of the bad habits than when you plan to have a baby. Perhaps you enjoy drinking that extra glass of wine at dinner, have a caffeine addiction, or you smoke cigarettes.
All of these things can be bad for your baby.
If you smoke, stop. Women who smoke when pregnant run the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight or premature birth. Your baby will also be at a higher risk for SIDS and it can cause other pregnancy complications.
If you drink alcohol, stop. While some are proponents of moderation here, it’s important to realize that you can do without something that has the potential to have lifelong negative impacts on your child (source).
Many people know that too much caffeine is bad for you but you may not realize how bad it is for your unborn child. Caffeine is a mild stimulant and it has no pregnancy nutrition value at all. In fact, too much caffeine can keep your baby from getting the nutrients needed to be healthy.
It can also increase your baby’s heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. In addition, it can keep you from getting a good night sleep, which is not good for you or baby.
Healthy Pregnancy Tip 4: Get Plenty of Rest
On top of maintaining a healthy pregnancy diet, you need to get plenty of rest. Carrying a baby for 9 months takes a lot of energy and your body needs extra rest to keep up with all of the changes taking place within your body.
Everything from your heart to your kidneys work harder when you’re pregnant and when you add in the changes in your hormones and restless nights, fatigue sits in. Therefore, you need more rest than normal when you’re pregnant. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help improve the odds of you having a healthy pregnancy.
Your body needs sleeping time (or at least resting time when you have those sleepless nights) to nurture your baby and recover from your long days. A pregnancy pillow is a great help for finding a good position that supports your growing body and will quite possibly help you sleep better.
A Healthy Pregnancy, One Choice At A Time
It can seem so hard to go for that walk when you’re tired, choose the strawberries over the strawberry ice cream, or turn down that glass of wine when your feet ache and you’ve had a long day. It can be hard to choose rest when you have a to do list and a due date.
But remember that today’s choices will impact your baby, possibly for the rest of his or her life.
You’re a good mama who cares about her wee one, even though you’ve never met, or you wouldn’t be reading up on how to give them the best start in life and have a healthy pregnancy. Just remember, you can be a healthy mom with a healthy baby, one choice at a time.
To understand what’s going on with your body and your baby’s, check out this in depth guide to pregnancy by trimester.