Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy
Now that you are expecting, maintaining a healthy pregnancy not only for yourself, but for your baby as well, is important. Women who follow some simple guidelines are much more likely to experience a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.
Get proper prenatal care
When you first have a positive pregnancy test, make an appointment with your doctor. Proper prenatal care is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to perform tests for any complications or risks. She will also be able to advise you whether any medications you are currently taking are unsafe for pregnancy. The doctor also will give you a list of over-the-counter drugs you can take safely for everything from heartburn to the common cold. As you progress in your pregnancy, you will also go over what to expect at delivery and discuss a birth plan.
Choose a healthy diet
Now that you are eating for two, choose foods healthy for both you and your baby. Pregnant women need about 300 calories more than their norm and should focus on eating foods high in protein, rather than empty calories. Some specific foods should be avoided, such as raw and rare meats, fish high in mercury, excessive caffeine and unpasteurized dairy. Moms-to-be should also should add a prenatal vitamin high in folic acid to their daily routine and avoid alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs.
Get sufficient rest
Growing a baby is generally exhausting. Listen to your body and rest when you can. If you cannot catch a nap in the middle of the day, take the time to put your feet up and relax for short periods. Be aware of how you feel. If your body says get up and move, then do so, but if your body is feeling run down and sleepy, then give yourself the chance to rest.
Exercise is healthy for everyone, even pregnant women. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise is allowed during your pregnancy. Most pregnant women can do light exercise like walking or swimming, and some may be allowed more, depending on their pre-pregnancy fitness levels. Exercise can help maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy and also keep up your strength, which you’ll need for delivery.
Manage stress and emotional health
Although many pregnant women are concerned with their unborn baby, remembering to take care of yourself is important as well. Moms-to-be should make sure they are managing their stress levels and are healthy both emotionally and physically. If you have feelings of sadness or are feeling overwhelmed, seek help from a friend, family member or your doctor.
Expecting a baby is an exciting and busy time. With these tips, along with the guidance of your doctor, you can expect a healthy pregnancy and baby-to-be.
Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant
- Dairy products (especially yogurt because of the natural probiotics).
- Legumes such as beans, soy and chickpeas, which provide protein, folate and fiber.
- Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A.
- Salmon is a good source of omega-3 and vitamin D.
- Eggs are not only a good source of protein but help with prenatal brain development.
- Leafy greens and broccoli are a great source of nutrients and fiber.
- Lean meats such as beef and pork can provide a good source of iron.
- Berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and can be added to yogurt or smoothies.
- Avocados provide a healthy source of fat, fiber, folate and potassium.
- Water is important to keep from getting dehydrated, which can result in early labor. Drinking lots of water also can help prevent constipation and urinary tract infections.
Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer that lives in Olathe with her family.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.