7 Healthy Lifestyle Changes Now That You Are Pregnant

Living a healthy lifestyle is important. It keeps us looking young, mitigates disease, and boosts our energy levels. Living a healthy lifestyle while pregnant, or trying to conceive, is even more important. A healthy lifestyle will help ensure that your pregnancy is normal and your baby develops in a healthy manner. It increases fertility rates and helps your baby receive essential vitamins and minerals. Yet in a world where unhealthy lifestyles trump healthy ones, it is difficult to get the information you need to commit to a good routine.

With a vast world of knowledge right at our fingertips, you’d think things would be easier. Everyone knows the importance of avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs during pregnancy and beyond, but there are other, lesser-known changes in your lifestyle that will perpetuate a healthy pregnancy. In this article, we’ll take a look at some great healthy lifestyle changes to make now that you’re pregnant. These changes are also applicable if you’re trying to conceive!

Prenatal Health Incentives

If you’re actively trying to get pregnant, you should make the healthy lifestyle changes discussed in this article before you try to conceive. The first few weeks of pregnancy is a critical time and when you’re unhealthy, your baby’s development is more at risk for being negatively affected.

When you live an unhealthy lifestyle and have an unexpected pregnancy, there are more risks for both you and your baby. Planning your pregnancy is the best way to make sure you’re giving your baby everything he or she will need to develop properly.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

With all of these lifestyle changes, you will give your baby the best environment to develop. While we highly recommend taking these into consideration before you conceive, they’re essential changes you’ll need to make once you do conceive anyway. A healthy pregnancy translates to a healthy baby and an easier recovery for you.

1. Get to a Healthy Weight

Ideally, you will want to get to a healthy weight before you conceive. When you’re overweight or obese, it greatly increases your change of developing high blood sugar or diabetes, which translates to serious risks of birth defects in your developing baby.

When you’re at a healthy weight, tracking pregnancy weight gain is easier. This is important because gaining too much weight will make postpartum weight loss difficult and not gaining enough weight is risky for your baby’s development. When you don’t gain enough weight, your baby is at risk for low-birth weight.

Depending on how much you weigh before pregnancy will change how much weight you should gain throughout your pregnancy. The Institute of Medicine recommends the following:

  • Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
  • Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
  • Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
  • Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds

2. Change Your Diet

To help make sure you’re gaining a healthy amount of weight, you will probably need to make some changes to your diet. While this is a great way to help you manage your weight gain, making sure you’re eating foods with high nutritional value will give your baby the best environment and all of the nutrients they need for development.

One way to do this is add foods rich in folate. Naturally occurring folate is found in many foods such as lentils, pinto and black beans, edamame, spinach, asparagus, and citrus. Otherwise, opt for folate fortified foods; just look for enriched and fortified on packaging.

Some other great changes or things to add to your diet include:

Eat small meals about 5-6 times a day and never skip breakfast. Stay away from soft cheese and lunch meet, as they are more likely to have high levels of listeria.

Another thing you will need to focus on is drinking more water. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases up to 50 percent, which means you need to drink enough water to help your body adjust to increased functions. If you absolutely hate water, add some lemon, cucumber, or mint. Aim to drink about 2.4 liters of water each day.

3. Add a Prenatal Vitamin

If you’re actively trying to conceive, taking a prenatal vitamin will help. However, once you get pregnant, it’s important to continue to take your prenatal vitamins. They contain a number of nutrients that are essential for your baby’s neural tube development and help you create new blood cells.

Make sure you find a prenatal vitamin that meets your needs for iron and folic acid. Talk to your doctor to find a prenatal vitamin that works best for you.

4. Get a Good Exercise Regimen

Exercise is a great way to not only stay in shape, but to help boost your mental health. With all of the hormones coursing through your body during pregnancy, maintaining positivity will feel like a struggle. Exercise releases endorphins that make you happier and will do wonders for your overall outlook. Exercise also keeps you physically fit and will help you maintain a safe weight gain. Check out some pregnancy safe exercises here.

Aim for 20-30 minutes of moderate cardio per week alongside strength training exercises 2-3 times a week for the best results. You should also add some kegels into your exercise regimen to help prepare your pelvic floor for delivery and recovery.

5. Cut Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Caffeine

When you consume these vices, so does your baby. Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are all detrimental to the healthy development of your baby. While some people argue that a glass of wine here and there won’t hurt, there’s no way to know if it’s truly safe or not. Since fetal alcohol syndrome is real and affects your baby’s development, it’s better to be on the safe side and abstain from any alcohol until after you deliver.

Caffeine use should be reduced, at the very least. Current guidelines recommend no more than 200mg per day, total. Caffeine is present in foods and drinks other than coffee, so make sure you do a little research before indulging.

If you smoke, quit. It will be difficult, but smoking is one of the most dangerous things for you to do while pregnant. The same should be said about any illegal, or legal, drug use. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor and find a good support system. Believe us, it’s worth it.

6. Manage Your Stress

When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone wreaks havoc on your body, mind, and the development of your baby. Instead of letting stress control your life, find a way to manage and reduce it.

Take up a yoga class, start meditating, light a candle or use essential oils, and find someone to talk to. Managing your stress is important, regardless of if you’re pregnant or not.

7. Understand Your Medical Conditions

If you have a chronic medical condition, now is the time to understand it 100% and take the necessary steps to get it under control. Things like diabetes, asthma, depression, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular problems are often affected by pregnancy, so you will need to take the right precautions to ensure you and your baby stay safe.

Discuss any current medications you’re taking with your doctor and expect to make changes to your treatment plan for the duration of your pregnancy. Some medications are not safe to take during your pregnancy, so talking to your doctor is very important.

Conclusion

We hope that after reading this article, you’re prepared to make the healthy lifestyle changes you need to ensure a successful, healthy pregnancy. It’s crucial for your baby’s development and it will help you stay energized and avoid illness while you’re getting ready to welcome your new baby to the world. If you have any questions, or are going to make any major changes in your diet or exercise regimen, please talk to your doctor. It’s important to discuss these things, especially during pregnancy, with a medical professional. Once you start preparing for your new bundle of joy, don’t forget to head over to Byram Healthcare and shop for a new breast pump! Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all new or expecting mothers will receive a free breast pump covered by their insurance providers. You can also find more great pregnancy tips, info, and product reviews on our website.

If you have any other healthy lifestyle changes or pregnancy tips, head over to our Facebook page and leave a comment. There’s no better way to learn something new than from a supportive community of mothers and mothers-to-be!

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