10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Every woman wants to ensure that her pregnancy is normal and healthy. It’s a mother’s instinct. Unfortunately, sometimes the information on how to do that is contradicting.
The Internet offers so much knowledge right at our fingertips that it is easy to become overloaded. Luckily, we’re here to help. Below is a list of the top 10 tips for a healthy pregnancy – including pre-conception health!
The best way to start a healthy pregnancy is to ensure that you are healthy before conception. The healthier you are prior to your pregnancy, the healthier your baby is likely to be!
Take the time to visit your doctor, dentist and your obstetrician. Discuss your medical history as well as any current medications you are taking to avoid any problems when you do conceive1.
During this visit, get a prescription for a prenatal vitamin or talk about over the counter options. Taking them prior to conception is a great way to make sure your body has all the essential vitamins and minerals from the start.
How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy
Once you’re in optimal health and you’ve conceived a child, here are the top 10 tips from all over the Internet for a healthy pregnancy.
- 1. Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are essential. They contain folic acid, iron and tons of other nutrients that your body needs to support a pregnancy. Folic acid, for example, helps support the proper development of your baby’s neural tube and creates new red blood cells2.
As mentioned, you can get them prescribed or over the counter.
If they make you nauseous, try taking them with a little bit of food or later in the evening. Try chewing gum or sucking on candy after eating them too, as that has been known to help2.
- 2. Keep a Healthy Diet
One of the best things to do for yourself during pregnancy is to maintain a healthy diet. There are a lot of “pregnancy super foods” and you should try to rotate them into your daily diet. They will give you energy and additional nutrients to support your growing baby.
In addition to eating well, try to eat 5-6 small meals a day and never skip breakfast! It truly is the most important meal of the day. Also try and choose foods with fiber and stay away from soft cheese and lunch meat4.
In 2007, a study was conducted that found children whose mothers ate more fish during pregnancy had higher IQs and better motor and communication skills2. The FDA recommends no more than 12oz per week, and to stay away from fish that is high in mercury2.
- 3. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Whenever you consume alcohol or caffeine, your baby does too. And believe us, that’s not a good thing.
Since there is no way to know how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy, it is best to just avoid it completely3. This is particularly true during the first and third trimester. In the first trimester it will increase the chances of a miscarriage and in the third it will affect the baby’s brain development3.
In regard to caffeine, the current guidelines recommend no more than 200mg per day3. While that seems like a lot, remember there is caffeine in other things besides coffee!
- 4. Quit Smoking
If you smoke, quit. Smoking is one of the worst things you will do for your health and your baby’s. It causes a number of problems, such as premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth and SIDS3.
It is hard to quit smoking, but with the help of your friends, family and smoking cessation tools you can do it! Your child will thank you later.
- 5. Maintain an Exercise Regime
Exercise is important in everyday life, which makes it even more important during pregnancy. Regular exercise helps you control your weight, improve circulation, boosts your morale and helps you sleep better2.
Make sure you always check with your doctor prior to starting any exercise regime, but some great options are:
- Pregnancy Exercise Classes
Aim for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. But remember, always listen to your body and don’t overdo it2.
Another exercise to add to your regime is, drum roll please… kegels! They strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder, bowels and uterus2. They will make your delivery a little easier and helps prevent later problems with incontinence5.
To do them, squeeze as if you were stopping the flow of urine when you use the bathroom. Hold for 3 seconds, relax for 3 seconds and repeat 10 times! Bonus… they’re discrete!
- 6. Get Enough Sleep
Making sure that you’re well rested is very important for your pregnancy. It is also the last time that you will be able to sleep in peace (hopefully) for a while. Once the baby comes, it will be lots of crying and late night feedings, which means sleep deprivation. Don’t worry though; it’s always worth it in the end.
Aim for at least 8 hours every night, but naps are welcome too! If you feel tired, lay down. Your body is working overtime to make your bundle of joy and deserves a break.
- 7. Track Your Weight Gain
While it’s true that you are eating for two now, that doesn’t mean double your caloric intake. Make sure to track your weight gain and check in with your doctor regularly to make sure you are healthy.
The following weight gain is recommended based on a woman’s body mass index prior to pregnancy2:
- Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
- Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
- Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
- Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds
Always Know When to Call a Doctor
Even if you take every step in the world to be healthy, sometimes things go wrong. They could be small, or they could be large – but if you feel like something is wrong then make sure to call a doctor.
According to the CDC, make sure you call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms2:
- Pain of any kind
- Strong cramps
- Contractions at 20-minute intervals
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
- Dizziness or fainting
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Constant nausea and vomiting
- Trouble walking, edema (swelling of joints)
- Decreased activity by the baby
- 9. Educate Yourself
Staying educated will help you prepare for your delivery. This means it will run a bit more smoothly than going in completely unaware of what to expect. It is also a good idea to learn about your family’s medical history and ask your doctor any questions you have.
- 10. Avoid Cat Litter
Fun fact: cats carry around a lovely parasite called toxoplasmosis2. It is a parasite that can be life threatening to developing babies. So if you have a cat, stay away from the litter box and get your husband to clean it for once!
Hopefully this list will help you get on the right path to a healthy pregnancy as well as a healthy mindset. However, as with everything that you do during your pregnancy, make sure to discuss any changes in nutrition or exercise programs with your doctor along with any complications or worries. You can also find more great pregnancy tips, info, and product reviews on our website. Don’t forget to order your insurance covered breast pump through Byram Healthcare!
If you have any other healthy pregnancy tips, share them with us on our Facebook page! We always love hearing what other mothers-to-be have to say!