Pregnancy transforms a woman’s life, both mind and body. During those 40 weeks, a woman goes through a multitude of changes, some positive and some challenging. And after those 9 months are up, new moms are responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of another life, which is both magical and a little scary! That’s why maintaining a safe and healthy pregnancy is so important. Since, it’s not just about the woman anymore but the baby as well. Here are 9 tips to help every woman have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
A well-balanced diet is an important part of anyone’s healthy lifestyle but it’s especially true during pregnancy. That’s because you’re no longer just eating for yourself. You’re eating for two! And that means you’re nourishing your baby at the same time you’re nourishing yourself. Eating a healthy diet means getting plenty of fiber, leafy green vegetables, whole wheat breads, pastas, and cereals.
Most pregnant women should increase their caloric intake by 300-500 calories per day. This is based on the women’s weight prior to getting pregnant and her activity level. Your doctor will monitor your weight gain throughout your pregnancy. Most women gain between 25 and 40 pounds. If a woman overweight prior to getting pregnant, she should only gain between 15 and 25 pounds over 9 months.
An underweight woman can easily gain anywhere between 25 and 40 pounds whereas a woman of average weight should gain anywhere between 25 and 35 pounds. Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle (more on that later) will support your healthy weight goals. But what you avoid during pregnancy is equally as important as what you eat.
Alcohol and nicotine, as well as any illegal drugs, are strictly prohibited during pregnancy and can negatively affect the health of your unborn child. There are also certain foods that can cause complications during pregnancy including high-mercury fish, raw eggs, and lunch meat.
- But Allow Yourself to Indulge
All diets are about moderation. This means that while you’re maintaining a healthy weight and filling your plate with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grain carbohydrates, you can also indulge in dessert. After all, if there’s one benefit to pregnancy it’s giving yourself a little leeway in the diet department. Just pay close attention to portions and avoid overindulging or eating too many processed foods high in saturated fat. Use willpower and make smart choices.
For example, if you want ice cream, make yourself a small bowl and enjoy every bite. Don’t grab a spoon and the entire gallon. Chances are, you’ll overeat and feel overfull and sluggish. Not to mention, too much of a good thing can result in excessive weight gain that could potentially put both you and your baby at risk for health complications.
- Remain Active
The other side of maintaining a healthy weight is remaining active. But that’s not the only benefit to remaining active during your pregnancy. Continued movement will help keep you flexible, reduce aches and pains, and give you more energy. Exercise, in general, release endorphins, which are attributed to a positive mood and overall mental clarity, two things pregnant women can benefit from.
Your activity can vary in many ways. Brisk walks, yoga, and pilates are all great forms of exercise for pregnant women. If you were extremely active prior to pregnancy, you can most likely continue this same activity level during your pregnancy, as long as you listen to your body and check with your physician.
- But Be Sure to Rest
While remaining active is an important part of promoting a healthy pregnancy, you also need to rest. It’s sometimes hard to slow down, especially when you’re busy preparing for your new addition. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it. But it’s important to listen to your body’s quest for rest and relaxation. And that doesn’t just mean taking naps, although sleep is another effective way to give your body the time it needs to recover.
Simply sitting down, putting your feet up, reading a book, sipping a cup of hot tea, or enjoying some time outdoors are all great ways to give your body and mind the rest it needs. Another helpful tool is meditation and mindfulness. These exercises force you to slow down and be present in the moment. Prenatal massages are another awesome benefit for sore muscles, aching feet, and can relieve some of the back pain caused by the displacement of weight due to your pregnant belly.
- Take Your Vitamins
Pregnant women can’t get all of the essential vitamins and nutrients simply from the food they eat; that’s why taking a prenatal vitamin is extremely important. In fact, it’s recommended that you start taking a prenatal vitamin even prior to getting pregnant. Most prenatal vitamins contain the same basic vitamins and minerals — folic acid, calcium, iron, and iodine, just to name a few.
Prenatal vitamins also help promote the growth and development of the baby’s spinal cord, which occurs during the first trimester. These vitamins can also help protect the baby from developing brain or spinal cord defects known as neural tube defects.
- See the Doctor Regularly
Regular check-ups throughout your pregnancy are vital for the health of both you and your baby. When you first discover or suspect that you’re pregnant, you should see your doctor right away. They will determine and confirm that you are in fact pregnant and give you a predicted due date for your baby.
Following the initial appointment, you’ll schedule your first ultrasound where you will get to see and/or hear your baby’s heartbeat, which is detected as early as 6 weeks. Most doctors follow a standard schedule in terms of check-ups. Given there are no complications or extenuating circumstances related to the health of either the baby or the mother.
Between weeks 4 and 28, you’ll visit your doctor once a month. From weeks 28 to 36, you’ll likely see your doctor more frequently, or every 2 weeks. And between 36 weeks of pregnancy and your due date, you will visit your doctor once a week. That’s because between weeks 36 and 40, expectant mothers can into labor at any time.
- Gather Reading Materials
Information is one of your greatest tools as an expecting mother. Gathering resources, information, and reading materials during your pregnancy can help prepare you for delivery day and beyond. Your body is going through so many changes, both physically and emotionally. Your hormones are running wild, which may leave you feeling overwhelmed, sad, sentimental, and a long list of other emotions you can’t quite explain. But this is all a normal part of pregnancy and when you know this, it makes these feelings much less scary.
Books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting can help new mom’s ease their worries and concern over countless subjects connected to their pregnancy. This means reduced stress and anxiety and more time to be joyful and excited about what’s to come. Fellow mothers in your life are also a great source for tips, tricks, and information. Just be sure to take their opinions and recommendations as simply that. These are suggestions, not rules.
Just because something did or didn’t work for them, doesn’t mean the same thing will happen to you. Every pregnancy is unique and beautiful. Listen to them with an open mind but stay true to yourself and what you know is right for you and your baby. If you feel overwhelmed by information, be sure to speak up. Family members and friends will understand and should gladly take a step back.
- Find the Right Doctor
You and your doctor will become extremely close over the duration of your pregnancy. You will share weekly visits, phone calls, questions, and countless monumental and emotional moments throughout your time together. Not to mention, they’ll be responsible for delivering your bundle of joy. Which is why choosing the right doctor for your pregnancy isn’t something to take lightly.
Don’t be afraid to visit several OB-GYNs before choosing the one that feels like the best fit for you and your needs. Ask them questions about their policies and procedures. If you’re experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or need a specialized treatment or birthing plan, be sure to discuss this with your doctor. You need to feel safe, comfortable, and nurtured by your OB-GYN. They need to respect your feelings and wishes as the expectant mother.
Make a list of important questions to ask during your visit and specific characteristics you’d like your doctor to have. Bring your partner along and make sure they’re comfortable with your choice as well, though it’s ultimately up to you. If you’re using a surrogate for your child’s birth, you can meet with the doctor’s together and make an informed, united decision. You can learn more about the surrogacy process at this website.
- Choose a Birthing Plan
A birthing plan is a great way for expecting mothers; it helps to reduce their stress levels and prepare for their baby’s arrival mentally. It also helps you to feel more in control of what’s happening and when. The birthing plan should be in place prior to delivery day. After all, when you finally do go into labor, your mind will be preoccupied by countless other things like notifying your partner and family, getting to the hospital, and handling your contractions.
You shouldn’t be worried about the particulars or relaying your wishes to the doctors. All of this should be outlined prior in your birthing plan. Important things to include in this plan are the type of delivery you want, who you want in the room, and whether or not you want an epidural.
Other ways to plan ahead for delivery day include packing an overnight bag and organizing transportation. While you can’t plan for everything and things may not go exactly how you envisioned, having an organized plan in place will help you breathe easier and focus on the birth of your child.
A final note
Pregnancy is as a beautiful and unique experience for each mother. The same mother of multiple children will likely experience a different type of pregnancy each time. But by following these basic guidelines, you can ensure that you will remain healthy and safe both mentally and physically throughout the process.
Article Submitted By Community Writer