Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also brings a rollercoaster of emotions. Bringing a child into the world can be exciting, shocking, and overwhelming. If this is your first pregnancy, no wonder your head is overflowing with questions as you pore over baby books and blog posts!
Knowing how to prepare for it can help you better plan for pregnancy. Here are five golden tips to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.
1. Mind Your Nutrition
Now that you’re eating for two (or maybe more!), this isn’t the time to cut back on calories or go on a diet. Healthy eating is important, especially when you’re pregnant. You need about an extra 300 calories a day to make sure you’re healthy.
Here are some nutritional tips that you should keep in mind:
- Eat nutritious foods, such as:
- Vegetables (e.g. carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes)
- Fruits (e.g. mangoes, bananas, apricots, oranges)
- Dairy (e.g.low fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese)
- Grains (e.g. cooked or ready-to-eat cereals)
- Proteins (e.g. beans, lamb, pork, lean beef, nuts and seeds, salmon)
- Avoid the following foods:
- Unpasteurized milk and foods with unpasteurized milk (e.g. soft cheese, including feta ad brie, unless labeled “made with pasteurized milk”)
- Hot dogs and luncheon meats, unless heated until steaming hot
- Raw and undercooked meat, eggs, and seafood
- Cold deli meats
- Limit sugar and fat intake.
- Quit drinking alcohol and smoking.
- Limit caffeine consumption (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks) to less than 200mg per day. Or switch to decaffeinated products or caffeine-free alternatives instead.
- Take prenatal vitamins or supplements high in iron, vitamin D, and folic acid.
A nutritious, well-balanced diet not only helps you stay healthy but also helps reduce unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy, such as constipation and nausea.
2. Hydrate Properly
Fluid intake is a crucial part of pregnancy nutrition. Be sure to stay properly hydrated. Drinking enough water will reduce swelling and prevent constipation, UTIs, and hemorrhoids.
Drink at least 12 cups of water daily. Other fluids, such as juices and soups, also count. Not only does proper hydration lower the core body temperature but it also helps reduce nausea. Keep bottled water by your bed or set an alarm to remind yourself to drink.
Exercising regularly provides many health benefits during pregnancy. It helps reduce discomfort from pregnancy symptoms and manages certain prenatal health conditions.
You should perform 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Some of the exercises that are safe to perform during pregnancy are walking, Pilates, elliptical and water exercises, and yoga. Keep in mind you should exercise at a moderate pace. Some exercises, such as bike riding and water skiing, are unsafe. Run your exercise program through your doctor before doing it.
Any form of exercise might not be safe if you have:
- Cervical problems
- Decreased fetal activity or other complications
- Dizziness and fainting
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Amniotic fluid leaking
- Vaginal bleeding
- Difficulty breathing
Staying active during pregnancy also helps reduce stress and aches, manage your weight, and boost your mood. However, it is important to listen to your body. If it’s uncomfortable or painful, don’t do it. Be careful not to get overheated or dehydrated.
4. Get Proper Rest
Hormonal changes and physical discomfort during pregnancy could affect your sleep quality. However, sufficient sleep is crucial for you and your baby. Here are tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Drink warm milk at bedtime.
- Avoid foods that contain caffeine (e.g. coffee, chocolate)
- Try taking a warm bath or shower before bedtime
- Sleep on your left side to improve blood circulation
- Do relaxation techniques (e.g. yoga, deep breathing, massage, and stretching)
- Place pillows under your belly, between your legs, and behind your back
It’s normal to feel fatigued, especially in the first and third trimesters. Listen to your body when it needs rest. If needed, ask friends or family to help lighten your load, whether that’s doing chores or running errands. When you’re tired, it’s perfectly fine to give yourself a little break and let your other duties slide a little.
5. Follow Your Prenatal Care
Prenatal care prevents complications and ensures the health of you and your baby. Plus, it also provides education on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as counseling and support.
Pay frequent visits to your doctor so you can follow your baby’s development. Be honest about your symptoms and feelings. Prenatal appointments could be quite fun and reassuring, too — when you hear your baby’s heartbeat, for example!
OB/GYN Women’s Health Doctor In Syracuse, NY
Finding out you’re pregnant can bring a flurry of excitement. However, it should also bring detailed and extensive work to remain healthy throughout pregnancy.
Staying healthy during your pregnancy can be challenging. At University OB/GYN Associates, our obstetricians & gynecologists, and women’s health specialists are committed to providing you with comprehensive and compassionate care at every stage of your life — from adolescence and embarking on a pregnancy journey to menopause and beyond.