Expectant moms want the best for themselves and their baby, but the road toward a healthy birth is often full of challenges. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps moms-to-be can take to increase their health and happiness and ensure their pregnancy goes smoothly. Here are five tips for healthy pregnancy:
Take a prenatal vitamin before pregnancy
Prenatal vitamins are a great way to ensure your body has all the nutrients it needs to keep you and your baby healthy, but you don’t have to wait for a positive pregnancy test to take them. Some doctors say it’s beneficial to take prenatal vitamins while trying to conceive. This will help your baby in the long run, because a baby’s neural cord, which develops into part of the brain, develops within the first month of pregnancy. Most prenatal vitamins are available over the counter at drug stores. Be sure to take them with a snack, as they are known to make women feel a bit nauseous.
See a doctor as soon as you conceive
When you find out you are pregnant, call your doctor or midwife right away. The sooner you arrange your prenatal care, the easier it will be to gain knowledge and support and to determine any risk factors that may impact your pregnancy. Your doctor will ask about previous pregnancies and other medical conditions, as well as general information regarding your family health history.
Start eating for two
Pregnant women need about 300 additional calories each day during the second trimester, but that doesn’t mean you should stop being mindful about what you eat. Certain foods such as undercooked fish and processed meat may carry bacteria that is harmful to the baby. Make sure you drink plenty of water and limit your caffeine intake. Most importantly, remember alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. Drinking while pregnant will increase your risk for miscarriage and your child’s likelihood of developing a learning disorder.
Moderate-intensity activities such as walking and swimming have many benefits for moms-to-be, such as preventing excess weight gain and unnecessary pain and swelling, while keeping you in good spirits. Exercise can even lessen your recovery time. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routines. While working out, drink lots of fluids and take plenty of breaks.
During early pregnancy, you may notice a decrease in your level of energy. This is your body’s way of encouraging you to take it easy. After all, taking care of a growing baby is hard work for your body. Relaxation is key to your mental and physical health, but some women have trouble getting enough sleep as their belly starts to grow, because it’s more difficult to find a confortable position. Take it easy during your day and indulge in a mid-day nap if needed.