The 5 tips in this blog were designed to make your pregnancy as comfortable and easy-to-navigate as possible. This includes eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, working out gently, learning all you can about your baby, and having a positive attitude.
A pregnancy can bring about a lot of joy, but also some challenges for a woman. This is especially true if she is not prepared for the changes her body will experience during this period. Find out how to have a healthy and happy pregnancy with these 5 simple tips.
1. Fuel Your Body and Baby
Developing Brain With A Healthy Diet One of the biggest changes your body will experience during a normal pregnancy is the need to store extra fuel in preparation for the growing baby. Make sure you are eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and heart healthy fats. Foods that contain iron and folic acid are also important during pregnancy. Include these in every meal and snack you eat. Get At Least 7 Hours Of Sleep Per Night Sleep deprivation has been linked to several health concerns including miscarriage, premature birth, and higher risk of breast cancer in mothers. If you are having trouble getting enough sleep, try switching off your electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. This allows your body time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Make sure your bedroom is completely free of electronic devices like cell phones, computers, televisions, and video games. Avoid naps during the day unless they are scheduled.
If you are sedentary (you do most of your life) your chances of getting sick goes way up! During your second trimester, your baby’s brain and spinal cord are growing the fastest. All that new growth needs fuel (oxygen and glucose) to keep your baby healthy. If you don’t provide this fuel, your baby’s brain and spinal cord can become stunted in their development. This causes an increased risk of brain damage and poor brain and spine development which can lead to learning disabilities later in life.
2. Stay Hydrated
Your Body Needs Water! During your second trimester, your body is growing your baby’s brain, bones, muscles, and almost all of the other tissue in your body. It also needs a constant supply of water to keep these tissues healthy and functioning at their best. Drink between 6-8 glasses of water per day. You can drink plain water, herbal tea, or even coffee (if you make it yourself) to stay hydrated. Water is the best choice when you are on the go. It can be consumed from a bottle, a glass, a plastic baggie, or even a paper bag. If you prefer something stronger than water, try adding a slice of lemon, an orange, or a few sprigs of fresh mint to your glass. These will add some zest to your water while providing you with additional hydration. Another option is to use a straw. Drink enough water so you are never thirsty. This will ensure you are getting all the important fluids your body needs to function at its best. Exercise In Moderation Exercise is not only good for you physically, it also has a very positive effect on your mental well-being. However, exercising too much or too hard during pregnancy can have some very negative effects.
3. Get Moving
By moving around and getting some exercise, you are allowing your body to get the fuel it needs to grow and develop your baby’s brain and spinal cord properly. Plus, exercise increases your energy level which will help you cope with morning sickness. Make sure you include walking, running, swimming, dancing, strength training, and stretching in your daily routine. Limit Alcohol During pregnancy, alcohol is extremely dangerous to your baby. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause your baby to be born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This is a pattern of abnormalities caused by the alcohol your were drinking while you were pregnant.
4. Rest and Relax
Tension and Stress has a negative effect on both you and your baby. Too much stress can cause high blood pressure, trigger a premature birth, and lower your immunity so you are more prone to getting sick. It can also cause your baby to develop problems with his/her neural tube which can lead to birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Reduce Your Stress Levels The best way to reduce your stress levels is by learning to manage it properly. You don’t have to live with it but you don’t have to die from it either. When you are under stress, your body produces hormones called “cortisol” and “epinephrine”. These hormones do important things like improve your mental and physical performance and increase your reaction time. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. If you become stressed out too often, these hormones can stay in your body long after the stress has gone away. This is called “hormonal overload”. Overloaded hormones can cause a number of very unpleasant (and sometimes deadly) health problems like: Avoid Caffeine because it is one of the most commonly used drugs during pregnancy.
5. Keep Up with Prenatal Care
Visits By the way, did you know that many women wait until they are far along in their pregnancy (sometimes later than 38 weeks) before they start going to prenatal care visits? This is very dangerous because you should be going to prenatal care visits no matter what stage of pregnancy you are in. It doesn’t matter how healthy you think you are or how strong your belief that you don’t need to be checked-up on. You MUST attend at least one prenatal care visit per week. Why? A study of more than 1,000 babies born between 1995 and 1997 showed that only half of them were born with healthy weights. This means that almost 150,000 babies in the U.S. are born with low birth weights every year! And, these problems can last a lifetime! What’s more, babies who are underweight at birth are more likely to have learning problems, become obese as teens, and develop diabetes and heart disease as adults. Don’t Smoke Smoking while you are pregnant has been proven to lower your baby’s birth weight by 200 grams.
Some frequently ask questions and answers are following.
How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?
There is no “correct” amount of weight that you should gain during your pregnancy. However, there are some guidelines that I think is useful:
- Gain exactly what is recommended by your doctor. Don’t try to “game” the system. (
- Try to put on as much weight as your doctor recommends and no more.(
- As long as you are gaining weight at a healthy rate, the weight you put on will be perfect for your baby.
How much should I eat and drink?
– As much as you can, but not too much! You’ll have a tiny human being growing inside of you and this extra food will help provide the nutrients your baby needs for healthy development. Also, eating more will help prevent pregnancy related nausea and will keep you feeling full so you’ll be less likely to overeat during the rest of your pregnancy. However, don’t go crazy either.
Should I be physically active during my pregnancy?
Yes! Exercise is very important for both you and your baby. It will help you lose weight, keep you in shape and provide many other health benefits. Plus, exercise will make you feel better, both mentally and emotionally
As long as you are exercising at a low intensity level – something you enjoy doing – go ahead and do it. There is no need to overdo it.
What other new habits may help my weight gain?
– Increase fiber in your diet, especially if you are eating a high-protein diet
– Cut back on sugar, simple carbs and alcohol -Try to have no more than 2 drinks per week (1 for you and 1 for your partner)
– Take a daily prenatal vitamin
– Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night
What if I’m a vegetarian?
It is safe for you and your baby. You should avoid red meat, chicken, fish, shellfish, and milk products, but other foods are safe. Go easy on salt too, as it can cause fluid retention and increase the risk of premature birth. Make sure you get plenty of iron, B12, calcium, zinc, and folic acid (vitamins found in dark green vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains).
You may eat vegetables, fruits and nuts during your pregnancy. However, you should be very careful about eating any type of meat. It has been proven that eating meat during pregnancy may increase the risk of having a child with autism. This is especially true for women who are not already prone to autism (such as those with a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with the condition).
You can have a healthy pregnancy and still enjoy a happy, healthy postpartum period. Your period will return at the same time it did before you were pregnant… even if it was a little earlier than normal. And your energy levels will be back to normal too.
Your baby’s development begins long before she is actually born. It’s never too early to adopt healthy habits that will serve you well throughout your pregnancy and after your baby is born. The healthier you are the lower your risk of getting many health complications that are very common during pregnancy.
We are not born complete. Human beings are never completely formed. We are always growing. In every cell in our body. In every thought in our head. In every emotion in our hearts. We are literally creating ourselves every single day of our lives.
And we have the power to do this consciously.