How To Be Your Healthiest During Pregnancy
Last updated on : December 03 2020
How To Look After Yourself During Pregnancy
Finding out you’re pregnant is one of the most exciting experiences in the world. Immediately, your thought process changes as you realize you’re not just taking care of yourself anymore, but another living being. So, most expectant mothers naturally want to be as healthy and safe as possible during pregnancy.
Taking care of yourself during your pregnancy is extremely important, mainly thanks to the rising maternal mortality rate in the U.S. The top cause of this rise is insufficient care or lack of care coordination.
Not that we want to worry you in any way. It just means that taking care of yourself and finding a physician you trust to work with you through your pregnancy should be a top priority.
Most women understand the basics of what they should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. But, by trying to make healthier choices in every aspect of your life, you may experience fewer adverse side effects, have a more comfortable pregnancy, and a healthier baby.
Let’s look at a few tips you can use to be your healthiest during pregnancy for you and your unborn child.
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Eat the Right Things
Diet is one of the most critical factors of a healthy pregnancy. There are plenty of old stereotypes about “eating for two,” but that doesn’t mean you need to reach for two pints of ice cream.
Instead of focusing on the amount of food you’re eating, focus on the nutritional quality. Remember, your baby’s nutrition comes directly from whatever you’re eating. Right now, you both need a lot of essential nutrients to stay healthy and strong.
Your doctor will talk to you about different foods you should avoid throughout your pregnancy. While there is no one food that you should eat more than others, you should focus on a clean diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, and a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of the things you love to eat while you’re pregnant. If you want a brownie, that’s okay! Just make sure most of your diet comes from nutrient-rich foods that will benefit both you and your baby.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
When you find out you’re pregnant, your doctor will likely talk to you about prenatal vitamins and encourage you to take one each day. Some women choose not to take one, but you absolutely should make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs to take care of your baby. Even if you’re part of the 15% of couples who are having trouble getting pregnant, a prenatal vitamin can prepare your body for conception.
Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid and iron. But, if you want your baby to get more essential nutrients from the start, look for a vitamin that also has:
● Vitamin D
● Vitamin C
● Vitamin A
● Vitamin B
● Vitamin E
Your baby’s neural cord develops in the first month of pregnancy. Eventually, that extends into their brain and then their spinal cord. So making sure you provide them with these nutrients right away to grow and thrive is incredibly important.
Plus, you’ll feel the benefits of getting the nutrients your body needs. A prenatal vitamin is especially beneficial if you think you don’t get all of the nutrients your body needs from your daily diet.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress is normal and natural during pregnancy. You might be worried about becoming a new mother, or your financial situation, or even the state of the world. While a little stress is understandable, letting yourself become overwhelmed by it isn’t healthy for you or your baby.
It might feel easier said than done to let go of your stress. But, it should be a priority throughout your pregnancy. If you’re not sure how to reduce your stress levels, the best thing you can do is make time for yourself. Practice self-care in whatever way works for you. That might mean scheduling a date night with your significant other, spending time with friends or family, or merely taking a “night off” to enjoy one of your favorite meals and a TV show.
If you find that you’re stressed throughout the day, practicing techniques like mindfulness and deep breathing can not only help to reduce that stress, but they are right for you, too, especially when it comes to knowing how to control your breathing during labor.
Taking some time away from your everyday routine can also help. Consider getting a massage or going to a spa for a day of relaxation. But, be aware of things like saunas and hot tubs, as they can be dangerous for pregnant women if they reach certain temperatures. Instead, focus on treatments like facials and body scrubs using natural ingredients.
One of the worst things you can do is respond to stress in unhealthy, harmful ways. That includes trying to ignore it. Brushing things under the rug often makes them worse, and you won’t be able to hold in those feelings forever.
So, accept your stressors as they occur and work through them as best you can. It’s important to understand, especially during pregnancy, that you’re not alone. Reaching out for help and support at any time is always encouraged. Most people who care about you will be happy to help in any way they can, even if it’s to take your mind off the stresses in your life for a few hours.
Exercise is always important, but it’s especially beneficial during pregnancy. Exercising while you’re pregnant will give you more energy and help you fight off fatigue. That’s something you’ll love, especially if you’re in that stage where you feel like you could nap at any time of day. Some of the other benefits include:
● Boosting your mood
● Reducing inflammation
● Helping with pain
● Helping you to get a better night’s sleep
Getting enough exercise will also promote muscle toning and strength, and it can help build up your endurance. When you’re healthy and strong, your baby is more likely to be healthy, too!
Many women wonder what type of exercising is safe during pregnancy, especially as you reach your second and third trimesters. Low-impact exercise is almost always safe during pregnancy, right up to the end. Activities like walking, light strength training, swimming, and even riding a stationary bike are all great ways to stay in shape, strengthen your body, and encourage a healthy baby all at once.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water is never a bad idea for anyone. So many people don’t get enough of it each day. But, during pregnancy, staying hydrated is more important than ever. When you’re pregnant, your blood volume can increase by up to 50% because your body is continuously working to transport nutrients and oxygen to your baby. Water is also needed to flush out toxins in your body that can harm you and the baby.
If you don’t get enough water daily, you might experience lower amniotic fluid levels, which can harm your baby’s development. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, not drinking enough water might also make it hard to produce enough milk for your child.
In addition to helping you and your baby stay healthy, drinking enough water during pregnancy will make you feel better. Staying hydrated can help with many negative symptoms, including:
A good rule of thumb is to keep a bottle of water with you at all times while you’re pregnant and sip from it throughout the day. Yes, you might experience more “bathroom breaks” than usual (something you’re probably already used to if you’re pregnant!), but it truly is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your baby.
Regularly See a Doctor
It would be best if you always had a primary physician to talk to throughout your pregnancy. If you don’t plan to go to the hospital for the birth, make sure you at least have a connection to someone like a doula or midwife who can help you get through everything.
No woman wants to feel alone during her pregnancy, and chances are you’ll have plenty of questions along the way. Having someone who can answer those questions will give you peace of mind, reduce your stress, and let you know if you should be doing anything differently to keep yourself and your child healthy.
Certain risks can increase with pregnancy, including the formation of varicose veins. While these issues often go away after pregnancy, it’s good to keep them monitored throughout your gestation period to make sure everything is the way it’s supposed to be.
By keeping these suggestions in mind, you can keep your body healthier than ever throughout your pregnancy. Doing so will make the experience easier for you and better for your baby. Whether you’re currently just a few weeks pregnant or a few months along, it’s never too late to make positive changes that can have an impact on your health.
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The Kewl Shop
The Kewl Shop is a blog. We write about all things lifestyle with a strong focus on relationships, self-love, beauty, fitness, and health. Important stuff that every modern woman or man needs to know.
Editor: Charles Fitzgerald