Whether you have always been naturally health-conscious or have had to work hard to improve your longevity, pregnancy is a great time to focus on your well-being. When you become pregnant, your body needs plenty of extra TLC. In addition to helping your baby grow and develop, you will be relying on new muscles to carry the extra weight, counting on extra vitamins to help you stay energized and avoiding things you may have loved before (like soft cheese and sushi).
There is an awful lot of advice out there for expectant mothers (especially from your mother-in-law), but here are a few of the most important things on which to focus.
Thank you to Rachel Hannigan for sharing these tips.
Start Your Prenatal Care as Soon as You Can
It’s never too early to find a care-giver who can help you through your pregnancy. If you’re actively trying to get pregnant, your doctor can help you to track your cycle and time your ovulation. He may also prescribe prenatal vitamins or an exercise program to help you have the best chance of conceiving. Once you’re actually pregnant, see your doctor or midwife right away to continue care.
Seeing your doctor early can help ensure that your pregnancy is healthy from the very beginning. Of course, you can get a head start on scheduling ultrasounds and other tests, but seeing a physician earlier may also benefit you in other ways. Avoiding stress is important for the health of expectant mothers and their babies. Just knowing you’re under a physician’s care can help ease your mind when it comes to day-to-day living and activities.
Be Conscious of What You Eat
Remember that your baby counts on you for his nutrients. So while that family-sized bag of sour cream and onion chips may be totally delicious and satisfying in the moment, Junior probably needs a little more than that to be healthy. It is recommended to stick to a diet consisting of an ample supply of fruit and veggies, lots of protein, plenty of carbs, and tons of water, according to Parents.com.
More than just what you eat, you need to be aware of how you eat. Recent studies have shown that pregnant women don’t actually need to eat for two. In fact, increasing your caloric intake isn’t strictly necessary until your third trimester – and even then, the increase is much smaller than you might think. Talk to your physician about your diet, make a plan that’s easy for you to follow, and stick to it.
It’s important to focus on your physical fitness when pregnant. Not only does the actual birth require you to use muscles you may have never realized that you had, but the months of carrying all of that extra weight can strain your body as well.
Just be sure that your exercises are non-contact and don’t jostle Junior around too much. Prenatal yoga or pilates, brisk walking and swimming are all great exercises when you’re pregnant, according to Baby Centre.
You can ask your physician, local clinic, or health club if they provide prenatal classes.
It may seem like common knowledge, but some women have the bad habit of letting their bad habits continue through their pregnancy. The list of foods and substances that pregnant women need to avoid seems to be growing longer every year. For some people who chose to avoid certain foods from soft cheeses to your favorite espresso, pregnancy can really put a damper on your fun.
It’s important to remember, however, that these substances have been shown to put Junior at risk. Too often, women continue to smoke, drink alcohol, and overindulge in caffeine while pregnant. Some women tell themselves that “a little won’t hurt”, but that isn’t always the case.
Talk to your physician about safe levels of these indulgences, and commit to actually following his advice.
Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin
Getting enough nutrients is rarely more important than when you’re pregnant, especially if morning sickness or junk food cravings are making it difficult to get the sustenance you need. Both you and Junior require plenty of calcium, iron, and folic acid to stay strong and healthy during the pregnancy, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Many women complain that prenatal vitamins can exacerbate their morning sickness, so try to find a vitamin that includes natural stomach-soothers like ginger, try Honest brand’s prenatal multivitamin – it’s packed with natural ginger and B6, so you can even take it on an empty stomach.
Staying healthy during your pregnancy doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember that you and your baby need a little extra care.
Follow your physician’s orders, eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise appropriately and enjoy the journey! Once Junior comes along, you’ll be so focused on him (or her) that you may start to put your own needs on the back burner – so spend the next few months pampering yourself.