After you discover that you’re pregnant, you may be wondering how to take care of your body and stay healthy – after all, you want to do everything you can to ensure your baby is born as healthy as possible.
And while every woman is different, there are still some general guidelines all should follow.
While nausea may make it harder for you to stomach the idea of food, proper nutrition is one of the first steps in staying healthy throughout your pregnancy. Be sure to eat a balanced diet of:
- Healthy fats
- Vitamins like vitamin A
- Minerals like iron
While fish is a healthy part of your pregnancy diet, be sure to avoid fish high in mercury like:
- Tuna steak
- King mackerel
Get Plenty of Sleep
Pregnancy may make it hard to get any rest, what with the backaches, nausea, and other maladies — but getting enough sleep is critical to your overall health while pregnant. When you get enough sleep, you’ll not only feel more alert and refreshed, but reduce:
If you find yourself unable to sleep, talk to your doctor.
Remember to Exercise
Many women don’t exercise while pregnant out of fear that they’ll harm the baby. But don’t worry! Exercise is an important part of pregnancy as it not only helps relieve common aches and pains like backache and sleep problems, but also improves your baby’s heart health and weight. Exercise also helps make delivery easier and can reduce postpartum depression.
While exercise is safe, avoid high-impact exercises that increase your risk of falling, such as plyometrics. Instead, opt for low-impact exercises like:
Avoid Alcohol & Drugs
It goes without saying that you should always avoid alcohol and drugs (including nicotine) when pregnant. Not only are they unhealthy for you, they put your baby at risk of health problems like:
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Premature birth
- Poor growth
- Behavioral and developmental problems
It is even a good idea to cut down on your consumption of caffeine, as it increases your blood pressure and heart rate. It is recommended to either cut out caffeine altogether or monitor your intake if you do consume caffeine. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.
If you believe you are pregnant, stop any consumption immediately and take a pregnancy test. The sooner you confirm you’re pregnant, the healthier you and your baby will be.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is bad enough on an average day, but when you are pregnant, your hormones may make you less able to cope like you used to. While some stress is healthy, chronic stress could have a negative impact on your baby like low birth weight and poorer health for you. For example, too much stress may:
- Make your overly fatigued
- Make you unable to eat
- Increase your blood pressure
While we don’t completely understand the overall effects of stress on pregnancy, learning how to cope with stress is very important in maintaining the health of you and your baby.
Drink Plenty of Water
Remember to get plenty of fluids when you’re pregnant. Not only does it help keep you hydrated, it also helps you and your baby absorb the nutrients you both need! Take frequent sips throughout the day. If you find it difficult to remember to stop and take a drink, there are plenty of apps to choose from that help remind you to keep up your fluid intake.
As with all health advice, talk with your doctor about what is best for you and your baby, and be sure to keep regular appointments.