Staying Healthy During Pregnancy
If you’re thinking about getting pregnant — or if you already are — you probably know some of the basics about taking care of yourself and the baby. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Take rest as much as you can.
Read a more detail description about everything that you should eat and should not eat during pregnancy.
Take a Prenatal Vitamin
Even when you’re still trying to conceive, it’s smart to start taking prenatal vitamins. Your baby’s neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops within the first month of pregnancy, so it’s important you get essential nutrients, like folic acid, calcium, and iron, from the very start.
Staying active is a must for most moms to be. Regular exercise will help you control your weight, improve circulation, boost your mood, and help you sleep better.
Write a Birth Plan
Determined to have a doula? Counting on that epidural? Write down your wishes and give a copy to everyone involved with the delivery.
Even if this isn’t your first baby, attending a childbirth class will help you feel more prepared for delivery. Now is also a good time to brush up on your family’s medical history. Talk to your doctor about problems with past pregnancies, and report any family incidences of birth defects.
Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder, bowels, and uterus. Done correctly, this simple exercise can help make your delivery easier and prevent problems later with incontinence.
Here’s how to do them right:
– Practice squeezing as though you’re stopping the flow of urine when you use the bathroom.
– Hold for three seconds, then relax for three.
– Repeat 10 times.
Change Up Chores
Even everyday tasks like scrubbing the bathroom or cleaning up after pets can become risky when you’re pregnant. Exposure to toxic chemicals, lifting heavy objects, or coming in contact with bacteria can harm you and your baby. This might cause you Toxoplasmosis or Salmonella
Track Your Weight Gain
We know — you’re eating for two. But packing on too many extra pounds may make them hard to lose later. At the same time, not can gaining enough weight can put the baby at risk for a low-weight birth, a major cause of developmental problems. Recently the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued new guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy. Here’s what the IOM recommends, based on a woman’s BMI (body mass index) before becoming pregnant with one baby:
– Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
– Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
– Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
– Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds
Go Shoe Shopping
At last — a perfect excuse to buy shoes! As your bump grows, so may your feet — or at least they may feel like they are. That’s because your natural weight gain throws off your center of gravity, putting extra pressure on your tootsies.
Eat Folate-Rich Foods
“Folic acid is crucial for the proper development of the baby’s neural tube (it covers the spinal cord), and it’s vital for the creation of new red blood cells,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., author of the new book Feed the Belly.
Recharge with Fruit
Most doctors recommend limiting caffeine during pregnancy, since it can have harmful effects on you and the baby. Cutting back can be tough, though — especially when you’re used to your morning java. For a quick pick-me-up, try nibbling on some fruit.
In a 2007 study of more than 12,000 children, researchers found that youngsters whose moms ate the most fish during pregnancy had higher I.Q.s, plus better motor and communication skills, than those whose mothers did not eat fish.
Being pregnant makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you’re more prone to sunburn and chloasma, those dark, blotchy spots that sometimes appear on the face.
Say Yes to Cravings — Sometimes
Truth be told, no one knows why cravings happen. Some experts say they may be nature’s way of providing nutrients an expectant mom may be lacking.
Know When to Call the Doctor
Being pregnant can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time. How do you know which twinge is normal and which one isn’t? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
– Pain of any kind
– Strong cramps
– Contractions at 20-minute intervals
– Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
– Dizziness or fainting
– Shortness of breath
– Heart palpitations
– Constant nausea and vomiting
– Trouble walking, edema (swelling of joints)
– Decreased activity by the baby
You may think you’re busy now, but once the baby comes you’ll have even fewer precious moments to yourself.
Choose the correct sleeping position
Do not sleep on your back. Read more about all the sleeping positions here.