Whether you are pregnant or planning to be, your habits will impact your baby’s development. Having healthy habits is one of the best ways to promote a healthy pregnancy, an ideal childbirth experience, a healthy baby, and an easy postpartum recovery.
Here are 20 ways to stay healthy during your pregnancy.

1. Proper prenatal care

Prenatal care is the medical care you receive throughout your pregnancy. Prenatal care is aimed to monitor the baby’s health and your wellbeing. An early and regular prenatal care improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth. It helps to identify potential health issues early and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications.

If you think you might be pregnant, make an appointment with your OB/GYN to be sure and start your prenatal care as early as possible.

2. Healthy diet

Your baby gets her nutrients from you. So, healthy eating is critical for her growth and development. A healthy and balanced diet help reduce pregnancy complications such as anemia, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Eating the right foods will also help you manage common pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and morning sickness.

3. Take your prenatal vitamins

When you are pregnant, even if you have a healthy diet, it is possible to fall short on key nutrients such as:

  • Folic acid_ helps the baby’s brain develop correctly and reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects like spina bifida, anencephaly, and encephalocele.
  • Calcium_ supports your bones as your baby grows
  • Vitamin D_helps to baby organs to develop
  • Iron_you need more iron to make the blood to supply oxygen to your baby.

Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter, but your doctor might recommend you a specific brand.

Do not take extra doses of prenatal vitamins.

4. Avoid certain foods

Certain foods consume while pregnant can harm your baby. Here is a list of foods you should avoid during pregnancy

  • High mercury fish (Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish)
  • Undercooked meat and seafood
  • Raw eggs
  • Organs meat
  • Unwashed fruits and vegetables
  • Unpasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juice

5. Have a good dental hygiene

It is important to take care of your teeth and gums during your pregnancy.  Pregnancy hormones and changes in eating habits increase your risk of dental problems, which can affect your baby. Dental care should be part of your prenatal care.

6. Practice safe sex

Stds like syphilis and genital herpes can be harmful to your baby. Therefore it is important to avoid STDs during your pregnancy. Besides, if you are worried that you may have an STD, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.
Learn how to protect yourself against STDs here.

7. Check your medications

Some medications can seriously harm your baby. Avoid taking any over-the-counter medications without your doctor’s approval.

8. Get your vaccines

Two vaccines are usually recommended during pregnancy:

  • Flu vaccine during any trimester and any time of the flu season
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, given between 27 and 36 weeks.

Flu and pertussis (Whooping cough) put you and your baby at risk for serious health complications. (1;2)

9. Stay hydrated

During pregnancy, you need more water than the average person. Water plays an important role in your pregnancy. The water in your body is used to form amniotic fluid, build your baby’s organs, carry nutrients, and flush out wastes and toxins. Staying hydrated also helps you with digestion and prevents constipation, hemorrhoids, and fatigue. (3)
Drink plenty of water and eat water-rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, spinach.

10. Get moving

Unless you are experiencing complications, you should stay active during your pregnancy. Regular exercise during pregnancy helps you prevent excessive weight gain, hypertension, gestational diabetes. It also boosts your mood, promotes better sleep, and speeds up your postpartum recovery. You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym. Walking is a great pregnancy exercise.

11. Track your weight gain

Monitoring your weight gain will help you ensure that the rate at which you are gaining weight is healthy for you and your baby. Just don’t be obsessed with your weight and don’t try to lose weight by yourself. If you have any concerns about your weight gain, talk to your doctor.

12 . Manage stress

It is common to be stressed during pregnancy, but high levels of stress can lead to other health issues like high blood pressure, which can trigger miscarriage or preterm birth.
Check out 20 effective ways to relieve stress.

13. Get plenty of sleep

Sleeping plays a major role in your baby’s growth. Your sleep quality affects your immune system and brain function. A lack of sleep during pregnancy is also tied to high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

Most women experience sleep problems later in pregnancy. When your little one’s size starts to increase, it is difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Try this pregnancy pillow. It will support your back, hips, and legs and helps you sleep better.

14. Educate yourself

Educate yourself about pregnancy and childbirth, and postpartum. Each prenatal visit, your doctor will give you a pregnancy facts pamphlet that covers various subjects about your pregnancy, how your body is changing, and how your baby is growing. Make sure you read it.
It is also a good time to discuss birth control options with your doctor. In the meantime, here is a guide to help you choose birth control after baby.

15. Avoid drugs, smoking, and alcohol

Tobacco, drugs, and alcohol can harm your unborn baby. They can lead to birth defects, miscarriage, and preterm birth.

16. Limit your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase your stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. Caffeine also passes through the placenta. Excessive caffeine consumption may increase the risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight. (4)

17. Wear your seat belt

Wearing your seatbelt correctly can help protect both you and your baby from injury during a car accident. It can also prevent serious complications such as miscarriage, placental abruption, and preterm labor. Check the pregnancy seat belt recommendations by the US department of transportation.

18. Watch out for toxoplasmosis

If you become infected with toxoplasmosis during or right before your pregnancy, you can pass it to your baby. Toxoplasmosis in an infant can lead to blindness, mental disabilities, or brain damage. Cats play an important role in toxoplasmosis transmission. Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite responsible for the infection, can be present in cat litter.(5)
You should :

  • Avoid changing your cat litter box during your pregnancy if possible
  • Have someone change your cat litter box daily
  • Keep your cat indoors

19. Wear sunscreen

Pregnancy hormones make the skin more vulnerable to sunlight. Wearing sunscreen protects you from skin cancer and melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy.” Your doctor can recommend you a sunscreen that is safe for you and your baby.

20. Write a birth plan

Your birth plan contains your wishes about your birth experience. It will let your birth team know what you would like to happen during your labor and delivery. It also includes things to avoid. Share your birth plan with your pregnancy team and your birth support partner.

Final thought

When it comes to pregnancy, it is important to embrace as many healthy habits as possible. Most importantly, you should always follow your doctor’s recommendations. Your pregnancy team is available to answer any questions you may have about your pregnancy.
Get this pregnancy journal to easily put down your concerns and points you want to discuss with your OB/GYN.

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pregnant/mom/get-vaccinated.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/pregnant.htm
  3. https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-020-2765-x
  4. https://www.who.int/elena/titles/caffeine-pregnancy/en/
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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