Just found out you’re expecting? Congratulations dear mom-to-be! You’re probably feeling elated but we can bet you’re also feeling a little bit overwhelmed. What, with the regular doctor's visits, the self-help books and a completely changed routine, among so many other things, we don’t blame you for feeling quite overwhelmed initially. And then there’s the stream of unsolicited advice: Eat this. Drink that. Buy this. Try that. DON’T do that! If you’re a new mom-to-be and are going through an overload of information, and don’t know where to begin your new pregnancy health care routine, we decided to break down some healthy pregnancy tips for you in the simplest of steps, so scroll on!
Okay, technically this doesn’t count as a health tip for pregnant ladies, but pregnancy care should start even before you conceive. If you want to make sure your pregnancy is safe and complication-free, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle while you’re trying for a baby. In fact, this will increase your chances of conceiving! This includes scheduling an appointment with your ob-gyn for a pre-pregnancy checkup, taking supplements such as folic acid, switching to a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and lean meat, and making sure you’re at the pink of your health, mentally as well as physically.
After you find out you’re pregnant, it’s time to take stock of your present lifestyle and remedy any situations and habits that might pose a threat to your pregnancy. Worry not, we’re here to help and give you a handful of health tips on pregnancy!
What to eat during pregnancy? This is one of the most important aspects of your routine that needs to change if you aren’t particular about what you eat, already. Once you’re pregnant, you need to focus on eating a wholesome, healthy diet to ensure your baby’s health. This means avoiding junk food, sugar and bad fats as much as you can. Make sure your diet is rich in colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and foods low in saturated fat.
When you’re pregnant, your body demands more water than it normally would. So this means that you need to be drinking more water than the usual eight glasses a day. Yes, you may need to hit the washroom more often, but alas, that’s one of the downsides of pregnancy we women have to deal with.
This goes without saying. To ensure that you and your baby are healthy at every stage of the pregnancy, you can’t afford to miss a single doctors’ appointment. Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will need to monitor your weight and blood pressure, while also checking the growth and development of your baby. This is to ensure that you have a safe, easy and complication-free pregnancy. This is another one of healthy pregnancy tips that you should follow religiously!
Make sure that all your shots are regular and up-to-date. You don’t want to deal with any major sicknesses you while you’re pregnant! If you have missed a couple of shots, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately to discuss how and when you can take follow up shots. When you’re pregnant, even minor ailments like a cold and flu can have an effect on the unborn child, so you need to be extra careful!
Remember when Charlotte finds out she’s pregnant after trying for so long in Sex And The City? She is so afraid to lose the child that she stops her daily runs in Central Park. Don’t be a Charlotte! Exercising is surely not a thing to avoid during pregnancy. Sure, you can’t hit the gym hard and lift heavy weights, but exercise plays an extremely important part in your pregnancy. Regular exercise helps to prevent excess weight gain, reduce pregnancy-related problems like back pain, swelling, and constipation, improve sleep, increase energy, boost your mood, prepare your body for labour and lessen recovery time after the birth. Check with your doctor to find out how much physical activity would be right for you.
Vitamins such a folic acid and calcium are especially helpful during your pregnancy. You can get your daily amount through natural consumption of foods. Spinach, oranges, broccoli and kidney beans are rich in folic acid. Milk, yoghurt, and spinach are packed with calcium. However, it is hard to keep track of the number of vitamins you are consuming through food, so it is better to take a set amount of prenatal multivitamins, which will meet your daily intake. Discuss this with your doctor and ask them to prescribe you an amount that is best suited for you.
Kegels exercises are a very popular method to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder, bowels, and uterus. While doing Kegels exercises is beneficial in general, it is especially helpful when you’re pregnant, as they can help make your delivery easier. And the best part? No one will ever know if you're doing them so you can literally do them anytime, any place!
Don’t know how to do the exercises? Follow these steps:
- Practice squeezing your pelvic floor muscles 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
Tracking your weight when you’re pregnant isn’t the same as keeping count of your daily calories and weight when you’re working out and staying fit. Now that you’re consuming food for two human beings, your weight will gradually increase, and that is a good thing! However, you need to make sure that you’re gaining the right amount - gaining extra kilos is equally bad as being underweight during your pregnancy, which can lead to developmental defects in the fetus. Speak to your doctor about the optimal amount of weight you need to maintain to have a healthy pregnancy.
When your body and lifestyle is going through a major overhaul, it is obvious that your clothes will need an upgrade too. We’re not just talking about it from a fashion point of view, regular clothes can restrict blood flow to the belly, which can cause an array of health problems. So make sure you’re constantly upgrading your wardrobe according to what stage you are at in your pregnancy.
Sunscreen should be part of your skin care staple even if you’re not pregnant! However, during pregnancy, your skin tends to be extra sensitive to sunlight, which leads to sunburn and chloasma, which are dark, blotchy spots that sometimes appear on the face. To avoid that, make sure you never step out of the house without slathering on a generous layer of SPF 30 or higher and reapply every two-three hours.
People will constantly keep hounding you about the new *natural* and *organic* pregnancy fads that you need to try, but there are also some things that you should avoid like the plague during your pregnancy. Here’s a list of things you should NOT consume while pregnant!
Consumption of alcohol is extremely dangerous for women just before and during their pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Drinking alcohol while pregnant increases the risk of your baby developing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which can cause abnormal facial features, severe learning disabilities, and behavioural issues. In fact, alcohol can have a severe effect on the fetus even during the earliest stages of a healthy pregnancy, when you might not even know that you’re pregnant. Hence, your best bet would be to avoid alcohol altogether the moment you decide you want to start a family.
Another habit that is terrible for your unborn child is smoking tobacco, as it increases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), premature births, miscarriages, and several other unhealthy outcomes. Try to avoid being around smokers as well, as even passive smoking has proven to be quite harmful to unborn babies.
This is easier said than done, but it is important to reduce any kind of stress from your life after you are pregnant. High level of stress can cause health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. When you're pregnant, this type of stress can increase the chances of having a premature baby or a low-birthweight baby. If you find yourself feeling stressed, develop a coping mechanism that can help you relax, like painting, taking a walk, dancing, going for a swim, talking to loved ones or simply taking a nap. If you find that you aren’t able to manage your stress levels, make sure you talk to a psychologist or a counsellor to seek professional help.
Raw or rare meats, liver, sushi, raw eggs (also in mayonnaise), soft cheeses (feta, brie), and unpasteurized milk should be cut out of your pregnancy diet. Raw and unpasteurized animal products can cause food poisoning. Some fish, even when cooked, can be high in mercury. Speak to your doctor in detail about specific changes in your diet and what should cut out.
If you consume a large amount of caffeine on a daily basis, you might consider drastically cutting down on your intake or completely switching to decaf. Too much caffeine may increase your risk of miscarriage, and some studies even suggest that large caffeine intake may contribute to your risk of having a low-weight baby. According to doctors, you should consume no more than 200mg of caffeine daily, and remember that this includes beverages other than coffee--like cola, energy drinks etc.
Is your mind still flooded with questions? We’ve got the answers for you!
It’s normal to be anxious about the state of your pregnancy and the health of your baby. To ensure that you and your baby are completely healthy, it’s best you consult a medical professional for a thorough check-up. However, the easiest way to tell if your pregnancy is healthy is by keeping track of your weight gain, blood pressure, levels of progesterone and oestrogen, normal growth of the belly and regular fetal movements.
Yes! According to experts, babies in the womb can sense their mothers' emotions. Emotions like stress and anxiety can increase particular hormones in your body, which can affect your baby's developing body and brain. If you find yourself dealing with unmanageable stress during your pregnancy, please seek help from a medical professional.
It’s best to avoid foods that are prone to giving people food poisoning and other diseases. In that case, it is best to avoid soft, unpasteurized cheeses, unpasteurized milk, juices, and apple cider, raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meats, fish (sushi), or shellfish and processed meats.
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