You want to give birth to a healthy baby, and that means making lifestyle changes while you’re pregnant. Perhaps you know you shouldn’t sip a martini right now, but what other guidelines should you follow?
Much of the advice espoused for mothers-to-be to stay healthy also promotes positive health outcomes even when you don’t have a baby on board. Getting into the habit now can lead to lifelong improvements in your total well-being.
- Talk to Your OB-GYN
Your OB-GYN should be your first stop for your pregnancy-related health questions. Hopefully, they’re familiar with your history, but if not, take the time to discuss any conditions that may cause complications.
If you didn’t see your doctor in the weeks before conception, you’ll probably schedule your first prenatal visit approximately eight weeks after your last menstrual period. They should ask about any medications you take and your history of miscarriages or abortions. If they determine you are taking anything that could potentially harm the fetus, they’ll discuss alternatives with you.
- See Your Dentist
Oral inflammation increases a woman’s risk for premature birth, which can have severe health consequences for your baby. However, 56% of women didn’t visit their dentist during pregnancy. Pregnancy creates changes in the mouth that can increase your risk of infection, so it’s critical to see your dentist during this time.
When you get to the chair, let your provider know you are pregnant. They can help allay any fears and recommend which procedures to undergo. It’s safe to have routine cleanings and many dental procedures while pregnant. Your provider can advise you on X-rays and the like.
- Combat Morning Sickness
Morning sickness can make your first trimester miserable — especially if it lasts all day. Talk to your doctor if you can’t keep anything down or lose significant amounts of weight. Otherwise, try these techniques to calm your tummy:
Choose foods carefully: Fatty or overly spicy foods can increase intestinal upset. Find foods that contain ginger, as the root herb naturally calms an upset stomach.
Snack often: You might get nauseous if you eat a hearty meal at one sitting. Instead, nibble on healthy snacks, like multigrain crackers, throughout the day.
Take prenatal vitamins with a meal: Vitamins on an empty stomach can cause vomiting. Taking them with food keeps too much from flooding your system at once.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Even though you take your prenatal, your baby needs a host of vitamins and minerals to grow. Plus, research indicates that what you eat while pregnant influences your baby’s future tastes. If you don’t want them begging for happy meals as toddlers, don’t live on at the drive-thru while you’re expecting. Instead, fill half your plate with colorful fruits and veggies at every meal. This practice helps you get a full array of phytonutrients to promote your developing infant’s health.
- Get Some Exercise
Some pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia contradict exercise, but most pregnant women benefit from regular activity. If your OB-GYN clears you, go ahead and continue your usual fitness routine — but dial it down a notch. Listen to your body. If you’re a runner, for example, your shifting center of gravity can cause backaches and even falls. Slow down and consider using a run-walk-run method until after you give birth.
- Lean on Your Support System
When you feel stressed, hormones like cortisol flood your bloodstream — and your baby’s. Maternal stress is associated with increased rates of infant mortality, so you’re benefiting your fetus by keeping your tension tamed.
Lean on your support system. Let your significant other do the dishes when you’re exhausted. If you have other children, let your parents sit them for a night while you relax.
- Get Adequate Rest
Your body needs to rest more than usual so your baby can grow and develop. You now have the perfect excuse to take a nap. Fully 51% of pregnant women report napping during the week, so go ahead and catch your Zs.
Make your bedroom conducive to slumber. If you use a cellphone as an alarm, invest in a regular model. Electronic devices provide temptation to check them if you awaken during the night, and the blue light from your screen can make returning to sleep difficult.
Enjoy a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy
You can enjoy a healthy, vibrant pregnancy by making positive lifestyle changes. By the time your new family member arrives, you’ll look and feel fantastic.