Pregnancy is a time when self-care becomes one of the most important things. It is important for a mom-to-be to take especial care of herself because she is responsible not just for herself but also for the little one inside her. Here are a few tips to having a healthy pregnancy:
1. Watch Your Weight
Although a pregnant woman is eating for two, she needs to be watchful about how much weight she is gaining. Putting on too much weight can make it difficult for the mother to lose weight later on. Not gaining enough weight can put the baby at the risk for a low-weight birth which can cause developmental problems. Check frequently with your doctor to see if you are gaining enough weight.
2. Eat Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are necessary for the normal growth of your baby. Consult your gynecologist and start taking them as early as you find out about your pregnancy. Some doctors advise that the mom-to-be starts prenatal vitamins when she starts planning her pregnancy.
3. Avoid Heavy Chores
Avoid lifting heavy objects and avoid doing chores that require you to bend over low. Additionally do not climb ladders and step-stools.
4. Avoid Cat Litter and Chemicals
If you have pets then avoid changing their litter as it can cause a disease called toxoplasmosis. Taxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that cats carry. Also avoid using any harsh chemicals as fumes from such chemicals can cause developmental issues in your baby.
5. Attend Childbirth Classes
Attending childbirth classes helps you prepare for the delivery. It’s a good time to ask any questions that may arise in your mind as well as to address any apprehensions and concerns that you may have.
6. Share your Family History with Your Doctor
Make it a point to share your family history with your doctor such as any incidences of birth defects within the family. Also share any problems that you may have had in previous pregnancies or miscarriages.
7. Wear comfortable Shoes
During pregnancy the feet and ankles might swell up. This could cause your shoe size to go up a notch. You might need to invest in comfortable shoes that are a size or two larger than your usual size.
8. Take Care of Your Habits
Don’t drink and do not smoke. Also avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke.
Do some light exercises such as stretches and breathing exercises. Avoid doing any heavy exercise that may be too strenuous and risky. In case your pregnancy is complicated, do consult your doctor with regards to any exercises you are doing.
10. Eat Folate-Rich Foods
Folic acid helps in the proper development of the neural tube that covers the spine. Pregnant women are advised to eat lots of asparagus, oranges, orange juice, lentils and fortified cereals.
11. Cut Down on Caffeine
Consuming a lot of coffee can have a negative impact on the health of both the mother and the baby so it is best to stop having coffee every morning and switch to a healthier option such as a glass of milk.
12. Eat lots of fresh fruits
The natural sugars in fresh fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas etc. all help to boost your energy levels during pregnancy. Eating fruits as a morning snack is especially advisable as it gives the mom-to-be an energetic start to the day.
13. Eat Fish
Research shows that eating about 12 ounces of fish per week is good for pregnant mothers as it improves the IQ of the child and is good for the child’s motor and communication skills. Fish is high in omega 3s, which is necessary for brain development. However, it is important that the mom to be avoids eating fish that has mercury, such as swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tile-fish, because mercury is toxic for both adults and babies. It is safe for pregnant mothers to eat canned tuna, salmon, catfish, Pollack and shrimp.
14. Do take a flight but be cautious
It is okay for an expectant mother to tale a flight between 14-28 weeks of pregnancy. However, it is important that the mother-to-be gets the green signal from her doctor first. Once you have confirmed with your doctor that it is okay for you to travel, then do check with the airline in case they have any restrictions for pregnant women. When on the flight, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, and every once in a while take a small walk down the aisle to prevent blood clots. Sit near the aisle so its easier for you to move around.
15. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you aren’t feeling well
A mom-to-be might be panicking every now and then and it could also be a false alarm but here are some signs that tell you that you must call your doctor:
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble walking
- Edema(swelling of joints)
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
- Contractions with 20-minute intervals
- Strong cramps
- Constant nausea and/or vomiting
- Heart Palpitations
- Decreased activity by the baby
16. Pamper Yourself
A pregnant woman has got to pamper herself because once the baby is born life gets so busy that you have no time for yourself. So make the most of your time as a pregnant woman and take a break to get a massage or a manicure or maybe spend an evening out with your friends, go and watch a movie or simply spend some quiet time with yourself at home. Take a warm bath, call it an early night and get some quality sleep.
Pregnancy is a tough time for the expecting mom but it is very rewarding as after 9 months of being careful, cautious and eating healthy you are rewarded with the birth of your very own bundle of joy. During those 9 months though it is advisable to follow the doctor’s instructions word for word and to have a healthy daily routine involving light exercise and the right foods as suggested in the tips above.