Pregnancy comes with a lot of joy. The knowledge that you are bringing life into this world is something to be celebrated.
Most mothers are normally anxious when they get pregnant (which is to be expected because you are now responsible for another human being) and wonder how best they can adjust their lifestyle to ensure they have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Here are some lifestyle tips you can practice when pregnant to reduce the risk of complications and help you to have a successful pregnancy journey.
We all need to maintain a healthy diet at all stages of our lives. However, this is particularly important if you are pregnant because you will be giving your baby the vital nutrients they require for healthy growth while still in the womb. Also, you’ll feel good when you eat healthy meals.
It is essential to ensure that the foods you eat provide you with the following nutrients.
- Protein: You need to consume protein when pregnant. This is because protein is vital in enabling your baby’s vital organs (like the heart and brain) to develop. You can get proteins from foods such as eggs, poultry, sausages, fish, nuts, burgers, and meat. Although these foods are recommended, it is crucial to prepare them healthily. For example, ensure that your meat is thoroughly cooked and has no red juices flowing from it. Also, use very little oil when preparing poultry. As much as red meat is allowed, try to stay away from the liver because it has too much Vitamin A which is harmful to the baby. Taking in protein every day will help your baby to develop properly.
- Calcium: Dairy products provide you and the baby with calcium. Calcium is important in making our teeth and bones strong which is something the two of you can benefit from. When you have calcium in your body, your systems (muscular, nervous and circulatory) operate well. Around 3 to 4 servings daily will give you the amount of calcium your body needs. Some of the dairy products you can consume include yogurt, cheese, and milk. These also provide you with vitamin D and protein.
- Vitamins and Fiber: Fruits and vegetables should be your friend when you’re pregnant because of the many benefits they possess. For example, they contain vitamins. They also have fiber which will make digestion easier and protect you from constipation. You can consume your fruits and vegetables while fresh, in juice form, or even frozen. The important thing is to ensure they are very clean before eating them. If you choose to cook your vegetables, don’t leave them on the heat for a long time because they will lose the nutrients in them. Whole grains are also a great source of fiber, vitamins, and iron. Therefore, adding oatmeal, brown rice, and bread is great for you and your unborn baby.
- Iron: If you’re pregnant, you need iron. There’s no way around it. Iron helps our bodies to produce hemoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen to the tissues in the body. When you are pregnant, you require more iron than the average person so both you and the baby can have enough oxygen supply. Insufficient iron can expose you to iron deficiency anemia. You might then start feeling tired most of the time. The deficiency also increases your risk of giving birth prematurely, giving birth to a baby who’s underweight or having postpartum depression, which is not good. Therefore, get your iron from poultry, meat, peas, and cereal among others. Please make sure that the cereal has iron. Studies show that taking in Vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron better so you can consider that too.
- Supplements: There are so many nutrients and minerals you need when pregnant and you may not get all of them or the right amounts from foods. That’s why you need supplements. It’s best to get the green light from your doctor before starting on supplements particularly if you are suffering from a chronic health condition or if you are considering the herbal ones because some of them do more harm than good. Prenatal vitamins are a great example of supplements you can benefit from because they can give you more nutrients like folic acid and iron. Some of the foods you should stay away from raw meat, fish contains too much mercury, caffeine (take it in small quantities), and unpasteurized food.
When you are pregnant, you may want to lie down all the time, but that’s not healthy. You need to stay active and that’s why you should exercise. This will lower your stress levels, get your body ready for childbirth, improve your mood, relieve you of back pain, regulate your weight and get rid of insomnia.
As essential as exercise is, don’t overdo it. 30 minutes or less is enough a day and don’t make it too vigorous. Activities like swimming, yoga, squatting, or walking are perfect for pregnant women because they help to work the muscles of the body without being too strenuous.
As you get nearer to the delivery date, you can incorporate pelvic floor exercises. These will help to relieve your pelvic floor muscles from pressure and also make your bladder stronger, even after birth.
The most important things are to take note of how your body feels and to consult your doctor if you’re not sure of anything.
|Read also: Fitness Tips for Pregnant Women: How to Stay Healthy and Sportive|
3. Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Drugs
You should stay away from alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs when pregnant. There’s no other way to say it.
Research indicates that alcohol can get to the baby through the umbilical cord because that’s how the baby feeds. Can you imagine your baby ingesting alcohol when they’re not even fully-formed? That’s dangerous. Your baby may be born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) if you continue to take alcohol even as your pregnancy progress.
This can result in problems in the child’s central nervous system, and he or she could also become underweight. Apart from that, you can miscarry, go into early labor, or have a stillbirth.
Smoking increases the risks of vaginal bleeding, premature delivery, and ectopic pregnancy, among others. It also increases the chances of giving birth to underweight babies and this has been linked to sickness and death during the initial weeks.
The same applies to when you take cocaine or heroin so please avoid recreational drugs too.
Many women are normally conflicted when it comes to sex during pregnancy. Some say it’s okay to continue having it while others are afraid it may harm the baby.
It is safe to have sex when pregnant; let’s just get that out of the way. However, there are exceptions if you are experiencing heavy bleeding or if your water has already broken.
The water acts as a protective barrier to prevent the child from having infections so when it’s not there, you don’t want to risk exposing your child to infections.
It is normal to find it difficult to have sex in some positions as your pregnancy grows. This is a fun time to experiment and find what’s comfortable.
|See also: 10 Fertility Diet Tips to Help You Get Pregnant|
5. Contact with animals
You may be upset to hear that your favorite cat could transmit harmful bacteria to you, but it’s true. The bacteria could harm your unborn child.
If you are living with other people in the house, you can ask them to take care of the cat for the duration of your pregnancy. If you have to do it yourself, then you can put on gloves.
The same applies to farm animals like sheep, cows, lamb, and goat, particularly if they have just given birth because some of them are born with chlamydia, toxoplasmosis, and listeriosis causing germs.
6. Prenatal care
Going for prenatal care checkups is the best way to know whether everything is okay with you and the baby. Your doctor will be able to monitor you and know in time if something is wrong.
Also, this is the time to get answers from your doctor regarding any concerns you may have.
Life doesn’t stop when you get pregnant so you may find yourself with some traveling plans. What you need to know is that you can travel when pregnant, just ensure you stay safe.
For example, always wear your seatbelt which is something everyone should do, but with pregnancy comes extra care. Another thing you can do is put the straps on top of your bump and not anywhere across as other people do.
When traveling, it’s safe to be in a place where you can get medical assistance in case you need it. This is particularly during the first or last weeks of your pregnancy.
The idea of getting vaccinated before traveling sounds good, but always consult your doctor because not all of them are good for you.
Your destination also matters. It is advisable to avoid going to places where diseases or viruses that are fatal to pregnant women are rampant. Examples include malaria and the Zika virus.
8. Have fun
Yes, there are lots of guidelines to follow when pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. This is a happy time so you should be happy. Take those walks on the beach you’ve always wanted, put on your beautiful maternity dresses and dance to your favorite songs.
When you are pregnant, you have someone else to think of apart from yourself. This tiny human being inside of you cannot make any decisions.
It is, therefore, up to know to make good lifestyle choices that will ensure they grow and develop as they should and come out as healthy as possible.
This article guides you on what to do to increase the chances of enjoying a successful pregnancy and delivery journey.
About The Author:
Heman Thuranira is a competent SEO content writer who specializes in offering blog writing, ghostwriting, and copywriting services. He takes pride in providing SEO optimized, engaging, and high-quality digital marketing content to both B2B and B2C businesses.