There is so much advice out there on how to look after your new baby, but first, you must take care of yourself and your unborn baby. The following helpful tips will put you on the right track and help you have a healthy pregnancy.
How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy
Plan the Right Time to Get Pregnant
If you can, choose to get pregnant when you know you are as healthy as you possibly can be. Make sure you are not going into a stressful period, such as a new job or promotion.
Important Things to Remember
If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you probably already know the first thing to do – don’t smoke or be around second-hand smoke. Don’t drink alcohol or use any other dangerous substances.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy and breastfeeding increases the risk of having a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD can cause learning disabilities, abnormal facial features, and behavioral issues. Make sure you cut down on your caffeine intake as well, as caffeine has been linked to a higher instance of miscarriage.
Take Prenatal Supplements
Start taking prenatal vitamins during early pregnancy. You should be taking supplements as soon as you learn about your pregnancy or even in the planning stages of your pregnancy when you are trying to conceive. The reason for this is that your baby’s neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops within the first month of pregnancy.
It is important that pregnant women get essential nutrients, like folic acid, calcium, and iron from the very start. If taking prenatal supplements makes you feel nauseous, try taking them at night or with a light snack. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy after taking your vitamins can help too.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
It is fine to occasionally give in to your food cravings during pregnancy although healthy foods are recommended. It is important to keep in mind that you typically only need an additional 300 calories per day. Make sure you are eating enough protein and getting enough calcium in your diet. Make sure you are also eating plenty of colorful fruit and vegetables.
Food to Avoid
Avoid deli meats and sushi to prevent getting bacteria into your system. Some fish, even when cooked, can be harmful to a growing baby, because of the high mercury content. Liver, raw eggs, soft cheeses (feta, brie), and unpasteurized milk should also be avoided.
Don’t forget to drink enough water as your body needs more water while pregnant. It is recommended that you drink at least 8 cups of water a day during pregnancy.
Women who don’t get regular prenatal checkups are much more likely to have a baby with low birth weight and other complications. If possible, join a prenatal care group.
Listen to Your Body
The first and third trimesters are known for being a period of fatigue – your body is telling you to take it easy. Listen to what your body is telling you by taking small breaks to sit and read or take a nap.
Staying active can help you stay healthy during pregnancy. To be safe, check with your doctor and discuss how much physical activity is right for you.
Get a Flu Shot
The flu can make a pregnant woman very sick and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. It can even benefit you and your baby after the birth too.
Limit Your Exposure
Take the necessary steps to protect your baby against chemicals and other substances known to cause birth defects. It is also important to use non-toxic household cleaning products throughout your pregnancy to limit your risk of exposure.
Your skin is more susceptible to sunburn and chloasma (dark blotchy spots on the face) when pregnant. Apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher, and avoid tanning beds.
Know When to Call the Doctor
If you have any of the following symptoms it is recommended to talk with your doctor:
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
- Contractions that are 20 minutes or less apart
- Any kind of pain or strong cramps
- Heart palpitations
- Fainting or dizziness
- Decreased activity of the baby
- Shortness of breath
By reading and researching everything there is to know, you’ll enjoy a relaxed and happy pregnancy.
Additional Reading: You’re pregnant: Now what?
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.