Pregnancy is a life-altering experience. From the moment you find out you’re going to a mom to the day you deliver the baby, it indeed is a rollercoaster. Morning sickness, nausea, body aches, anxiety, and whatnot – your body goes through so much. Substantial research has been conducted to understand the miracle of pregnancy. We won’t deny that the old wives’ tales are still widely believed, but they’re just unauthentic and do not necessarily hold true for everyone. But at the end of the day, we all wish for a smooth, safe, and healthy pregnancy.
As an expectant mother, your overall health has a great impact on your pregnancy. Some researchers strongly believe that the mother’s health before conception defines how her pregnancy will be. While this may be true, we have some good news for you. During these nine months, you can make changes to your lifestyle to make sure you stay happy and healthy throughout. By opting for healthy lifestyle choices, you can make sure your unborn baby gets all the right nutrition needed to develop perfectly. In this article, we’ve listed down some tips for expectant mothers to adopt (the partners can make sure the moms do so!) for a healthy pregnancy.
Choosing the Right Healthcare Provider
It is extremely important to choose the right healthcare provider and have prenatal checkups regularly. There are midwives, doctors, and family nurse practitioners. Lately, there has been an inclination amongst expectant mothers towards choosing an FNP. Thus, the University of Texas Arlington is offering a Master’s of Science in Nursing to registered nurses who wish to progress in their careers. This program equips nurses to specialize in primary care as the UTA FNP Master’s program meets IOM recommendations. They learn about prenatal and postnatal care of the mothers as well as learn about neonatal care, etc., through evidence-based learning models and clinical experiences, so they know what the best practices are for mothers during pregnancy. Therefore, instead of relying upon the internet or the old wives’ tales, visiting the right practitioner will make your pregnancy easier and healthier.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
Your healthcare provider will not only examine you and the baby’s growth throughout the pregnancy but will also give prenatal vitamins based on what the phase of the pregnancy requires. In the first trimester, the nervous system develops as well as the heart. Folic acid is vital for the development of neural tube and helps prevent birth defects. Similarly, you need iron to boost the oxygen supply in the blood for you and your baby. Opting for a healthy diet enriched with the right vitamins and minerals is the key here, but it is always best to take these supplements to ensure the vitamins reach the needed levels.
Switch to a healthy diet
Remember, you are eating for yourself as well as your baby. So we’d recommend eating for two. It can be hard for women experiencing nausea or excessive vomiting but eating healthy and consuming the right amount of calories is very important. Some women experience weird cravings, and it is okay to cave in to them. But always watch your plate and make sure you eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and protein snickers, so your baby gets the right nutrients.
On the other hand, some items are a big NO! Avoid consuming high amounts of caffeine. You should also skip eating raw or uncooked foods. Some women are at an heightened risk of gestational diabetes, so it’s always good to avoid processed and added sugar.
Avoid Harmful Substances
Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs can have harmful effects on your unborn child. This is because the baby cannot process these substances as well as you can. Since they are still in the developmental phase, their growth gets adversely affected. Consumption of these substances can cause miscarriages or many developmental defects. Unlike caffeine, there are no known safe amounts of these substances. Hence, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Take all precautions
It is always best to discuss the prevention of communicable diseases with your healthcare provider. You certainly do not wish to get unwell during this period as it can affect the baby’s growth and your health. Getting the flu and cough shot during pregnancy is always a good idea. Similarly, avoid visiting people who have chickenpox, shingles, and other viruses. Always wash your hands, especially after visiting your healthcare provider.
Dehydration during pregnancy reduces the amount of amniotic fluid. Lower fluid volume hinders the baby’s growth and development and can lead to preterm labor. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women must consume at least 10 cups of fluids daily. Staying hydrated can also protect you from developing hemorrhoids, UTIs, or other bladder infections that are very common during pregnancy.
We’d recommend setting a reminder on your phones to drink water if you have a very demanding routine and normally forget.
Unless advised otherwise, it is always best to stay active throughout pregnancy. Due to weight gain, especially around the belly by the last trimester, you will experience body aches and muscle stiffness. Staying active till the end can ensure your muscles stay relaxed. It is also the right way of preparing your body for labor. Try light Kegel exercises or prenatal Pilates to stay active and mobile.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend doing at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. You can slowly increase it weekly, starting with 5 minutes daily. You can also just walk, especially in the last month, as it is known to help progress labor.
Relax as much as possible
Yes, pregnancy is exciting but can be scary too. Thinking about labor and parenting can cause anxiety and stress, which can cause preterm labor or low-birth-weight baby. So it is important to stay relaxed and worry-free. You must avoid stressful situations, and there is no harm in asking for help. It is also very important that you get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Make sure your sleeping position is optimal. You can purchase the right maternity pillow to aid your position. Similarly, watch out for cues and signs that your body is giving. Don’t overtire yourself and rest when you feel tired. Another thing that can help you relax and enjoy your time when checking your due date is pregnancy calculators, it’s easy to use and saves time and effort in that area.
Being prepared and ready also helps with curbing anxiety. We’d recommend shopping for the baby during the second trimester. That is when your spirits are usually high and nausea from the first trimester wears off. You can also pack all the things you’d be needing during your hospital stay well before you start week 36 of your pregnancy. You can also discuss all the options with your partner before and plan out every detail so that you feel prepared.
We do not recommend looking up gruesome details of birthing on the internet. You must steer clear of that area and just practice deep breathing to stay calm.
A few changes here and there can help you ensure that this magical period stays exciting and fun for you and your partner before you start the adventure of parenting. Prioritizing yourself in this time is the best you can do for yourself and your unborn child. Staying healthy and active during these nine months can protect you from many postnatal problems. It will also protect your child from birth defects that can adversely affect their life ahead. We’re all rooting for you. You’ve got this!