The Keys to Staying Healthy During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the endless supply of advice from the people around you can be overwhelming. You will hear people giving advice on what to eat, what not to eat, what to do, and what not to do to make your pregnancy easy and healthy.
The list of do's and don'ts may become overwhelming, but it's best to stick to them for the best results.
When you're pregnant, you need to be concerned about your nutritional needs and be as safe as possible. This is because your baby depends on you for sound health. So, your primary aim is to work on staying healthy until your baby arrives.
Eat for Two
Eating for two in this case means eating more nutrient dense foods. To keep your weight checked and healthy, ensure you're getting the required calories for each day. The recommended daily calories for most women is 300 or more for the last two trimesters of your pregnancy.
You can indulge in your cravings here and there, but you should be mindful of heavy portions. For instance, a half plate of vegetables and fruits and another half of whole grains is okay for consumption. You should choose healthy foods with nutrients that will help your baby grow. Go for healthy snacks like low-fat yogurt with fruit and whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese.
Avoid Unhealthy Foods
Unhealthy foods can be detrimental to your health and that of your baby. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, uncooked or raw foods, raw meats, soft cheeses, raw sprouts, prepared salads, deli meats, and unpasteurized milk and juices.
Some pregnant women are at risk of developing gestational diabetes, which results in high blood sugar. Therefore, monitoring the baby and engaging in a healthy diet and exercise is highly essential.
Use Prenatal Vitamin With Iodine, Folic Acid, and Iron
Prenatal vitamins contribute to a healthy pregnancy and baby. This is because your body needs iron and other prenatal vitamins that help your blood and your baby carry oxygen.
Folic acid also helps prevent serious congenital disabilities of the spinal cord and brain. Although, it shouldn't be used as a replacement for a healthy diet. To ensure that you get the required amount of minerals, you need to take prenatal vitamins regularly.
Pay Regular Visits to Your Doctor
Regular and early prenatal visits help you monitor your health and that of your baby. Healthy pregnancies require a monthly visit to your doctor during the first 28 weeks, two weeks interval visit from week 28-36, and weekly visits from 36 weeks to the point of birth.
Avoid Certain Self-Medicating
When you're pregnant, engaging in self-medication can be very dangerous. You shouldn't use any medication until you hear from your doctor. If you're experiencing any discomfort such as vomiting, severe headaches, dizziness, fever, or your baby suddenly stops moving as it used to, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Keep Up with Vaccinations
Regular vaccinations can protect you and your baby from harmful infections and diseases. The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends getting the flu and whooping cough vaccines during pregnancy. But, it would be best if you discussed these vaccines with your health provider.
You can also get the flu shot before or during your pregnancy and stay away from people who have shingles, chickenpox, and other viruses. Always wash your hands to prevent germs from spreading and avoid harmful activities and substances.
When you avoid harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol while pregnant, you'll be protecting your baby and yourself from some preventable health conditions. For instance, people who smoke are likely to give birth to babies who have low weight. They are also likely to develop major health conditions like heart disease and cancer. So, if you're pregnant, it's always best to stop smoking and alcohol consumption to prevent FASDs (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders).
Keep a Healthy Weight
When pregnant, always consult your doctor to know the right weight for you. According to the Institute of Medicine, the general guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy include:
- Gaining 25-30 pounds with your normal weight
- Gaining 28-40 pounds if you're underweight
- Gaining 15-25 pounds if you're overweight
- Gaining 11-20 pounds if you were obese
This weight gain should come gradually, and the most weight gain should occur in the last trimester. Ideally, your first-trimester weight gain should be between 2 to 4 pounds, while your second and third trimester's weight gain should be between 3 to 4 pounds every month.
But, if you observe that your rate of weight gain is too sudden, you need to cut down on foods with solid fats and added sugars. If you're not gaining enough weight, eat small bits from each food group to get the required nutrients every day.
During pregnancy, many people need water as there's a likelihood of developing bladder or tract infections, hemorrhoids, constipation, and excessive sweating. However, drinking enough water will help you stay hydrated and prevent you from contracting common ailments. Inadequate water intake can also result in early labor or premature birth.
The recommended daily consumption of fluids by the Institute of Medicine is ten cups of liquid every day. Tea, juices, soft drinks, water, and coffee are all part of the fluids you take.
When pregnant, you need to wear clothes that will make you comfortable. Anything contrary may lead to foot problems such as swollen feet, heel and arch pain, and swollen ankles. Choose comfortable clothes and shoes to prevent back and hip pain as well.
Engage in Light Exercise
Moderate light exercises are a great way to keep your mind, bones, and heart healthy and strong. These exercises include dancing, walking, bicycling, and swimming. Do not engage in exercises like gymnastics, skiing, and soccer as they could make you fall or get hit in the belly.
Drink lots of water during exercise, take breaks frequently, and do not exercise in severe humidity or heat. You can also try Kegel exercises as they help support and strengthen the vagina, urethra, and rectum.
Travel with Caution
Even though it's not always advisable to travel when you're pregnant, you may have to travel if it's very important. But, always talk to your doctor before making your traveling decisions.
Remember, lists such as these exist to give you and your baby the chance of health and happiness. Understandably, it can be frustrating with all the various nuisances. Still, the end result won't be something you regret because you did all that you could for a successful pregnancy, birth, and the many years ahead of you and your child.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.