9 tips for a healthy pregnancy
Being a new mom can be stressful and overwhelming, it's important to take care of yourself to take care of your baby. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right track:
- Get early prenatal care. This allows you to get screened for potential complications and conditions, and also work out a healthy pregnancy plan that is right for you. Once you are pregnant, make sure you to call your doctor if you are having any issues such as bleeding, lack of movement from your baby or dizziness.
- Take prenatal vitamins. Vitamins with B12, folic acid, calcium and iron are all important to provide the nutrients you and your baby need. Iron reduces the risk of anemia, which is common during pregnancies. Even before conceiving, it's a good idea to prepare your body with prenatal vitamins.
- Exercise to reduce stress and to keep you healthy. Exercise can vary from a simple walk in a cool area to prevent overheating or a pregnancy exercise class. Regular physical activity can help you feel better, sleep better, prepare your body for birth and help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight sooner. Talk with your physician about what exercises are safe for you.
- Wear comfortable shoes and put your feet up several times a day to prevent exhaustion and swelling of the feet, legs and ankles. The extra weight of pregnancy puts extra pressure on your feet. You might also retain fluids which can also cause feet and ankle swelling. Some expectant moms find they need a larger shoe size.
- Sleep at least eight hours a night. The high levels of pregnancy hormones in your body will make you tired. If you can, try getting a short nap during the day or put your feet up to relax for 30 minutes.
- Eat healthy fiber-filled foods, eat healthy snacks and drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. While it's ok to indulge in the odd craving, make sure to eat healthy and well-balanced meals. The nutrients from these foods help your developing baby get all substance it needs.
- Don't smoke or drink alcohol. Alcohol and tobacco can increase your baby's risk for problems such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Cut back on caffeine. Some studies have shown that too much caffeine can increase the risk of a miscarriage. Not only is soda, tea and coffee high in caffeine, but so is chocolate; so be aware of what you are eating. Healthcare providers suggest limiting caffeine to the equivalent of one 12-ounce cup of a coffee a day.
- Focus on your mental and emotional health. Pregnancy can make your emotions feel like a roller coaster. You may be busy preparing for the baby but not as busy as you will be once the baby is born. Use this time to relax and de-stress, which will also be good for your baby.