What should I do for a healthy pregnancy?
It is very important to take care of your lifestyle and health if you want a healthy pregnancy. Although it’s important to be fit in every phase of your life, health becomes of prime importance during pregnancy. This is because you have to now lookout for one more person. These nine months have to be completed with a thorough understanding of healthy choices in terms of diet and health.
The way you take care of yourself during pregnancy will determine your child’s future. Your future baby’s health depends on the attention you give to your food and lifestyle during pregnancy. Here are some guidelines that you should follow for a healthy pregnancy.
1. Prenatal care
Prenatal care is considered the cornerstone for a healthy pregnancy. It is important that you meet the doctor soon after you realize you are pregnant. If the doctor confirms that there are no risk factors involved for you then you should continue with regular monthly checkups. Pregnant women usually go to the doctor once a month during the first 7 months of pregnancy. In the third trimester, you should increase your visits. Women who have high-risk pregnancies need to visit their doctor almost twice every week.
During these visits, the doctor can track your child’s growth can identify any problem, and can advise you on how to stay healthy. You can prevent complications and you can be sure you have a healthy baby through prenatal medical examinations. During each visit, your doctor will check your blood pressure, growth will keep track of your weight will recommend a urine test for diabetes and infections, blood tests for anemia, STDs, and kidney problems. The doctor will also track by measuring the parental uterus, abdomen and hearing the fetal heart examination.
2. Nutrition and healthy eating habits
Good nutrition and healthy eating habits are also very necessary for healthy conception. A healthy diet is vital for a healthy pregnancy. It’s the best thing you can do for your child’s proper development. It will also be stronger and ready for labor, birth, and breastfeeding. Your doctor will be able to specify the exact amount of calories you need to intake although generally, a pregnant woman needs to consume extra 200-300 calories in a day. Also it is even more important that these calories are gained through intake of healthy food.
Please understand you cannot make ‘eating for two’ an excuse for eating unhealthy junk food high in fat and filled with sugar. Your diet should be moderate and should include fruits and vegetables. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Also, eat many times daily in small amounts. Limit your intake of sweets. Do not try to lose weight: it could be harmful. Expect to gain 7-15 Kg weight during pregnancy. Take vitamins and iron supplements to prevent anemia.
Try to stay away from anything that could negatively affect your baby. Avoid smoking, alcohol, or drugs. This can cause premature birth or cause physical or mental problems for your child since she is in the womb. Keep away from risky foods such as deli meat and sushi.
3. Vitamins and Minerals
You should consume recommended vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. This will make you feel good and smoothen the pregnancy process. It is also very beneficial to have iron as many pregnant women generally lack it. Vitamin B9 or folic acid is considered a vital element during pregnancy reduces the risk that the baby had trouble with incomplete development of the brain or other neural tube problems.
Doctors recommend taking folic acid starting at least a month before getting pregnant, as it prevents dangerous diseases for the baby such as ‘spina bifida’, a congenital defect involving incomplete development of the neural tube or bones they cover. This disease can occur in the first month of pregnancy, folic acid remains the simplest solution to prevent such problems.
Instead of relying on supplements entirely, it is always most effective to consume vitamins and minerals through your food. Overcooking vegetables should be avoided as the vitamins & minerals in them get diminished.
4. Keep your body hydrated
Keeping your body well hydrated goes a long way for a healthy pregnancy. Keep yourself hydrated and drink enough fluids, especially during the summer months. You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep yourself hydrated. Avoid carbonated drinks that contain caffeine or artificial flavors and choose what is natural, such as fresh juices, soups, or milk.
5. Exercise and sports
Working out will prepare your body for childbirth. Exercise helps increase blood flow this, in turn, prevents the gaining of unwanted weight. Exercise will give you the energy and stamina needed to cope with the extra weight you will gain during pregnancy, body changes, and stress during labor and birth. Also, by practicing sport regularly, you will be able to return to its original shape much faster after pregnancy.
A recent study has shown that if you practice sport or exercise regularly, it will help you easily get rid of depression during pregnancy or postpartum. Even if you will not be able to practice sport with the same intensity as before pregnancy, you can go for lighter options such as swimming, aerobics or yoga. Before starting any activity, consult with your doctor to find out if your health allows you the activity.
By following the above-mentioned simple guidelines you can easily make pregnancy a happy experience.