How to have a healthy pregnancy
Post on 29-Jul-2016
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How to Have a
How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy
Staying healthy while pregnant is important not only
for your physical and mental well being, but also for
your growing baby's. Health is a combination of a
number of making lifestyle changes, getting proper
nutrition, exercising regularly, and avoiding
unhealthy/dangerous activities. By making changes
to be the healthiest you possible, you'll significantly
improve the health of your future child.
1 Get regular prenatal care. The most important first
step in your pregnancy is choosing a prenatal care
physician, and seeing them on a regular basis.
Frequent and consistent appointments with an
OB/GYN, a family doctor or a certified midwife can
ensure both your safety and your growing childs
throughout the pregnancy process. Begin prenatal
care as soon as you know that youre pregnant, or
when you suspect you might be. You can start by
seeing your regular doctor, but will likely want to
transfer to a specialized prenatal care doctor as your
pregnancy progresses. So long as you are
undergoing a normal pregnancy (according to your
doctor), your scheduled prenatal appointments
should be along this timeline:
See your physician every four weeks until you are 28
See your physician every two weeks from the time
you are 28 weeks to 36 weeks pregnant
See your physician once a week (or more often, as
per your doctors instructions) after the 36th week of
2 Keep active by exercising regularly. Lugging
around extra belly weight, morning sickness, and
aching muscles can all combine to make exercise
sound incredibly unappealing. However, keeping
active while your pregnant will ensure not only your
health, but your babys as well. Regular exercise can
make delivery less difficult, make losing your baby
weight easier, aid in post-birth physical recovery,
and encourage healthy fetal growth. Aim to do thirty
minutes of low-impact exercise such as swimming,
riding a bicycle, lifting weights, and yoga a day.
Dont participate in any high-impact exercises
(workout classes, long runs) or contact sports
(soccer, football), as these put you at a high risk for
Always stretch before you exercise while pregnant; a
hormone called relaxin is released to prepare your
body for labor, but this can weaken your muscles
and joints. Without stretching, you increase your risk
for muscle or joint injury.
Avoid activities or stretches that require you to lie
down on your back, because this puts pressure on a
major vein that reduces blood flow to the uterus,
which may make you feel dizzy and lightheaded.
Overheating can be dangerous to your baby, so
make sure you always keep cool by having a fan
and cold water at the ready.[2
Get plenty of sleep. Not only are you eating for two,
youre resting for two as well. Getting lots of good
sleep while pregnant will give your body the time it
needs to help your growing baby, making you feel
better in the process. Aim for eight hours of sleep
minimum a night, and try to snatch a mid-afternoon
nap as well. Going to bed at a consistent time every
night (preferably before midnight) will also help to
regulate your sleep schedule, making your sleep
more restful and deep.
Sleeping on your left side is recommended for
pregnant women, as this relieves pressure from your
back and prevents a major vein connected to your
uterus from having the circulation cut off.
Waking up for a short (5-10 minute) walk in the
middle of the night may help to reduce or remove
any morning sickness you experience.
Dont take any sleeping pills while pregnant, unless
prescribed and approved by your doctor.
4 Take prenatal supplements. Although a daily
regimen of pills, supplements, and vitamins may be
difficult to keep track of, it can be incredibly helpful in
reducing the risk of a series of birth defects. To start,
women should consume prenatal vitamins
(advertised as such) in 600 micrograms per day after
becoming pregnant. Prenatal vitamins contain a
combination of high levels of folic acid and iron
among other things, both of which are responsible
for early development of the baby and reducing the
risk of complications and defects such as spina
bifida and premature birth. Talk to your doctor about
what supplements to take, but keep in mind that
most pregnant women need to consume extra:
Folic acid (folate) - between 400-600 micrograms
Iron - 30 milligrams daily
Calcium - 1200 milligrams daily
DHA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) - 200 milligrams
5 Keep an eye on your weight. Its true that you
should be gaining weight while pregnant, but the
amount you gain can have a big impact on both your
childs health and your own. Individual weight gain
will be dependent on your weight and BMI prior to
pregnancy, meaning that each woman will need to
gain a different amount to be in a healthy range. To
determine your ideal weight gain, start by calculating
your BMI. Then, use that and your weight to locate
yourself on the following weight gain chart:
Underweight women (BMI less than 18.5) should
gain 28-40 pounds.
Women at a healthy weight (BMI between 18.5-24.9)
should gain 25-35 pounds.
Overweight women (BMI between 25-29.9) should
gain 15-25 pounds.
Obese women (BMI higher than 30) should gain 11-
6 Visit your dentist regularly. Strange as it may
seem, dental care is particularly important during
pregnancy. This is because your body is producing
higher than normal levels of estrogen and
progesterone, both of which (in high levels) can be
responsible for causing gingivitis and gum disease,
leading to bleeding, gum sensitivity, and swollen
gums on a regular basis. You should try to visit your
dentist every 3-4 months while pregnant to make
sure youre keeping a healthy mouth. In between
visits, make sure that you brush and floss your teeth
1 Make sure youre eating enough. The phrase
eating for two conjures up images of vast platters of
food and multiple meals throughout the day. The
truth of the matter is though, that on average you
should only be consuming about 300 calories more
per child, per day. Therefore, if youre pregnant with
a single baby you should eat 300 extra calories, for
twins you should eat 600 extra calories, and for
triplets you should eat 900 extra calories per day.
These numbers will vary slightly depending on your
starting weight before pregnancy (see weight gain
list above), but will remain close to 300 calories.
The calories you consume should be healthy
calories - not those from junk food and fast food.
One of the primary goals of eating more is to
supplement your body and the child with the
vitamins and minerals necessary for development
(you cant get them all from supplements).
2 Do not diet while pregnant. Weight gain during
pregnancy is expected, so you are doing yourself
and your baby a disfavor by attempting to diet to
keep off weight. While you should avoid eating huge
amounts of food (beyond the extra 300 calories a
day), you should not cut down your eating at all, or
remove major meals or food groups from your
regular diet. Further, regular eating supplies your
body with vital vitamins and minerals you cant
receive elsewhere. Other than potentially dangerous
foods (listed below), do not cut out food from your
diet. This means that diets like paleo/atkins (no
carbs), juicing (no solid foods), and weight
watchers/nutrisystem (low calorie) should not be
started during your pregnancy unless prescribed by
a licensed medical doctor.
By depriving your body of nutrients through dieting,
your child may suffer from malnutrition and certain
Diets held for medical/religious/moral reasons can
be maintained in pregnancy.
Avoid trying to lose weight or maintain your pre-
pregnancy weight through food restriction, at any
point during your pregnancy.
Dont rely on prenatal vitamins and supplements
for all your nutrients. Taking prenatal vitamins is
important for supplying your body with the extra folic
acid, iron, and calcium you need. However, there are
lots of other nutrients and vitamins you can only get
through consumption in food, meaning that you cant
rely on supplements for your vitamins and continue
to eat junk food and unhealthy alternatives.
Supplements are intended to be just that - to
supplement you with the extras you many not be
able to consume enough of. This means you should
be eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and
protein every day.
If you eat fast food regularly, aim to cut down your
consumption to once or twice a week at the most.
Fast food is notoriously nutrient-deprived, filling you
with empty calories.
If youve got a strong craving for unhealthy foods
that lack vitamins, try eating something healthy first
(like a piece of fruit) and following it up with a small
bit of cheat food. This will help you transition away
from a diet of unhealthy junk food.
Dont exceed the recommended daily dosage of
prenatal supplements in an effort to reduce the
amount of food you need to eat.
4 Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables high in
vitamin C. The recommended amount of vitamin C
for pregnant women is 70mg per day. However, it is
best to get this from natural foods rather than pills
and supplements. You can get lots of vitamin C from
citrus fruits, papaya, strawberries, broccoli,
cauliflower, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and red
peppers (among other foods). Aim to eat 3-4
servings of these foods per day.
Consume more protein. Eating protein is always
important, but when youre pregnant you should aim
to eat 2-3 servings of protein a day. Protein is
primarily responsible for blood production and cell
growth, both your own and your babys. Great
sources of healthy proteins include eggs, Greek
yogurt, legumes (beans), tofu, peanut butter, and
6 Get plenty of calcium. Calcium is vital to pregnant
women, and many dont get nearly as much as they
need. Although there is normally some calcium in
prenatal supplements, you should try to consume an
additional 1000 milligrams of calcium per day. Great
sources of calcium include yogurt, hard cheeses,
milk, and spinach. By consuming more calcium,
youll be aiding in your childs bone and nerve
Vitamin D is important to consume as well, as it is
required for your body to absorb calcium. It is found
in most of the same foods as calcium is, as well as
in cereals and breads.
7 Eat foods that contain folic acid. Yes, youll be
getting folic acid in a prenatal supplement. However,
you should try to eat folic acid that occurs naturally
in foods for the best results. Folic acid is responsible
for enzyme functioning and blood production in your
baby. Foods that contain folic acid include kale,
chard, spinach, squash, beans, nuts, and peas. All
of these foods contain other helpful nutrients, so try
to eat 1-2 servings of them per day.
Make sure you get enough iron. Iron is used in the
body for blood cell production, both in your own
body and your developing childs. Most prenatal
supplements contain iron, but as per most nutrients,
it is best that you consume iron in a natural form
from food rather than a supplement. Foods that
contain high levels of iron include red meats,
spinach, and iron-fortified whole grains (like certain
breads and cereals). Get at least one serving of
these iron-filled foods per day.
1 Never drink alcohol while pregnant. Alcohol is a
big no-no for pregnant women, as its consumption is
responsible for an array of birth defects and
complications. Drinking alcohol significantly
increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, makes
it more likely that your child will have developmental
disabilities later in life, and runs your baby the risk of
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Cut alcohol out of
your diet completely while pregnant, to avoid risking
these complications. If necessary, seek help from a
therapist specialized in drug and alcohol use.
If you happened to consume alcohol prior to
knowledge of your pregnancy, dont fret - so long as
you cease your drinking habits, it is unlikely youll
experience alcohol-related complications.
Non-alcoholic beer and wine do actually contain a
small amount of alcohol, making them inappropriate
substitutes for regular beer and wine.
2 Avoid smoking. Its generally recommended that
smoking of any sort be avoided, as it is very
damaging to the lungs. This is especially true for
pregnant women, because whatever you smoke,
your baby smokes as well. Nicotine and tobacco in
the blood stream is absorbed by the child, increasing
the likelihood of stillbirth, miscarriage, and a low birth
weight. Some studies have also shown that babies
whose mothers smoked while pregnant, grow up to
be chronic smokers themselves. Cut out all smoking
in your life, including cigarettes, e-cigs, cigars, and
3 Stay away from all illicit drugs. Drugs of any sort -
particularly street drugs - are incredibly dangerous
for a developing child. Recreational drugs almost
guarantee your child will suffer from a birth defect or
complication, because they have such a significant
impact on your body and brain function, and
therefore your childs. Further, mothers who are
addicted to drugs and continue to use them while
pregnant can actually pass on their addiction to their
child. The newborn baby is then addicted to drugs,
and suffers withdrawal symptoms just like an adult
does. If youre a user of recreational drugs or are
addicted, get help from a psychologist or group
therapy, to protect the health of your growing baby.
When at all possible, maintain a drug-free lifestyle
beyond the birth of your child for your own health.
4 Dont spend time in hot tubs, saunas, or steam
rooms. Raising your body temperature too high can
be dangerous for your offspring, as studies have
correlated high body temperature to developmental
complications and birth defects. While warm
showers and baths are fine, spending extended
periods of time in very hot environments can cause
serious problems, especially in the first trimester.
Avoid any environment where the temperature is
above 101 F (38 C), and if you absolutely must be
in such an environment, limit your time spent there
to less than ten minutes.
5 Cut out caffeine from your diet. Although coffee,
tea, and soda may be favorite drinks, if they contain
caffeine they can be harmful to your little one.
Studies have shown that caffeine consumption while
pregnant is linked to higher rates of miscarriage and
birth complications. It is best to cut out caffeine from
your lifestyle altogether, but some doctors believe up
to 200 milligrams (equal to one 10oz cup of coffee)
per day is safe....