Approaching a new pregnancy is exciting. Throughout the next nine months, you’ll undergo an incredibly transformative experience that is sure to change your life forever. As you go through every step of your pregnancy, you must make sure to do everything possible to stay healthy and ensure that your growing child does the same.
The Healthiest Pregnancy Tips
Whether you’re a first-time mom or a seasoned parent, no two pregnancies are ever exactly the same. To make sure you and your baby are as healthy as possible during this pregnancy, consider the following pregnancy tips:
1. Adjust to a Better Sleeping Position
As you go through your pregnancy, your body will start to adjust to all the new changes.
Getting comfortable enough to sleep properly is a priority. If you usually sleep on your back, this position can put stress on the baby and your body during pregnancy. Similarly, this position can also make breathing uncomfortable.
Any other position that keeps you off your back or stomach should be safe during your first trimester. However, as you approach your third trimester, switch to sleeping solely on the left side. This will keep your spine straight and ensure that your baby is receiving essential nutrients and blood flow.
2. Practice Prenatal Exercises
Exercise is essential to a healthy pregnancy. While you may question how safe it is to exercise during pregnancy, getting your blood flowing to support your fitness will boost your mood, improve circulation, control your weight, and help you rest well at night.
Moreover, regular exercise during a healthy pregnancy will help you build your endurance for the birthing process. As such, try to perform 30 minutes or more of walking, yoga, or Pilates every day.
3. Create Your Birthing Plan
While it’s true that every aspect of your pregnancy won’t go according to plan, having a birth plan ready to go will help to put you at ease. Planning out as much as you can in advance will make the entire birthing process less stressful.
When creating your birth plan, keep the following things in mind:
- Who should be present at the birth
- Procedures to avoid
- Ideal labor and delivery positions
- The clothing you’d prefer to wear during the labor and delivery process
- Your pregnancy playlist
- What pain medications you’d prefer
- A contingency plan for complications
4. Practice Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises serve to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These exercises support your bowels, vagina, uterus, and bladder. Additionally, regularly doing Kegel exercises will help you avoid hemorrhoids and may speed up healing after childbirth.
5. Track Your Weight Throughout Your Pregnancy
Though many pregnant women believe they are eating for two, the average woman only needs 300 calories more than what she was consuming before getting pregnant.
In order to stay on top of your weight gain, it is important to keep track of where your calories are coming from and how much weight you are gaining. At the same time, when you are pregnant, it is not the time to diet or try to lose weight. Make sure your body is getting enough nutrients to support yourself and the new life growing within you.
6. Upgrade Your Shoes
Whether or not you’re on your feet a lot throughout the day, you’ll need to change your shoes throughout your healthy pregnancy. As your pregnant belly expands, your body’s center of gravity will change as well. All these changes put extra pressure on your feet.
Pregnancy can also lead to edema, which will make your ankles and feet swell. To accommodate all these changes, it is important for you to wear shoes that fit properly and support your increased weight.
7. Skip the Sauna Visit
Though a trip to the sauna may sound like a great idea for relaxing, the increase in temperature isn’t always the best for pregnant women. Having a body temperature that exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit during a mother’s first trimester has been proven to increase the risk of the baby developing birth defects.
Speak to your doctor before taking a trip to the sauna to ensure that the temperature will be safe for you and your baby.
8. Eat Foods High in Folate
Folic acid or folate is incredibly important for fetal development as it aids in the formation of red blood cells. During a healthy pregnancy, mothers should increase their intake of this vitamin to 200 mcg daily.
Foods highest in folate include beans, asparagus, artichoke, spinach, soybean, yeast, and peas.
9. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can be difficult to cut out of your diet, but a steady intake of caffeine may worsen the kicks and punches you feel from your baby. As a diuretic and stimulant, caffeine can also easily cause dehydration.
Moreover, caffeine has been tied to preterm delivery, premature labor, birth defects, and reduced fertility. Try to find healthier alternatives to your daily dose of caffeine.
10. Stretch Your Legs at Bedtime
Leg cramps during pregnancy are quite common for mothers during the second and the third trimester. These cramps can be prevented if you stretch your legs out before you go to sleep each night.
11. Add in Omega-3s
Fish is an important food to include in your diet as it is high in omega-3s. Omega-3s are essential for pregnant women; they have been proven to aid in proper brain development and function for both the mother and the baby.
To add more omega-3s to your diet, eat more shrimp, catfish, canned tuna, salmon, and other fish that are low in mercury levels.
12. Avoid Lunch Meat and Soft Cheese
Foods like processed meat and soft cheeses tend to contain additives and bacteria that can be harmful to your baby.
Stay away from the following processed foods during your pregnancy:
- Brie, goat cheese, feta, and soft cheese
- Undercooked or uncooked fish or other meat
- Hot dogs and lunch meats
13. Protect Your Skin
During pregnancy, your skin is highly sensitive to sunlight. If you don’t properly protect your skin, you’ll be more prone to developing skin discoloration.
Protect your skin during pregnancy with all-natural sunscreen, moisturizer, and a wide-brimmed hat to cover your face. Additionally, try to stay inside during the peak sun hours.
14. Fly in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy
Many women wonder if they can fly while they’re pregnant.
The best time to fly during pregnancy is during the second trimester. At this time, your after morning sickness will have subsided. More importantly, the fetus will be well implanted, meaning you aren’t as likely to experience early complications.
15. Indulge in Your Cravings
Pregnancy cravings are the butt of many jokes, yet something most women experience. These cravings often indicate that your body is lacking in certain nutrients.
If you have wild cravings for healthier foods, it’s okay to indulge in them.
16. Know When You Need Help
By tuning into your body, you’ll be able to identify what feels “normal” during pregnancy and what doesn’t. If you sense that anything is wrong, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Oftentimes, if there are any complications with your pregnancy, these problems are more likely to be resolved quickly if the doctor can intervene as early as possible.
The following scenarios are signs it’s time to call your doctor:
- Pain, bleeding, cramping, or fever
- Passing tissue from your uterus
- Vomiting three or more times a day
- Pelvic pain
- Painful urination
17. Treat Yourself Well
Self-care during pregnancy is important to keep mothers from becoming exhausted and overwhelmed during pregnancy. Taking the time to rest is something all mothers must prioritize during their pregnancy.
Make it a point to relax every day. Whether you take a long bath, drink your favorite tea, or enjoy pampering with similar activities, finding moments throughout the day to rest and relax is essential for your changing body.
18. Use More Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is helpful when hydrating your skin. As your body grows to accommodate your baby, your skin expands as well. Using coconut oil on your skin will help to prevent stretch marks. Similarly, using coconut oil after giving birth will help to bring your skin back to what it was before pregnancy.
19. Swim Frequently
Swimming is a great exercise for pregnant women. The weightless environment of a pool, lake, or ocean is ideal for stretching your joints, ligaments, and muscles.
Additionally, regular swimming helps to relieve your aches and pains as you work to stay active.
20. Eliminate All Toxins
Your unborn child is particularly susceptible to toxic chemicals. During pregnancy, do your best to eliminate all toxins like paint fumes and chemical cleaning solutions.
Similarly, it’s best to avoid alcohol, certain hormone inhibitors, nail polish, and similar products that will compromise the health of your baby.