Whether you’re already expecting a baby or considering becoming a mother, your healthy habits impact baby’s development. Therefore, it’s time to shift your mindset. Every pregnant woman–or one who hopes for pregnancy soon–should embrace these healthy habits.
Small changes go a long way in a healthy pregnancy. The key is to incorporate as many healthy activities in your life as possible. Consuming a proper diet, limiting caffeine or alcohol intake, and sticking to a good exercise regime lets you stay fit and active throughout your pregnancy.
Start learning and following healthy habits to take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy. There are many things to start from, but some are vital to adopt from day one.
Here are the twenty healthy habits every pregnant woman should learn.
1. Eat right
During your pregnancy, the first thing you must ensure is that your food choices are healthy. You and your baby need all the essential nutrients, not just sugar and fat. You must consume as many colorful and fibrous foods so you can to stick to a power-packed diet. Include calcium-rich foods, whole grains, and foods low in saturated fat.
If you are looking for foods rich in Vitamins, include fruits and green leafy vegetables to your diet. Add broccoli, bell peppers, apples, cucumbers, and tomatoes in your diet to keep you healthy.
2. Get your vitamins
You need to have plenty of folic acid and calcium in your diet. Get folic acid, calcium, and other minerals from multivitamin supplements or foods like oranges, spinach, broccoli, and kidney beans. These are rich in folic acid and support your system during this delicate time. Although milk, yogurt, and spinach have calcium in abundance, it is always better to ask your doctor to prescribe you prenatal multivitamins so you can get the best dosage.
3. Stay hydrated
Don’t ignore the importance of hydration during your pregnancy, as the water you drink is for you and your baby. Typically, you must aim for ten or more glasses each day. Did you know that 75% of our muscles contain water? Consuming more water also relieves cramps and prevents sore muscles.
Additionally, dehydration also makes it difficult for our bodies to flush out toxins. Make sure you consume enough water to prevent constipation and keep digestive problems at bay.
4. Proper prenatal care
Consult a healthcare professional regularly for a gynecological exam and prenatal care. Prenatal care is vital for guaranteeing safe delivery. If you overlook this aspect, your baby may have a low birth weight. If possible, you can also opt for group prenatal care, which is easily accessible online as well.
5. Avoid specific foods
Most important of all is to avoid eating the wrong foods during your pregnancy. Say no to raw meat, liver, sushi, raw eggs, mayonnaise, feta cheese, and fish high in mercury. Avoid unpasteurized milk as unpasteurized animal products can cause severe food poisoning for a pregnant woman. Inform your doctor about any food allergies.
6. Don’t drink alcohol
You must avoid consuming alcohol before and during your pregnancy and especially while breastfeeding. Drinking can lead to the risk of having a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). That disease is a primary cause of facial abnormalities, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues in your offspring. Alcohol has many adverse impacts, some of which may surface even before you become aware of your pregnancy.
Staying active is generally crucial for your health and helps reduce stress to healthier levels. Additionally, it is essential to control your weight, improve blood circulation, regulate mood swings, and develop better sleep patterns. You can join a pregnancy exercise session or walk at least 15-20 minutes every day. Walk indoors or outdoors in cool, shaded areas to avoid overheating.
8. Learn how to breathe
How you breathe impacts how well you’ll perform during the baby’s delivery. Breathing fuels your blood cells and brain to help you relax and push through your labor.
Many community colleges, hospitals, and local health departments offer childbirth classes that teach breathing techniques, labor positions, and provide you pointers on what to expect on delivery day.
9. Get plenty of sleep
Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep is essential for you and your baby. Remember to sleep on your left side to improve blood flow circulation for you and your child. Lack of sleep also disturbs our metabolism. While getting good-quality sleep becomes a challenge during pregnancy, staying up late in the night means you are sure to feel lazy at work or home the next day. As you consume endless cups of coffee to stay awake, all this caffeine intake will make it even more challenging to sleep at night.
10. Reduce stress
It is vital to reduce stress levels to improve birth outcomes. Avoid stressful situations and ask for help to make this possible for you. Lack of sleep also disrupts your metabolism. Exercise also provides you with an optimal means of stress reduction. For that reason, never skip your gym class or your home workout routine. Just remember to stick to exercise that does not harm your body.
11. Indulge yourself in self-care
As much as sleep is essential for a healthy pregnancy, you must indulge in self-care activities at least twice a month to stay with the flow. A lunchtime manicure or going to your favorite mall to shop for maternity outfits can help you relax and release pregnancy stress.
12. Track your weight gain
A constant check on your weight is mandatory if you don’t want too many extra pounds that will be hard to lose later. On the other hand, avoid becoming underweight as it is a high-risk situation for the baby as he/she may suffer from development issues.
13. Wash your hands often
Because you cannot tolerate medications during pregnancy, avoid illness by diligent hand-washing practices. So wash your hands frequently and diligently. Practice handwashing not only after you use the restroom or before cooking but also after you’ve handled money, shaken hands with others, or been out in public.
14. Eliminate toxins
Not many of us know that nail polish removing solutions, paint thinners, and other solvents can cause congenital disabilities. Other than tobacco and alcohol, you must also avoid exposing yourself and your baby to toxic environments as they can affect the flow of oxygen to your baby, leading to preterm birth and other complications.
15. Avoid fumes
Many mothers like to decorate a nursery for their baby during their pregnancy. You must remember to avoid fumes due to a new coat of paint or any repair project. Moreover, stay away from most cleaning products as they contain strong chemicals that can be toxic. Wear gloves and avoid breathing in these products, and cleaners give off any fumes.
16. Stay out of saunas and hot tubs
Relaxing in a hot tub or a sauna for more extended periods can dramatically raise your body temperature. This practice can harm any pregnant woman, especially if she is in her first trimester.
17. Keep away from viruses
You must stay away from kids or people around you who are suffering from infections such as chickenpox, shingles, or other viral illnesses. These viruses can potentially hinder your baby’s development. Consult your doctor for a checkup right away if you notice any symptoms. If you have other toddlers, remember to wash your hands thoroughly after changing a diaper or wiping their nose.
18. Avoid substance abuse
Drugs such as cocaine can lead to fatalities and life-threatening outcomes for the baby. In case you are prone to drugs and cannot resist using them, seek professional help. Moreover, smoking is one of the causes of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), premature births, and miscarriages. Cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals, such as tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide. Thus, they drastically increase the risk of complications, some of which are fatal for you and the baby. Passive smoking is also unhealthy for you and your unborn child.
19. Practice Kegels
These pelvic exercises support the bowels, your uterus, and the bladder. Kegels ensure a more natural delivery and prevent postpartum issues. Since nobody can tell you are doing Kegels, you can do them while sitting at your desk or when you are sitting in the car.
20. Learn about breastfeeding
Breast milk offers a wide range of benefits to your baby. Since it contains many antibodies, your baby stays protected from common infections. The milk provides good bacteria or probiotics to support proper digestion. For that reason, most pediatricians recommend that you breastfeed for at least six months to keep your baby healthy. However, breastfeeding is not just beneficial for the baby but the mother as well. It helps you naturally shed-off all pregnancy weight. Plus, you will reduce your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes and breast cancer.