How To Maintain A Healthy PregnancyPublished:
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
There isn’t anything more inspirational than pregnancy, bringing a new value to your life. As Mary Mason once said, “A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years, and in your heart until the day you die.”
During pregnancy, you aren’t just making decisions for yourself and your growing baby. It is very crucial to take care of yourself and get all the love and support you need, from your loved ones.
Most importantly, choose a doctor you feel comfortable with to guide you throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Always feel free to voice your concerns and health problems to your doctor. This is your chance for a face-to-face consultation on questions that will arise throughout your pregnancy. (We recommend that you jot them down because there will be plenty. Trust us, pregnancy brain is a real thing and we do experience brain fog.)
It is always good for you and your partner to prepare yourselves for pregnancy and childbirth. Try reading books, Lamaze classes, Midwives, watching videos, and most importantly, support each other during this journey.
★ MAINTAIN A BALANCED DIET
During pregnancy, eating healthy has a whole new meaning. Taking care of yourself and your growing baby who relies 100% on you for nourishment is now a major priority. Maintaining a balanced diet, and choosing healthier types of foods is very important for a healthy pregnancy. You aren’t eating for two, rather, nourishing for two.
Your taste may vary during each trimester, from bland to more flavor, which is totally normal. Always go with your gut feeling and introduce foods that feel good for your growing baby.
In your 1st trimester, more nutrients are needed, not calories. While morning sickness occurs for many, and you may not feel like eating much, taking a daily prenatal vitamin helps you ensure your recommended daily nutrients intake.
In your 2nd and 3rd trimester, about an extra 300 - 450 daily calories are needed. With that being said, a pregnant woman doesn’t need to “count calories”. It is preferably better to follow your gut and consume food that will nourish you with some extra nutrition. Most calories should be consumed from nutrient-dense foods. Don’t worry, there is definitely room for cravings like french fries and sweets. It’s always good to have yourself a “treat yourself day”.
A balanced diet should fulfill all your body’s daily nutritional needs as well as your growing baby’s needs. This healthy diet supports normal birth weight, improves fetal brain development, and reduces the risk of many congenital disabilities. The key is balanced plates and a variety of foods to get a variety of nutrients.
A balanced plate should look like the following:
- ¼ of the plate being protein; either plant-based like lentils or chicken, beef, fish.
- ¼ being complex carbs like whole-grain bread, brown rice, etc., and/or starches like potatoes, pasta, etc.
- Half a plate is fruits and/or veggies. Variety is key with vegetables, the more colors, the more nutrients.
*Of course, then you add some healthy fats (in addition to fats in foods like salmon) like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds
For more information on food, meal variety, and specific pregnancy nutrients, check out our e-book, Feel Good Food for Healthy Pregnancy, which includes both recipes (categorized by trimester) and pregnant guidelines (what nutrients to focus on and foods to avoid). You got this mama, you and your little one are going to thrive!
★ TAKE A DAILY PRENATAL VITAMIN
Vitamins and nutrients are crucial during pregnancy for you and your growing baby, who is completely dependent on you for nourishment. This is why you’re advised to take a daily prenatal vitamin and follow a healthy diet. Usually, most diets aren’t enough to provide all the key vitamins that nurture you and your baby’s growth and development. Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA Multivitamins helps provide you with all the essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
Some benefits of taking a daily prenatal vitamin are that they contain the right amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help reassure you’re well-nourished for the development of your healthy baby. During pregnancy, a woman's daily intake requires key nutrients such as methylfolate (folate), iron, calcium, DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), and much more. These nutrients are the fundamentals for the proper embryonic development, fetal growth, and overall health of you and your developing baby.
For more information on prenatal vitamins, please check out our Benefits of Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA Multivitamin Blog. You got this mama, you and your little one are going to thrive!
★ AVOID CERTAIN FOODS
Being that food is a major way that your growing baby gets nourished, you must know that there are certain foods you should avoid. Certain foods contain bacteria or potentially toxic ingredients that can be harmful and pose a threat to your health and your baby’s.
Some foods that are best to stay away from during pregnancy are any kind of deli meats, raw meats, soft cheeses, unpasteurized products, uncooked eggs, raw sprouts, fish high in mercury, and refrigerated smoked seafood.
You should always make sure that your food is fully cooked properly and consumed within a couple of days of purchasing. This will reduce the risk of getting bacteria or any parasitic infection, that results from cross-contamination.
It is important to maintain proper food hygiene. Start off by thoroughly washing your hands before eating and preparing your meal. Then thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables in water to remove dirt; thoroughly wash utensils and cutting boards; wash your hands and counter space after handling raw poultry.
★ EXERCISE REGULAR
Exercising during pregnancy is generally and in many cases safe. As long as you’re comfortable and there aren't any health conditions, doctors recommend that you continue to stay active during pregnancy. Not being active can be bad for you and your growing baby’s health.
A light to moderate-intensity exercise gets your blood flowing throughout your body and can boost your energy levels, increase your sense of control, and make you feel all-around amazing by releasing those feel-good endorphins in your brain.
A few light to moderate-intensity exercises includes taking leisure walks, water exercise, and yoga. Always remember you’re being active to feel better not for weight loss. We recommend you consult with your health care provider before starting any new exercise routine.
★ PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES
Pelvic floor exercises are great for strengthening the muscles that support your bladder, vagina, and back end. Exercising these muscles during pregnancy help the body manage with the growing weight of the baby, aid in a smooth delivery by decreasing the risk of injury during vaginal birth, and speed up recovery afterward. It also helps reduce or/and avoid stress incontinence during and after pregnancy.
Let's be real, being pregnant and exercising on the floor isn’t ideal for many of us, but don’t you worry, we have the perfect exercise that involves zero movements, you heard me ZERO MOVEMENT! We are talking about the lovely kegel exercise aka your new best friend. They are the best and easiest way to strengthen all your muscles down there.
Tips on how to Kegel
- To do a Kegel, squeeze the muscle around your vagina as if you are stopping yourself from urinating, hold for 10 seconds, then slowly release(one rep).
- Always breath normally while holding and releasing.
- Try to do 20 reps five times a day.
★ GET PLENTY OF REST AND SLEEP
During pregnancy, your body is constantly growing and developing your baby every second of the day, consuming a lot of your energy. When feeling fatigued and exhausted, it is important to listen to your body and rest. Even if you have things to do, it will still be there once you’re well-rested.
As your belly and baby grow you will most likely experience restless nights, while your partner is perfectly sound asleep. Sleep is not only essential to nurture the development of your growing baby, but it also provides you with energy. It is inevitable you will be woken up with aches, pains, and many trips to visits to the bathroom throughout the night. Try to get into bed an extra hour or two earlier than you did before. Helping your body get a little extra rest will just lead to more energy the following day!
Pregnancy can quite be exhausting, so kick back and relax when experiencing exhaustion and fatigue.
★ MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Don’t worry mama, it is very common to feel stressed and overwhelmed as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. You will be going through many changes with your emotions, your body, and your growing family, which can cause additional stress. Stress can be harmful to you and your developing baby.
As Marchofdimes.org stated, “During pregnancy, stress can increase the chances of having a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a low-birthweight baby (weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces). “
Several biological changes take place in your body when you’re stress. An increased release of the hormone cortisol goes through your bloodstream, then making its way to your growing baby. That is to say, your baby can feel you being stress.
Use relaxation techniques like yoga, stretching, deep breathing, and massage to combat stress. You got this mama!