Prenatal Tips Every Soon-To-Be Mom Should Know
Written by: Co-Founder Maria Davi
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
Prenatal Care Tips
One of the most important journeys of a woman’s life is Motherhood. There is just something that is just so majestic about creating and growing a healthy baby within. If you found yourself reading this blog, congratulations on taking this step in your life! We will be providing you with some prenatal care tips to help you throughout your pregnancy.
What Is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is the Health care you get before, during, and after pregnancy. Prenatal visits to your Obstetrics typically include physical exams, weight checks, urine samples, blood tests, Ultrasound exams, and a glucose prenatal test. These visits are to monitor and help keep you and your growing baby healthy. You can also discuss any questions and concerns you have for your healthcare provider.
You should never be afraid to talk to your doctor about personal things. They need to know about you to give you and your baby the best care possible. Don’t be afraid to ask and/or tell her about anything embarrassing or uncomfortable, anything you tell your doctor is confidential. Plus they most likely have gotten asked the question or have even heard of more embarrassing things.
Why Is Prenatal Care Important?
Prenatal care is important to advise you on important steps to ensure your health and your growing baby’s health for a full-term pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy gives your baby the right amount of time to grow and develop in the womb. It also can help prevent and reduce the risks of complications and allows your doctor to identify any issues (or complications) before they become serious.(Source)
For more information on Prenatal care check-ups please check out this resourceful article.
Visiting Your Doctor Regularly
Always attend all required appointments with your doctors/midwife during pregnancy. Throughout these visits, your doctor will be checking up on both you and your growing baby’s health. They will be observing your blood pressure, your weight, your baby’s growth, and heart rate. Your doctor will also be doing screenings and routine blood tests. Which are essential to check for any nutritional deficiencies, such as anemia.
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.
MOST PREGNANT WOMEN CAN FOLLOW A SCHEDULE LIKE THIS:
Weeks 4 to 28 of pregnancy. Go for one checkup every 4 weeks (once a month).
Weeks 28 to 36 of pregnancy. Go for one checkup every 2 weeks (twice a month).
Weeks 36 to 41 of pregnancy. Go for one checkup every week (once a week).
Take A Daily Prenatal Vitamin
Your developing baby is completely dependent on you for nutrients and vitamins, which is why pregnant women are advised to take a daily prenatal vitamin and follow a healthy diet. Most food regimens usually aren’t enough to provide all the key vitamins that nurture you and your baby’s growth and development. After all, your main focus becomes wanting to give your baby the best possible start in a healthy new life.
The benefits of prenatal vitamins are that they contain concentrated amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help ensure you’re well-equipped for the healthy development of your baby. A soon-to-be mom’s daily intake requires key nutrients such as methylfolate (folate), iron, calcium, DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), and much more. These nutrients are necessary 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. To purchase our Prenatal Vitamins, click here! You got this mama, you and your little one are going to thrive!
Maintain A Balanced Diet
Eating healthy has a whole new meaning during pregnancy. You have to care for yourself and your little one who relies 100% on you for nourishment. Point blank, consuming a balanced diet, and choosing healthier types of foods becomes an even bigger priority. So, where do you start?!
Keep in mind, you are not eating for two, rather, nourishing for two. More nutrients are needed, not calories in the 1st trimester (prenatal vitamins come in hands for this because of nausea!). And only about 300-450 extra calories in the 2nd and 3rd trimester days, respectively. With that being said, pregnant women don’t need to “count calories;” it is better to follow your gut and consume foods that will nourish you and add extra nutrition as well. For example, you are having pancakes for breakfast. In place of syrup (mostly sugar, but not much nutrition), top with stewed berries and whole milk yogurt for extra nutrients and calories. Most “calories” should come from nutrient-dense foods, but luckily, there is definitely wiggle room for cravings like sweets and French fries.
A healthy prenatal diet needs to fulfill all your body’s nutritional requirements as well as those of the fetus. 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. Your taste may vary during each trimester, from bland to more flavor and that’s OK. Go with your gut feeling and introduce foods that feel good for your growing baby.
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!
Staying hydrated is typically important for everyone and is extremely beneficial during pregnancy. Every ounce of water helps your body transport nutrients, oxygen, and waste products into and out of your body and blood cells. Those nourishing blood cells eventually reach the placenta and your growing baby. Your body also needs water to form amniotic fluid, support fetal circulation, build new tissue, helps aid in food digestion, and flushes out toxins and waste for you and your baby.
Hydration can also benefit you by easing constipation, decreasing the risk of UTI’s, softening skin, and reducing edema. When you hear the word edema, the phrase “retaining water” comes to mind. People assume this happens when they’re drinking too much water and it isn’t being flushed out of the body completely. Mild cases of edema are common during pregnancy as your body does retain more sodium and water than usual due to the fluid needed by the fetus and placenta. However, while some swelling of the ankles and hands is normal, extreme cases require medical attention and your physician should be made aware of it. Remember, drinking water helps reduce edema, not cause it.
As the ACOG states, “Drink throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty. Aim for 8 to 12 glasses of water a day during pregnancy.” Which is around 64oz - 96oz per day. If your first thought is “Wow, that’s a lot of water”, don’t worry, your daily intake of fruits, vegetables, and food contribute to your total count.
One of the best ways to consume water throughout the day is to try to drink one glass every hour. If you're rarely thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow, you're most likely accomplishing hydration. Keep up the good work!
During pregnancy, your body is working around the clock to grow and develop a healthy baby. With the occurrence of morning sickness, fatigue, and backache due to these changes your body is going through, hitting the gym might be the last thing on your mind.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercising activities for pregnant women on most or all days of the week. This includes taking leisure walks, water exercise, and yoga.
Generally and in most cases, exercising during pregnancy is completely safe. Many doctors recommend you continue to be and stay active during your pregnancy, as long as you’re comfortable and there aren't any health conditions suggesting otherwise. Not moving around and not being active can be bad for you and your growing baby’s health.
Being active gets your blood flowing throughout your body and can increase your sense of control, boost your energy levels, and make you feel all-around better by releasing endorphins in your brain. (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.
Keep Crackers By Your Bed
A plain old fashion cracker can help aid soon to be moms suffering from morning sickness. They relieve queasiness and soothe an unsettled stomach. Being that crackers are high in starch, they help absorb excess gastric acid in your stomach that plays a major role in feeling nauseous and/or vomiting. They are bland and quite easy for your stomach to digest.
Dry carbohydrates, like crackers, are easily digestible and have a low risk of upsetting your stomach. We recommend keeping crackers by your bed so you can put something in your stomach as soon as you wake up, then get out of bed slowly as you start your day.
Since a sleep cycle of at least eight hours is ideal, not eating for that amount of time worsens morning sickness. An empty stomach can worsen your nausea making it harder to get your day started. Simply eating crackers as soon as you wake up in the morning can help ease nausea. Try to also avoid strong smells and foods that make you feel queasy and trigger morning sickness.
Try Not To Stress
Everyday life can be stressful, especially during pregnancy. All these changes your body is going through can make your hormones go for a rollercoaster ride. Not to mention the common stressful thoughts of growing a healthy baby.
Stress can be very harmful to you and your growing baby by having adverse effects on your baby’s health as well as weight. As WebMD stated prenatal stress is significantly associated with both preterm birth (before 37 weeks), and low infant birth weight.
When you’re stressed, several biological changes take place, including an increase of stress hormones being released into your bloodstream, eventually making their way to your growing baby. That being said, your baby feels what you feel.
Use relaxation techniques like yoga, stretching, deep breathing, and massage to combat stress. You got this mama!
Do Things That You Love
It might feel like you aren’t able to do things that you once loved during pregnancy. In reality, the only reason anything should be holding you back is it being unsafe for you and your baby. Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a night with your friends, or not being able to participate in the activities you loved before pregnancy.
Doing things that you love to do releases happy hormones into your bloodstream, eventually making their way to your growing baby. They help regulate your mood and promote positive feelings, including happiness and pleasure.
So next time before you say no to doing something you love, remember the happiness it will bring not only to you but also to your growing baby.
You might’ve been dreaming of having a baby since you were young, but getting a well-rested night of sleep can sometimes be less than dreamy. Your growing belly, aches, pains, and frequent visits to the bathroom can have you experiencing many restless nights, which is totally normal.
Your body is working around the clock growing a healthy baby boy or girl, which is exhausting. You should always listen to your body and take a nap if it’s called for. Or if you’re feeling tired after dinner, why not get snuggled up in bed and rest. Whatever you may think you have to do will always be there when you wake up and feel rested.
Some Other Important Tips
Too much weight gain can affect your baby’s health and cause complications in pregnancy. So, keeping an eye on your weight gain is recommended.
Use non-toxic and chemical-free products at home or work.
Wear comfortable shoes and put your feet up several times a day to prevent fatigue and swelling of the feet, legs, and ankles.