Did you know that around 385,000 babies are born every day? When it comes to your pregnancy, you will, of course, want your baby to be healthy and happy. But learning how to prepare for a baby can be difficult if you don’t know what to expect.
What should you eat while you’re pregnant, and what should you avoid to make sure that you have a perfectly healthy baby? Keep reading and learn more with these healthy pregnancy tips.
1. Take Prenatal Vitamins
One of the most important pregnancy tips you can follow is to take all the prenatal vitamins that you and your growing baby need. For example, calcium supplements are very important since women often experience calcium deficiencies while pregnant, which can inadvertently affect their baby’s health. Folate, in particular, is one supplement that you don’t want to miss out on.
If you are deficient in folate during the first trimester of your pregnancy, your baby will be at a higher risk of developing severe defects, most notably defects involving the neural tube. The neural tube is a structure that will eventually develop into the baby’s spinal cord. If the baby doesn’t have enough folate while developing, its neural tube may not close all the way, and this could be a potentially fatal birth defect.
Fortunately, getting prenatal vitamins is an easy task. You can either get OTC vitamins or have them prescribed by your physician. It is especially important to consume enough folate during the first trimester of your pregnancy since this is when your baby will be most vulnerable to neural tube defects.
2. Exercise More
While nutrition for pregnancy is undoubtedly important, it is also essential to exercise on a regular basis. Of course, you should always keep pregnancy safety in mind since some exercises are not ideal for pregnant women. However, keeping your body active, in general, while you’re pregnant can be very helpful for both you and your baby in a variety of ways.
In particular, exercise helps improve blood circulation in your body. Improved blood flow means that you will not only feel more alert and energetic, but it also means that plenty of nutrients will be rushing through your body and be available to your growing baby. Exercise also makes for a great mood booster and can help you feel more positive if you tend to experience negative mood swings during your pregnancy.
There are many forms of exercise you can choose from, such as walking, swimming, biking, and more. It is preferable that you don’t do exercises that involve heavy impacts, such as running or jumping jacks. These exercises may disturb your baby’s position, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.
The goal is not to overexert yourself but rather to get your heart pumping in a healthy way and to get your blood flowing. It is a good idea to exercise every day for around 30 minutes.
3. Avoid Certain Foods
Unfortunately, some foods become off-limit when you become pregnant. What to avoid during pregnancy is a big question, and the first thing you should know is that you should avoid all unpasteurized dairy products. These products may include milk, yogurt, cheese, and so on.
Why should you avoid unpasteurized dairy products, you might ask? It all has to do with a pesky form of bacteria that causes a disease called listeriosis. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to this disease, and it can become very serious if left untreated.
Its symptoms tend to be similar to those of food poisoning, but some people may also experience flu-like symptoms. The signs usually include chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, and fever. The primary concern is that a person with listeriosis can easily become dehydrated.
This, of course, could be very harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby. For that reason, it is best to avoid unpasteurized dairy products at all costs so you won’t have to risk getting this disease in the first place.
4. Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol
Everyone knows that drinking alcohol while pregnant is a bad idea, but why? Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol while pregnant could lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This condition results in brain damage to the baby and often causes physical deformities of the face.
Because fetal alcohol syndrome is a birth defect, it is permanent, and there is no cure for it once the baby is born with it. Fetuses are especially vulnerable to alcohol exposure early on in pregnancy. However, to ensure that your baby has no risk of developing this condition, it is best to avoid alcohol throughout the duration of your pregnancy.
It is also a good idea to stop smoking. Smoking while pregnant is bad because it makes it harder for blood to flow throughout your body due to the way nicotine constricts blood vessels. For that reason, it can also decrease the amount of oxygen that your child receives through your blood which can be harmful, especially in the long run.
5. Drink More Water
While drinking alcohol while pregnant is a big no-no, drinking more water is certainly something you want to start doing right away. Drinking more water increases your blood volume and makes it much easier for blood to flow throughout your body. This, of course, also makes it easier for oxygen and other nutrients to flow from your body and into your baby’s body.
Besides that, drinking more water can also protect your body against common pregnancy problems such as urinary tract infections and swelling. You should aim to drink around 8 glasses of water per day. This may sound like quite a lot, and it may take some getting used to, but after some time, drinking 8 glasses should be quite easy.
If the taste of water isn’t very appealing to you, try adding a healthy splash of flavor. You can do this by adding a slice of lemon or a bit of fruit juice to your water.
6. Get Plenty of Rest
While pregnant, don’t be surprised if you often feel tired. This is a normal part of pregnancy, and it has to do with all the energy your body is draining into the growth and development of your baby. After all, you’re literally creating a living human being, so it’s no wonder that you might feel tired once in a while.
When you feel the fatigue coming on, the best thing you can do is take a nap or at least lay back and close your eyes for a while. Resting is ideal during pregnancy because it gives your body an opportunity to gather its resources and keep all of its systems on track, much like a well-oiled machine. You should aim to get around 8 hours of sleep every night, if not more.
If you can’t sleep well during the night, try taking naps during the day to catch up on your sleep.
7. Do More Kegels
Kegels are exercises that strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. In women, it can help strengthen the uterus and even keep urinary incontinence at bay. This is especially important during pregnancy and after giving birth.
The process of giving birth is quite traumatic for the pelvic floor muscles since they go through so much strain during this time. As a result, many women experience some kind of urinary incontinence after pregnancy. Kegels can not only help with this, but they can also make delivering your baby a much easier task.
As mentioned before, Kegels can help strengthen the uterus. The uterus itself is quite muscular, and when it’s time to give birth, this organ produces very forceful muscular contractions to expel the baby from the womb. By strengthening the uterus with Kegels beforehand, this process will be easier than ever.
The great thing about Kegels is that you can do them anywhere, anytime, and no one will be able to tell that you’re doing them at all.
8. Get a Massage
Many women are stressed at some point during their pregnancy. Stress is not only bad for you as the mother but bad for your developing baby as well. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce your stress, and getting a massage is one of them.
Getting a massage, either from a professional or from a loved one, is a good way to wind down after a stressful day, week, or month. A massage is also good for your body’s health overall. It promotes better blood flow and, as such, it allows the nutrients in your blood to flow more efficiently throughout your body and your baby’s body.
There are many types of massages to choose from. For example, a deep tissue massage is perfect if you need to seriously de-stress. There are also gentler types of massages that involve warm rocks placed on the skin.
Whatever kind of massage you choose, you should feel much more relaxed afterward.
9. Learn More About Pregnancy
Many women don’t know much about the details of pregnancy while they’re pregnant. This is not ideal since you won’t know what’s normal and what’s not during your pregnancy. A good place to start is on the internet, where you can find plenty of good information about the process of pregnancy and childbirth.
Learning more about the process of pregnancy can also alleviate any pregnancy fears you might be harboring. After all, if you don’t know much about what it’s like to be pregnant, it can be easy to be afraid of what you don’t know. By learning more about this topic, you can also make more informed decisions about what you should eat (or shouldn’t eat) and what kind of activities might be beneficial to try during your pregnancy.
However, you should only get your information from reputable sources. Getting books from your local library about pregnancy is also a good way to learn about the topic. These books are often based on reliable research, so you won’t have to worry about the information being uninformative or false.
And, of course, talking with others about their own pregnancy experiences is essential. They might tell you information that you might not be able to find in normal pregnancy books or articles. The more information you know about pregnancy and childbirth, the easier the process will be for you.
10. Eat More Fruit
Many people don’t know that fruits are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely healthy for your overall health and, of course, the health of your baby. This is because antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that wreak all sorts of havoc on the body when they interact with your cells. When this happens, a process known as lipid peroxidation occurs. Several scientific studies have shown that lipid peroxidation can create inflammation in the body, can accelerate the aging process, and may even cause certain types of cancer.
This, of course, is not the kind of problem you want to deal with while pregnant. To keep free radicals at bay, you will want to supercharge your body with antioxidants which is exactly what certain fruits can do. Blueberries, strawberries, and oranges, among others, are all important fruits that are rich in antioxidants.
What You Need to Know About Healthy Pregnancy Tips
While pregnant, the last thing you want is to be short on healthy pregnancy tips.
To make sure you give birth to a healthy baby, you’ll want to make sure that you avoid alcoholic drinks and nicotine, take plenty of prenatal supplements, eat healthy food, exercise, and give yourself plenty of time to relax. That way, both you and your baby will be in great shape.
To learn more, check out the other blogs on our website.