Top 5 Health Tips for Pregnancy
Being pregnant is exciting. But there are a lot of extra things you need to take care of while you are pregnant. Organizing what you need to do into smaller chunks, or buckets, can make your list more manageable. Take a look at the groups below for ideas on how to organize your pregnancy to-do list.
1. Eat a balanced diet
A balanced, nutritious diet is key in maintaining your health and nourishing your baby. Because your nutritional needs increase when you are pregnant, it’s important to eat from all the food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein (including beans), and fats and oils.
If you already eat a healthy diet, great job. Keep up the good work! If eating healthy doesn’t come as easy for you, work with your doctor for support in making changes. He or she can provide ideas on working in foods with the vitamins and minerals you need. Plus, your doctor can give you tips on shopping and meal planning if those are obstacles for you.
2. Fit in exercise
If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, you should exercise regularly. You’ll need to be careful, though: When you are pregnant, unstable joints, your expanding belly, and an altered center of gravity can make you more likely to fall. Swimming, walking, and arm exercises are safe options. Dangerous sports like horseback riding or motorcycle riding, waterskiing, or scuba diving are off limits while you are pregnant. If you aren’t feeling well, don’t exercise. If the weather is too hot or dry, skip your workout that day. Always talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program.
3. Get your rest
Even though you are busy preparing for your baby’s arrival, you need extra rest. If you can, go to bed earlier than you normally would — and sleep in a little. Fit in time to take a nap or two throughout the day, unless this makes you restless at night. If you do have trouble sleeping at night, try doing a restful activity like reading until you are tired enough to fall asleep. Whenever possible, put your feet up. If finding time to rest is difficult, talk to your partner about pitching in and taking some housework off your hands. Reach out to your family and friends for support, too.
4. Take extra safety precautions
Now that you are taking care of two, you need to be careful when it comes to things you might not have thought twice about before. Some medicines have been linked to birth defects, so always talk to your doctor about any medications you use — prescription or nonprescription.
You should also avoid harmful substances. Do not smoke. This increases the risk of low birth weight and fetal death. Talk to you doctor about making a quit plan and following through with it. Drinking alcohol is also completely off limits. It never safe to drink alcohol while you are pregnant. Staying away from chemicals like paints, varnishes, hair dyes, and glue is also advised.
Even tasks you did often before you were pregnant should be avoided. If you have cats, ask someone else to take over litter-box cleaning. Cat waste contains a tiny parasite called Toxoplasma that can harm your baby. Do not take risks like climbing ladders or standing on anything that is high, unstable, or wobbly. If you can’t reach something, ask for help or leave it for a later time. Wearing your seatbelt — whether you are in a car or a plane — is always a must. While a trip to the theme park might seem like a harmless way to have fun, roller coasters and other rides can be fast and jarring, so you need to avoid them while you are pregnant.
5. Ask about a maternity health coach
If you need extra help with any of these things, you may have access to a maternity health coach. A maternity health coach can help you stay as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. Check your health plan benefits to see if this support is available for you.