Eat this, but not that. Try this, but stay away from that. Expectant mothers come across tons of advice on what to do and what not to do for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. It can feel confusing or overwhelming at times, but the truth is your body has new nutritional needs, safety concerns, and even limitations.
Staying healthy during this time should be a priority for you. Here are 8 tips that focus on keeping you in overall good health.
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First of all, Make a Doctor’s Appointment
Do you have a BFP (Big Fat Positive)? Congratulations! Now you know you are pregnant, you will need to be registered for antenatal care so make sure you make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. This gives you and your baby the best chance of a smooth pregnancy right from the start and you too will be able to book your scans.
Eat Lots of Good Things
When it comes to food, you don’t have to be an angel for nine months, but you do need to make sure your diet is as healthy as possible. Include plenty of starch, fiber, vitamins, carbohydrates, and natural sugars by stocking up on plenty of fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Dairy products are also an excellent source of calcium for your growing baby, so don’t forget to have plenty of cheese, milk, and yogurt too.
Keep Your Fluids High
Aim to drink around eight glasses of water a day to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruit teas, milk, juices, and zucchini are also fine. Many women also decide to cut back on caffeine, as it has been shown to increase the chances of having a low birth weight baby.
Take a Supplement
It is highly recommended that you take vitamin D during pregnancy and folic acid for at least the first three months. Taking folic acid reduces the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. If you are unsure what dose to take, talk to your GP.
Basic food hygiene is more important than ever. Make sure you always wash your hands especially before preparing food and never mix raw and cooked foods. There are also some foods that are best avoided during pregnancy altogether, as they can harbor bacteria or parasites that pose a health risk to your baby. These foods include:
- Unpasteurized milk
- Lightly cooked ready meals
- Moldy or mushy cheeses such as stilton and brie
- Raw or undercooked meat
- Raw shellfish such as oysters
Regular, gentle exercise works wonders for your weight, posture, and mental health. Staying fit also increases the chances of a trouble-free labor and delivery.
Excellent examples include:
- I swim
- Aqua natal classes
If you play sports, there’s no reason you can’t keep going as long as it’s comfortable. But it’s best to avoid contact sports or anything you might fall into. Chat with your midwife or GP if you’re unsure.
Eliminate Alcohol and Smoking
It is nearly impossible to know how safe it is to drink during pregnancy, so it is highly recommended that you abstain from alcohol altogether. If you have alcohol, it will reach your baby very quickly through the bloodstream and placenta.
Expectant mothers who drink regularly are more likely to give birth to a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Problems can range from learning difficulties to more severe birth defects. If you are concerned about the amount you are drinking, make an appointment with your GP for advice. You can also visit the Drink Aware website for tips on how to completely surrender.
Both drinking and smoking in pregnancy affect the chances of having a miscarriage, a premature baby, a low birth weight baby, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or “cot death”. Smoking, in particular, has also been shown to increase the likelihood of ectopic pregnancy (in which the baby grows out of the womb and therefore cannot survive) and placental abruption, in which the placenta detaches from the wall. of the uterus before the baby is ready to be born.
If you are struggling to quit smoking, your GP can help you find the best solution for you. You can also call the NHS restricted smoking helpline on 0300 123 1044 or visit Smoke free NHS.
Your body is growing a new little one, so you are bound to be tired! Also, later in pregnancy, sleeping may be uncomfortable and you may be awake at night for the bathroom. So let yourself rest when you can and go easy on yourself – you’ll be happy to do it