Congratulations on your pregnancy; what an exciting time in your life! Now that you’re pregnant taking care of yourself is more important than ever during these nine months. As you prepare for an exciting and transformative time filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities, it’s time to make some healthy lifestyle changes. As a mom-to-be, you need to prioritize your health and your developing baby’s health.
Making healthy lifestyle changes is essential to optimize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy, reduce your risk of complications, and set the stage for successful delivery and a healthy baby. These changes can range from dietary modifications to exercise routines, self-care practices, and prenatal care. So hang in there as we unveil the top 8 healthy lifestyle changes now that you’re pregnant.
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The Importance of Prenatal Care
Now that you tested positive for pregnancy, it’s time to visit your healthcare provider. Whether you’re a first-time mom or have had multiple pregnancies, you must receive prenatal care right from the outset. Prenatal care involves a series of routine medical checkups, blood work, and scanning to monitor the health of both the mother and the developing baby.
Regular prenatal care helps healthcare providers identify any potential health concerns during the early stages of pregnancy and take necessary measures to diagnose the underlying causes and provide early treatment. This can help prevent any avoidable complications as well as injuries during childbirth.
Childbirth injuries can also occur after delivery. This is why prenatal care involves creating a birth plan that outlines a woman’s preferences on childbirth, pain management, delivery methods, and postpartum care. Visit childbirthinjuries.com for more information on ways to prevent childbirth injuries, possible complications, diagnosis, treatment, and legal help.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes for Pregnant Women
Adopting a healthy lifestyle early in your pregnancy can prevent pregnancy complications, health issues, and developmental delays. Here are 8 effective lifestyle changes you should undergo for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Now that you’re pregnant, it’s important to track your weight to ensure you’re gaining an appropriate amount of weight throughout your pregnancy. In ideal circumstances, a woman should have a healthy BMI before conceiving to minimize the risk of developing pregnancy-related complications.
Being overweight or obese during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of developing high blood sugar or diabetes, leading to serious birth defects in the developing baby and putting a mother’s well-being at risk during childbirth. On the other hand, underweight mothers have an increased risk of premature birth, lower birth weight, and even miscarriage.
The weight you should gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Weight gain during pregnancy should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following weight gain ranges for pregnant women:
- 25-35 lbs. weight gain for normal BMI
- 28-40 lbs. for underweight women
- 11-20 lbs. for overweight or obese women
Make Necessary Changes to Your Diet
During pregnancy, it is essential to consume various nutrient-dense foods that provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for both you and your developing baby. So try to include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet. Eating a balanced diet can help prevent pregnancy-related health conditions such as gestational diabetes, maintain a healthy BMI, and support your baby’s growth and development.
To maintain a healthy weight and avoid overeating, healthcare professionals recommend consuming 1800 calories per day during the first trimester, around 2,200 during the second, and 2,400 calories during the third trimester.
Add a Prenatal Vitamin
The food we eat cannot provide all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to accommodate the growing needs of your developing baby. To ensure you get all the nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy, it’s important to add prenatal vitamins to your regular diet.
Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid and iron, necessary for your little one’s brain development, and other vitamins and minerals that support your baby’s growth and help you achieve all fetal developmental milestones.
While most healthcare professionals recommend consuming prenatal vitamins before conception, you should start taking them as soon as you test positive for pregnancy. Take prenatal vitamins throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Maintain a Good Exercise Routine
Regular exercise is important during pregnancy as it helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthens the muscles, and can improve overall health and well-being. It also helps your body prepare for a natural birth, increases oxygen intake, and regulates blood flow.
Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are generally safe for pregnant women of all ages. Before setting an exercise routine, consult your healthcare provider to determine the safest and most appropriate exercise routine for you.
Manage Your Stress
The next nine months will be an emotional rollercoaster with bodily changes and mood swings. Your changing body, discomfort, and difficulty in everyday chores may add to your stress. Try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible and seek support from friends and family, as well as your healthcare provider, to manage your stress. In addition, engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Dehydration is your biggest enemy during pregnancy. It can lead to various complications like constipation, headache, and even preterm labor. You should drink plenty of water and other fluids to prevent dehydration.
Pregnant women should drink at least eight to ten glasses of water daily. If you can’t drink plain water, try adding flavors or fresh juices.
Avoid Excessive Sugar, Caffeine, and Alcohol Intake
Excessive sugar intake is directly associated with excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) and other complications like preeclampsia, preterm birth, and other pregnancy-related issues. Avoid consuming sugary and processed foods and limit your intake of caffeine.
Once pregnant, you should steer clear of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs as they may cause harm to the developing fetus. Additionally, certain medications are not suitable for use during pregnancy, so it is crucial to seek advice from a healthcare provider before taking any medication.
Maintain a Healthy Sleep-Wake Cycle
As a mom-to-be, you should get plenty of rest to help support your health and the health of your precious little one. Try to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, stick to a bedtime routine, and get at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
To ensure you and your baby stay healthy during pregnancy, it’s important to adopt some healthy lifestyle changes. By eating well, staying active, getting enough rest, and avoiding harmful substances, you’re setting yourself up for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure these lifestyle changes work best for you and your baby’s needs.