Are you newly pregnant or hoping to be soon? Preparing your body can actually help you conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. Once you’ve got that positive pregnancy test, healthy habits help your pregnancy go more smoothly in the first trimester and beyond.
Here’s some advice for your journey toward the healthiest possible pregnancy:
Aim to eat foods from all five food groups each day. These include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Whenever possible, choose whole grains, non- or low-fat dairy, lean meats and fish.
For a healthy pregnancy, you also need 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day. This vitamin can help prevent serious birth defects. It’s best to have enough in your body before you conceive. Your doctor may recommend starting a prenatal vitamin now and taking it throughout your pregnancy. You should also try to eat foods rich in folic acid or folate, such as fortified cereals, beans, spinach and oranges.
Starting your pregnancy at a healthy weight can help lower your risk for problems during pregnancy. Regular physical activity can help you get to and maintain your ideal weight before and during pregnancy.
Working out at a moderate intensity throughout pregnancy is safe and has many benefits, including reducing back pain and constipation. Exercising when you’re expecting may also decrease your risk for some complications including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and delivery by cesarean section.
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy, so it’s important to choose activities that are safe and appropriate. Talk with your doctor about an exercise routine that’s right for you.
Look at Your Lifestyle
Now’s the time to quit unhealthy habits like smoking, which can cause problems like premature birth. It’s best to quit smoking long before getting pregnant. But even if you’re already expecting, quitting as early as possible can help protect against potential health problems.
The same goes for your partner. Even secondhand smoke can be dangerous for you and your baby.
Manage Medicines and Conditions
Tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines you’re taking. If any are unsafe for pregnancy, he or she can help you stop taking the medication or find an alternative.
If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, asthma or epilepsy, it’s important to work with your doctor to get it under control before you get pregnant. For example, uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy can put your baby at a higher risk for poor growth or premature birth.
Relieve Morning Sickness
Of all the early pregnancy symptoms, nausea and vomiting can be among the hardest to handle. Most women can find relief with these tips:
- Choose small meals throughout the day so you can avoid an empty stomach.
- To help settle your stomach in the morning, consider eating a few crackers before other foods or drinks, or even before getting out of bed.
- Pass on foods that are spicy or greasy. Instead choose foods that are bland and easy to digest, such as rice and cereal.
- Don’t lie down after meals.
- When you can, avoid smells that may bother you, such as strong perfumes.
If you can’t keep any food or liquids down and are worried about your nutrition, talk to your doctor immediately.
Visit Your Doctor
Before you get pregnant, see your doctor for a checkup. He or she can review your health history and make sure you’re up to date with vaccines and screenings. It’s also a great time to discuss ways to improve your overall health for pregnancy.
As soon as you know you’re pregnant, contact your doctor. Getting regular prenatal care can help prevent complications and keeps you informed about your baby’s development.
At the Center for Women and Children at AdventHealth Waterman, we’re here for you every step of the way — from preconception planning and prenatal care to labor and delivery and postpartum support. Learnmore about our comprehensive maternity services by visitingour website.