Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

Nutrition:
The single most important thing that you can do for your baby is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Well-nourished moms have healthier pregnancies, give birth to healthier babies, and positively affect their babies’ future health in adulthood. Good diet during pregnancy will also help you have fewer discomforts during your pregnancy and an easier labor. Key vitamins and minerals for pregnancy include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, folic acid, and Vitamins A, B, C, K, D, E . It is best to get as much of these as possible from food sources, but most care providers also recommend that pregnant moms take a prenatal vitamin including 400 mcg folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects.

Hydration:
It is important to drink enough water throughout the day during your pregnancy. The placenta “recycles” amniotic fluid every 24 hours to remove waste from the baby’s environment. Pregnant mamas have waste from both the baby and herself to deal with, so your kidneys and liver are having to work harder during pregnancy. You also have a higher blood volume, requiring more water and keep your blood pressure healthy. The best way to make sure that you are getting enough water is to make sure you are going to the bathroom regularly and that your urine is pale and odorless. Look out for signs of dehydration, like chapped lips, dry skin, dark yellow urine, constipation, and nausea.

Exercise:
Most care providers recommend at least thirty minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days of the week for women with low-risk pregnancies. Regular exercise boosts your energy level, makes you feel more relaxed, relieves backaches and improves posture, helps you sleep better at night, helps you prepare for labor and delivery, and aids in a speedier recovery after your delivery.  Good choices for prenatal exercise include walking, swimming, prenatal yoga or specifically designed prenatal fitness classes.

Stress:
Stress increases the risk for developing high blood pressure during your pregnancy and postpartum depression. Stress may also cause existing medical problems to worsen. There are some studies that associate severe stress with an increased risk for miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birthweight babies, and even ongoing health problems for the child after birth. To combat stress, get adequate rest and start a daily relaxation practice. Come up with at least a five minute activity that you can do each day to help promote calmness and relaxation in your life. Relaxation is key in labor and to life and it is a learned response, which you need to practice every day to master.

Holistic Care:
Many types of holistic care and bodywork go hand in hand with a healthy, happy pregnancy. Prenatal massage, chiropractic care, yoga, acupuncture, and other types of holistic care can reduce discomfort during pregnancy, connect you with your changing body and your growing baby, help prepare your body for labor and birth, teach you relaxation techniques, and lay a good foundation for postpartum recovery.

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