Contributed by Rachana Arya
Being healthy during pregnancy involves so many different aspects of your life. So, we’ve compiled a quick list to help you stay on the healthy side so that you give your baby the best possible start on life.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are very important within the first month of pregnancy, so it’s important you get essential nutrients – like folic acid, calcium, and iron – from the very start. Most nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from food, but these vitamins help to fill any gaps. Prenatal vitamins ensure you are giving your baby the important vitamins and nutrients it needs to grow healthy and strong. These vitamins play an important role in bone, vision, and brain development.
Limit Caffeine Intake
Too much caffeine has been linked to a higher chance of miscarriage, and stillbirth. The caffeine gets digested much slower and can easily cross the placenta into your baby’s bloodstream. Even small amounts have been known to cause a 13% increase in low birth weight for your baby. Try switching to a herbal tea that is naturally decaffeinated.
Exercise in Moderation
Low impact exercise can help ease back pain, increase circulation, and strengthen your muscles and ligaments in preparation for labor. Walking and swimming are two low-impact, moderate-intensity exercises that will help you enhance agility, stamina, and relaxation. You may also try prenatal yoga as it opens up your hips, relieves stress, and assists with restlessness.
For the majority of normal pregnancies, moderate exercise can:
- Boost your energy levels
- Enhance your sleep
- Increase muscle mass and stamina
- Alleviate back pain
- Assist with constipation
- Boost circulation
- Lower your stress levels
Fatigue is normal, particularly in the first trimester. Your body is experiencing hormonal changes, which will have an effect on your energy levels. Take this opportunity to catch up on sleep and relax your body. You won’t be able to relax almost as much until the baby is born. So, treat yourself to an afternoon nap to recharge your batteries and aid in your recovery.
Drink plenty of water when pregnant because your body needs more water than normal because it becomes part of the amniotic fluid that covers your infant. During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume expands significantly, and drinking enough water per day will help avoid common issues including dehydration and constipation. Drinking plenty of water can also help with sore knees and flu symptoms.
Say No to Alcohol
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy results in impaired growth, birth defects, and developmental disabilities to your baby. Drinking alcohol, especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and your baby having a low birth weight. Exposure to alcohol in the uterus is associated with a group of defects in the baby known as fetal alcohol syndrome. Symptoms can include:
- Behavioral problems
- Diminished intellectual capacity
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Poor coordination
- Abnormal facial features
Smoking — even second-hand smoke — is a big “no,” during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Smoking has been linked to low birth weight, abruption (a dangerous premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall), and a variety of other risks for both mother and infant, according to research. Some studies also suggest a link between maternal smoking and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to experts, reducing stress is crucial for improving birth outcomes. Stressful conditions should be avoided as much as possible by pregnant women. Talk to your loved ones or doctor if you are feeling sad, overwhelmed or anxious.
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