Steps to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy is the most wonderful and exciting stage of your life.
1. Stay healthy :
Attaining and maintaining good health is most important for a healthy pregnancy. The key to good health is simple. First, consult a practitioner who can provide you proper guidance throughout the progressive stages of pregnancy. That aside, you can also try a number of other measures on your own. For example:
Attain a healthy weight. An appropriate weight can reduce the risk of complications arising due to obesity.
Disease history. Record the medical history of yourself, your partner, and both the families. If you find anything that raises concerns, consult your doctor.
Avoid health issues. If you find any current or potential health issue, immediately consult your doctor if you find any.
2. Manage your diet :
The idea of ‘you are what you eat’ holds particularly true in case of pregnancy. Proper nutrition is vital for sustaining the optimum growth and development of both you and your baby. During pregnancy, when your requirements increase, a balanced diet helps you fulfill your needs as well as the needs of your baby. Nutritional inadequacies can expose you to various risks and complications during pregnancy.
The steps you can take towards correcting this measure are:
Adequate nutrition: Consult a good dietitian/doctor to define and prescribe a nutritionally adequate and well balanced diet regimen for yourself. Special attention should be given to the consumption of protein, calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamins like A, E, C and B-group as they play an important role during pregnancy.
Food supplements: Your doctor may prescribe you pre-natal supplements of folic acid, iron, calcium and B group vitamins. Try to follow the prescribed schedule and intake quantities for these supplements regularly.
Fluid intake: Intake of optimum levels of fluid is vital during pregnancy as this aids digestion transportation of nutrients and growth. Also, having fluids in good quantity prevents dehydration and associated risks.
Avoid excess sugar and salt: Avoid taking too much of sugar or salt. . This may put you at the risk for gestational diabetes and hypertension.
Reduce your caffeine intake: Caffeine is diuretic and tends to dehydrate your system. Opt for healthier options like green tea which gives you the benefits of antioxidants.
3. Hygiene :
Taking care of your personal hygiene, keeping your surroundings clean and developing healthy food hygiene are very important as they can prevent infections and other potential risks.
Dental Hygiene: Dental care is very important. The dentist should be consulted at the earliest. This will facilitate extraction or filling of carious tooth if required comfortably in the second trimester, the best time for such a procedure.
Bathing: You should take daily bath but be careful against slipping in the bathroom due to imbalance.
Stay away from environmental hazards. For instance, things like strong-smelling cleaning supplies, solvents, insect killers, and paint should be avoided. If you are in a situation where they are unavoidable, wear rubber gloves and be sure that your room is well ventilated.
Prepare yourself to become a parent. Your understanding of the course of your baby’s growth and development significantly affects your parenting style. So, know healthy behaviors during pregnancy and discuss them with your partner and your doctor. You can also attend antenatal classes on child development, child birth and parenting.
4. Reduce Stress :
Staying away from stress and anxiety is very important for an expecting mother. Stress puts you at the risk of gestational hypertension or vaginal bleeding which may be dangerous for both you and your baby.
How to avoid stress?
Avoid practices and habits that stress you out. For instance, if you have negative feelings about some people, avoid them now. Also, if physical exertion or cooking in haste is not exactly up your alley, restrain from doing them now.
Try relaxation techniques. Consult your doctor for some relaxation techniques.
Light workouts are proven stress busters. Go out for walks. Perform some light exercises. However, consult your doctor or exercise under a certified trainer.
Positive vibes build up your confidence. Involve yourself in activities that create positive vibes in and around you and build your confidence. For instance, this could be a great time to pursue your hobbies.
Communicate. Communications with your partner as well with other near and dear ones take a significant amount of your stress out of your body.
Rest and Sleep: You should be in bed for about 10 hours ( 2 hrs. at noon and 8 hrs. at night)
5. Physical Exercise :
Exercising has multiple benefits. Performing mild exercises under proper guidance not only helps you to maintain the desired weight but also boosts your confidence, reduce discomforts like constipation and backache, and improve digestion and blood circulation.
What type of exercise?
Performing proper pelvic floor exercises strengthens your pelvic muscles and joints while facilitating good support to the growing uterus. Exercising also makes the process of childbirth smoother. Consult your doctor and exercise under a certified trainer.
6. Make some positive lifestyle changes :
If you have been smoking, it’s time to give it up. That is because smoking harms not only your lungs but also your developing fetus. Even passive smoking can be harmful. Be in a smoke free environment, give up on alcohol and get into distress therapy.
In short, health is wealth. The age-old adage might sound cliched, but it is as true as ever. And the good news is, it is quite easy.
7. Cut out alcohol :
There is no way to know for sure how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy. That’s why many experts advise you to cut out alcohol completely while you’re expecting.
It’s particularly important to avoid too much alcohol during the first trimester and the third trimester.
In the first trimester, drinking alcohol can increase your risk of miscarriage, while in the third trimester it can affect your baby’s brain development.
It’s recommended that you avoid alcohol completely in the first trimester. If you decide to drink after this stage, stick to no more than one unit or two units of alcohol, no more than once or twice a week.
Drinking heavily or binge drinking during pregnancy is especially dangerous for your baby.
Mums-to-be who drink heavily on a regular basis are more likely to give birth to a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). These are problems ranging from learning difficulties to more serious birth defects.
8. Stop smoking :
Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for you and your baby. Smoking increases your baby’s risk of:
- premature birth
- low birth weight
- sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or “cot death”
Smoking also makes the following pregnancy complications more likely:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placental abrupt-ion, where the placenta comes away from the womb wall before your baby is born
If you smoke, it’s best to stop, for your own health and that of your baby. The sooner you stop smoking, the better, but it’s never too late.
Even stopping in the last few weeks of your pregnancy can benefit you both. Watch a video about how smoke reaches your unborn baby.