Yes congratulations!!!, now you need to know that taking care of yourself has never been more important than this time you are expecting the little one(s). Here’s how to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.
Nutrition and Supplements
Now that you’re eating for two (or more!), this is the wrong time to cut calories or go on a diet. In fact, you just need more especially later in your pregnancy, when your baby grows quickly. If you’re very thin, very active, or carrying multiples you’ll need even more. If you are overweight, your health care provider may advise you to consume fewer extra calories.
Healthy eating is always important when you’re pregnant. Ensure your calories come from nutritious foods that will contribute to your baby’s growth and development.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet that incorporates the dietary guidelines will include:
- lean meats
- whole-grain breads
- low-fat dairy products
By eating a healthy balanced diet, you will get some of the nutrients you need. You will also need more of the essential nutrients (especially calcium, iron, and folic acid) more than before. Your health care provider might prescribe prenatal vitamins to ensure both you and your growing baby is getting enough.
Taking prenatal vitamins doesn’t mean you can eat a diet that’s lacking in nutrients, prenatal vitamins are meant to supplement your diet, and should not be the only source of needed nutrients.
Fluids – It is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, during pregnancy and drinking enough water each day can help prevent common problems such as dehydration and constipation.
Exercise – Exercise has been shown to be very beneficial. Regular exercise can help:
- reduce pregnancy-related problems, like back pain, swelling, and constipation
- improve sleep
- increase energy
- boost your mood
- prepare your body for labor
- lessen recovery time after the birth
Low-impact, moderate-intensity exercise activities (such as walking and swimming) are good for pregnancy state. Limit high-impact aerobics and avoid sports or activities that pose a risk of falling or abdominal injury. Make sure you take lots of breaks and drink plenty of fluids during the exercise, slow down or stop if you get short of breath or feel uncomfortable
Sleep – It is beneficial to get enough sleep during your pregnancy as you will probably feel more tired than usual. And as your baby grows, it might be difficult to assume a comfortable position when you are trying to sleep. Lying on your side with your knees bent is likely to be the most comfortable position as your pregnancy progresses. Lying on your side can also help prevent or reduce varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swelling in your legs.
Some Things to Avoid
Alcohol – Alcohol is one of the most common known causes of congenital birth defects, alcohol can cause severe congenital abnormalities in a developing fetus. Alcohol is easily passed along to the baby, who is not able to eliminate alcohol like the mother. That means an unborn baby tends to develop a high concentration of alcohol, which stays in the baby’s system for long periods and this in turns damage a baby’s developing nervous system.
Recreational Drugs – Pregnant women who use drugs may be placing their unborn babies at risk of premature birth, poor growth, birth defects, and behavior and learning problems.
Nicotine – Pregnant women who smoke, are exposing their babies to some risks which this include:
- low birth weight
- sudden infant death (SID)
- asthma and other respiratory problems in the child
Caffeine – High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, so it’s probably wise to avoid caffeine while pregnant. This will help you;
- Cut your consumption down to one or two cups a day.
- Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you get by combining decaffeinated coffee with regular coffee.
- Eventually try to cut out the regular coffee altogether.
What can I do to feel better?
Morning sickness – Nausea or vomiting may strike anytime during the day (or night) especially during your first trimester (first 13 weeks). Avoid foods that are greasy, spicy, or acidic. Try small but frequent eating pattern. Talk to your doctor if morning sickness causes you to lose weight or continues after the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Tiredness – Fatigue is common when you’re pregnant. Try to get enough rest or take naps if possible. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms with fatigue. There are other causes of fatigue like anemia.
Leg cramps – Being active can help reduce leg cramps. Try to frequently stretch the calf of your leg by flexing your foot toward your knee. Also stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
Constipation – Copious fluid intake and foods with lots of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and bran cereal will help to prevent constipation. Don’t take laxatives without talking to your health care provider about it. Stool softeners may be safer than laxatives.
Frequent urination – You may need to urinate more often when you are pregnant. Changing hormones can be a factor. As your baby grows, there will be more pressure on your bladder; it will cause the urge to always empty the bladder.
Varicose veins – Avoid clothing that fits tightly around your waist or legs. Rest and put your feet up as much as you can. Avoid sitting or standing still for long periods, these can help prevent or ease varicose veins.
Being moody – Your hormones are on a roller coaster ride during pregnancy. Your whole life is changing. Don’t be too hard on yourself, take it easy on yourself, stay positive, relax and expect the arrival of your little one.
Heartburn – Eat frequent, small meals. Avoid spicy, greasy, or acidic foods. Don’t lie down right after eating. Ask your doctor about taking antacids.
Edema (swollen feet) – Rest with your legs up as much as you can. Lie on your left side while sleeping. Don’t use diuretics (water pills), reduce your salt intake. Talk to your health care provider.
Skin changes – Stretch marks appear as red marks on your skin. Lotion with shea-butter can help keep your skin moist and reduce itchy, dry skin. Stretch marks can’t be avoided, they often fade after pregnancy but you may have other skin changes. These can include darkening of the skin on your face or around your nipples. Some women get a dark line below their belly button; most marks will fade after pregnancy.