Expecting a baby is a big responsibility and a special feeling of carrying a life within yourself. This special feeling needs special attention and a lot of care. This article will help you to know about things which you should take care off during pregnancy.
What Is A Healthy Pregnancy?
A healthy pregnancy can be simply defined as a healthy mother which involves proper growth and development of the foetus, healthy weight, nutritious foods, balanced weight, regular exercise, adequate rest, and emotional well-being. It also includes maintaining normal blood pressure, sugar level, and a complete ‘No’ to habits, such as drugs, alcohol, and smoking. There are many factors that affect pregnancy and early diagnosis and parental care increases the chance of a healthy pregnancy.
Things You Should Do For A Healthy Pregnancy
Being healthy during pregnancy is very important as the child feeds on the intake of the mother. Therefore, it is important for you to have a healthy lifestyle. Leading a healthy lifestyle is always exciting as it includes various changes in your day to day routine. Here are some measures that you should take note off during pregnancy, such as:-
- Organising early parental care will help you to know about your pregnancy stages and everything associated with it prior to the time. This will give you enough time to maintain a healthy life. Therefore, it is always beneficial if you get diagnosed early about being pregnant.
There are many pregnancy tests and scans that will help you to know about the health of the foetus and catch irregularities, well in advance.
- Eat wholesome and nutritious foods as your body requires energy. You can compensate for the required energy by having healthy and nutritious food, such as whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, organic meats and dairy products. These food items are necessary for pregnancy as it contains minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acids and other nutrients.
- Keep yourself hydrated by regularly drinking water which maintains the amniotic fluid levels. Develop a habit of drinking ten glass of water every day. Lack of enough water may lead to morning sickness, tiredness, cramps, and also contractions during the second and third trimesters.
- Take prenatal medication on time. These are supplements that are not substituted for natural food and are taken to ensure that you and your baby are consuming all required nutrients. Such medicines contain folic acid, a vital component that reduces the risk of the baby developing birth defects.
- Be regular with the exercise. While pregnancy your body will undergo different changes and it is very important to maintain an active lifestyle with regular exercise. Regular exercise also helps in managing stress and helps you curb the demands of labour and motherhood. During pregnancy, the volume of the blood in the mother’s body increases, thereby increasing the strain on the heart.
A regular 45 minutes exercise of every day will boost your circulatory system providing oxygen-rich blood to the baby. But do not start any physical activity according to your wish, do consult with the doctor first. Activities that are suitable in pregnancy are like swimming, walking, and yoga.
- Adequate sleep is necessary during pregnancy. Practice good sleep and try to rest your feet as much as possible.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking. Consuming alcohol, drugs or smoking will reach your baby through blood and will affect the infant with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome(FAS) which will consequently affect the mental growth of the child.
- Avoid caffeine and consume fruits. Research proves that caffeine increases the chance of miscarriage. It is because women who are expecting a baby already have a low iron content and caffeine makes it more difficult for the body to absorb iron. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid the intake of caffeine.
- Avoid environmental danger. Environmental danger means chemicals, pesticides, hazardous elements, radioactive elements, lead and mercury. Avoid using these chemicals around wherever you are present.
- Go for dental checkups. During pregnancy, a lot of hormonal changes occur in the body which will further lead to weaker gums. Therefore, it is very important to go for regular checkups to your dentists.
- Be healthy emotionally as well. During pregnancy, you will experience mood swings and emotional ups and downs. Do not let yourself feel depressed and ensure that you get help and get back to your normal state.
- Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. It is very important as these muscles help in easy delivery. It gives support to uterus, bowels, and bladder. Prenatal workout with guidelines will help you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
- Keep tracking your weight. Any increase in weight indicates the growth of the baby. Therefore, it is important to track your weight.
- Wear clothes in which you feel comfortable. As your weight and shape changes during pregnancy, it is very important to feel comfortable with the changes and growth.
- Wear flat footwear. In pregnancy, the weight changes and hampers the centre of gravity and creates painful pressure on your feet. Hence, it is advisable to wear footwear that you are more comfortable with.
- Take care of your skin. During pregnancy, your skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight and you are prone to sunshine and dark spots. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
- Pamper yourself. Listen to your body and feed the cravings that pop up occasionally. Pamper yourself with lunch, manicure, a much needed day out with friends or you can also go for a walk quietly in order to de-stress yourself. This will help both you and the baby.
- Educate yourself about the stages of pregnancy and the things which will help you and baby at such time. You should also be familiar with the times when you might need medical help, such as:-
- Severe pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fluid leaking
- Swelling of joints
- A reduction in the movement of the foetus
- Stress management is important as you will undergo various hormonal changes. At the time of pregnancy, you will experience mood swings as if you are in a rollercoaster ride and can overwhelm you. So working towards managing stress is important which can be easily managed by changing your way of reaction to the situation at home and at work. Meditation, yoga, talking to friends and involving yourself in craft activities help you to release stress.
What To Eat During Pregnancy?
Consuming a healthy diet is very important during pregnancy, as you will need some extra additional nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, you may need 350-500 extra calories every day during the second and third trimester. The extra calories are required for the newly born infants and therefore, lacking in these nutrients will negatively affect the baby’s development.
It is very important to have a balanced diet, you cannot have an extra diet as it may result in an increased risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy or birth complications. Consume simple choosing healthy nutritious foods which ensure both you and your baby. Here is a pregnancy diet for a healthy baby that you should follow, such as:-
- Dairy products: Dairy products contain casein and whey, two types of high-quality protein which is the best dietary source of calcium and also provides phosphorous, vitamin B, magnesium, and zinc in high quantity. Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt contains calcium than other dairy products and some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria that supports digestive health and particularly beneficial for pregnant women.
Consuming probiotics during pregnancy reduces the risk of complications, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, vaginal infections, and allergies. Hence consuming dairy products especially yogurt is necessary during pregnancy.
- Legumes: Legumes foods are excellent plant-based sources of fibre, such as lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts containing fibre, protein, iron, folate(B9), and calcium and things that are essential during pregnancy. Most of the pregnant women do not consume enough folate(B9) which is important during pregnancy.
Lack of folate(B9) may cause your baby to become more prone to infections and disease later in life. Consuming less amount of legumes during pregnancy increases the risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight. Hence, consuming legumes is necessary especially during pregnancy.
- Sweet potatoes: Women who are expecting a baby are advised to consume an increase in (10-40)% of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, a plant compound which further breaks down into vitamin A in your body.
But do keep in mind, consuming a high amount of animal-based sources of vitamin A may cause toxicity. Hence, beta-carotene is essential during pregnancy but in a balanced form. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, consuming (3.5-5.3) ounces or (100-150 grams) of cooked sweet potatoes is enough to fulfil your the entire requirement.
- Salmon: Salmon is a fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is essential during pregnancy, especially the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Such acids are highly found in seafood which builds the brain and eyes of your fetus. Even though pregnant women are advised to limit the consumption of seafood intake to twice a week, due to the mercury and other contributing factors found in fatty fish.
Well, studies show that pregnant women who consume fish 2-3 meals every week will achieve the required intake of omega-3 acid and increases the blood levels of EPA and DHA. In order to fulfil the omega-3 fatty acid requirement you can also have fish liver oil, most often cod liver oil. Therefore, consuming salmon fish is important during pregnancy.
- Eggs: Eating eggs also come under healthy pregnancy tips. During pregnancy, nutrients intake is beneficial and necessary for your health as it contains almost every nutrient you require, such as high-quality protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and a great source of choline. These nutrients help in the development of the brain and health.
According to a dietary survey, 90% of U.S citizens consume less amount of choline than required. Less choline intake increases the risk of neural tube defects and can possibly lead to a decrease in brain function. A single egg contains 113 mg of chlorine which is about 25% of the RDI for pregnant women.
- Broccoli and dark, leafy greens: Consuming broccoli and dark, leafy vegetables, such as kale, Spanish will provide you fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. These nutrients wil benefit your immune system and prevent constipation and thus enhances digestion. Intake of these food items will reduce the risk of low birth weight.
- Lean meat: Meats, such as beef, pork, and chicken are an excellent source of high-quality protein. Additionally, beef and pork also provide iron, choline, and other B vitamins that are highly required during pregnancy.
Iron an important mineral which contributes to red blood cells as a part of haemoglobin who primarily delivers oxygen to all cells of your body. And iron is necessary in case of pregnancy as the blood content increases during pregnancy.
Lack of iron during early and mid-pregnancy may result in iron deficiency anaemia which further doubles the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight. It can be hard to fulfil the iron requirement through diet alone, since many pregnant women may develop an aversion to meat.
- Berries: Berries contain water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants which help your body to absorb iron, improves your skin and immune system. Since berries do not contain much glycemic index value they do not cause major spikes in blood sugar. Consumption of berries increases the nutrient and water intake, therefore it is necessary to eat berries especially if you are pregnant.
- Whole grains: Apart from vitamins and minerals calories intake through whole grains, like oats and quinoa is also important, which is fulfilled through grains. Grains help pregnant women to meet their required calories, especially at the time of their second and third trimester. It also contains B vitamins, fiber, and magnesium that are all needed by pregnant women.
- Avocado: It is a fruit that contains a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids and is high in fiber, vitamin B, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E, and vitamin C. It is very beneficial during pregnancy at it is rich in healthy fat, folate, and potassium. This healthy fat helps in the development of skin, brain, and tissues of the fetus. The folate prevents neural tube defects.
- Dried fruit: The nutrients that you will receive from one piece of dried fruit is the same as the amount of nutrients you will receive from fresh fruits. Hence, intake of dried fruits can provide a large percentage of the intake of many vitamins and minerals, such as folate, iron, and potassium.
You should try eating prunes that are rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and sorbitol that will keep your digestion healthy as it prevents constipation. When it comes to dried fruit you cannot forget about dates that are rich in fiber, potassium, iron, and plant components. Consuming dates during third trimester may help you to facilitate cervical dilation and reduces the induce labour requirement. Dried fruits are necessary in pregnancy but do keep a balance and don’t consume more than one serving at a time.
- Water Intake: In pregnancy, the blood volume increase to 1.5 liters or 50 ounces. Hence it is important to fulfil the water intake. You need to fulfil the requirement of both, your fetus and your own. Anxiety, tiredness, bad mood and reduced memory are the symptoms of mild dehydration.
Apart from drinking water directly, you can also raise your water intake by eating foods and beverages, such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, and tea. Drink water wherever you feel thirsty and drink ample amount of water that will quench your thirst.
At last, whatever you eat keep in mind that along with you, you also need to feed a fetus inside you. During pregnancy, eat and drink things which is the betterment for the fetus first. The above-mentioned guidelines wil help you to start a healthy, well-organised and nourished pregnancy.