If you’re a first-time mom-to-be, congratulations on this new chapter in your life. Pregnancy is a wonderful yet challenging experience. So, you can manage those challenges and ensure a smooth and healthy pregnancy by adopting a few habits. Whether you are experiencing morning sickness or mood swings, this article highlights healthy habits to follow during your first pregnancy.
1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough fluids during pregnancy is essential for preventing issues like preterm labor, urinary tract infections, and constipation. In addition to water, consider adding milk, soup, or juice to your diet. You can also keep track of the additional calories from beverages to ensure you stay at a healthy weight. That said, try drinking at least 10 cups of water daily.
You should also note that you can improve your hydration by consuming some fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies, like watermelon and cucumber, have more than 90% water content. So, the next time you crave a refreshing snack, consider some water-rich produce.
2. Avoid Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. It may also result in long-term health problems for your baby, such as asthma, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. As for alcohol, drinking during pregnancy may lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause physical and intellectual disabilities in your baby. In extreme cases, consuming these substances may result in intrauterine fetal demise.
So, make it a point to stay clear of these substances during these nine months. Avoid situations and people that may lead you to smoke or drink. For example, if you usually smoke when stressed, find a healthier way to cope with stress, like taking a walk or practicing yoga.
3. Get Active
According to the American Pregnancy Association, regular exercise during pregnancy results in shorter labor times and reduces the risk of cesarean delivery. You don’t have to dedicate several hours to physical activity. Just 30 minutes of daily exercise can help improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
Are you looking for some exercise options? Consider a prenatal yoga class because it is a great way to stay flexible and calm those pregnancy jitters. You can also consider attending dance classes designed for expectant moms.
Walking could also be a great alternative. Grab a walking buddy and take a stroll through the park, or explore a new neighborhood. Whatever exercise you choose, just remember to stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months.
Before exercising, remember to take it slow, especially if you were not active before becoming pregnant. Listen to your body and avoid any activities that could lead to falling over. It is also always a good idea to chat with your doctor before embarking on any exercise program.
4. Get Enough Rest
Carrying a tiny human inside you is exhausting. Lack of sleep may lead to issues such as fatigue and even preterm labor. Thus, proper rest during pregnancy is crucial for both your and your child’s health and well-being.
However, when you are pregnant, your body undergoes many changes that can impact your sleep. For example, you may find it harder to get comfortable at night as your belly grows. You may also experience heartburn, leg cramps, and other uncomfortable symptoms that make it difficult to rest. So, what steps should you take to help you get enough shut-eye? Here are a few tips:
- Get cozy bedding: Invest in soft and cozy bedding, like a fluffy comforter or a weighted blanket. If you are like most people, you will love the feeling of being wrapped up like a burrito.
- Set the mood with lighting: Soft lighting can help create a relaxing ambiance in your bedroom. Consider using dimmer switches, string lights, or candles (if safe) to create a cozy and calming atmosphere.
- Reduce noise: If outside noise keeps you from sleeping, try using earplugs or a white noise machine.
- Stay active: Staying active may help you sleep better in the long term. Just make sure not to exhaust yourself.
5. Pay Attention to Your Diet
Sustaining your energy levels and balancing your hormones heavily depend on eating a healthy, well-rounded diet. During pregnancy, your body needs an additional 300-500 calories per day than your regular intake. That is equivalent to an extra apple with peanut butter or a small avocado toast. It’s best to consult a dietitian to help you manage your diet to stay healthy during pregnancy.
That said, it is not just about the number of calories but also the nutrients from the food. From dark greens to crimson berries, eat a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables to get the most nutritional bang for your dietary buck. In general, the more varied the colors on your plate, the greater the variety of vitamins and minerals you consume.
Not a fan of veggies? No worries! You can try raw veggies like carrots or diced and blended veggies into tomato-based sauces and stews. This way, you can incorporate veggies into your diet while consuming meals you enjoy.
As your baby grows, their need for these nutrients increases. Dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk are fantastic sources of protein, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Just one cup of milk contains 30% of your daily calcium needs.
Sometimes pregnant mothers may crave desserts like a donut, and that is okay. You can treat yourself occasionally, but just try to make healthy choices most of the time. Eating foods you enjoy is important for self-care and can make dealing with your pregnancy easier than otherwise.
Taking care of yourselves during pregnancy is vital. Various factors contribute to staying healthy during your pregnancy, as outlined above. It may feel overwhelming to stay on top of things throughout these 9 months, so don’t be afraid to seek support from your friend and family—especially those who’ve been through a pregnancy. That way, you can help improve your chances of a happy and healthy pregnancy.