If you are pregnant or thinking about trying for a baby, you want to provide the best possible start for your child. Having the healthiest pregnancy you can is undoubtedly the best way to do this.
You may be asking, how do I have a healthy pregnancy? If you follow some simple tips below, you will be well on your way. If you found out you’re pregnant a bit late in the game, try not to worry. It’s never too late to change your ways and have a healthier pregnancy.
You don’t have to be too strict. Eating right, getting the appropriate vitamins, and exercising are the most important things. If you aim to do this 6 out of 7 days, you’re well on your way to having a healthy pregnancy.
You may face a few challenges along the way, e.g. overcoming an addiction, a shrunken stomach, difficulty exercising due to morning sickness, fatigue, and the fact that you just can’t breathe as easily with your baby squishing your lungs.
Let’s dive in.
How to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
Each trimester is different and will bring about their own issues and hurdles. If you are trying for a baby then you have a bit of a starting advantage over those that accidentally fall pregnant.
Before becoming pregnant
If you are able to eat healthy and have a good exercise regime, reports say you may find it easier to become pregnant. If you start early and take a multivitamin high in folate, calcium and iron, as these are what babies require in their early stages of development, you will be giving them a good head start. There are many companies that specifically provide these multivitamins, but be sure to read the label first.
1. Stop smoking
If you are smoking at any stage in your life and are interested in your health, it’s a good idea to quit.
Smoking when pregnant has been proven in many cases to cause damage to your baby. So for the sake of your butt, your baby’s butt and those other butts that may be inhaling your passive smoke – put that butt out.
2. Don’t drink alcohol
The amount of alcohol recommended that is ok to consume is varying depending on the source and the country.
For example, in France, where a glass of wine at dinner is usual practice, they advise to keep this up for good health.
In order to stay completely safe, nil by mouth is recommended by the majority of health experts so if you follow this recommendation you will be sure to not be doing any harm at all.
3. Eat a well-balanced pregnancy diet
There are so many foods that are recommended to support your baby’s growth and development, but sometimes these can be hard to fit into your daily menu. Here’s a list of the basics to get you started:
- Good fats: Walnuts, avocado, anchovies and others high in omega 3.
- Calcium: Whole milk, yoghurt, hard cheese and leafy greens.
- Iron: Broccoli, red meat, leafy greens, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Fibre: To keep you regular and everything moving. When you are pregnant, your digestive tract may slow down, so it’s a good idea to keep your fibre up. Hemorrhoids are sometimes a battle for pregnant women so it’s a good idea to avoid them, but that’s another kettle of fish. Speaking of fish…
- Fish: Avoid the large ones (see below regarding mercury) and go for the smaller, oily ones.
- Fruits: Plenty of fruits and citrus, but not too much. Citrus may cause reflux if you have it in excess and too much of any fruit can increase your sugar levels as much as a bag of lollies.
- Vegetables: Try and have 5 servings a day of all different kinds and colours.
Foods to avoid:
Anything that has not been pasturised and homogenised as these may contain nasty bacteria that can cause food poisoning, bacterial infection and potentially miscarriage or preterm delivery with listeriosis. Some include:
- Soft cheeses
- Raw/smoked/cured meats and fish
- Unpasteurised or unhomogenised milk
Mercury (not in retrograde):
Other fish to avoid are those high in mercury. This is because they can damage developing organs, sight, hearing and the nervous system.
A basic rule of thumb is anything that is large, or at the top of the food chain is usually high in mercury such as swordfish, shark and marlin. Fish that are lower in mercury are the smaller fish such as sardines, salmon, cod and flounder, for example.
That’s right ladies, you are allowed to change up the chores to avoid nasty chemicals, heavy lifting and taking out the kitty litter. If you do have a cat, you may need to increase your hand washing and kitty patting behaviour too. It’s all a part of eliminating toxicity and chemicals from your life.
Just keep moving each day. Try and get your heart rate up so that you break a sweat. If you are not used to doing this, then speak to your health care professional prior to attempting an exercise routine whilst pregnant.
If you’re not used to doing much activity at all, walking, swimming or yoga/stretching are great ways to keep on moving throughout your pregnancy.
Learn more: Exercise During & After Pregnancy
Please remember that it’s in your best interest to be in your most healthy and fit state at the end of your pregnancy for the lovely marathon of labour and birth.
The fitter you are, the easier this will be. It’s been medically proven that less interception is required for caesareans and epidurals for women who have been exercising for the duration of their pregnancy, so hit the pavement ladies.
It’s so exciting to be pregnant and sometimes you just want to stay up late and do those things that couples do, because you can, and time is running out before your baby arrives and changes your sleep patterns forever.
Please try and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night to ensure a healthy pregnancy. If you can, try and get to sleep before 10pm to ensure proper REM.
You will definitely miss your sleep when you have your baby, so catch up now, while you still can.
7. Check your medications
If you are taking medications, prescribed or over the counter, it’s best to check with your doctor or health professional if it is still safe to continue taking these whilst you are pregnant.
The same can apply for weight management, fitness supplements and protein powders.
8. Wear comfortable shoes
Go for comfort. Did you know that the ligaments in your feet stretch and expand when you are pregnant and sometimes you will go up ½ to a whole shoe size permanently?
So, if you’re planning on buying some Jimmy Choos, maybe wait until after your pregnancy to check your correct size.
9. H 2 whoa!
This old chestnut. Yes, you need to be drinking a lot of water when you are pregnant, more so than when you’re not, actually.
So, instead of eating for 2, think of drinking (water – not wine) for 2, and increase your intake to 3L a day.
This will obviously send you to the loo more than usual but will also help with your bladder control and those kegel muscles that are crucial to a healthy birth and post birth plan for your pelvic floor.
Keep those puppies exercised and your body will thank you later in life.
10. Take note of your cravings (and enjoy them)
Pregnancy cravings have been linked to certain malnutrition of a particular vitamin or mineral, so take note of them and indulge yourself.
If you are craving pickles and ice cream – this may mean you are deficient in fats and salts.
Let your imagination go wild and allow yourself to experiment with what your brain is telling you you need.
You might catch on pretty quick and dismiss the cravings (ugh gross) or re-invent yourself as a master chef. Why not?
Please comment below with your craziest craving. Mine was mayonnaise on toast or 3 oranges at approx 3am.
If you are craving things like dirt, rust, ash and other inedible substances – these can be a sign of something else significantly lacking in your pregnancy, so check with your health care professional. Oh, and please don’t indulge in these.
If you can meditate then you’re well on your way to settling your mind.
If you have no idea how to meditate or why it’s so important, then you can download a podcast or an app to help you.
If any of these sound too whimsical, then at least take 10 minutes a day to sit quietly without any devices.
12. Spring clean
When getting your nursery ready you could also do a spring clean of all of those non-parental things that you won’t need anymore.
Time to let it all go and enjoy a clean, fresh and vibrant home.
A clean home, means a clean mind, so let’s get sorting.
Remember not to use any harsh chemicals and if you want to paint something; that will have to be hubby’s job.
13. Talk about your feelings
A healthy pregnancy not only refers to your body, but also your mind.
Keep your thoughts and feelings intact by having conversations about your emotions with friends and family.
If you’re not able to do that, a journal is a great way to purge your feelings.
This can then also be shared with your baby when they become a teenager – content may need to be edited at a later date, but keep it real for now with your pen and paper to confide in.
14. Be an aware bear
Know your body, your baby’s phases and what is happening to you.
If you are educated then what is occurring may not be such a scary thing because you are prepared for it.
This is also super important for the onset of labour, birth, breastfeeding and postpartum depression.
When you’re pregnant there’s a lot of pressure to take care of yourself, in order to take care of your baby. It’s a time to be selfless and make sacrifices in order to give your baby the best possible start in life.
Enjoy the process and remember that if you do have some bad days, just try again the next day.
It’s all good in moderation so don’t be too hard on yourself.