If you are planning to become a mother - or if you already are- you might know some essential basics about how to take care of yourself and the baby. However, here is a list of some essential tips, from taking right vitamins to outline a birth plan, for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Take Prenatal Vitamins:
Even during conception, it's a smart decision to take prenatal vitamins. It' because, your baby's neural cord, that turns into the brain and spinal cord, generally develops within the first trimester. Thus, it becomes necessary for you to get essential vitamins, like calcium, folic acid, and iron, from the very beginning.
These essential vitamins are available over the counter at almost every drug store. If they make you feel queasy, try taking them at night or consume with a light snack. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy afterward can be of much help as well.
For every mom-to-be, it is a must to stay active. Regular exercise helps you control your weight, improve blood circulation, and light up your mood along with help you sleep better.
For pregnant women, pilates, swimming, yoga, and walking are some of the physical activities they can adapt to during pregnancy.
Outline a Birth Plan:
Write down your wishes and give a copy to everyone associated with your pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, following are the things you should consider while making a birth plan:
- Who you want present during birth, including siblings of the baby.
- What positions you want for labor and delivery.
- Clothes you would like to wear during birth.
- What to do if any complications take place
- Want an epidural during labor pain.
Embrace Yourself with Some Useful Information:
Even if this isn't your first pregnancy, joining a childbirth class can help you for a better, healthy pregnancy. Not only will it give you a chance to learn more thoroughly about childbirth and infant care, but you can raise your concerns as well.
Kegels are known for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which provide support to your bladder, bowels, and uterus.
If done correctly, Kegels can help make your pregnancy easy along with preventing problems with incontinence.
The best part of this exercise is that nobody can tell if you are doing it. You can practice Kegels in your car. You can practice it while sitting at your desk or even when standing in a queue at the grocery store.
Squeeze as though you're trying to stop the flow of urine when you use the bathroom. Hold your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds, then relax for three seconds, repeat 10 times- that's why Kegels is said to be one of the easiest and effective exercises of all.
Keep track of your weight gain:
You know you are eating for two. However, putting on extra weight may make it harder for you to lose it later. At the same time, not gaining substantial weight can put your baby at a risk of low-weight birth, one of the probable causes of development problems.
Recently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued new guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy. Let's see what the IOM recommends, depending on a woman's BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy:
- Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
- Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
- Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
- Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds
Consult your doctor frequently to make sure you're gaining your weight at a considerable rate.
Increase Intake of Folate-rich foods:
Folic is a B-vitamin. It is crucial for the proper development of a baby's neural tube. It helps prevent NTDs (neural tube defects). And, it's an essential vitamin for the creation of red blood cells as well.
Even before you know you're pregnant, it's a wise choice to eat Folate-rich foods such as fortified cereal, lentils, wheat germ, asparagus, oranges, and orange juice.
A study of more than 12,000 children was conducted in 2007. Researchers found in the study that children whose mother had eaten most fish during pregnancy had better I.Qs, motor and communication skills, than those whose mother did not eat much fish.
Scientists say the reason behind this is high levels of Omega 3s in fish. Omega 3s is a vital nutrient for brain development.
Though, make sure you don't eat too much fish. Some kinds of fish contain mercury, which can be harmful to both babies and adults.
FDA recommends that pregnant women should not consume more than 12 ounces of fish a week.
Stick to preserved light tuna, salmon, shrimp, catfish, or pollack. At the same time, avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel, they contain high levels of mercury.
Say yes to cravings-sometimes:
Nobody knows why cravings happen. Some experts think that this is the nature's way of providing expectant women with essential nutrients they may be lacking.
Regardless, as long as you are on a healthy diet, it's usually fine to give in to your cravings. However, remember to limit portions- don't down all the ice cream at once! Know which snacks to steer clear of. Avoid foods: raw and undercooked meat and eggs; feta, brie and other types of unpasteurized cheese; herbal teas; and raw sprouts.
Know when to consult your doctor:
Being a pregnant woman can be quite confusing, especially if this is your first pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consult your doctor if you have any of these following symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluid
-Any kind of pain
-Contractions at 20-minutes interval
-Dizziness or fainting
-Problem while breathing
-Edema (swelling of joints)
Pregnancy isn't just walking with a ball-like belly, it also the time to cherish and make good memories. Acquaint yourself with some useful information and get through the hard times of pregnancy! Take help of the mentioned tips in the article, and make your pregnancy a unique experience.