Pregnancy is a milestone in one’s life, and not following the guidelines and instructions regarding how to have a healthy pregnancy can have irreparable consequences for the mother and her child. This is an ideal time when you can take good care of yourself physically and emotionally. By following the ten steps below, you can have a healthy pregnancy and a baby without any problem.
See your Doctor Immediately
As soon as you find out you are pregnant, call and talk to your doctor or midwife to arrange prenatal care. Timely care means that you will receive the advice you need to have a healthy pregnancy right from the start. In this case, you will have enough time to organize any ultrasound and possible required tests.
Always try to have a healthy and balanced diet. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (even dried fruit). Eat lots of carbohydrates such as bread, sweet potatoes, pasta, and rice as the basis of your meals. Use whole-grain cereals instead of white ones to get a lot of fiber into your body.
Eat servings of protein daily, such as fish, lean meats, eggs, peanut butter, nuts or legumes, and some milk and dairy products, as well as any healthy snacks.
You do not need to eat as much as two people during pregnancy. In the first six months of pregnancy, you do not need to get extra calories. In the last trimester, you will need about 200 more calories per day. You can maintain your energy level by consuming healthy snacks.
Use Dietary Supplements
Vitamin supplements during pregnancy are not a substitute for a balanced diet. But if you are worried about poor nutrition or nausea and cannot eat enough, these supplements will help you experience a healthy pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking prenatal supplements and ask them how many grams of protein you need to take each day. If you do not use a multivitamin for pregnant women, you can buy folic acid and vitamin D supplements separately.
Observe Food Hygiene
It is better not to eat certain foods during pregnancy, as they may be harmful to your baby's health.
Listeriosis is an infection caused by the listeria bacterium. This infection is rare and usually does not pose a risk to your health, but it can cause complications in pregnancy or childbirth or even lead to miscarriage. Listeria bacteria may be present in the following foods, which should be avoided:
- Unpasteurized milk
- Ready-to-eat foods that are not well cooked
- Moldy soft cheeses, such as brie
- Cheese with blue-veined molds, like Roquefort cheese
Listeria bacteria are killed by heat, and you must heat the prepared foods thoroughly before eating.
Salmonella bacteria cause food poisoning and may be present in the following foods:
- Raw meat or meat that has not been cooked well enough
- Raw oysters
- Some eggs may also contain Salmonella bacteria
Wash dishes, chopping boards, and hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken. Remember that food hygiene is essential during pregnancy.
Toxoplasmosis is also an infection caused by a parasite. This infection is also rare but can affect your fetus. By following these steps, you can reduce your risk of getting this infection:
- Thorough cooking of meat and ready meals
- Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove dirt or grime
- Use gloves when handling cat litter or garden soil
Regular exercise has many benefits for expectant mothers.
Exercise increases strength and endurance and can help you deal with the extra weight caused by pregnancy and hard labor. It can also protect you from high blood pressure and reduce those nasty morning sickness events. It makes it easier to return to size and fitness after the baby is born. It improves mood and even helps you to stay away from depression.
Suitable exercises for a healthy pregnancy include the following:
- Fast walking
- Aquanatal Exercise Classes
You can continue your current exercise as long as you feel comfortable doing it. But if the exercise you are doing carries the risk of a fall or injury or puts extra strain on your joints, it is best to stop doing it. If you are not sure, talk to your family doctor.
Start doing Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor is made up of a cradle of muscles at the base of the pelvis. These muscles surround your bladder, vagina, and rectum. These muscles may become weaker than usual during pregnancy due to the extra pressure exerted on them. Pregnancy hormones can also cause your pelvic floor to relax.
Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles puts you at risk for stress incontinence. In this case, small amounts of urine leak out when you sneeze, laugh, or exercise.
Muscle-strengthening helps you through regular pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercise) during pregnancy. Having strong muscles in the pelvic floor can make it easier for your baby to be born and leads to a healthy pregnancy. To enjoy the benefits of this exercise, squeeze the pelvic floor muscles eight times and repeat this exercise three times a day.
Quit Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol enters your baby's body quickly through the bloodstream and placenta. For this reason, many experts recommend that you do not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy and substitute it with healthy pregnancy snacks.
Avoiding alcohol is especially important during the first trimester of pregnancy, as doing so during this period can increase the risk of miscarriage.
Mothers who drink a lot of alcohol regularly are more likely to give birth to a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). These abnormalities range from learning disabilities to more severe birth defects.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks are mild stimulants. There is a concern that consuming large amounts of caffeine may increase the risk of miscarriage. It is also possible that consuming large amounts of caffeine may increase the risk of low birth weight for the baby.
According to the available instructions, consuming a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine per day does not harm the child. This is equivalent to two cups of instant coffee. Like alcohol, it's best to cut out caffeine altogether, especially in the first trimester, to have a healthy pregnancy. Decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit tea, and juice are safe alternatives.
If you ask anybody how to have a healthy pregnancy, their first advice is “Stop Smokiong”! Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for both mother and baby. These problems include an increased risk of:
- Birth of a premature baby
- Low birth weight
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
In addition, Smoking increases the risk of pregnancy complications:
- Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before the baby is born)
If you are a smoker, it is better to quit for your health and the health of your baby. The sooner you quit smoking, the better, but it's never too late. Even quitting smoking in the last few weeks of pregnancy can benefit both mother and baby.
Take a Break
Feeling tired in the first few months of pregnancy is due to the high levels of fat hormones circulating in your body. After this period, your body tells you through the fatigue that you need to reduce your activity.
If you cannot sleep at night, take a nap during the day to make up for it. If this is not possible, at least put your feet up and try to rest for 30 minutes for a healthy pregnancy.
If back pain disturbs your sleep, lie on your left side with your knees bent. Placing a triangular pillow under the abdomen can also reduce the pressure on the waist.
Pregnancy is a very important stage in a woman’s life and it easy to know how to have a healthy pregnancy. This is why most women are excited about having children and getting pregnant. Definitely, a healthy pregnancy depends on being able to reduce the risks by following a healthy lifestyle and good habits and having a good delivery as well as a healthy baby.