10 Tips For A Healthy And Happy Pregnancy

Date December 7, 2017

Those who are planning to become pregnant and those who have already conceived know the basic 1-2-3: no smoking, alcohol or stress. However, the list of essentials for a healthy pregnancy comprises of much more than that.

It doesn't have to get overly complicated, confusing and expensive, but there are things you need to be prepared for physically, financially, and emotionally. 

1. Regular exercise

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Regular exercise during pregnancy provides health benefits for both mother and baby. It helps keep your weight under control while improving your sleep, blood circulation, and even boosting your mood or energy level. 

Getting physically ready for pregnancy before you conceive is a good idea, but thinking that it's only a temporary lifestyle change is not. It may be hard to find time for exercising when you have a newborn, but when staying fit and working out regularly becomes a habit, it is a good example for your child to follow and a great family activity.

Yoga, Pilates, walking, and swimming are gentle ways of staying fit when you are expecting, but you can also find special exercises and workouts for pregnant women to minimize aches and pains or get your body ready for labor.

It is generally recommended to exercise for 30 minutes daily or at least three to four days a week. Always discuss your exercise plans with your doctor or other healthcare providers to determine what is safe or what modifications and adjustments to your pre-pregnancy exercise routine are needed.

2. Kegels

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Aren't these the best exercises ever? Invisible but effective, and requiring no preparation, significant effort, "the right time" to exercise or even finding time at all whenever life gets busy. This means no excuses, and as you do the "anytime, anywhere" Kegels, you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles by simply contracting and relaxing them.

The pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. They may become weaker during pregnancy or after childbirth, but Kegels are one of the best ways to prevent this while improving and maintaining bowel and bladder functions. The ideal form of exercise during pregnancy that also gets the "right" muscles ready for labor. 

  • identifying your pelvic floor muscles requires stopping your urination flow mid-stream by tightening them;
  • once you know which muscles to tighten, you do that for 5 seconds, then relax them for 5 seconds;
  • aim for at least 3 sets of 10 repetitions a day.

3. A different food guide

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  • buy organic products whenever you can;
  • up your fiber intake: include vegetables, fruit, beans, wholemeal bread, brown rice and oatmeal in your diet;
  • opt for healthy snacks: fruit, yogurts, whole grain crackers;
  • steer clear of seafood that may contain mercury (some varieties of fish, shrimps, lobsters);
  • alcohol, caffeine and artificial flavorings are considered a no-no during pregnancy. However, some studies suggest that caffeine is not harmful in moderate amounts, such as no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day;
  • you'll need an extra 300-500 calories a day in the second and third trimesters;
  • it is recommended to drink about 10 8-ounce cups of water, which is an ideal beverage during pregnancy. It maintains a healthy level of amniotic fluid and helps reduce morning sickness. However, those who have high blood pressure, preeclampsia or kidney problems may get different recommendations from their doctor.

4. Prenatal vitamins

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Folic acid, calcium, and iron supplements are necessary to take before and during pregnancy. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube, spinal cord or brain defects. The neural tube is the part of the embryo from which your baby's spine and brain further develop.

Prenatal vitamins are available without a prescription, but you need to consult your obstetrician before using prenatal vitamins and for recommendations on how and when they need to be taken – separately or as combined multivitamin and mineral supplements, for example.

READ ALSO: 5 Things Dogs Are Able To Sense, Including Pregnancy

5. Skin changes and sunscreen

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During pregnancy, the skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight, so you should try to mostly stay out of the sun. Wearing a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more, as well as sunglasses and a hat is also a good idea.

Soaps, detergents, perfumes or skincare products that you've used before may cause irritation or itchiness and even make you nauseous. This is why many moms-to-be switch to unscented products and gentle natural washes, lotions or moisturizers with no parabens or sulfates.

6. New shoes

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The good news is that a woman's center of gravity starting to shift during pregnancy means they don't tip over. Some not too good news is this still leaves them not as balanced as before and creates other problems such as pain in the lower back, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.

There are stretches and exercises to help ease the stress these body parts are under as a result of this postural change, but comfortable shoes are a must. Quality sturdy footwear that is easy to put on and slip off, probably a size bigger than you used to wear, or with some adjustable closure elements – this may not sound like your dream pair of shoes, but you will need them.

7. A detailed plan

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With pregnancy and labor, many things may not go as planned, but doing your research and knowing your options is key; this is why it is worth creating a plan. Would you like to have a doula? An epidural? What would your ideal labor scenario look like and include? Give a copy of your plan to your partner and to the doctor who will deliver your baby. Don't forget to mention the following:

  • who is allowed to be in your delivery room and who isn't (your partner, mother, other family members, your best friend);
  • labor interventions and newborn procedures you'd like to avoid or request an alternative form;
  • what position you would like to be in when giving birth.

8. Antenatal and childbirth classes

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These are convenient for learning more about pregnancy, childbirth and caring for a newborn baby. You have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and discuss any fears or concerns. Even if you are in your second or third pregnancy, these classes are useful and informative, as all pregnancies, labor scenarios, and babies are different.

9. New daily schedule

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No matter how busy your day used to be, you need to slow down and include plenty of time to rest and recharge in your new daily schedule. There are also things you should avoid or delegate to someone else, as they are potentially harmful to your unborn baby:

  • changing the cat litter box (due to the risk of toxoplasmosis);
  • household cleaners (unless they contain only non-toxic or eco-friendly ingredients);
  • cooking if you are too exhausted or nauseous;
  • carrying heavy bags.

10. Enjoy every moment!

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Ditch your to-do lists and rest more often. Take a nap or two in the afternoon whenever you can. Indulge in something you enjoy, go for walks, socialize with friends, go shopping or discover a new hobby.

Put your feet up often to give them a rest. Ask your partner, friends or family members for help when you are feeling too tired to cope with the chores. Pamper yourself and your future baby!

Source: Source: Parents, FitPregnancy

READ ALSO: 20 Useful Facts To Know About Pregnancy And After Birth

This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.

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