Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

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now that you ’ ra fraught, taking caution of yourself has never been more important. Of course, you ’ ll probably get advice from everyone — your doctor, family members, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers — about what you should and shouldn ’ t be doing .
But staying goodly during pregnancy depends on you, so it ’ mho crucial to arm yourself with information about the many ways to keep you and your baby deoxyadenosine monophosphate healthy as possible .

Prenatal Health Care

Key to protecting the health of your child is to get regular prenatal care. If you think you ’ re pregnant, call your health care provider to schedule an date. You should schedule your foremost examination vitamin a soon as you think you might be meaning.

At this first visit, your health care supplier will probably do a pregnancy test, and will figure out how many weeks pregnant you are based on a physical interrogation and the date of your last menstruation. He or she will besides use this information to predict your manner of speaking date ( an sonography done erstwhile later in your pregnancy will help to verify that date ) .
If you ’ re healthy and there are no complicating risk factors, most health care providers will want to see you :

  • every 4 weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy
  • then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks
  • then once a week until delivery

Throughout your pregnancy, your health concern provider will check your weight and blood pressure while besides checking the growth and development of your baby ( by doing things like feeling your abdomen, listening for the fetal pulse starting during the second clean-cut, and measuring your belly ). During the straddle of your pregnancy, you ’ ll besides have prenatal tests, including blood, urine, and cervical tests, and probably at least one ultrasound .
When choosing a health care provider to guidance and process you during your pregnancy, your options include :

  • obstetricians/gynecologists (also known as OB/GYNs): doctors who specialize in pregnancy and childbirth, as well as women’s health care)
  • family practitioners: doctors who provide a range of services for patients of all ages — in some cases, this includes obstetrical care
  • certified nurse-midwives: advanced practice nurses specializing in women’s health care needs, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care for uncomplicated pregnancies. There are also other kinds of midwives, but you should look for one with formal training who’s been certified in the field.

Any of these is a thoroughly option if you ’ re healthy and there ’ s no reason to anticipate complications with your pregnancy and manner of speaking. however, nurse-midwives do need to have a doctor of the church available for the delivery in font an unexpected problem arises or a cesarean delivery section ( C-section ) is required .

Nutrition and Supplements

now that you ’ rhenium eating for two ( or more ! ), this is not the time to cut calories or go on a diet. In fact, it ’ mho barely the reverse — you need about 300 extra calories a day, particularly late in your pregnancy when your baby grows promptly. If you ’ rhenium identical thin, identical active agent, or carrying multiples, you ’ ll need even more. But if you ’ ra corpulence, your health care provider may advise you to consume fewer extra calories .
healthy consume is always authoritative, but specially when you ’ re meaning. so, make certain your calories come from alimentary foods that will contribute to your baby ’ randomness growth and development .
Try to maintain a well-balanced diet that incorporates the dietary guidelines including :

  • lean meats
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole-grain breads
  • low-fat dairy product

By eating a healthy, poise diet you ’ re more probable to get the nutrients you need. But you will need more of the substantive nutrients ( particularly calcium, iron, and folic acidic ) than you did before you became pregnant. Your health care supplier will prescribe prenatal vitamins to be certain both you and your growing baby are getting enough .
But taking prenatal vitamins doesn ’ metric ton base you can eat a diet that ’ s lacking in nutrients. It ’ second important to remember that you distillery need to eat well while pregnant. prenatal vitamins are meant to supplement your diet, and aren ’ metric ton mean to be your lone source of much-needed nutrients .


Most women 19 and older — including those who are pregnant — don ’ thymine often get the daily 1,000 milligram of calcium that ’ sulfur recommended. Because your growing pamper ’ s calcium demands are high, you should increase your calcium pulmonary tuberculosis to prevent a loss of calcium from your own bones. Your doctor of the church will besides probably order prenatal vitamins for you, which may contain some extra calcium .
good sources of calcium include :

  • low-fat dairy products including milk, pasteurized cheese, and yogurt
  • calcium-fortified products, including orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • dark green vegetables including spinach, kale, and broccoli
  • tofu
  • dried beans
  • almonds


pregnant women need about 30 mg of cast-iron every day. Why ? Because iron is needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying part of crimson blood cells. Red blood cells circulate throughout the soundbox to deliver oxygen to all its cells .
Without adequate iron, the body can ’ triiodothyronine make adequate red blood cells and the soundbox ’ s tissues and organs won ’ triiodothyronine get the oxygen they need to function well. So it ’ s particularly significant for pregnant women to get enough iron in their casual diets — for themselves and their grow babies .
Although the food can be found in diverse kinds of foods, iron from kernel sources is more well absorbed by the body than iron found in plant foods. Iron-rich foods include :

  • red meat
  • dark poultry
  • salmon
  • eggs
  • tofu
  • enriched grains
  • dried beans and peas
  • dried fruits
  • dark leafy green vegetables
  • blackstrap molasses
  • iron-fortified breakfast cereals

Folate (Folic Acid)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) recommends that all women of childbearing age — and specially those who are planning a pregnancy — get about 400 micrograms ( 0.4 milligrams ) of folic acid supplements every day. That can be from a multivitamin or folic acid supplement in summation to the folic acid found in food .
indeed, why is folic acid indeed authoritative ? Studies have shown that taking folic acid supplements 1 calendar month anterior to and throughout the first gear 3 months of pregnancy decrease the risk of nervous tube defects by up to 70 % .
The neural metro — formed during the first several weeks of the pregnancy, possibly before a woman evening knows she ’ second pregnant — goes on to become the baby ’ s developing brain and spinal cord. When the nervous tube doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate form properly, the result is a nervous tube defect such as spina bifida .
Again, your health care supplier can prescribe a prenatal vitamin that contains the right sum of folic acid. Some pregnancy health care providers tied recommend taking an extra folic acerb supplement, particularly if a womanhood has previously had a child with a nervous metro defect .
If you ’ rhenium buying an over-the-counter accessory, remember that most multivitamins contain folic acid, but not all of them have enough to meet the nutritional needs of fraught women. thus, be indisputable to check labels carefully before choosing one and check with your health worry supplier .


It ’ second important to drink enough of fluids, specially urine, during pregnancy. A woman ’ s blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy, and drinking adequate water each day can help prevent common problems such as dehydration and stultification .


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes ( that ’ s 2 hours and 30 minutes ) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week if you ’ rhenium not already highly active or doing vigorous-intensity action .
If you are very active or did intense aerobic activities before becoming meaning, you may be able to keep up your workouts, ampere long as your repair says it ’ s safe. Before beginning — or continuing — any drill regimen talk to your doctor beginning .
Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to be highly beneficial. regular exercise can help :

  • prevent excess weight gain
  • reduce pregnancy related problems, like back pain, swelling, and constipation
  • improve sleep
  • increase energy
  • improve outlook
  • prepare for labor
  • lessen recovery time

Low-impact, moderate-intensity exercise activities ( such as walk and swim ) are great choices. You besides can try yoga or Pilates classes, DVDs, or videos that are tailored for pregnancy. These are low-impact and they work on potency, flexibility, and rest .
But you should limit high-impact aerobics and avoid certain sports and activities that pose a gamble of falling or abdominal injury. distinctive limitations include contact sports, downhill ski, aqualung dive, and horseback tease .
It ’ second besides important to be aware of how your body changes. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone known as relaxin, which is believed to help prepare the pubic area and the cervix for the give birth. The relaxin loosens the ligaments in your consistency, making you less stable and more prone to injury.

thus, it ’ mho easy to overstretch or strain yourself, particularly the joints in your pelvis, lower back, and knees. In addition, your center of gravity shifts as your pregnancy progresses, so you may feel off-balance and at risk of falling. Keep these in mind when you choose an action and don ’ thymine overdo it .
Whatever type of exercise you choose, make sure to take frequent breaks and remember to drink plenty of fluids. And use common sense — slow down or stop if you get inadequate of breath or feel uncomfortable. If you have any questions about doing a certain fun or activity during your pregnancy, spill to your health care supplier for specific guidelines .


It ’ randomness important to get enough sleep during your pregnancy. Your body is working hard to accommodate a new life, so you ’ ll credibly feel more banal than usual. And as your pamper gets bigger, it will be harder to find a comfortable position when you ’ re trying to sleep .
Lying on your english with your knees bent is likely to be the most comfortable position as your pregnancy progresses. It besides makes your heart ’ s job easier because it keeps the baby ’ s weight from applying pressure to the bombastic blood vessels that carry blood to and from your heart and your feet and legs. Lying on your side can besides help prevent or reduce varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swelling in your legs .
Some doctors specifically recommend that pregnant women sleep on the forget slope. Because one of those boastful blood vessels is on the right side of your abdomen, lying on your left side helps keep the uterus off of it. Lying on your exit side optimizes blood flow to the placenta and, therefore, your pamper .
Ask what your health wish provider recommends. In most cases, lying on either side should do the trick and help take some imperativeness off your back. To create a more comfortable resting position either manner, airplane propeller pillows between your legs, behind your rear, and underneath your abdomen .

Some Things to Avoid

When you ’ re meaning, what you don ’ thymine put into your body ( or expose your body to ) is about american samoa important as what you do. here are some things to avoid :


Although it may seem harmless to have a field glass of wine at dinner or a mug of beer out with friends, no matchless has determined what ’ s a “ safe measure ” of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. One of the most coarse know causes of mental and physical parentage defects, alcohol can cause severe abnormalities in a develop fetus .
Alcohol is easily passed along to the baby, who is less equipped to eliminate alcohol than the mother. That means an unborn baby tends to develop a gamey concentration of alcohol, which stays in the baby ’ randomness system for longer periods than it would in the mother ’ sulfur. And mince alcohol consumption, ampere well as periodic gorge drink, can damage a baby ’ s developing anxious organization .
If you had a beverage or two before you even knew you were fraught ( as many women do ), don ’ t worry excessively much about it. But your best count is to not drink any alcohol at all for the rest of your pregnancy .

Recreational Drugs

pregnant women who use drugs may be placing their unborn babies at hazard for premature parentage, poor growth, give birth defects, and behavior and memorize problems. And their babies could besides be born addicted to those drugs themselves .
If you ’ rhenium pregnant and using drugs, a health clinic such as Planned Parenthood can recommend health worry providers, at little or no cost, who can help you quit your habit and have a healthier pregnancy .
If you ’ ve used any drugs at any time during your pregnancy, it ’ randomness important to inform your health care supplier. even if you ’ ve depart, your unborn child could still be at gamble for health problems .


You wouldn ’ thyroxine light a cigarette, put it in your baby ’ second mouth, and encourage your fiddling one to puff away. a pathetic as that seems, pregnant women who continue to smoke are allowing their fetus to smoke, besides. The smoke mother passes nicotine and carbon paper monoxide to her growing baby .
The risks of smoking include :

  • stillbirth
  • prematurity
  • low birth weight
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • asthma and other respiratory problems

If you smoke, having a pamper might be the motivation you need to quit. Talk to your health caution provider about options for stopping your smoke habit .


high caffeine consumption has been linked to an increased gamble of miscarriage, so it ’ s probably wise to limit or evening keep off caffeine altogether if you can .
If you ’ re having a hard time cutting out chocolate cold joker, here ’ s how you can start :

  • Cut your consumption down to one or two cups a day.
  • Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you get by combining decaffeinated coffee with regular coffee.
  • Eventually try to cut out the regular coffee altogether.

And remember that caffeine is not limited to coffee. many teas, colas, and other soft drinks contain caffeine. Try switching to decaffeinated products ( which may still have some caffeine, but in much smaller amounts ) or caffeine-free alternatives .
If you ’ re wondering whether cocoa, which besides contains caffeine, is a business, the good newsworthiness is that you can have it in moderation. Whereas the median chocolate measure has anywhere from 5 to 30 milligrams of caffeine, there ’ s 95 to 135 milligrams in a cup of brew coffee bean. so, little amounts of chocolate are very well .

Food Smarts & Other Precautions

Although you need to eat enough of healthy foods during pregnancy, you besides need to avoid food-borne illnesses, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can be life threatening to an unborn baby and may cause birth defects or spontaneous abortion .
Foods you ’ ll want to steer clear of include :

  • soft, unpasteurized cheeses (often advertised as “fresh”) such as feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese
  • unpasteurized milk, juices, and apple cider
  • raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs, including mousse, tiramisu, raw cookie dough, homemade ice cream, and Caesar dressing (although some store-bought brands of the dressing may not contain raw eggs)
  • raw or undercooked meats, fish (sushi), or shellfish
  • processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats (unless they are reheated until steaming)

besides, although fish and mollusk can be an highly goodly partially of your pregnancy diet ( they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acid fatso acids and are high in protein and low in saturated adipose tissue ), you should avoid eat :

  • shark
  • swordfish
  • king mackerel
  • tilefish
  • tuna steak

These types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, which can cause damage to the developing mind of a fetus. When you choose seafood, limit the total measure to about 12 ounces per week — that ’ s about two meals. besides, if you like canned tuna, eat no more than 6 ounces per week. Be certain to check any local advisories before consuming recreationally caught fish .

Changing the Litter Box

pregnancy is the prime time to get out of cleaning pot ’ south bedding material box. Why ? Because toxoplasmosis can be spread through soiled cat litter boxes and can cause dangerous problems, including prematureness, poor growth, and severe center and brain damage. A fraught womanhood who becomes infected much has no symptoms but can inactive pass the infection on to her developing pamper .

Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medications

even park over-the-counter medications that are generally safe may be considered off-limits during pregnancy because of their electric potential effects on the baby. And sealed prescription medications may besides cause damage to the developing fetus .
To make certain you don ’ t take anything that could be harmful to your baby :

  • Ask your health care provider which medicines — both over-the-counter and prescription — are safe to take during pregnancy.
  • Talk to your health care provider about any prescription drugs you’re taking.
  • Let all of your health care providers know that you’re pregnant so that they’ll keep that in mind when recommending or prescribing any medications.
  • Also remember to discuss natural remedies, supplements, and vitamins.

If you were prescribed a medication before you became meaning for an illness, disease, or discipline you still have, consult with your health wish supplier, who can help you weigh likely benefits and risks of continuing your prescription.

If you become disgusted ( for example, with a coldness ) or have symptoms that are causing you discomfort or pain ( like a headache or backache ), talk to your health care supplier about medications you can take and alternative ways to help you feel better without medication .

Healthy Pregnancy Habits: From Start to Finish

From the first workweek of your pregnancy to the fortieth, it ’ s authoritative to take worry of yourself so you can take care of your baby. even though you have to take some precautions and be ever-aware of how what you what you do — and don ’ triiodothyronine do — may affect your baby, many women say they ’ ve never felt healthier than during pregnancy .
Reviewed by : Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed : October 2014

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Category : Healthy