Being pregnant is supposed to be the happiest time after marriage in the life of a woman. There is always something beautiful about being pregnant, especially the first timers. The attention, care, pampering from the spouse and his people, the accolade from the brand-new mother’s parents, for making them proud and general support from everyone around the woman.
Whether you are looking for pregnancy or you are preparing for it, adjustments in life-styles are inevitable to conceive and or to carry the pregnancy to term.
A continuous depressive life style because of delay in getting pregnant is not healthy. It will only make the wait longer or never. So, get out of your brooding mood, share good time with your spouse and friends and remain calm. Anxiety is counterproductive to conception.
According to medical experts, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle while pregnant, or trying to conceive. A healthy lifestyle will help ensure that your pregnancy is normal and your baby develops in a healthy manner. It also increases fertility rates and helps your baby receive essential vitamins and minerals.
Everyone knows the importance of avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs during pregnancy and beyond, but there are other, lifestyle changes that will perpetuate a healthy pregnancy. Byram Healthcare, in its Breastfeeding Blog, looked at some great healthy lifestyle changes essentials to great pregnancy experience. According to the blog, these changes are also applicable if you’re trying to conceive!
When you live an unhealthy lifestyle and have an unexpected pregnancy, there are more risks for both you and your baby. Planning your pregnancy is the best way to make sure you’re giving your baby everything he or she will need to develop properly.
Experts say the first few weeks of pregnancy is a critical time and when you’re unhealthy, your baby’s development is more at risk for being negatively affected.
Make your ways healthy when you prepare for pregnancy or when you are looking for one. Byram Healthcare identifies the following as essential changes to make.
- Healthy Weight
Maintain a healthy weight before you conceive. When you’re overweight or obese, it greatly increases your chances of developing high blood sugar or diabetes, which translates to serious risks of birth defects in your developing baby.
When you’re at a healthy weight, tracking pregnancy weight gain is easier. This is important because gaining too much weight will make postpartum weight loss difficult and not gaining enough weight is risky for your baby’s development. When you don’t gain enough weight, your baby is at risk for low-birth weight.
Depending on how much you weigh before pregnancy will change how much weight you should gain throughout your pregnancy. The Institute of Medicine recommends the following:
- Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
- Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
- Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
- Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds
- Change Your Diet
To help make sure you’re gaining a healthy amount of weight, you will probably need to make some changes to your diet. While this is a great way to help you manage your weight gain, making sure you’re eating foods with high nutritional value will give your baby the best environment and all of the nutrients they need for development.
One way to do this is add foods rich in folate. Folate is found in many foods such as vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, nuts, beans, seafoods, egg, dairy products, poultry and grains.
Some other great changes or things to add to your diet include:
- Food rich in iron, like steak or chicken
- Vitamin C foods
- Foods rich in calcium
- Pregnancy super foods
- Choline-rich foods
- Greek yogurt
- Canned light tune—not albacore!
- Dark, leafy greens
- Foods packed with fiber
- Fortified grains
Eat small meals about 5-6 times a day and never skip breakfast. Stay away from soft cheese and lunch meet, as they are more likely to have high levels of listeria.
Another thing you will need to focus on is drinking more water. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases up to 50 percent, which means you need to drink enough water to help your body adjust to increased functions. If you absolutely hate water, add some lemon, cucumber, or mint. Aim to drink about 2.4 liters of water each day.
- Add a Prenatal Vitamin
if you’re actively trying to conceive, taking a prenatal vitamin will help. However, once you get pregnant, it’s important to continue to take your prenatal vitamins. They contain a number of nutrients that are essential for your baby’s neural tube development and help you create new blood cells.
Make sure you find a prenatal vitamin that meets your needs for iron and folic acid. Talk to your doctor to find a prenatal vitamin that works best for you.
- Get a Good Exercise Regimen
Exercise is a great way to not only stay in shape, but to help boost your mental health. With all of the hormones coursing through your body during pregnancy, maintaining positivity will feel like a struggle. Exercise releases endorphins that make you happier and will do wonders for your overall outlook. Exercise also keeps you physically fit and will help you maintain a safe weight gain. Ask your doctor for pregnancy safe exercise.
Aim for 20-30 minutes of moderate cardio per week alongside strength training exercises 2-3 times a week for the best results. You should also add some kegels into your exercise regimen to help prepare your pelvic floor for delivery and recovery. In Mayo Clinic’s A how-to guide for women; To do kegel, you imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you are lifting the marble. You need to try it for three seconds at a time then relax for a count of three.
- Cut Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Caffeine
When you consume these vices, so does your baby. Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are all detrimental to the healthy development of your baby. While some people argue that a glass of wine here and there won’t hurt, there’s no way to know if it’s truly safe or not. Since fetal alcohol syndrome is real and affects your baby’s development, it’s better to be on the safe side and abstain from any alcohol until after you deliver.
Caffeine use should be reduced, at the very least. Current guidelines recommend no more than 200mg per day, total. Caffeine is present in foods and drinks other than coffee, so make sure you do a little research before indulging.
If you smoke, quit. It will be difficult, but smoking is one of the most dangerous things for you to do while pregnant. The same should be said about any illegal, or legal, drug use. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor and find a good support system.
- Manage Your Stress
When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone wreaks havoc on your body, mind, and the development of your baby. Instead of letting stress control your life, find a way to manage and reduce it.
- Understand Your Medical Conditions
If you have a chronic medical condition, now is the time to understand it 100% and take the necessary steps to get it under control. Things like diabetes, asthma, depression, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular problems are often affected by pregnancy, so you will need to take the right precautions to ensure you and your baby stay safe.
Discuss any current medications you’re taking with your doctor and expect to make changes to your treatment plan for the duration of your pregnancy. Some medications are not safe to take during your pregnancy, so talking to your doctor is very important.
We hope that after reading this article, you’re prepared to make the healthy lifestyle changes you need to ensure a successful, healthy pregnancy. It’s crucial for your baby’s development and it will help you stay energized and avoid illness while you’re getting ready to welcome your new baby to the world.