Pregnancy Health: How To Care For Your Body During Pregnancy
When I became pregnant the first time, one of the things I quickly came to learn is that pregnancy is such a delicate time for a woman and that’s because at this time your body is performing one of the most delicate tasks known to man; creating another life.
At each point in time, your system is meeting a milestone in the development of your baby’s cells and organs, which is why you must take care of yourself and follow a healthy lifestyle.
It takes a lot to make a healthy baby and you really have to commit to it to be successful at it.
Certain lifestyle changes and small sacrifices you will make going forward will ensure you and your baby remain healthy and continue to thrive.
Thankfully, some of these pregnancy self-care routines won’t be new to you, since you already practice them often, a few would, however, but these are not so big a change they would visibly affect your life.
7 Self Care Tips to Practice for a Healthy Pregnancy
1) Eat the Right Nutrition
At this stage, your body needs all the nutrients it can get in the right proportion.
Also, contrary to popular beliefs, you aren’t exactly eating for two. While your nutritional needs will increase, you only need an extra 300 calories, added to the 2,000 daily calories required for women.
The bulk of your food should be proper nutrition containing all the nutrients you need in the right amount.
This is especially needed, even if pregnancy is a time when we crave junk foods!
You want to also avoid or cut down on food and drinks that are likely to pose some harm to your baby. Foods like undercooked or raw fish and meat, high mercury fish, unwashed produce, alcohol, unpasteurized milk and cheese, raw egg, and caffeine pose some sort of risk to your developing baby
Another thing you want to avoid is going on a diet or cutting down on your calories to maintain your current weight. If you are overweight and don’t want to put on more pounds, you should talk to your doctor who will draw up the right nutritional plan for you.
To ensure you are eating right for you and your baby, you want to adopt what is widely known as a pregnancy diet, which contains all the right classes of food in the right proportion.
Here’s a breakdown that should help:
- Five portions of fruits and vegetables daily.
- A 30% fats, diet.
- Starchy carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, potatoes, rice, and bread come high in energy
- Animal-sourced proteins like chicken, beans, lean meat, eggs, quinoa, egg, lentils, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
These foods will provide the much-needed nutrients. You should also include foods high in calcium, iron, and folic acid as these are vital in the diet of a pregnant woman.
2) Stay Active with Exercises
Exercising regularly also keeps you and your baby healthy.
Regular exercise keeps your blood flowing as it should, which is great for transporting nutrients and oxygen to your baby.
Experts recommend getting up to 30 minutes of exercise daily. Doing so comes with other benefits including
- Preventing you from excessive weight gain.
- Reducing problems such as back pain, swelling, and constipation
- Bringing about better sleep.
- A boost in your energy levels.
- Promotes a positive attitude.
- Prepares your body for labor and lessens recovery time afterward.
3) Keep Your Healthcare Provider in the Know
During the early months of your antenatal visits, you’d be required to go in for a monthly checkup, but as your pregnancy progresses, your doctor will bump your visits to bi-monthly and then weekly.
You want to ensure you keep your doctor in the know of every pregnancy symptom, even if it appears benign.
4) Get Plenty of Rest
Your sleep will get disrupted during the first trimester as you will have frequent needs to use the restroom. This should subside by the second trimester though and you would be able to get more sleep.
5) Take Plenty of Fluid
Water is not exactly a nutrient, but its effect is no less felt. To remain healthy while pregnant, it’s also important you drink plenty of fluids. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases, so drinking plenty of water is the best way to avoid dehydration and constipation.
Taking adequate water also helps your system get rid of toxins and facilitates the flow of vital nutrients to your growing baby. You want to aim for at least eight glasses of fluids daily to keep your body functioning optimally.
6) Take Your Prenatal Vitamins
Taking your prenatal is also important for keeping your health and your baby’s going.
Certain nutrients are a must as your baby needs these to thrive and develop as she should. Since you can never be too sure you would be getting all the daily nutrients you need from the food you eat, this is why taking a prenatal supplement comes strongly recommended.
A few brands of prenatal come with all the nutrients you would need, however you could also opt to take these pills individually.
Supplements that are especially helpful in pregnancy include:
On average women need 1,000 mg of calcium daily and this is sufficient in pregnancy. However, if you are 18 years and under, then you should up your daily intake to 1,300mg.
Calcium can also be got from a wide variety of food products such as low-fat dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt; orange juice, soy milk, and cereals that are fortified with calcium; dark leafy green veggies such as spinach, kale, and broccoli; as well as tofu, dried beans, and almonds or you could just straight-up take this in the supplement form.
Since at this stage your body is producing blood for two, you would be needing an extra dose of iron to keep this running smoothly.
Iron is also needed to transport oxygen from your lungs to other parts of your body and not getting enough can lead to a condition called anemia, which presents as fatigue, headaches, weakness, lightheadedness, pale skin and fingernails, and glossitis (inflamed tongue).
A severe case of iron deficiency increases your risk of you having a preterm baby as well as the likelihood of your baby being severely underweight, leading to possible long-term health complications.
In pregnancy, you need 27 to 30 mg of iron per day as your body uses this to make hemoglobin which helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body.
You can get iron from both animal sources and plant sources, although your body absorbs 2-3 times the iron in animal sources. Some animal sources of iron include lamb, liver, oysters, chicken, egg, duck, canned salmon, turkey, beef,
and sardines while plant sources include beans and lentils, cashew, nuts, tofu, dried apricots, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and baked potatoes.
Another essential nutrient in pregnancy is folate. Taking folate reduces the risk of your baby being born with birth defects like spinal bifida among others.
The daily recommended dose to take is 0.4 milligrams.
Folate or folic acid is especially important as taking it a month before you get pregnant and three months into your pregnancy reduces the risk of spida bifida by as much as 70%.
Spida bifida is a neural tube defect that gets formed during the first 28 days of pregnancy before you even realize you’re pregnant.
Folate can be found in citrus fruit, banana, leafy greens, papaya, rice, cornmeal, spaghetti, broccoli, avocado, eggs, bread, legumes, nuts and seeds, and beets or the supplement form.
One of the best folate supplements you can take is Nature Made Prenatal Vitamin contains folate and zinc and is specially formulated to support the development of a baby’s brain, nervous system, bones, and eyes.
About this item
- FOLIC ACID + 17 KEY NUTRIENTS FOR BABY & MOM: This prenatal multivitamin provides Folic Acid and 17 other nutrients to support mom’s overall health, and support baby’s brain, eyes, and nervous system development—in only one daily tablet.
- 250-DAY SUPPLY, ONE DAILY TABLET: Adults take 1 tablet daily with water and a meal. 250-day supply. Each serving (1 tablet) contains prenatal vitamins A, C, D3, E, K and all 8 B vitamins, plus Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Magnesium, and Zinc.
7) Try Some Prenatal Yoga
Pregnancy yoga, known as prenatal yoga, has been linked to better sleep in pregnancy. It improves stress and anxiety, reduces nausea and lower back pain among a few other pregnancy symptoms, and increases strength.
Some yoga styles, including the hot yoga Ire considered unsafe in pregnancy. Prenatal yoga, restorative yoga, and hatha yoga however are safe and come recommended.
A Final Word
Your pregnancy health depends on eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking the right supplements. If you strive to eat nutritious food and maintain a positive attitude during your pregnancy, the good moments will definitely outshine the difficult ones.
Tags: Pregnancy Health, How To Care For Your Body During Pregnancy