Pregnancy is a delicate and emotional time for first-time mothers. During this time, they require extraordinary care and the best nutrition so that the pregnancy is safe and the baby is born healthy. Living healthy can help a mother achieve both of these things. A healthy lifestyle offers innumerable benefits and guarantees a healthy pregnancy. It lessens stress, keeps you active, and aids in childbirth. Therefore, expecting mothers should adopt healthier choices to improve pregnancy outcomes.
Here are five healthy choices you can make to stay healthy and safe during your first pregnancy.
- Visit the doctor regularly:
Regular doctor visits are a must in your first pregnancy. A visit to a doctor provides you with all the necessary information and prenatal care you require for your pregnancy. On your visit, your doctor checks your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and body condition to confirm your pregnancy. In addition, the doctor carries out blood tests, urine tests, pelvic exams, and ultrasounds to determine maternal and fetal health. Therefore, it is necessary to visit your doctor.
Schedule your appointments to know when and how frequently you need to go. Generally, you need to visit every four weeks for the first six months. Afterward, you will visit every two weeks, and eventually, your doctor will see you every week until the delivery date. It is vital to have a competent doctor to ensure your visits are fruitful. You can have a gynecologist, a family practitioner, or a nurse midwife as your pregnancy doctor. Whoever you choose must be professional and skilled, so the chances of medical malpractice are minimum.
If you suffer complications and your child acquires a birth injury due to medical negligence, you should file a lawsuit. Centers like Birth Injury Justice Center can provide you with the legal help you need.
- Do not skip on exercise:
If you were not active before pregnancy, it is time to exercise. Many studies reveal that exercise is very beneficial for first-time mothers. Exercising helps brighten the mood and keeps the body physically active. It helps maintain a healthy pregnancy weight and reduces the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and C-sections. In addition, it helps in safe and easy delivery.
Consult with your doctor before you begin any workout. Generally, for previously active women with normal pregnancies, exercising is typical and unchallenging. A low to moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes each day may be beneficial for you. In addition, walking, yoga, Pilates, and Kegels may also help.
Stay hydrated during workouts and take frequent breaks. Avoid high-intensity exercises that can wear out your muscles and body. In addition, terminate any activity if you feel out of breath, dizzy, or get abdominal cramps.
- Change your eating habits:
A first pregnancy requires special care, especially when it comes to nutrition. The growing baby and your changing body heavily depend on your diet. A poor diet can put you at risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, or c-section. In addition, your weight before and during pregnancy also affects your pregnancy outcomes. Therefore, you must maintain healthy nutrition throughout.
A well-balanced diet rich in protein and folate is perfect for you. Vegetables like asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cooked greens, rich in minerals and vitamins, should be a must in your diet. In addition, various fruits and low-fat dairy are also great options, especially as snacks. Grains, lentils, fish, and nuts are the chief protein sources for pregnant women.
For your first pregnancy, you must provide the best nutrition to your growing baby. Thus, you should avoid processed foods containing artificial sugars and saturated fats.
- Add supplements:
Micronutrients: vitamins and minerals are present in your diet. However, the quantity varies and may not be enough for your growing needs. Therefore, to ramp up your essential vitamins and minerals, you must take prenatal supplements.
Iron, calcium, folic acid, and many other micronutrients are essential for your growing baby. Folic acid is an essential vitamin in pregnancy. It promotes the proper growth of the brain and spinal cord in the fetus. Its correct intake before and during pregnancy can result in few neural tube defects. Therefore, CDC recommends pregnant females take at least 400 mcg of folic acid throughout their pregnancy.
Similarly, iron is essential for mother and fetus as it provides oxygen to maternal and fetal tissues. Low iron levels can result in lower levels of red blood cells in the mother or baby, premature birth, or improper growth of the fetus. Therefore, you should take 30mg of iron daily.
Consult with your doctor for the best prenatal vitamins for you. Make a schedule of when and how to take a particular supplement.
- Eliminate toxins:
Now that you are pregnant, it is time to quit certain habits. Smoking, alcohol, and coffee consumption are dangerous for your health and fetus. Thus, you must avoid such substances.
Alcohol is a vice for your first pregnancy as it affects the healthy development of the fetus. Excessive consumptions result in fetal alcohol syndrome and stillbirth. Babies suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome have physical disabilities. They suffer from learning disabilities, abnormal development of facial features, and behavioral problems. Therefore, you must restrain from alcohol. There is no safe limit for alcohol consumption, so you must eliminate it from your diet.
Similarly, tobacco and excessive caffeine have teratogenic effects during pregnancy. These substances cause tissue damage, heart defects, abnormal facial features, and miscarriages. Thus, you should quit smoking and reduce your caffeine intake to 200mg.
- Take rest:
For a healthy pregnancy, it is essential to rest. A stressed mind and an overworked body can negatively impact fetal growth. Therefore, try to reduce stress and get plenty of sleep.
Numerous studies show that a lack of proper sleep during pregnancy results in difficult childbirth and lengthy labor. In addition, the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia also increases. Thus, doctors recommend women sleep at least eight hours. Avoid electronics and heavy meals before bed to get a good sleep. Take short naps throughout the day to boost energy levels. Keep a pregnancy pillow and consult your doctor if your condition worsens.
Stress is usual during pregnancy, but you need to manage it. Long-term stress can retard fetal growth and cause defects. Moreover, it can complicate childbirth, resulting in a C section. Therefore, to reduce stress, try to meditate and ask for help.
Your first pregnancy requires effort and care. However, by making simple, healthier choices, you can maintain a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Thus, take care of yourself, stay active and focus on your diet.