Pregnancy causes many changes in the body, including changes in hormones and immune function. These changes often require pregnant women to take better care of themselves. While you may think “I’m giving up my baby anyway” and forego healthy behavior, taking good care of yourself during pregnancy can help keep you and baby safe. Healthy habits can even lead to an easier labor and delivery.
Here is what you need to know.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins contain a lot of the nutrients that pregnant women should consume to ensure healthy development of the fetus. One of these vitamins is called folic acid. Taking folic acid reduces the baby’s risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Prenatal vitamins also contain iron, which delivers oxygen to your baby, as well as calcium. You will need calcium because you may lose bone density during pregnancy. Follow instructions on the prenatal vitamin bottle to ensure that you take enough capsules throughout pregnancy.
Protect Yourself from Listeria
Listeria is a bacteria that can harm you and your baby. It causes a sickness called listeriosis. Pregnant women are more likely to have listeria than women who are not pregnant. Women who have listeriosis can experience fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms. Pregnant women with listeriosis are also at serious risk of miscarriage.
People can have exposure to listeria by consuming unpasteurized milk, uncooked meats and vegetables, and processed foods. However, careful food consumption can help protect you from listeria. These tips will help:
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk.
- Do not eat raw meat.
- Do not eat smoked, uncooked seafood.
- Wash all vegetables well before eating.
- Do not eat meat spreads.
Following these tips can help you avoid exposure to listeria bacteria and thus can protect you from listeriosis itself.
Drink Water and Milk
Pregnant women spend a lot of their time thirsty. Carry a metal water bottle with you wherever you go so you will have always have something to drink. Drinking milk will help you get the extra calcium you need to stay healthy while pregnant.
Eat Fruits, Vegetables, and Beans
Prenatal vitamins do not cover all of your nutritional needs. A significant percentage of your daily nutrition should come from healthy vegetables and lean protein sources like beans. Eat leafy greens and legumes to get more folic acid. Consume fruits that are high in vitamin C, like honeydew, oranges, broccoli, and grapefruit. To boost your calcium intake, eat yogurt mixed with your fruit.
Exercise is very important during pregnancy because it helps regulate your mood and makes sleeping easier. Exercise is also good for circulation. Gentle forms of exercise are best, particularly exercise regimens specially designed for pregnant women. Walking, yoga, meditation, and swimming are all good for pregnant women.
Talk to your doctor about what types of exercise are best for you. Your doctor can also help you decide how often you should exercise in order to stay healthy.
Track Weight Gain
You should gain weight during pregnancy. In addition to the weight of the baby, your body will have more blood, a larger uterus, and bigger breasts. Most women will gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. However, too much weight gain during pregnancy can put you and your child at risk. Tracking your weight gain throughout the pregnancy can help you avoid obesity.
If you were overweight when you became pregnant, you may need to gain less weight during pregnancy. If you were underweight when you became pregnant, you may need to gain more weight. Women who are pregnant with twins will gain more weight than women who are not.
Talk to your physician to find out how much weight you can expect to gain while pregnant and then monitor your weight gain to ensure you are on track.
Cut Out Certain Types of Fish
Some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can impact your baby’s brain development. Often shark, tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel are the worst types of fish for pregnant women. Tuna can also be problematic, so women should limit the amount of tuna they consume.
Sleep at Least 7 Hours Daily
Women who do not get enough sleep at night are more likely to experience complications during labor and are more likely to need a C-section. Sleeping can be difficult for pregnant mothers, so women should lay in bed for at least 8 hours each day in order to get at least 7 hours each day.
Women who have an especially hard time falling asleep may need to work with their doctor to devise strategies that will help.
If you are pregnant and considering adoption, and have more questions about what to expect during pregnancy, contact Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri today. Our birth mother specialists are here for you through every step of your pregnancy!