Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Knowing that you are doing all you can to stay healthy during pregnancy and give your baby a healthy start in life will help you to have peace of mind.
Steps you can take for a healthy pregnancy:
Get early prenatal care and go to every appointment.
Start a journal or pregnancy blog.
Take pictures of yourself throughout your pregnancy.
Talk with the healthcare professional about any medical problems (such as obesity, diabetes, seizures, etc.) and medicine use (both prescription and over-the-counter).
Take a prenatal vitamin. They can be prescribed by your practitioner or you can buy them over the counter.
Ask about avoiding any substances at work or at home that might be harmful to a developing baby.
Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods made from it.
Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat.
Make sure you eat a variety of foods including lots of veggies.
Remember to add 300 – 500 calories a day while pregnant.
Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) folic acid every day.
Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs.
Try and use non-medicinal remedies for nausea, constipation and heartburn.
Keep hands clean by washing them often with soap and water to prevent infections. Ask your partner to join you on your healthy habit changes.
Take birth classes. Sign up early to ensure you get the class and dates that you want.
Stop changing cat littler.
Practice relaxation whenever you can. Try for at least once a day.
Talk to local doulas and start interviewing. Doulas can help you have a shorter, safer and more satisfying birth.
Keep your prenatal appointments with your midwife or doctor. This will help ensure that if you have any problems that they are caught early and kept to a minimum.
See a Chiropractor and a RMT. It will help relieve your pain and even encourage the baby to assume a good birth position.
Exercise and do prenatal yoga. Starting now will help you stay in shape during pregnancy, can lower your risk of miscarriage, and has been proven to help reduce labor complications and length. You will recover more quickly. Swimming is great in late pregnancy. It can help relieve a lot of aches and pains and makes you feel weightless.
Have a 4D ultrasound to see your baby move while you feel movement. This has been noted to help the parents bond with the baby before the birth.
Write a birth plan. (Remember this may not go as planned) Something to help you clarify what you want or need for your birth experience. Share this with your practitioners and those you have invited to your birth.
Do pelvic tilts to help with late pregnancy back pain. Stretch before bed to help prevent leg cramps.
Rest when you can. Nap!
Read yet another book!
If you are decorating your house or nursery remember to avoid fumes often associated with paint and wall paper. Perhaps have friends do the heavy work while you help make snacks for them. Keep the windows open!
Tour your birth facility before making a choice if you are not having a home birth.
Review the signs of premature labor as well as warnings signs for when to call your practitioner.
Baby sit a friend’s baby and learn a bit about caring for a newborn.
Pack your bags if you are going to a hospital. Don’t forget your health insurance card, pre-registration forms, charged phone, birth plan, etc.
Premature Birth: Important growth and development occur throughout pregnancy – all the way through the final months and weeks. Babies born three or more weeks earlier than their due date have greater risk of serious disability or even death. Learn the warning signs and how to prevent a premature birth.
Folic Acid: Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent major birth defects. Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, before and during pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy is the single most preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and infants. Learn more about the dangers of smoking and find help to quit.
Alcohol: When you drink alcohol, so does your unborn baby. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant.
Infections: You won’t always know if you have an infection—sometimes you won’t even feel sick. Learn how to help prevent infections that could harm your unborn baby.
HIV: If you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, get a test for HIV as soon as possible and encourage your partner to get tested as well. If you have HIV and you are pregnant, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy and not give HIV to your baby.
West Nile Virus: Take steps to reduce your risk for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne infections.
Diabetes: Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chance for birth defects and other problems for your baby. It can cause serious complications for you, too.
High Blood Pressure: Existing high blood pressure can increase your risk of problems during pregnancy.
Medications: Taking certain medications during pregnancy might cause serious birth defects for your baby. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking. These include prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements.