A woman’s physical and emotional well-being is critical during pregnancy. Everything a woman does affects her baby’s health. Mothers-to-be can increase their odds of a healthy pregnancy by following a few sensible tips. These include eating well-balanced meals, taking prenatal vitamins, drinking plenty of water, exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress.
During pregnancy, what a woman eats, her baby also eats. Stocking the pantry and refrigerator with nutrient-rich foods will help ensure the mother-to-be is getting enough B6, B12, iron, calcium and folic acid essential for a healthy pregnancy. Bananas, whole grains, sweet potatoes and spinach are all nutrient-packed foods. Prenatal vitamins are also important to take during pregnancy as they provide extra folic acid and other nutrients that can help prevent birth defects.
Eating healthily is important, but giving into cravings every now and then will help keep the mother-to-be in a happy mood. Sometimes cravings are a result of the body telling the woman that she is lacking a certain nutrient. Not all cravings are related to a deficiency, however. Most are harmless and will not hinder a healthy pregnancy.
Doctors say exercise is a good idea for most pregnant women. A daily exercise routine of 30 minutes can help reduce back pain and constipation associated with pregnancy. Other benefits include improving sleep, posture and mood. Pregnant women who work out are often better able to deal with labor pain. Walking, yoga, swimming and low-impact aerobics are safe options for a healthy pregnancy.
Keeping on the move can be beneficial, but women need to know the signs of overexertion in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Staying busy helps calm the nerves but overdoing it can adversely affect the baby. Trouble breathing, dizziness and an elevated heart rate are signs of overexertion. Women experiencing these signs of exhaustion should listen to their bodies and get some rest.
Getting eight or nine hours of sleep a night is important for a healthy pregnancy. Fatigue is a common symptom of pregnancy for women in their first trimester. The second trimester may be better, but fatigue usually returns in the third trimester. If eight or nine hours of sleep seems impossible because of extra trips to the bathroom or heartburn, taking more naps during the day may help.
Although nine months may seem like an eternity for some mothers-to-be, the time allows a woman to prepare for her new role. This preparation stage can help women reduce their stress and anxiety. Constant stress can cause a weakened immune system for the mother, preterm labor and low birth weight for the baby. Pregnant women are advised to make every effort at relaxing, whether it’s getting a prenatal massage or having some quiet time alone.