14 Tips For Having a Healthy Pregnancy
For a woman who has been anticipating her pregnancy for a couple of months, seeing the double pink lines on a pregnancy test can count as one of the most joyful moments in her life.
Pregnancy is a miraculous moment in many women's lives. A woman’s body goes through multiple changes during this time, and it would be great to have an idea of what a healthy pregnancy looks like.
#1. Consult with your Gynaecologist
You should give your doctor a heads up before you decide to conceive. Any vaccinations, tests or medical conditions that require monitoring can begin before you get pregnant. The primary ones include getting checked for diabetes and increased blood pressure.
Vaccinations such as a flu vaccine can be taken before pregnancy if it is the flu season. However, this vaccine is also safe to take during pregnancy as well. Vaccinations such as the one for chicken pox and rubella have to be taken before you get pregnant. If you get these infections during pregnancy it can lead to miscarriages and other complications.
Your gynecologist can also assess the days during which you are most fertile to help you with conceiving. Once you get pregnant you will need to check up with your gynecologist regularly for various tests and to assess how your pregnancy is progressing. Some of these tests include:
- Regular ultrasound screenings to check how your baby is progressing during your pregnancy.
- In the second trimester, there is a blood test called triple screening test to rule out conditions such as Down syndrome.
- Women who have abnormal or unclear results in their triple screening tests are usually suggested to get an amniocentesis. This is one where they test the amniotic fluid present in the amniotic sac for possible abnormal cells.
- Around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy, women usually have to get their glucose levels tested.
- One of the final crucial tests includes screening for streptococcal bacteria in the vaginal tract. Positive cultures require treatment as this bacteria can cause serious infections in newborns.
#2. Prenatal Multivitamins
Probably one of the most important requirements for your first trimester. Prenatal Multivitamins contain essentials such as folic acid which help in the formation of your baby’s nervous system. Vitamin supplements with increased amounts of folic acid can be started around a month before you begin conceiving.
#3. Eat healthy
If you are currently on a dieting or binging phase, now would be the time to reconsider these lifestyle choices. There is no requirement to stop any healthy eating practices you have included into your schedule (eg. cutting out sugar), just add a few more to the already existing one. Eat more fruits, fresh salads, drink at least 3 liters of water and consume some form of calcium daily.
When you observe that you are feeling extremely tired, weak, gaining or losing excess amounts of weight unknowingly, it could indicate some deficiencies in your daily diet plan. Sometimes having unusual cravings (eg. chalk, ice, clay) can also suggest some mineral deficiencies in your diet. When you experience any of this it is best to consult with your doctor immediately.
(Also Read About the Ideal Pregnancy Diet During Pregnancy)
Most women are advised to stop consuming fish during pregnancy. While this is partly true, some form of omega 3 is required for your baby’s development. Consume fish with lower mercury levels, such as salmon, shrimp, tuna, and catfish.
Organic Omega 3 supplemented eggs, nuts such as walnuts and flaxseed also contain good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. If you feel you are not getting sufficient amounts of omega fatty acids, you can always talk to your gynecologist for additional supplementation.
Many women believe that they have to rest and avoid strenuous activities during their pregnancy. This is far from the truth. Women who have been highly active before getting pregnant can continue to do so throughout their pregnancy. It is best to avoid activities that your body is not accustomed to.
If you have never exercised before, starting slow during your pregnancy wouldn’t be such a bad idea. This would include a 30-minute walk daily along with some stretches to loosen up those tight muscles. Exercising and stretching reduce back and joint pains. It will keep you more flexible and assist with delivery.
#5. Read up on everything pregnancy related
Before you deliver your child, it would be great to know all the ins and outs of pregnancy, delivery, and parenting. Today there are several books available on pregnancy and delivery. Pick up any one of them at a local bookstore and get accustomed to some of the terms and possible milestones you will attain during your pregnancy.
There are special classes available for parents who wish to know more about infant care. There are also special coaches to simulate the delivery process for you. All this is more essential for first-time parents, who might get overwhelmed with the responsibilities that lie ahead of them.
#6. Keep the alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes at bay
Alcohol and cigarettes have direct links with fetal birth defects. So it is best to stay off them during and possibly after your delivery. Try to avoid passive smoke inhalation as well. Caffeine can pass through the placenta and can act as a stimulant in your baby. A few studies also link it to possible low birth weights and fetal growth retardation.
Here are few studies:
#7. Do not take medications without a prescription
Most medications should be avoided during pregnancy. There are very few pregnancy safe medications. Most medicines can easily pass through the placenta to your baby. Your doctor knows which medications are safe to be consumed during pregnancy. So if you are ill or feel the need to take any medications, consult your doctor first.
#8. Get assistance with chores and daily activities
While you can continue doing most activities around your house, it is best to leave the heavy lifting to other members of the household. Avoid using toxic chemicals. If you have pets at home, allow your family members to clean your pet and their litter. Certain infections can be spread from pets that are harmful during pregnancy.
While in countries such as India handing over household chores might not always be possible, women are recommended to take frequent breaks during their day and pace out their activities. You can delegate one or two of your tasks to other members of your family while you take care of the rest. Take a nap during your day to refresh yourself and tackle the rest of your day.
#9. Monitor weight changes
If you fell within the normal weight range before your pregnancy, gaining about 10 - 12 kgs throughout your whole pregnancy is considered normal. If you were underweight or overweight, the amount of weight you should gain is adjusted accordingly.
The best practice is to check your weight as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed. On a weekly basis attempt to check increases in your weight. This weight gain should be steady throughout your pregnancy. Any unusual weight gains or losses should be mentioned during your OBGYN visits.
#10. Do your daily Kegels
Kegel exercises help to strengthen a lot of your pelvic muscles. Ideally, any sexually active woman should know how to do these exercises. They are easy to do and can be done at any time during the day. To do this exercise, you need to contract your pelvic floor muscles, as you would if you were to stop a stream of urine. Hold for about 3 - 5 seconds and then let go. Repeat three to four times per session and do it two to three times in a day.
#11. Opt for comfort
Ditch those heels. Your feet will start to swell during your pregnancy and any pressure on your feet will automatically affect your posture and your back. Reduce the discomfort and wear comfortable sneakers or flats at all times. When not standing or walking, keep your feet up on a stool or on the sofa to help with the swelling.
Another thing to do is to invest in some maternity clothes. Attempting to fit into your old pants or tops is not advised. Buy a couple of adjustable clothing which you can grow into during your pregnancy. It is vital to consider investing in comfortable bras as your breasts will consistently increase as your pregnancy progresses.
#12. Giving into those pregnancy cravings
Yes, all that you have heard about pregnancy cravings is true. Some women have bizarre cravings at odd hours. It is completely fine to give into your cravings every once in a while. But remember excess is never good. Excess of fizzy drinks, sugar-laden sweets, salty treats or even oily food can disrupt your metabolism.
If you find yourself eating this consistently throughout the day without including nutritious food items into your diet, it would be best to fine-tune your cravings and work on bringing in a balance.
#13. Take some time for yourself
When your baby arrives, every hour on the clock, at least for the first few months, will revolve around your newborn. During your pregnancy, take time to do the things you enjoy and also prepare a schedule for getting in some “me” time when your baby arrives. Spend time with friends, read, eat well and also get a good night’s rest.
#14. Know all the signs of labor and distress
Close to the end of your pregnancy any pain or a little cramp can be worrisome for a mother to be, especially a first-time mom. Talk to your doctor about the definite signs of labor. Pain, especially the ones that are sharp and radiate to the back, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, bleeding or leakage of fluid or a decrease in your baby’s activity, should all be reported to your gynecologist.
(You might like to know, How To Stop Bleeding During Pregnancy)
Pregnancy is a wonderful journey for any woman in her life. No two pregnancies are exactly alike. There are several differences and overlaps. Talking it out, getting all the information and freely discussing your doubts is the best way to breeze through your pregnancy. Work out a birth plan with your partner. Discuss all the things you would like to do during the pregnancy, that would also include your baby shower. Talk about the doctor, the delivery, the hospital and even the clothes you wish to wear during your pregnancy.
Every detail is vital and necessary for having a healthy and wholesome experience. Never hesitate to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
D*****@ Hemalatha: Timing intercourse close to your ovulation dates increases your chances of getting pregnant. Feel free to consult your gynecologist if you are having any troubles in conceiving.
D*****@ Shwetaa: You can try bras when you buy them. Both the cup size and your band size will increase. Choose the one most comfortable for you.
P*****I hv no pregnancy,😒,so what can I do for pregnant
H*****@Nimmy Soms there is chance of baby to suffer from thyroid by birth. I have known who has same problem and her baby too
S*****Hi Dr. Michelle frank hmm koi byby nhi horha h 3 yes se trying Kr rhe hu please advise me
S*****It's very useful article & thank you so much for that. It's my first baby 45 days old. I am not able to breast feed as there is no milk secretion. I had lactare tablets but no use.Please advise me. Thanks in advance.
N*****Hi Doctor I am 38years old and trying to conceive for 2nd baby but I have thyroid and pcod problems...is it possible to conceive?
M*****A very informative article...
H*****Thank you so much for sharing the tips. How to get pregnancy??
R*****Pregnancy is a very special stage of life. A new parent to be has so much to book forward to, so many questions you want to ask, so much to know Nowadays there are myriad sources of information online !! It’s enlightening & at the same time - can be mid boggling. But if one is careful,selective, you feel so much better.as you become an ‘iformed’ decision maker.
S*****How & when can I choose perfect size of bra in my pregnancy