The feeling of having a baby can bring immense joy to the parents as they start preparing for a pregnancy. But it can also become difficult to go through and adapt to all the changes that come with pregnancy. With several suggestions coming from family and friends, it’s hard to decide what’s right for you. Therefore, having accurate information is important!
The way you take care of your body before, during and after pregnancy can have an impact on the baby’s health. In this article, we got you the ultimate guide to help you go through a happy and healthy pregnancy while enjoying the beautiful phase of your motherhood.
Healthy Eating Habits
While healthy eating habits must be followed even before pregnancy, it becomes vital that you have more nutrients and a balanced diet during pregnancy. You must have foods that contribute to the healthy development of the baby while avoiding those rich in sugar, salt or fat. Avoid junk or unhealthy food as it can have harmful effects on you or the baby’s health.
It is highly recommended that you should have several types of fruits and vegetables regularly. Food rich in iron and dairy products such as yoghurt or cheese rich in calcium must be a part of your daily diet. Additionally, drinking plenty of water is essential to avoid constipation.
You must be careful about getting food poisoning so it’s better to avoid foods such as pate or raw eggs as they may contain bacteria. Following good hygiene practices while preparing or storing food is extremely important during pregnancy. You might need to consume folic acid supplements or iodine supplements if required but only on the recommendation of your doctor.
Positive Weight Gain
Being overweight or underweight during pregnancy can affect you as well as your baby’s health. Gaining excess weight during pregnancy can be a cause of various health problems such as stillbirth, birth defects, gestation diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also negatively affect the birth and your breastfeeding abilities. Overweight women require extra care during pregnancy and the risk factors are comparatively higher.
Similarly, being underweight is also not a healthy sign for pregnancy. It can include higher risks of preterm birth or low birth weight. Underweight women also possess a higher risk of miscarriage.
Your gynaecologist will recommend how much weight you should gain for a healthy pregnancy. Regular consultation with your doctor regarding your weight and how to maintain a positive weight gain throughout the pregnancy is essential. If your doctor suggests the weight gain is not falling under recommended levels, you can get a professional opinion on weight management from the dietitian as well.
Smoking & Alcohol
Alcohol consumption can be very harmful during pregnancy as it directly passes through the placenta, entering the baby’s bloodstream. This leads to an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. Regular drinking can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorders creating lifelong issues for your baby. It is highly recommended to avoid alcohol consumption completely once you’re aware of your pregnancy as it can be very dangerous for the baby’s health.
Smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke can prove harmful to your baby. It adds to the increased risk of pregnancy complications and can even lead to miscarriage. Smoking can be a primary reason for low birth weight and long-term health issues for your baby. Avoiding smoking as well as passive smoking is very important when you’re pregnant.
Regular Physical Activities
Pregnancy can bring vigorous changes to your body and regular physical activities can help keep up with getting overweight or dealing with mood swings. Moderate physical activities in between 150-300 minutes are considered healthy during pregnancy. You must avoid excessive physical activities that may increase stress on your body and lead to injuries.
Choose a physical activity based on your doctor’s recommendation. Some common day-to-day activities can include brisk walking, cycling and swimming. Joining a swim club or yoga class can help boost motivation and promote positive thoughts. Looking after your mental health is really important during pregnancy as it might get difficult to handle frequent body changes and mood swings.
Avoid Chemical Exposure
Direct or indirect chemical exposure must be avoided during pregnancy. Some chemicals or toxic substances can be dangerous for the baby. Some examples are second-hand tobacco smoke, household chemicals, radiation, fungi and chemicals at work.
Toxic chemicals you should prefer to stay away from including sterilising chemicals, pesticides or laboratory supplies. In case your work includes chemical exposure, it is best advised to take maternity leave throughout your pregnancy to avoid any harmful effects of chemicals leading to pregnancy complications.
Before you plan to get pregnant, have a complete medical check-up and stay up to date with chickenpox and German measles vaccinations. These diseases can have harmful impacts on the health of your baby.
You should also prefer taking two primary recommended vaccinations during pregnancy:
Whooping cough: Whooping cough can be dangerous for babies. Getting yourself vaccinated during pregnancy will save your baby from the life-threatening effects of whooping cough. The recommended duration for this vaccine is between 20 and 32 weeks into pregnancy.
Influenza: Pregnancy complications can arise if you catch flu (influenza). Influenza can even cause serious health issues to your baby so taking an influenza vaccination is necessary to protect your child’s health.
Importance of Mental Health
As much as physical health is important, you need not neglect the importance of mental health during pregnancy. Anxiety issues in women are normal but if you feel you’re going through depression, immediately seek medical help from professionals. Talking to a counsellor can help deal with pregnancy fears and support your overall mental health.
Leading a stress-free lifestyle is one of the most essential factors contributing to a healthy pregnancy. Seek help from others when required and avoid stressful situations or work that can negatively impact your mental health. Breathing exercises and meditation can be really helpful for releasing stress and anxiety.
Wishing you a Happy & Healthy Pregnancy
Getting pregnant and welcoming a new-born can be the most beautiful experiences of your life. It can be overwhelming to listen to suggestions coming from family and relatives. But, in case you have any doubts or questions, always prefer to take your doctor’s advice. Seeking medical attention at any crucial stage during pregnancy can help ensure a safe pregnancy. Seeking a doctor’s advice on diet plans, weight tracking and mental health issues is highly recommended. We hope this guide will help you go through a healthy pregnancy and enjoy every bit of this new phase of your life!