Pregnancy – Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

Now that you’re pregnant, taking care of yourself has never been more important. Of course, you’ll probably get advice from everyone – your doctor, family members, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers – about what you should and shouldn’t be doing. If would-be parents happen to be pursuing a healthy lifestyle even before conception, then the fetus becomes safer during early weeks of pregnancy, when a woman might not be aware of her pregnancy.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide various vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber to aid digestion. Vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables, helps you absorb iron. It also promotes healthy gums and other tissues for both you and your baby. Dark green vegetables have vitamin A, iron and folate — other important nutrients during pregnancy.

Smoking

Stopping smoking before, during and after pregnancy is one of the best gifts any parent can give their new baby. Smoking during pregnancy has been shown to cause low birthweight, premature birth, and miscarriage and stillbirth. Your doctor will be happy to offer advice and practical help like nicotine gum for mum or dad when they decide to stop. Don’t forget that it’s never too late to stop.

Avoid Infections

It is a must to avoid infections caught from all possible sources like raw food, kitty litter, atmosphere, workplace or sick people because they can seriously harm the fetus.

Medication

Refrain from taking medication of any kind like antibiotics or steroids, without consulting the doctor, because they can be fatal for the unborn baby. Take utmost care immediatly after you feel early signs of pregnancy. Maintain a healthy pregnancy by avoiding even minor medication, habitual drugs, alcohol and nicotine.

Fibre

It’s particularly important to eat more fibre to avoid the common pregnancy niggles of constipation and piles (haemorrhoids). Increase your fibre intake by eating lots of fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread and cereals, brown rice, wholemeal pasta and pulses. You should also drink more. Increasing fibre without enough fluids can exacerbate constipation.

Exercise regularly

A good exercise programme can give you the strength and endurance you’ll need to carry the weight you gain during pregnancy and to handle the physical stress of labour. It will also make it much easier to get back into shape after your baby is born. Exercise can boost your spirits and help ward off the pregnancy blues — a recent study found that staying active can boost your level of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood. If you are used to taking exercise in the form of a sport, you can continue with this as long as it feels comfortable for you, unless your particular sport carries a risk of falls or knocks.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises

These need special attention. Ask one of your health care team to explain how to exercise your pelvic floor muscles. It is important to perform these exercises as they are put under a lot of strain during pregnancy. Weak pelvic floor muscles result in urinary incontinence, bowel dysfunction, low back and pelvic pain.

Rest

Try to rest as much as possible. You may often feel very tired, particularly in the first and third trimesters. This is natural: your body is transforming a cell into a baby. Don’t expect to be able to get as much done and don’t expect too much of yourself. Even if you can’t sleep during the day, put your feet up whenever you can.

What should I be careful about?

Avoid activities that increase your risk of falls or injury, such as contact sports or vigorous sports. Even mild injuries to the “tummy” area can be serious when you’re pregnant. After the first 3 months of pregnancy, it’s best to avoid exercising while lying on your back, since the weight of the baby may interfere with blood circulation. Also avoid long periods of standing.