Pregnancy is a period in a woman’s life in which she goes through several noticeable transformations. These transformations are both emotional and physical. For instance, if you have just gotten pregnant, you may experience some physical changes such as skin changes, breast changes, vaginal changes, a growing belly, nausea, etc. Fatigue, stress, and mood swings are some of the many emotional changes that arise between 6 to 10 weeks in your first trimester and may appear again as your body prepares for birth in the third trimester.
All these changes in your body during and after pregnancy require you to pay special attention to your health. Amidst all the excitement of having a baby, remember to take extraordinary care of your health and never neglect it. By doing so, you can give your baby the best possible start to life and also protect them from birth defects and injuries like perinatal asphyxia. Perinatal asphyxia is when the baby has a lack of oxygen. To learn more about perinatal asphyxia, you can read this baby starved of oxygen article.
In this article, we will look through some tips that newly pregnant moms can follow to ensure healthy pregnancy:
- Ensure regular prenatal care and checkups
Prenatal care, also known as antenatal care, is the healthcare you receive during pregnancy for prevention purposes, including regular checkups, diagnostic tests, and periodic screening. One of the most significant advantages of regular prenatal care is that your doctor can identify health problems early and start treatment before they become serious. Prenatal care can also prevent premature birth.
Lack of prenatal care can cause many birth defects in newborns. For instance, cephalohematoma is a common condition affecting newborns. It is characterized by the accumulation of blood in the newborn’s scalp in the periosteum. One of the main causes of cephalohematoma is premature birth. These types of complications can be treated by checkups from experienced registered nurses. Moreover, taking prenatal vitamins can also help prevent many birth complications, such as preterm birth, low birth weight, congenital disorders, and more.
Additionally, remember to get your diagnostic tests done and do not miss any appointments with your doctor. Through regular testing, it is possible to detect any hormonal changes during pregnancy that can lead to breast cancer or other health issues.
- Eat a healthy and nutritious diet
Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial during pregnancy. You can attain a healthy body weight by eating a healthy and nutritious diet. A diet rich in nutrients will help you feel energized throughout the day. But before that, you must know which foods should be avoided and consumed during pregnancy. Eating healthy involves consuming nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, protein from healthy sources (lean meat, beans), etc.
Moreover, avoid sugary beverages, alcohol, smoking cigarettes, soft cheese, undercooked or raw eggs, solid fats, and excessive salt. Drinking enough water is also essential to prevent dehydration during pregnancy. Meanwhile, remember to keep track of all the calories you’re consuming per day. If you’re pregnant and your body weight falls in the normal range, your caloric intake should be around 2200 calories per day during the second trimester. Similarly, during the third trimester, the caloric requirement will rise to 2300 calories per day.
- Stay physically active
Staying physically active can provide incredible physical and emotional benefits to pregnant women. Being overweight can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes. However, low-intensity exercises can reduce the risk of becoming overweight. During pregnancy, mood swings and energy levels are also greatly affected by exercise. This is because exercise boosts the production of endorphins in the body. Your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitter can help relieve anxiety and stress.
Intense workouts should be avoided during pregnancy. However, engaging in mild physical activity and exercises is completely safe. The most common exercise recommendations for pregnant women include walking, swimming, indoor cycling, yoga, etc. Exercises that should be avoided during pregnancy are crunches, push-ups, planks, and any exercise that makes you hold your breath.
- Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated during pregnancy is essential and can save you from many complications. In contrast, dehydration is one of the many causes of serious complications. For example, dehydration can lead to neural tube defects, premature birth, insufficient breast milk production, urinary tract infection, low amniotic fluid, kidney stones, etc.
Drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water daily is important to stay hydrated during pregnancy. If you are hydrated, you will see many positive changes in your body. Some amazing benefits of staying hydrated include a low risk of constipation, decreased risk of urinary tract infections and premature labor, soft skin, greater energy levels, etc.
- Take enough sleep
While being physically active, do not forget that rest is equally important. It is common for pregnant women to feel tired and exhausted, especially during the first 12 weeks. It is due to the hormonal changes occurring in the body during pregnancy. The only way to minimize these feelings is to rest as much as possible. Taking a sufficient amount of sleep is also essential during pregnancy. Pregnant women should sleep 7 to 9 hours daily to feel more active and energized.
Furthermore, lack of sleep can be a reason for low energy throughout the day. Insufficient sleep during pregnancy also reduces the release of growth hormones in the body, which can interfere with the growth and development of the fetus.
- Manage stress and anxiety
It is common for pregnant females to have low moods and energy sometimes. However, it is important that you manage depression and anxiety and do not let it prolong. Excessive stress and anxiety can lead to hypertension, which in turn can cause further serious complications like preeclampsia, low birth weight, preterm birth, etc.
Make sure that you regularly communicate with your partner about how you are feeling. Talking to someone about your anxiety and depression can help reduce it. You can also engage in other activities to keep yourself distracted. In case of extreme restlessness or panic, consult your doctor immediately.
A woman’s body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Expectant mothers should take extra care of their health. A mother’s health during pregnancy greatly affects the development and growth of the fetus. If the mother has good health throughout pregnancy, the baby will be saved from birth defects and complications. Some lifestyle modifications are necessary to ensure a healthy pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle, along with regular tests and checkups, can protect the mother and baby from serious complexities.