As a soon-to-be mother, your responsibilities as a parent begin as soon as you know you are pregnant. Taking care of yourself at this point is the same as taking care of your child, because, at this point, your child is literally feeding off of you, as the foetus in your womb. Pregnancy self-care goes beyond pregnancy diets, and should be a holistic 360 degree state of mindfulness and caution (without letting it overwhelm you, of course).
Here are 5 steps to having a healthy pregnancy, or 5 habits to implement, in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Remember, your actions reflect directly on the foetus.
1. Kick the butt, and also the wine glass and coffee holder
Smoking causes tremendous risk to your pregnancy such as miscarriage, still birth, premature birth, ectopic pregnancy and placenta abruption. In ectopic pregnancy, the egg gets fertilised outside the womb and in placenta abruption, the placenta separates prematurely. Even if the pregnancy does go off without a hitch, smoking could result in problems after birth, including cot death, or sudden infant death syndrome. Less dangerous outcomes include low birth weight.
Like smoking, caffeine can cause miscarriage, still birth and premature birth. Go for decaf and avoid colas in addition to tea and coffee. Read the backs of cartons of brews that claim to be decaffeinated.
Any alcohol you consume during your pregnancy, your baby drinks too. Let that sink in. Your baby shares your bloodstream and therefore receives all the alcohol you are drinking. Drinking during your pregnancy can seriously damage your baby’s brain and the child may grow to display learning disorders. They might also display behavioural problems. A dangerous outcome might be birth defects.
2. Visit your obstetrician or find one
The first thing to do as soon as you find out you are pregnant is to locate an obstetrician and fix up your first appointment. Unless you have a specific need to visit a specialist in another part of the city, it might be preferable to find an obstetrician who practices in your neighbourhood and is not too long a drive away. This will be very helpful in any emergencies.
Getting started early is excellent because that gives you some space to find an obstetrician whom you are comfortable with, who gives you the attention and time you need and who answers all your questions. Get references and don’t be afraid to not visit an obstetrician again if they seem either hurried or apathetic. Your child’s health and well-being is the focus.
3. Get your food and nutrition in order
It’s not just about the best foods for pregnancy and pregnancy diet plans, but also about getting all the nutrition needed by taking some vital supplements. Here is a list of recommended healthy food for pregnant women:
One of most important pregnancy foods to eat is fruits and vegetables; you’ll need five servings of these per day. Yes, five.
Protein, as you can imagine, is absolutely essential for a healthy pregnancy. The best foods for pregnant women that are rich in protein are lean meat, skinless chicken and eggs, but staunch vegetarians can consider legumes and pulses, nuts and green leafy vegetables in substantial quantities.
Dairy is a must-have healthy food for pregnancy because you will need high volumes of calcium for the baby’s bones to form and for breastfeeding later on.
A pregnancy food that delivers the desired amount of omega 3 fatty acids is also very essential. The most common source is fatty fish like salmon, or mackerel. A good vegetarian source is flaxseed.
Besides what you’re eating in pregnancy months, you might also want to pop some vitamin D and Folic acid supplements, in addition to a pregnancy vitamin and omega 3 fatty acid supplements. Talk to your obstetrician about which ones to take. Importantly, avoid tablets with retinol in them as retinol can harm your baby.
In fact, on the subject of retinol, some acne products, depigmenting agents and anti-aging products come with retinol and you need to stop these during your pregnancy.
4. Exercise, and add pregnancy-relevant exercises
Exercise is more important than ever before when you are pregnant because it can keep you from becoming overweight and also keep high blood pressure and gestational diabetes during pregnancy at bay. In addition, you’ll probably feel better after you exercise and you will be primed to lose weight quickly after your pregnancy as well. Another reason you need to exercise is to promote good sleep. You’ll also build up some strength for your delivery and cope better with all the bodily changes rounding the corner. Keep it simple and light – go for a brisk walk, or swim. You could alternatively try yoga under supervision.
You should also start doing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor because added pressure in this area means that you must strengthen these muscles. The muscles in the pelvic floor support your bladder, vagina and your back. Get an idea of what Kegels are from YouTube and begin doing a few reps of these three times a day.
5. Rest, and sleep with zero remorse
A pregnancy is extra pressure on your body. Moreover, as you progress through the pregnancy, you might find it difficult to sleep as you might wake up through the night to use the bathroom, and you might not be able to get a perfectly restful sleep, especially if you are not used to sleeping on your side. Take naps whenever you need and get enough rest. Do this with zero guilt.
Your baby’s health depends heavily on your pregnancy diet plan and sufficient nutrition, your willpower to stay away from vices and caffeine, your fitness levels and your overall health. The woman’s health corresponds to the baby’s health. Do right by yourself and your baby