5 Ways to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
Being physically healthy is key if you’re pregnant, or considering
starting a family. Good preparation can help strengthen your body for labor
and give your baby a healthy foundation for growth. Here are a few guidelines
to increase your chances of a problem-free pregnancy:
- Get organized with a health provider.
Get good advice for a healthy pregnancy right from the start. As soon as
you find out you're pregnant, get in touch with your doctor or a midwife
to organize your antenatal care. Early preparation, and coordination with
your medical provider, will give you plenty of time to organize any ultrasound
scans and tests down the line.
- Eat better than ever.
You need more protein, iron, calcium, calories and folic acid than you
did before your pregnancy. Sensible, balanced meals, combined with regular
physical fitness, are still the best ingredients for good health. Some
dietary habits to consider:
- At least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily;
- Plenty of carbs, like bread, pasta or rice, as the basis of your meal;
- Choose wholegrain carbs for added fiber intake;
- Daily servings of protein, like fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts or dairy;
- 2 portions of fish a week, at least one of which should be oily. Although
you should avoid fish that could potentially be high in mercury.
- Start practicing pelvic floor exercises.
Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder,
bowels and uterus. They also help with labor and prevent incontinence.
Here's how to do them correctly:
- Practice squeezing as though you're stopping the flow of urine
- Hold for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 more
- Repeat 10 to 15 times, 3 times a day
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine.
Moderate amounts of caffeine—meaning less than 200 mg per day, or
about 12 ounces of coffee—appear to be safe during pregnancy. The
effects of too much caffeine are unclear. Ask your doctor whether drinking
a limited amount of caffeine is okay for you during your pregnancy.
- Maximize your rest!
If backache is disturbing your sleep, try lying on your left side with
knees bent. Placing a wedge-shaped pillow under your bump may help ease
the strain on your back. Exercise may also give you some relief. To wind
down for bed, try relaxation techniques such as yoga, stretching, deep
breathing, visualization and massage.