Pregnancy changes your body in ways that you probably never imagined possible. As your baby grows, you experience physical changes that include much more than a bulging belly bump. As a birthmother, taking care of yourself and your unborn baby is absolutely essential. You want the best for your baby, and that means focusing on a healthy lifestyle – for both of you.
If this is your first pregnancy, proper care for yourself and your growing baby may seem like a mystery. You need answers to questions such as, “What should you eat?” “What shouldn’t you eat?” “When should you see the doctor?” and “What tests do you need?” With every day comes a chance to help yourself and your baby through lifestyle choices and the appropriate healthcare.
What do you need to know about staying healthy during pregnancy? Take a look at how you can take care of yourself and your baby as you make your way through the pregnancy and the adoption process.
You are what you eat. And right now you’re a pregnant woman who needs to support her own physical health and that of her baby. What type of nutrition plans do pregnant women need?
Keep in mind, your growing belly and the resulting weight gain are necessary parts of pregnancy. Here’s how much weight you should gain during pregnancy based on your prepregnancy weight, according to the American Pregnancy Association:
- Underweight: 28 to 40 pounds
- Average weight: 25 to 35 pounds
- Overweight: 15 to 25 pounds
- Obese: 11 to 20 pounds
Dieting during pregnancy isn’t advisable – especially when it comes to fad or medically unsupervised diets.
Even though you may crave salty, fried, or sugary foods, try to stick to a healthy meal plan. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, choose lean meats (such as grilled chicken) over greasy or fatty fast foods, and keep yourself hydrated with plain water.
Along with eating healthy meals and snacks, take a daily prenatal vitamin to get any nutrients that you’re missing. Your prenatal vitamins will include folic acid. This B vitamin can help to reduce the risk of some types of birth defects. The benefits of folic acid include lowering your baby’s chances of developing a neural tube defect, cleft palate, and some heart issues.
Iron is another nutrient that prenatal vitamins will help you to get in the right amount. This mineral can help to reduce some pregnancy-related risks such as having a low birth weight baby or delivering prematurely.
Visit the Doctor
Regular doctor’s visits can help you and your baby to stay healthy. During your prenatal check-ups, the doctor, nurse, or other medical provider will likely take your blood pressure and test your urine for the presence of protein. When combined with high blood pressure and excessive swelling, the presence of protein in a pregnant woman’s urine can indicate preeclampsia, a dangerous condition that requires close monitoring.
During the course of your pregnancy, the medical provider may recommend additional tests, such as blood tests for genetic or chromosomal conditions and an ultrasound to see how the baby is growing.
Exercise can help to increase your energy, sleep better, elevate your mood, decrease stress, and reduce some of the aches and pains of pregnancy. If working out is your norm, it’s likely that your doctor or medical provider will encourage you to continue exercising. As your body changes, pay attention to how you feel. Your growing belly may shift your center of balance, increasing your fall risk.
Expectant mothers who haven’t exercised much or at all prior to pregnancy should consult a doctor before starting a new physical activity routine. Daily walks and swimming are easy ways to exercise your way to better physical health.
Rest and Relax
Even though exercise is important, you also need to take it easy. Avoid intense activity or heavy lifting. Along with physical stress, try to stay away from mental stress as well.
Are you pregnant and considering adoption? Contact Arizona Adoption Help for more information.