Pregnancy can be very stressful. We have come up with 8 proven health habits to have a happy, healthy and stress-free pregnancy.
When it comes to pregnancy everyone it seems has advice on what is best for mom and baby. It can be overwhelming trying to sort through all the, often contradictory, advice to determine what to listen to. Below are suggestions for a healthy and stress-free pregnancy that are routed in basic, simple and healthy ideas.
Setting up your health care team
One of the most important first steps upon becoming pregnant is to find a doctor or midwife that you feel comfortable with and have confidence in. You will have many questions as your pregnancy progresses so you want to ensure that your health care team is one where your pregnancy and birthing concerns will be patiently addressed. Regularly scheduled prenatal appointments are important to ensure your pregnancy is progressing normally towards a healthy outcome.
During your routine obstetrical appointment your provider will do a physical exam, access your weight to ensue it’s within a healthy range, test your urine and listen to your baby’s heart with a handheld Doppler device that utilizes sound waves to produce the audible heartbeat sound. You may also periodically have blood work done and be requisitioned to have a medical obstetrical appointment. In addition, you may opt to have a 3D non-medical ultrasound to determine accurately your baby’s gender or just to document your pregnancy experience by having amazing keepsake images of your little one in 3D.
Take a prenatal vitamin
A well-balanced prenatal vitamin will provide nutrients that are essential to the health and well-being of you and your developing baby. Prenatal vitamins should include folic acid which is a B vitamin that has been attributed to reducing the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Your provider may also recommend taking additional supplements such as calcium.
Maintaining or starting an exercise regimen can be very beneficial throughout your pregnancy and can importantly help you build the needed endurance for labor and delivery. Just 30 minutes a day of a gentle exercise program can help boost your self-esteem, decrease aches and pains and generally improve feelings of well-being. Definitely consult with your doctor or health care provider however, prior to starting any exercise program.
Arrange a Dental Appointment
It is important to maintain your six-month dental check-ups while you are pregnant and be sure to notify your dentist that you are expecting. With increased and fluctuating pregnancy hormones, you are more susceptible to gum infections which if left untreated can increase your risk for pre-term birth.
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Although we often hear the old adage that you should eat for two when you are pregnant, moms-to-be should only expect to add an additional 300 calories to their daily intake (of course it’s best to consult with your doctor first). A nutritious, well-balanced eating plan is one of the greatest gifts you can give your developing baby so it’s best to focus on whole foods such as fresh fruit and veges, healthy grains and lean protein like chicken, tofu and salmon.
Stay Well Hydrated
Staying well hydrated by drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day can assist with the delivery of important nutrients to your developing baby. In addition, good hydration can help ward off bladder infections and constipation, reduce swelling, can ease joint pain and also nausea which is common during pregnancy. Staying well hydrated also helps maintain the amniotic fluid volume around the developing fetus.
Some studies have shown that there may be a correlation between high-stress levels and birth complications. Although it’s easier said than done, try to minimize stressful events during your pregnancy by focusing on being calm and centered. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to seek out a professional therapist to talk to if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Join a Prenatal Class Before the end of the Third Trimester
Prenatal or birthing classes can be very helpful in preparing you mentally for labor and delivery. These informative classes will enlighten you on what to expect during delivery, explain the stages of labor and provide helpful pointers for managing stress and pain. In addition, it can be beneficial to share your pregnancy experience with others in the class going through the same thing.