Ultimate Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very exciting time for new parents-to-be, but it can also be quite physically, mentally and emotionally stressful. One of the best ways to counteract stress is by living a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Following these basic tips will help to ensure you and your baby make it through your pregnancy in the best possible condition.

Avoid harmful substances

It’s no secret that consumption of alcohol, drugs, cigarette smoke, and even excessive caffeine during your pregnancy can cause your unborn baby serious harm. Cigarettes are particularly damaging, as the inhalation of harmful chemicals limits the amount of oxygen available to a baby in the womb for up to six hours. In the long-term, this can lead to damaged DNA strands, resulting in lasting physical abnormalities and, in extreme cases, death.

Drink up

Everybody needs plenty of water to stay healthy, and H20 becomes even more vital while you’re growing a baby. In case you’re not already in the habit of drinking eight glasses per day, it’s a great time to start. By carrying a bottle of water with you whenever you go somewhere, you’ll likely find that extra water consumption happens naturally, and before you know it, you’ll be fully-hydrated and ready for anything.

Up your intake of health-boosting substances

Vitamins and minerals are more important during pregnancy than at most other times in your life, because you’ll want to ensure your unborn baby gets enough of all the right nutrients. There are a range of pregnancy multivitamins available in pharmacies, and your doctor will be able to test your blood for any nutrient deficiencies. As a general rule, all women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should make folic acid part of their daily routine, as it helps to prevent abnormalities with the brain or spinal cord.

Adjust your diet

Managing your food intake can be tricky during pregnancy as you navigate new cravings and aversions, especially when some foods can cause harm to your unborn baby. There are plenty of foods to be wary of, including meat, eggs, tuna, and sugar substitutes, while you’ll need to increase your consumption of dairy. If you have any concerns about your diet during pregnancy, your doctor will be able to help you ensure the right consumption of nutrients.

Stay active

Every pregnancy is different, and some mothers may find themselves with more energy and vitality than others. If you have good health on your side, it’s a great idea to do some exercises throughout pregnancy, with your doctor’s approval. Walking is a fantastic option for low-impact exercise, as is swimming or yoga. Some women even continue higher-impact exercises like weight-lifting into the later stages of pregnancy, but you should never do anything that might be considered risky or harmful without your doctor’s approval.

Look after yourself

It’s normal to feel emotional or stressed during pregnancy as a result of the extra hormones flooding your body, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore symptoms of a more significant condition. Even women who have never experienced emotional instability can be affected by mood disorders like anxiety and depression, so if you experience telltale signs like a sudden change of mood or feeling of hopelessness, talk to your doctor.

Enlist back-up

During your pregnancy, it’s important to remember that you’re allowed to ask for help, and take the invaluable support of  those closest to you. A devoted partner is a blessing, but even if you don’t have a co-parent to help you navigate the journey, keep your mind open to all of the other sources of support in your life. It’s not unusual for expectant mothers to feel an especially strong bond with their own mother during pregnancy, and if you’re lucky enough to have a close relationship with your parents, they will be a fount of experiential knowledge about pregnancy and childbirth. Your friends who have already had children can also be a great port of call. In case you’re living alone or distant from your support network, you can always rely on professional support from your doctor or doula, if you have one.

Carrying a baby is hard work, and although there’s no magic way to make the experience easier, you can take comfort from the fact that you are not alone. The best thing you can do for yourself is to maintain a positive disposition, and look forward to meeting the fruits of your labour.

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