During pregnancy, a healthy lifestyle is more important than ever. It’s important to know what steps you can take to keep you and your baby healthy.
Pregnancy care is one of the most important factors for a smooth pregnancy. Your first prenatal care checkup should take place during the first 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy when you miss your period by about 2 to 4 weeks. For women who are relatively healthy and have no complicating risk factors, you will probably see your doctor every 4 weeks until 28 weeks of pregnancy, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks. After that, you will have an appointment every week until delivery is induced or otherwise occurs.
1. Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition is one of the best ways to have a happy pregnancy. Since you are eating for two, it is doubly important to eat healthy foods and stay away from things that could harm the developing baby. During pregnancy, it’s not good to diet and cut calories – you need to eat about 300 calories more per day to properly nourish yourself and your baby, especially as the pregnancy progresses. However, calorie intake can vary from woman to woman. For thin women and women carrying twins, you may need to eat more than 300 extra calories. If you are already overweight, you may need less. In either case, you need to consult your doctor to find out what is best for you.
Of course, just consuming calories isn’t the only goal – you need to make sure that what you eat is nutritious. Nutrient-rich foods contain important vitamins and minerals that contribute to a baby’s growth and development.
Although a healthy diet is essential to nourish your body during pregnancy, it’s actually quite easy to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your daily life. Be sure to eat a balanced diet by following the basic nutritional guidelines. Lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread and low-fat dairy products are essential to maintaining good health.
Real, wholesome foods provide your body with much-needed nutrients. At the same time, the need for certain essential nutrients is higher during pregnancy than in normal circumstances. For example, calcium, iron and folic acid are especially important in a pregnant woman’s diet. Although your doctor may prescribe vitamin supplements, your diet still needs to include nutrient-rich foods to provide your body with optimal nutrients.
2. Calcium Intake Should be Increased
Normally, women need 1,000 mg of calcium per day, but during pregnancy, calcium intake should be increased to compensate for calcium loss in the bones. You can get calcium from a variety of foods, including low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt; orange juice; soy milk and calcium-fortified cereal products; dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli; and tofu, dried beans and almonds.
3. Iron Intake Should be Increased
A pregnant woman needs 27 to 30 mg of iron per day because the body needs iron to make haemoglobin, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. An iron deficiency results in a shortage of red blood cells, so the body’s tissues and organs do not receive enough oxygen. When a baby is on board, women need to pay special attention to their iron intake.
Iron is found in both plant and animal matter, but the body absorbs it more readily from meat sources. The following foods are high in iron: red meat, dark poultry, salmon, eggs, tofu, fortified cereals, dried beans and peas, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, molasses, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.
4. Take folic acid Daily
Many people have heard about how important folate (folic acid) is for pregnant women. Pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant are recommended to consume 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily. Many women choose to supplement their diets with vitamins in addition to the folic acid they get from food.
Taking folic acid 1 month before and during the first 3 months of pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects by 70%, which is why it is considered so important. The neural tube forms in the first 28 days of pregnancy, usually before a woman even realizes she is pregnant, and it eventually develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Inadequate nutrition, especially a lack of folic acid, can lead to a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.
5. Drink Plenty Of Water
To stay healthy during pregnancy, it is also important to drink plenty of water. During pregnancy, blood volume increases, and drinking plenty of water is the best way to avoid dehydration and constipation.
6. Regular Exercise During Pregnant
Exercise is a great way to feel good throughout pregnancy. There is no reason to stop exercising when you are pregnant. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that you take at least 30 minutes each day to exercise at a moderate pace.
Regular exercise during pregnancy prevents excessive weight gain, reduces problems such as back pain, swelling and constipation, improves sleep, increases energy, promotes a positive attitude, prepares your body for labour and shortens recovery time after labour.
7. Adequate Sleep
Adequate sleep is another factor in maintaining health and well-being during pregnancy. Pregnancy can take its toll, and after a long day, you will feel more tired than usual. The bigger the baby gets, the harder it will be to sleep, but try to sleep as well as you can – it will do wonders for how you feel!
Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of water are important for your overall well-being during pregnancy. If you make an effort to eat nutritiously and keep a positive attitude during pregnancy, the good moments will definitely outweigh the difficult ones.