15 Important Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an amazing (and sometimes difficult) experience. But after seeing your sweet new baby in your arms for the first time, everything you went through during the pregnancy becomes completely worth it. 🙂
To help you get more enjoyment from your pregnancy, you need to stay healthy. Doing everything you can do to have a healthy pregnancy will help your body and your baby.
So here are 15 important tips for a healthy pregnancy.
1) Don’t Smoke
If something isn’t safe to do before you’re pregnant, it’s definitely not safe to do while you’re pregnant. And when you smoke during pregnancy, it doesn’t just affect your body and health, it also affects your baby’s health and development.
So if you don’t have motivation to quit smoking for your own health, your baby’s health should be your motivation. If your sweet child isn’t enough, then read my post, What Happens When You Smoke During Pregnancy to see how cigarettes affect a growing baby.
Also, don’t let other people smoke around you when you’re pregnant! For more information on this read, Secondhand Smoke and Pregnancy: Get the Facts!
And just in case you don’t know how bad cigarettes are, read my post, What’s REALLY in your Cigarette?
2) Don’t Drink Alcohol
This should be common sense. But unfortunately, there are still women who choose to drink during their pregnancy.
From WebMD, “Alcohol can pass from the mother’s blood into the baby’s blood. It can damage and affect the growth of the baby’s cells. Brain and spinal cord cells are most likely to have damage.
The term fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) describes the range of alcohol effects on a child. The problems range from mild to severe. Alcohol can cause a child to have physical or mental problems that may last all of his or her life.
The effects of alcohol can include:
- Distinctive facial features. A child may have a small head, flat face, and narrow eye openings, for instance. This gets more obvious by age 2 or 3 years.
- Growth problems. Children who were exposed to alcohol before they were born may be smaller than other children of the same age.
- Learning and behavior problems.
- Birth defects.
- Problems bonding or feeding as a newborn.
Heavy alcohol use during pregnancy can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or a baby being born early.” 
3) Avoid Cat Litter and Raw Meat
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite that can be found in soil. Because of this, it can also be found in raw meat and can infect a cat if it eats prey already harboring the parasite or if the cat comes into contact with contaminated soil.
Toxoplasmosis causes birth defects in children, so don’t eat raw meat (hopefully you wouldn’t normally) and ask someone else to clean the cat’s litter box. If no one is available, wear gloves and wash your hands immediately after. 
4) Nook your Deli Meat until it’s Steaming
Deli meat (as well as some smoked seafood, soft cheese, unpasteurized milk, and pate) can contain Listeria.
Listeria has been shown to cause miscarriage so it’s best to stay away from foods that may contain it. If you nook your deli meat in the microwave until it’s steaming (about 15-20 seconds), it is safe to eat.
5) Take a Daily Prenatal Vitamin
The main sources of vitamins and minerals your growing baby needs should come from your healthy diet. A prenatal vitamin is intended to fill the gaps on what your healthy diet doesn’t always cover. So if you’re a little low on one nutrient, it will help fill that need. Taking a prenatal vitamin everyday is an easy way to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.
Click here to see some of the highest quality prenatal vitamins. Here are the top 3, click on the picture to see more about them:
6) Yoga (or other exercises such as swimming and walking)
Yoga provides a lot of benefits to you, especially while you’re pregnant, including helping to prepare your body for birth and helping you stay fit during pregnancy. Refer to my posts below for more great information using yoga to help you have a healthy pregnancy!
7) Educate Yourself
Read pregnancy/birth/newborn books so you feel less stressed about your pregnancy, birth, and caring for your newborn baby.
Below are a few highly recommended books and DVDs. Another way to get valuable information is talk to experienced moms and get their advice.
Prenatal Yoga DVD Workout with Julie Schoen – 60 Minutes for All Trimesters with Meditation & Restorative Poses for Beginners & Beyond
8) Gain a Healthy Amount of Weight
You only need to consume about 300 extra calories per day to have a healthy pregnancy.
- Normal total weight gain for a healthy woman is 25 to 35 pounds.
- Overweight women should gain only 10 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.
- Underweight women or women with multiples (twins or more) should gain 35 to 45 pounds in pregnancy. 
9) Don’t Try to Lose Weight
After talking about gaining a healthy amount of weight, it should be obvious that you shouldn’t try to lose weight while you’re pregnant. If you try to lose weight, you’re denying nutrients and vitamins to your baby.
Iron, calcium, and folic acid are some of the most important nutrients your baby needs while developing. Calcium supports the baby’s growth. Iron is important for the baby’s blood supply. And folic acid reduces the risk of spina bifida (incomplete closing of the spinal column), anencephaly (defect of the brain), and other birth defects. 
10) Wear Comfortable Clothes and Supportive Shoes
Clothes you wear during pregnancy should be comfortable, not just fashionable. During your 1st trimester, you are likely to have nausea and vomiting as your body adjusts to the new changes. Nothing makes that experience worse than tight clothes pushing on your stomach. During your 2nd and 3rd trimesters, you may experience hot flashes. Wearing tight clothing can make you feel hotter.
Parents.com says, “It’s essential to treat your feet right during pregnancy. That means choosing shoes that are roomy and comfortable, and that offer adequate support. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, during pregnancy your feet may grow a half to a full size permanently. To ease pregnancy-related foot discomfort, the ACFAS recommends wearing an arch support to help support the extra weight your feet will be carrying, wearing athletic shoes with a roomy toe box, and wearing support stockings to minimize foot and ankle swelling.” 
Wearing comfortable clothes and supportive shoes is important when you’re exercising too.
11) Eat a Healthy Diet
Read my post, Everything you need to know to have a Healthy Diet during Pregnancy for information on how to have a wonderful diet so you can have a healthy pregnancy.
In that post, I have also included an example of a healthy diet for your reference.
12) Take Caution when Eating Certain Types of Fish
There are some kinds of fish that contain higher amounts of mercury, some being: shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
However, with this in mind, eating fish (low in mercury such as: such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna (canned light), cod, and catfish ) provides your body with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and iron. So eating a healthy amount of fish (about 2-3 servings per week) is a good idea for a healthy pregnancy.
13) Don’t ‘Eat for Two’
The famous term ‘eating for two’ is not good advice to follow. Using it to justify eating twice the amount of food you normally eat is not going to keep you at a healthy weight through your pregnancy. You typically only need an extra 300 calories per day.
It’s much more important to have a healthy diet than to focus on calories. Refer to my post, Everything you need to know to have a Healthy Diet during Pregnancy for more information.
14) Take a Birthing Class/Course
Birthing classes and courses can help prepare your husband for what to expect during labor and delivery. It can also help you learn what to expect as well as techniques you can use to ease the pain of labor and birth. There are several types of birthing classes, I have three listed here. (All information below is directly from each one’s official website).
- Lamaze supports evidence-based pregnancy, birth and parenting practices that are supported by research and experienced childbirth educators.
- Lamaze guides you as you navigate all of your options, and their benefits and drawbacks.
- Lamaze seeks to empower you as you explore how your body was designed for birth, and encourages you to work with your body’s natural abilities.
- Lamaze provides strategies for comfort and coping with pain during labor, reducing unnecessary medical interventions, and receiving continuous support during labor and birth.
- Lamaze encourages bonding between you and your baby, with the importance of skin-to-skin contact and time to get to know your new baby after birth.
Click here to find a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) near you.
The Bradley Method ®
- The Bradley Method ® teaches couples ways to stay low risk. While occasionally there are risk factors out of your control, staying healthy and low risk can help to avoid complications. Low risk mothers have more choices.
- Relaxation is the Key to The Bradley Method® during labor. It is the safest and most effective way to reduce unnecessary pain and to handle any pain that you do experience. While other methods seek to control the sensations of labor (emphasizing distraction as their Primary labor control technique), The Bradley Method® encourages mothers to trust their bodies (emphasizing relaxed abdominal breathing and relaxation throughout labor).
- The term The Bradley Method® is a registered trademark to ensure you are getting quality childbirth education. All instructors of The Bradley Method® are highly trained to help you learn how to give birth.
Click here to find an instructor and course near you.
Birthing from Within®
Birthing from Within® exists to inspire and teach expectant and new parents, and those who work with them, to:
- Prepare for birth as a Rite of Passage.
- Understand the power and life-long impact that “birthing from within” offers all participants in birth.
- Co-create holistic prenatal care that is informative, transformative, and builds a foundation for birthing in awareness in our birth culture, whatever the birth location or outcome or events of the birth.
- Prevent or minimize emotionally difficult births (for parents and professionals) through compassionate, honest preparation.
- Honor and use the power of Birth Story-telling and listening.
To find classes and see more information, click here.
15) Don’t Stress
Stress takes a toll on the body. And when you’re pregnant, that’s not something you need. Stress can affect your heart, your stomach, your sex drive and ability to get pregnant, immune system to name a few. To see 5 other ways stress affects your body, check out my post, 10 Ways Stress Affects Your Body.
Chronic stress can even affect your baby’s development and contribute to early birth. Click here to read more information on how stress affects your baby.
It’s so important to make the right choices to keep you and your baby healthy. A healthy pregnancy makes a big impact on your sweet baby’s overall health. I hope these 15 tips will help you experience a healthy pregnancy!
And please read, Everything you need to know to have a Healthy Diet during Pregnancy to make sure you’re providing your baby with the necessary nutrients and vitamins.
Here’s to you and your healthy pregnancy! 🙂
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