A primary step is scheduling an appointment with an obstetrician, family doctor, or certified nurse midwife. It is vital to receive prenatal care from a professional throughout pregnancy to monitor your health and make sure your baby is growing at the right pace and identify possible concerns.
Taking a daily prenatal multivitamin can also help you receive the correct amount of nutrients both you and your baby need during pregnancy. Calcium, folic acid, and iron are key nutrients that women do not get enough of in their diets, so a good prenatal vitamin can help supplement the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Eating and maintaining a healthy diet throughout the pregnancy is also very important. Your baby is growing and needs good nutrients to keep him/her healthy and strong in your womb. Eat things such as:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables (5-9 servings)
- Protein (2-3 servings)
- Whole grains (8 servings)
- Calcium-rich food (3-4 servings)
- Healthy oils like olive and canola or those found in foods with high omega-3 fatty acids.
Avoid eating high mercury fish, undercooked, raw, or processed fish and meat, organ meat, raw eggs, caffeine, unpasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juice, and processed junk foods.
Be careful not to overeat. You only need about 300 additional calories per day to nourish your baby; that is about a glass of milk and a sandwich.
It is recommended that pregnant women drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day. Your body requires more water now that you are pregnant.
Avoid Substance Use
It is critical that you avoid alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other substance usage during your pregnancy. Do not drink alcohol before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of your baby having fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD) which can cause severe learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and abnormal facial features.
Smoking is also unhealthy for both you and your baby. It increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), miscarriage, and premature birth.
If you need help stopping these habits, reach out to your prenatal caregiver or a medical professional who can assist you with the right tools. We also have services that you can utilize and professionals you can talk to.
Moderate, daily exercise can be a great way to stay healthy during pregnancy. 30 minutes a day of walking, biking, or swimming is a great place to start.
Other Things to Avoid
Here are some things you may have not considered avoiding:
- Hot tubs
- Cat litter boxes
- Over-the-counter medication, unless cleared by a medical professional
- Gases and fumes like exhaust, paints, cleaning supplies
- X-rays, unless ordered by a medical professional
Whether you choose to parent your child or find a loving family to adopt your baby, it is crucial to take care of your body during pregnancy to ensure your own health and the health of the pre-born child in your womb.