There’s a lot of information out there on how to give you and your baby the best headstart with a healthy pregnancy. We’ve narrowed down the noise to give you some important tips that you may not have heard before or, at least, ones that deserve a second look.
Tip #1: Eat Right
Such extensive focus is paid to what you CAN’T eat during pregnancy that it’s easy to overlook what you can! These foods aren’t just delicious — they provide essential nutrients that aid in your baby’s development.
- Fruits and veggies
- Whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice
- Fat-free or low-fat milk or non-dairy drinks with added calcium and vitamin D
- Protein from healthy sources, like beans and peas, eggs, lean meats, seafood (8 to 12 ounces per week) and unsalted nuts and seeds
It can be helpful to keep a pregnancy food journal to keep track of your intake of these important goodies.
Tip #2: Monitor Your Weight Gain
According to the National Institute of Health, gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy helps your baby properly develop and grow to the right size. However, gaining too much weight (or not gaining enough) can have harmful effects on both you and your child. Use the chart below as a reference point, and talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your pregnancy weight gain.
|Pre-Pregnancy Body Mass Index||Healthy Weight Gain|
|Less than 18.5||28 to 40 pounds|
|18.5 to 24.9||25 to 35 pounds|
|25 to 29.9||15 to 25 pounds|
|Greater than 30||11 to 20 pounds|
Tip #3: Prioritize Your Sleep
Expectant mothers need to remember that they’re not just eating for two, they’re sleeping for two as well. Thus, it’s important for them to get 7-8 hours a night, if possible. But, what about when sleeping gets less and less comfortable as pregnancy continues? Some simple ways to combat the strained sleep of the third trimester include:
- Sleep on your left side and spend as little time as possible lying on your back. This allows for the best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys.
- If you are experiencing leg cramps, you may want to avoid carbonated sodas and drinks
- If you can’t sleep, don’t lie in bed forcing yourself to sleep. Get up and read a book, write in a journal, or take a warm bath.
- If you get a cramp in your leg, straighten your leg and flex your foot upward. Try doing this before going to bed several times to help ward off future cramps.
Tip #4: Absolutely NO Alcohol, Tobacco or Drug Use
Recently, conflicting information has been circulating regarding whether or not some amount of alcohol, e-cigarettes, or the newly legalized medicinal marijuana is acceptable to consume during pregnancy. Despite this, it is still strongly encouraged to cease all alcohol and drug use during pregnancy. According to a 2019 report by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is most likely to occur in babies born to women who drink heavily throughout pregnancy. But alcohol-related problems can occur with lesser amounts of alcohol use. It is best not to drink at all while you are pregnant.” For medicinal marijuana usage, talk to your doctor to adjust your medication in preparation for your pregnancy.
If you are having trouble reducing your alcohol or drug consumption, talk to your trusted health professionals about your consumption habits.