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Making your health a priority during pregnancy is important for you and your growing baby. Following these 7 steps can help you have a healthy pregnancy and help your baby grow and develop normally.
It’s always important to drink plenty of water, but it’s especially important during pregnancy. Your body needs water for the baby’s amniotic fluid, and it also makes more blood than usual to circulate nutrients throughout your pregnant body and to the baby, so staying hydrated is very important. Staying hydrated can also help with swelling, constipation, and prevention of Braxton Hicks contractions. The general recommendation for water intake is 8-10 eight-ounce glasses of water per day but talk to your doctor to get his/her advice on hydration.
If you exercised before pregnancy, it’s usually okay to continue your same exercise routine during pregnancy. Staying active during pregnancy has many benefits, including weight control, improved blood circulation, better sleep, and even an easier labor. If you were not active before pregnancy but wish to begin, talk to your doctor about starting an exercise routine. There are many safe exercises for pregnant women, some of the most popular being prenatal yoga, walking, and water aerobics.
Pregnant women are instructed to quit smoking during pregnancy, but avoiding second-hand smoke is also important. Inhaling smoke from any source can reduce the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, which reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to your baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, second-hand smoke is associated with miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth, and even SIDS.
Although it’s probably second-nature to strap-in when you get in a car, you’ll be surprised at how uncomfortable a seatbelt can be once your belly really grows. That third trimester baby bump does not always sit comfortably over that seatbelt, but resist the temptation to take it off.
Life happens, we get busy, sick, or just too tired to go out. But the frequency of your doctor appointments during pregnancy are strategic. There are specific tests for various stages of pregnancy, and regular measurements at certain intervals are important to make sure your baby is growing and developing at a normal rate. Do your best to make it to every doctor appointment, and if something does come up make sure you reschedule immediately.
The more you know, the more power and control you have over your and your baby’s health. Ask your doctor for credible sources about anything you’re worried about. Signs of preterm labor, preeclampsia, the differences between false and true labor, etc. You will be better able take action and know what to do if you’ve learned in advance how to notice any signs or symptoms of trouble.
Along those lines, listen to your body. If you’re feeling light-headed during exercise, don’t push it. If something doesn’t feel right with baby, don’t ignore that feeling. Our minds are part of our bodies, so trust that gut feeling you have that something is wrong. Take time to meditate, paying attention to your baby’s position and really getting to know your own body. This will help you to know when something is wrong, and help you stay healthy. Always be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.