Being a mom is just the same as having a second birth in a woman’s life. A baby comes along with blessings, so it is essential to welcome them with a healthy pregnancy period.
Every mom-to-be desires the life growing inside them to be healthy and comfortable as there’s no other precious gift in the world to them. Therefore, having a healthy pregnancy or prenatal care is really important for salubrious childbirth. On that note, we will bring you a complete guide from this feature as to having a healthy pregnancy with essential nutritional and mental health tips.
What Do You Need to Understand about a Healthy Pregnancy?
As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, it is no wonder that your heart skips a beat with excitement. Whether you get blessed with your first child or the second or the third, you need to get prepared to welcome the newcomer regardless of the number of times. It is very important that you take care of yourself like never before since your unborn baby’s health solely depends on how well you treat yourself during your pregnancy.
However, the means can be difficult and stressful at points. Through each month of pregnancy, the woman’s body undergoes extreme adjustments to change and accommodate a developing baby. Other than the knowledge and coping with the bodily signs of each week, month, or trimester, an expecting mother must also maintain her own life and get ready to move ahead with a new member of the family.
Health care throughout pregnancy is known as prenatal care. Creating a healthy prenatal environment provides the best possible beginning for your baby even before he is born. Acquiring prenatal care can support you to have a healthier newborn. It also reduces the danger of your baby being born too early, which can lead to health issues for your baby.
Remember that what you feed your mind has an equal measure, just like with the things you feed your body. Therefore, mental health is as equally important as nutrition when it comes to prenatal care. Although the baby has not yet come to the world, a child nurtures and develops notably through pregnancy.
Research shows that the developing baby in a mother’s womb is more than an unconscious organism. In fact, they are truly active learners. Possibly the most crucial feature of prenatal parenting is building a healthy atmosphere for a child during pregnancy. We know that parents expect and dream of a healthy child. They can support this upshot moreover by discovering how to circumvent possible issues throughout pregnancy.
There are essential spheres to respect in forming a healthy pregnancy adventure for you and your baby. They can be:
- Following good health behaviors.
- Suffice nutrition requirements.
- Paying proper attention to personal health matters.
- Reduce mental stress and getting ready for the child’s birth
- Expand your awareness of child development.
What Makes a Healthy Pregnancy?
As we have discussed on top, healthy pregnancy may depend on various facts ranging from nutrition to mental health. These facts include the food you eat, what you drink, the amount of exercise you get, and even the emotional and physical support you receive from your partner or family during pregnancy. However, while making the atmosphere around you favorable, it is necessary that you seek help and advice from your healthcare provider or a midwife. Let’s now pay regard as trimester-wise to the physical and mental changes you may encounter during pregnancy and see what measures you can take to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
First Trimester of Pregnancy
A non-apparent yet remarkable transformation characterizes the first trimester of pregnancy. And, it happens rather speedily. Understanding what physical and emotional adjustments to suppose through the first trimester can support you in positively face the months advanced.
What are the Signs of a Healthy Pregnancy During the 1st Trimester?
Expected Physical Changes
- Nausea with/without vomiting – The morning sickness, which could occur due to elevated hormone levels, can bump at any time of the day or night. This often starts one month after you become pregnant.
- Sensitive and swollen breasts – Shortly after fertilization, hormonal fluctuations might make your breasts tender or painful. This pain will possibly fade after a few weeks as your body adapts to hormonal adjustments.
- Fatigue- Through initial pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone rise, which can make you tired and put you to sleep.
- Food cravings and disgust – Once you become pregnant, you might grow more delicate to specific smells, and your sense of taste might switch. This also happens due to hormonal changes.
- Constipation- Raised levels of progesterone can reduce the flow of food into your digestive system, causing constipation
- Heartburn- Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
- Increased urination- You might want to urinate more often than usual once you are pregnant. The volume of blood in your body rises during pregnancy, making your kidneys process more fluid that ends up in your bladder.
- Weight gain or weight loss- It is common for you to gain weight during the first trimester. However, some may drop weight, too.
Expected Mental and Emotional Changes
Pregnancy might bring you feelings of amusement, concern, stimulation, or tiredness. Saying how dramatically your moods may change, sometimes you may feel all these feelings at once. Even if you’re excited about being pregnant, a new baby may add emotional stress and come with new responsibilities to your life.
In that case, it’s normal to bother about your baby’s health, meeting the financial requirements of raising a child, and your adaptation to parenthood. If you are a working woman, you might stress over your working pressure and schedules. Thus, you may have a lot of mood swings which is entirely normal. At this point, taking care of yourself and seeking loved ones for encouragement and understanding you is critical. However, if your mood swings become difficult to handle or severe, it is on the safer side to see your healthcare provider.
Explained Healthy Pregnancy Tips- First Trimester
A pregnant woman should pay special consideration to her daily food consumption. Therefore, try to include more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. We will discuss this in-depth later in our article.
Healthy Pregnancy Exercises
According to the specialists, 2.5 hours per week of low-intense workouts is recommended. Walking is a great low-impact activity to do during pregnancy. Other exercise activities might involve aerobics, swimming, or additional chosen exercise rounds. But, expecting mothers should avoid high-intense exercises.
Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements
Consult your health care provider to get the vitamins and supplements you should be getting during the first trimester of your pregnancy. However, expecting mothers should pay special concern to getting Vitamin D, Calcium, And Iron.
As we said, moms-to-be may tend to gain weight starting from the first trimester. Therefore, weight management is important through a healthy diet and low-intense exercises.
Rest is Essential
The experts suggest that pregnant women sleep for 8 hours at night and fix naps in between for rest.
Get Your Routine Tests Done
Routine tests are essential to diagnose any condition to check if it passes from mother to baby.
- Urinalysis and urine culture
- Blood type and Rh test
- Chorionic villus (CV) sampling
- Nuchal translucency screening
To Relieve From Constipation
Eating a lot of fibrous food, drinking plenty of water, and walking for 30 minutes a day will help you relieve constipation.
Get Your Teeth Checked
Pregnancy gingivitis can direct to periodontitis, triggering premature birth and low birth weight. Hence, pregnant women should not delay seeking dental care.
Things to Avoid
- Stay away from harsh chemicals or toxic substances like detergents, harsh soap, etc.
- Avoid flying in early pregnancy.
- Dodge heights and hikes.
- Refrain from negativity.
- Avoid activities like scuba diving and high-intensity workouts.
Signs of Healthy Pregnancy 2nd Trimester
The second trimester of pregnancy usually delivers a refreshed feeling of well-being. The worst part of nausea tends to fade away by this time. In addition, your baby isn’t big enough to make you highly uncomfortable. Still, more pregnancy indications are on the border.
Expected Physical Changes
- Enlarging belly and breasts.- Since your uterus enlarges to make room for the baby, your belly grows. Your breasts will also slowly proceed to grow in size.
- Skin changes- Hormonal changes through pregnancy spur an improvement in pigment-bearing cells (melanin) in your skin. As a consequence, you may get brown patches on your face (melasma). You might also notice a dark line below your abdomen (linea nigra) and stretch marks.
- Braxton Hicks contractions- You might sense these light, random contractions as a frail tightness in your belly. They’re more expected to happen in the afternoon or evening, after exercises or sex.
- Dental problems- Pregnancy can make your gums more delicate to brushing and flossing, occurring in trivial bleeding. Constant vomiting could also affect your tooth enamel and leave you more sensitive to cavities.
- Nasal issues- Through pregnancy, your hormone levels rise, and your body produces more blood. This can make your mucous membranes plump and bleed, following in nosebleeds or stuffiness.
- Vaginal discharge- You might see a clear, sticky, or white vaginal secretion, which is pretty normal.
- Dizziness- This is also common during your 2nd trimester.
- Urinary tract infections- These infections are also common throughout pregnancy.
- Leg cramps- Leg cramps are quite ordinary as pregnancy advances, often hitting at night.
Expected Mental and Emotional Changes
Through the second trimester, you might feel less fatigued and more up to the trial of planning for your baby. In that case,
- See a doctor for your baby.
- Look into childbirth lessons.
- Get forward with your employer’s maternity leave policy.
- Investigate about child care benefits.
- Learn about breastfeeding.
- Read as much as you can and concentrate on making healthy lifestyle decisions for your baby.
Healthy Pregnancy Tips- 2nd Trimester
- Wear a sports bra or a supportive bra with broad straps for breast changes.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure and apply sunscreen whenever you go out. Some women also try cocoa butter for stretch marks though it has not been clinically proven for 100% results.
- Get your routine tests done, especially for gestational diabetes.
- Use saline drops or a saline rinse to help reduce nasal congestion. Also, drink lots of fluids, apply petroleum jelly around the tips of your nostrils to moisten the skin, and utilize a humidifier.
- Meet your pediatrician and attend childbirth classes.
- Get a mid-pregnancy ultrasound if necessary.
- Avoid standing for long periods. This may help to relieve swelling of limbs and dizziness.
- Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience itching, skin irritation with jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite, and severe joint swelling.
- To relieve leg cramps- stretch your calf muscles before bed, drink lots of fluids and stay physically engaged. Pick comfortable shoes and have warm baths, or use ice massage to help to relieve cramps.
- If your vaginal discharge holds a strong odor, unusual appearance, or your vaginal area is painful, sore, or itchy, seek medical advice from your doctor or midwife.
Healthy Pregnancy Signs of the Third Trimester
The third trimester of pregnancy can be mentally and physically demanding for an expecting mom. Your baby’s size and place might make it troublesome for you to get comfortable. And, you might be exhausted from pregnancy and impatient to pass on to the next step. You might be even disheartened if you’ve been preparing for your due date and if it comes and goes unexciting.
Therefore, try to stay positive as you look ahead to the termination of your pregnancy, and soon you will have your gem on your hands.
Expected Physical Changes
- Backaches- Pregnancy hormones ease the connective tissue that keeps your bones in position, particularly in the pelvic area. Hence, these settings can be hard on your back and usually result in pain throughout the third trimester.
- Braxton Hicks contractions- These contractions also tend to happen more frequently and become more powerful as you reach near your due date. Talk to your health care provider if the contractions become consistent and unwaveringly progress in strength.
- Spider veins, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids – Enhanced blood circulation might create tiny red-purplish veins (spider veins) on your face, neck, and arms. But, the redness usually fades after childbirth. However, you might also see swollen veins (varicose veins) on your legs. And, there’s a potential to have unpleasant, tingling varicose veins in your rectal area (hemorrhoids).
- Shortness of breath- You might leave out of breath quickly. So, follow a healthy posture to provide your lungs more space to expand.
- Recurrent urination- As your baby progresses deeper into your pelvis, you’ll sense more weight on your bladder. This increased pressure might also cause urine discharge, particularly when you cough, sneeze, laugh, bend or lift. And, you might also have the urge to urinate more frequently.
- Heartburn – Pregnancy hormones loosen the valve within your stomach, and the esophagus can leave stomach acid reflux inside your esophagus, creating heartburn.
Healthy Pregnancy Tips- 3rd Trimester
- Gey your vaccinations by talking with your healthcare provider.
- Attend weekly checkups.
- Look into legal and financial requirements.
- Do not air travel after the 36th week of your pregnancy.
- Get your GSB testing done.
- Have little, regular meals and try to dodge too spicy foods, fried foods, chocolate, citrus fruits to relieve heartburn.
- Work with the pre-registration documentation at the hospital and insurance policies.
- To reduce swelling, exercise, and raise your legs often. For hemorrhoid remedy, soak in a warm tub or dab witch hazel pads to the area. Also, incorporate lots of fiber in your diet and drink plenty of fluids.
- Prepare for baby safety at home. Take away all pillows, blankets, and stuffed toys from the crib to avoid suffocation. Assure that vapor and carbon monoxide detectors are running perfectly and installed in the proper locations. Also, make sure that handrails are safely ensconced in the home.
- Communicate with your partner or family frequently and let them know if you are in any discomfort.
Best Foods for Pregnancy
As we have discussed shortly in this article, a healthy pregnancy diet is really, really important. So let’s discover some of the best and most nutritious foods you could have throughout your pregnancy period.
- Plenty of water and fluids
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Folate rich foods- asparagus, lentils, oranges (take moderately), fortified cereals
- Fish (Except those are high in mercury)
- Calcium-rich foods (dairy, canned fish, soy products
- Fiber-rich food (Whole grains, avocados, berries, potatoes)
- Iron-rich food (red meat, tofu, green leaves)
- Broccoli and dark leafy greens
- Lean meat
- Dried fruits
- Fish liver oil
Foods To Avoid or To BeTaken Moderately During Pregnancy
The well-being of you and your unborn child depends a lot on what you eat and what you don’t. So, here are some foods that you should avoid and should limit.
- Smoking, alcohol, and abstaining from substance use completely.
- High mercury fish (swordfish,shark,tuna,marlin)
- Uncooked/raw meat,fish,eggs
- Raw sprouts
- Unwashed produce
- Unpasteurized milk and fruit juices
- Soft-ripened cheeses
- Processed junk food
- High-sugary foods (puddings,chocolate,pastries,ice cream,soft drinks,cake)
- Foods high in saturated fats (Spreads, salad dressings, fried food)
- Foods that contain added preservatives or other additives
- Herbal teas and other products like herbal pills
What Should I Do During Pregnancy to Have a Healthy Baby?
The whole point of bringing this article to you is to guide you and help you with a healthy pregnancy. In fact, we have brought a lot of facts and tips that could help you when that little person is growing in your tummy. Apart from all of them, it is vital that you pay attention to these facts that we will discuss in this section.
Your Overall Mental and Emotional Health During Pregnancy
Parents who overcome stress and adapt well for a child’s birth will undoubtedly create a healthy prenatal surrounding. Studies show that a stressful atmosphere can negatively influence a baby’s growth while still in the womb. So, here are some ideas to consider to reduce or overcome stress:
- Dodge or reduce disputes with others that may make you upset or mad. Cultivate approaches for controlling conflicts, including delaying a conversation or meeting or acting with a third person to handle disagreements
- Use relaxation techniques to reduce stress- practice meditation, try breathing techniques, muscle relaxation, or envisioning comforting images.
- Try pursuits that support you to feel pacific and decrease the pressure in your life- like listening to music, mindfulness, exercise, yoga, watching movies, talking, hobbies, or doing other meaningful stuff.
- Train reacting to things that make you feel stressed smoothly, flexibly, and positively.
- Commit yourself to pursuits that are assertive and make you feel reliable about yourself, and develop self-confidence.
- Hum or sing softly to your baby as he grows and develops in your womb. They can hear you!
- Take measures to include both parents in the means of planning for a child’s birth. Get your partner to engage in doctor visits and consulting anxieties or concerns with both of you.
- Reduce roots of stress, such as work pressure or negative opinions toward others.
- Communicate honestly with your husband or partner about what you both grasp and anticipate a child’s development. Share thoughts and expectations, such as handling the crying baby or adapting to a baby’s sleep schedule.
- Read elementary books on a child’s development through and after pregnancy up within infancy.
- Capture yourself. Appreciate how wonderfully you are changing over time without stressing over the physical changes. Make a collection of pictures each week to be cherished later.
A Word to Husbands or Partners…
Always remember that a pregnant woman is living with you. As her husband, partner or family, she needs emotional support more than physical support. So, do not over-pressurize her or criticize the bodily changes that she goes through. She may tend to miss her responsibilities for a while, which is the point where you have to be her pillar of strength. Bearing a child as a part of her for almost 10 months is something painful beyond your imaginations. Therefore, be for her and let her know that her family always cares for her.
So you see, healthy pregnancy is not solely about having good food or resting. Your baby is safe and sound as long as you take good care of yourself through prenatal care. We hope that our article enlightened you with facts that would be important throughout your pregnant months. And, we wish you a healthy and comfortable pregnancy!
Sources and References
UC San Diego | School of Medicine
Pregnancy Birth and Baby
March of Dimes
Pregnancy Birth and Baby