Staying healthy all of the time is important of course, but staying healthy during your pregnancy is very important as well. Staying healthy during pregnancy promotes the health of you and your baby. By taking the proper steps to keep yourself healthy and safe you can feel confident that you have done everything you can to provide a great life for your baby and yourself. So what are the keys to staying healthy during your pregnancy? Pregnancy health can be boiled down to prenatal care, exercise, nutrition, mental health, and social support. All of these important factors work together to help balance your health. Keep in mind that while you do not have to be perfect in every aspect, you should be doing your best to work in each area when you can.
1. Prenatal Care
Becoming a parent of a new child has many feelings and emotions that come along with it. Having a health care provider that will help guide you through this process is essential in your pregnancy. For both the mental and physical health of you and your baby it is vital that you have a healthcare provider such as a midwife or OBGYN that you trust. They will provide you personalized care and advice to ensure a healthy pregnancy. They can provide their expertise with nutrition, exercise, mental health, and social support to support you in all other aspects of your well being. Having prenatal care can reduce complications of pregnancy that could have otherwise been managed if you had the proper resources and prenatal care.
While it is true that there may be some limitations to exercising while pregnant, it is vital to your health to maintain an exercise routine during pregnancy. The general rule of thumb is if you were doing it before getting pregnant you can probably continue. So if you have never done the exercise before it is probably not a great idea to begin something new. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule. It is strongly discouraged to do any extreme sports such as skydiving or cliff jumping if you are pregnant. It is also advised to avoid lifting heavy weights that could injure the baby if it fell on them. Each individual is different and has a different level of physical fitness. When in doubt take a brisk walk around a park or your neighborhood. Work with your healthcare provider to create an exercise plan that is safe and manageable for you.
Nutrition is the process of providing adequate food and nutrients to your body. Pregnancy poses some special requirements for nutrition that it is advised to follow. The first thing is that different vitamins and minerals have varying roles in the body that can greatly impact how a fetus is developed. For example, Vitamin B9 or folic acid is essential for the closure of the neural tube. If a pregnant person does not have adequate folate then their baby could have neural tube defects. These vitamins are easily obtained through a prenatal vitamin which is formulated especially for pregnancy. Proteins are also an important part of the pregnant diet. Protein assists in creating body tissues in your baby that are strong and healthy. You should also focus on creating overall healthy food choices such as increasing your fruit and vegetable intake while limiting your unhealthy fats.
4. Mental Health
Mental health in pregnancy is a very important topic that is often overlooked. With so many hormones going through your body you are more apt to experience varying and intense emotions. You may also have life circumstances that make your mental health difficult to maintain. Your role or family dynamic is shifting. Also, because your body is growing and changing you may have mixed feelings about that as well. All of these factors contribute to your mental health. You should take time out of every day, even if it is 5 minutes, to do something for yourself. This could be going for a walk, doing meditation, or even chatting with a close friend or family member. Your life is going through many changes, so continue to nurture yourself and know that it is okay to feel many emotions during this time. However, you should remember that if you are feeling too overwhelmed or that you are having strong negative feelings towards your pregnancy or yourself you should reach out to a healthcare provider for help.
5. Social Support
Social support is another important aspect in your overall well being, especially in pregnancy. As a time of many changes, it is very helpful to feel supported by those around you. Social support can look different for everyone, but you should find your person or people that you can turn to whether that is your partner, family, friends, or a counselor.
Staying healthy during your pregnancy does not have to be difficult. To make it easier for yourself you can make goals in each domain so that you have something to strive for. Remember, you do not have to be perfect, just keep doing the best you can.
“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” -William Londen