Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of a woman’s life. You’re creating a new life, and before you know it your new baby will be with you, changing your world forever! But it can also be a bit nerve-wracking. Yes, having a baby is a gift, but during your pregnancy, your body is no longer going to be yours alone. Everything that you eat and drink will affect not only you but your baby. Every time that you exercise, the stress that your body is under will affect not only your health but your baby’s as well. It’s easy for new moms to get anxious and worried about pregnancy. But the fact is that as long as you take care of yourself, your pregnancy will be just fine. However, there are some definite changes that pregnant mothers advised to make to their overall lifestyle, just until the baby is born. Some of these are definitely easier to execute than others, but generally speaking, a lot of them are tips that would make you healthier when you aren’t pregnant, too. It’s not that you need to do anything outlandish to stay healthy while pregnant; but in general, it’s recognized that you maintain an especially healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.
A lot of pregnant mothers struggle with this, becoming paranoid or feeling smothered by the many health tips they’re given after they get pregnant. This is why we’re putting a lot of the most important tips together right here. You shouldn’t spend your entire pregnancy miserable and worried about’s happening within your body; you should be able to enjoy this part of your life and have fun. Furthermore, stressing over your health while pregnant isn’t very healthy either. Just as important as your physical health during your pregnancy is your mental health. The more informed you are, the less you’ll have to worry about your pregnancy; and the more you can ultimately relax. With that being said, let’s look into some of the most important tips that those seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy should keep in mind.
1. Take Your Supplements
Chances are that your doctor is going to recommend certain supplements for you, and it’s important that you run any other possible supplements or over the counter medications past a medical professional before you take them while pregnant. But there are certain types of supplements that are generally good for pregnant women and considered a part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. The most well-known supplement that pregnant women are advised to take is folic acid, which is actually recommended by the CDC for all women of childbearing age, but especially those who are planning to get pregnant. The reason why it’s so important for pregnant women to take folic acid is that it’s linked to a lowering of the risk of neural tube defects. The neural tube is key to the development of a baby’s brain and spinal cord, and it actually begins to grow during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is why it’s considered important for women who are planning to become pregnant to take folic acid; the neural tube will begin to develop before they even know that they’re pregnant, most likely. Generally speaking, most prenatal vitamins prescribed by a doctor will include folic acid.
Why folic acid is the most well-known supplement that women are recommended during pregnancy, it certainly isn’t the only one recommended. Calcium is also important for pregnant women, as a growing baby can potentially take away from the benefits of calcium to your own bones. You essentially need to add more calcium to your body to stay healthy. Aside from taking a supplement, you can also add more calcium to your diet through low-fat dairy products, though stay away from unpasteurized cheese; consider dark green vegetables like spinach and kale, and even potentially add tofu to your diet. Iron is another supplement that you will need more of during pregnancy, as it’s especially important to prevent iron deficiency in pregnant women. Iron ensures that enough red blood cells circulate around the body, and you should stay on top of it during pregnancy. You can get more iron through red meat, dried beans, enriched grains, dried fruits, and dark green vegetables. That is, if you’d rather add it through your diet.
2. Consider Genetic Testing
Although this is considered to be a difficult decision for pregnant mothers to make, it’s still an important decision that their medical professional will likely ask them about. For mothers 35 years old and older, genetic screening is considered a part of a normal and healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, due to the higher likelihood for genetic abnormalities in pregnancies considered “geriatric”. Genetic screening can be done through a variety of different processes. One of the earliest means through which genetic screening can b accomplished is through noninvasive prenatal screening. This determines a fetus’s risk for genetic abnormalities through a blood sample taken from the mother. There are actually small fragments of DNA within the mother’s blood, and these are tested during the sampling. This can be done as early as nine weeks into the pregnancy with a high degree of accuracy, which is one reason why a lot of mothers prefer it to other types of genetic screening. It typically screens for a couple of different trisomies, including trisomy 21, otherwise known as Down’s Syndrome. But it can be customized to screen for other genetic conditions.
With that being said, some mothers prefer to bypass genetic screening early in the pregnancy and may have it recommended to them after potential abnormalities are noticed on a later ultrasound. While noninvasive prenatal sampling can be none as early as nine weeks into the pregnancy, an ultrasound typically isn’t done until around 10 weeks into the pregnancy, though most healthcare providers will want to see you every four weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy provided everything is proceeding healthily. Now, a potential abnormality on an ultrasound doesn’t mean that something is definitely wrong. That is why the genetic screening process is so important. An amniocentesis, which is usually performed within 15 to 20 weeks into the pregnancy, is a more in-depth type of testing that is often recommended to women with geriatric pregnancies or women otherwise more at risk for chromosomal abnormalities. During this test, the doctor will use an ultrasound to determine where the fetus is and then will use a need to draw amniotic fluid from the uterus, which is then tested. Though there is a small risk of miscarriage with an amniocentesis, it can be an important part of determining the health of your baby, and again the risk is minor. What you decide based on the findings of your genetic screening is up to you, but the vast majority of pregnancies are healthy. Try not to worry. Indeed, a genetic screening is meant to assuage your worry, and early blood test screenings are sometimes recommended by mental health therapists so that mothers can have less anxiety.
3. Be Vigilant About Your Teeth
It’s important for you to stay vigilant about your dental care at this time. Just as it’s a part of a healthy lifestyle when you aren’t pregnant, keeping your teeth health is also considered a part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. In fact, women are more at risk of dental issues while pregnant, and some of these dental problems can ultimately lead to pregnancy complications. Women who have an infection within their teeth or gums are actually more at risk of delivering a premature baby. Therefore, you should see your dentist at least once during your pregnancy; and if you develop severe tooth pain during your pregnancy, you may want to consider seeing them more frequently to ensure that you don’t develop an infection.
Periodontal disease is especially risky when you’re pregnant. This refers to disease within the gums. You may notice your gums bleeding or becoming sore during pregnancy. This would be a sign of periodontal disease, and as bacteria develops around your teeth and gums it can actually start eating away at the enamel of your teeth. When the enamel of your teeth is being eaten away, the results can include tooth decay, which may ultimately lead to an infection. Infected teeth, as previously established, are far from a part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. Therefore, you should also ensure that you keep up with your regular teeth cleanings during pregnancy. It might seem difficult to keep up with your doctor’s appointments and dental appointments, but it’s worth it in the long term.
4. Be Careful When Scheduling Pest Control
Pregnant women clearly have a lot to be a bit worried about; but for some, there are added stressors on top of those already present. If you’re dealing with vermin in your house while pregnant, you do have reason to be worried. Pregnant women are more susceptible to any contaminants and infections, and therefore it’s key that you stay on top of your residential pest control efforts. Yet a lot of pregnant women hesitate to get in touch with professional exterminators when attempting to rid their homes of bugs or rodents.
The reason why there is such a big issue with pest control services during pregnancy is that pesticides are typically not considered a part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. With that being said, in small amounts, they are not considered particularly harmful to pregnant women either. The chances of a reasonable amount of pesticides used by professionals causing a personal injury to a pregnant woman would be low. But to be safe, you should still consider staying out of the house while it’s being fumigated. Certainly, you should inform the pest control professionals that you’re working with of your pregnancy, so that they can make a knowledgable decision about the pesticides that they use.
5. Use Natural Products Within Reason
When attempting to maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, you may find yourself constantly looking up certain chemical ingredients to ensure that those chemicals don’t harm your baby. It can understandably get incredibly annoying, which is why a lot of pregnant mothers look for all natural products. Why worry about the ingredients in a store bought pain relief gel for your aching back when you could mix up your own natural back pain cream? For that matter, there are a number of companies specializing in all natural products for pregnant women. These include skin care products as well as body lotions, hair care products, and much more.
But as much as going all natural may seem to be an easy way to live a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, you still need to be careful. Not everything that is labeled “natural” is good for pregnant women. For example, some pregnant women apply essential oils directly to their skin under the mistaken impression that because they’re “natural” they’re good for people. In fact, some essential oils can be harmful, with certain oils burning the skin upon contact. Pregnant women should still look up natural products before using them, whether you’re buying them outright or mixing your own products. Luckily, the fact that we have smartphones means that it’s easier than ever to look products up while you’re shopping.
There are a lot of reasons why pregnant women may feel stressed before their babies are born, as we’ve been over before. But the fact is that pregnancy is a natural occurrence, and plenty of women have done it before. You can get through your pregnancy without issue; in fact, most women do. A lot of it has to do with maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, and a lot of that itself has to do with maintaining your mental health.
As you go through your pregnancy, be kind to yourself and use common sense. It’s okay to have a cup of coffee a day, as long as you don’t overindulge in caffeine and your doctor gives the go-ahead. It’s okay to exercise as you did before, provided your pregnancy isn’t experiencing any complications. You’re pregnant! Be excited, and look forward to your baby’s arrival.