If you, a member of your family, or a friend is planning to get pregnant or is pregnant now, making sure they have all the tools for success (and less upset) as you can is what women do for each other.
Pregnancy health involves more than conquering (or never having) morning sickness or keeping the swelling of your ankles from making you resemble a baby elephant. There are things you can do to improve your personal pregnancy from conception to labor.
Question…have you ever noticed that celebrities never really talk about swelling, puking, crying, or having general freak-outs that every pregnant woman I’ve ever known has experienced? It’s always about the glow and the happiness but what about the stuff that makes you feel as if you’re in the “worst pregnant lady ever” territory?
What about the moments that make you feel you might be in over your head?
Being pregnant is the sign that a major change is happening in your life. Everything about your body (for a little while at least and sometimes for years), your household (whether the baby will be joining a family of one or ten), your romantic relationship (if that’s part of the picture), your finances (oh dear, the finances), and your own thoughts (“I’m going to be a horrible mom because I can’t juggle everything like my mom/sister/BFF!”) are upended.
Stop for a minute. Take a deep breath.
Pregnancy is nothing new and statistically, you’re likely going to experience the same (sometimes terrifying but otherwise normal) weirdness that all the moms out there have since we’ve been wandering around on our pretty blue planet.
If at all possible, do what you can to plan your pregnancy. That isn’t always an option because birth control isn’t guaranteed, human error happens, and the universe can have an offbeat sense of humor.
One thing all the moms I know swear by is a how-to manual about pregnancy. Not the ones that tell you about how much you’re going to love your baby…because that’s usually a given. Facts and information are what you’re looking for.
Educate yourself because there is power (and comfort) in knowledge. Avoid the internet for medical advice because some things circulating out there are just odd. Pregnancy health doesn’t mean drinking weird things or engaging in superstitious routines. Stick to your doctor on this one. However, there are some amazing coupons and services now so take advantage of those!Educate yourself because there is power (and comfort) in knowledge. Click To Tweet
Good health during pregnancy is pretty simple, really.
Get a simple book that explains the basics. The moms I’ve known in the last twenty years still swear by the nuggets of wisdom (and discovery…because the female body becomes an alien planet quickly during gestation) in books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
Simple, clear information without all the fluff and filler.
Above all, your health before, during, and after pregnancy (if you’re breastfeeding) directly impacts your baby. I mean that in every literal sense.
Everything you eat, drink, do, and even think can influence your unborn child. That isn’t woo-woo science! Scientists discovered that your emotional and mental state during pregnancy can alter your brain chemicals.Everything you eat, drink, do, and even think can influence your unborn child.Click To Tweet
7 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy Experience:
1. Repair your eating plan (or maintain it if you’ve got a good one). You need diverse foods that give you all the right fuel to chug through forty weeks. A good rule of thumb is adding another 300-500 calories each day to your diet (you’re not really supposed to double them).
2. Take your prenatal vitamins! They’re huge, they leave a funny aftertaste, and may make you burp but take them anyway. For women who have vicious morning (afternoon, evening, all day) sickness, those vitamins could be the only nutrients your body is able to hold for a little while.
3. Stop cleaning the litter box. Seriously, stop it. If you don’t have help with basic cleaning around your house, invest in some of those paper face masks (you can find them cheap in the painting section of box stores) and use proper ventilation. Same goes for harsh cleaning chemicals. I have articles here on the website about natural cleaners and always make sure you have good air flow!
4. Drink 64 ounces (minimum) of water each and every day. You can infuse water with oranges, berries, or cucumbers for some added flavor and nutrients. Whatever it takes, get that water into your body. The best amount is half an ounce for every pound of bodyweight but don’t drink less than 64 ounces. You need it and your baby needs it.
5. Exercise is still important but you have to be careful. Avoid high-impact exercise and stick to gentler forms. Keeping your body moving is going to help you so much during and post labor. You’ll be so glad you did it.
6. Get plenty of sleep! I know women are supposed to be superheroes (and so many do a great job of that) but don’t deny your body rest. It’s maintaining your daily activities and incubating another living being! It needs time to regroup and recover from the day. If you can get a nap in once in a while, make that happen (and don’t feel guilty about it).
7. Get your partner, family, or friends to participate in your healthy habits if you can so you have company. Using the buddy system makes it easier for you to stick to routines.Good health during pregnancy is pretty simple, really.Click To Tweet
A few other important points…
If you smoke, quitting is critical. If you drink regularly, you’ll have to stop. If you take over-the-counter drugs, talk to your doctor about safe alternatives. If you’re on prescription medications, absolutely tell your OB-GYN.
Naturally, if you have a substance abuse problem (drugs or alcohol), you need to get help. I truly hope that isn’t the case because pregnancy is scary enough without overcoming addiction.
In a perfect world, you’ll be in a position to plan your pregnancy and prepare your body with the benefit of diet, exercise, and meditation. Hopefully, you’re not afflicted with nausea during gestation so you have the opportunity to enjoy the experience.
If your baby is a “surprise” (as so many are), I hope you have support systems in place to ensure your pregnancy health, the baby’s health, and both of your safety after delivery.
Women who are fit before getting pregnant have a huge advantage.Women who are fit before getting pregnant have a huge advantage.Click To Tweet
The stronger and healthier you can make your body, the better you (and your child) will come through the happy event. There are so many things you can do before, during and after pregnancy to keep your mind at peace, your body strong, and ensure speedy recovery.
A healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby, is the goal…and you can make it happen.