When pregnant, you want to do what’s best for your growing baby. This seems simple but it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the do’s and don’ts. There’s so much conflicting information available; what’s best may seem unclear. Actually, setting the stage for the best pregnancy really boils down to 5 simple things:
1. Get prenatal care
This may seem obvious but it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself or your baby. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as you know you are pregnant. Or better yet, see your healthcare provider before you conceive to set the stage from the beginning. You and your care provider will discuss any risk factors that must be addressed early in the pregnancy. This will help you start your pregnancy in your best health.
2. Take prenatal vitamins
During pregnancy, your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to support a healthy pregnancy and even help prevent birth defects. More than a regular multivitamin, prenatal vitamins are essential in closing the gap in those nutrients and your daily diet. These specially designed vitamins can even prevent some complicating pregnancy conditions. So if you’re even thinking about becoming pregnant, go ahead and switch to a prenatal vitamin now to support your baby from conception forward.
3. Eat right and exercise
It is so important to be at your healthy best during pregnancy. One way to do this is by eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat proteins and lots of water. Exercise also provides great health benefits during pregnancy, including boosting your energy, decreasing morning sickness, and helping you sleep at night. As with all good things, though, be careful not to over-do exercise. Keep your heart rate below 150bpm and talk with your care provider about keeping exercise during pregnancy safe for you and your baby.
4. Avoid alcohol and tobacco
Avoid alcohol and tobacco altogether in pregnancy – this is extremely important. There is no ‘safe’ level for either. In fact, smoking in pregnancy dramatically increases your risks for complications including fetal death. So if you are smoking and pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider about everything that you can do to quit. The health benefits to both you and your baby are extraordinary.
5. Heed warning signs
Any sudden changes in your health, such as severe headaches, pain or bleeding should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately. You know your body better than anyone so if something doesn’t “feel right”, make the phone call or go get checked by a care provider at your local hospital. Ignoring warning signs can be extremely dangerous for both you and your baby.