A Healthy Diet
- A healthy diet has always been important, but it’s far more when you’re pregnant. In addition to getting all the essential vitamins and minerals, pregnant women need more iron, which can be hard to get through your diet. Talk with your doctor about a daily prenatal vitamin or multivitamin.
- The right amount of folic acid reduces the chance of some birth defects. Pregnant women need 400 micrograms (or .4 mg) of folic acid daily. If you don’t think you’re getting enough in your daily diet, your doctor will prescribe a multivitamin.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Calcium-rich foods will help your baby develop strong bones and teeth. Choose lean foods like skim milk, chicken and turkey and avoid eating fatty foods like butter and meat.
- It’s important to gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy. “Eating for two” doesn’t give you carte blanche to indulge on high calorie junk food. On average, 25-30 pounds is a healthy amount of weight to gain during pregnancy. Of course all women are different, and your doctor can tell you what you should gain during your pregnancy – and will help you monitor your weight throughout.
Take Care of Yourself
- Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to get some light exercise and avoid napping during the day. Sleeping on your left side is more comfortable – putting a pillow between your legs and under your belly should help.
- Try to control the stress in your life. Figure out what you have time for and don’t be afraid to say no to any other requests for your time and energy.
- Wear a seat belt correctly. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that pregnant women wear the lap belt under the belly, across the hips. The shoulder strap should go to the side of your belly, between your breasts. Used correctly, a seatbelt will protect both you and your baby in the event of a crash.
- Regular exercise is good for you and your baby. Talk to your doctor about what is safe and healthy.
- Existing health problems can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, and should be monitored while you’re pregnant. If you take medications for existing conditions, be sure to discuss with your doctor how to proceed during your pregnancy.
- See your doctor regularly. Prenatal care can keep you and your baby healthy – and any problems that come up can be addressed and treated.
- The flu can be dangerous to pregnant women. Talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot.