Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

The healthy weight Gain

Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy helps your baby grow to a healthy size. Gaining a healthy amount of weight helps you have an easier pregnancy and delivery.  It may also help make it easier for you to get back to your normal weight after delivery.  Research shows that a healthy weight gain can also lower the chances that you or your child will have obesity and weight-related problems later in life.

 But gaining too much or too little weight may lead to serious health problems for you and your baby. Too much weight gain can increase the risk for diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy. It can pose challenge during delivery and may increase the chances of cesarean section.

Weight Gain during Pregnancy

It is important to gain weight very slowly. The old myth that you are “eating for two” is not true. During the first 3 months, you do not need very many extra calories. The following rate of weight gain is advised:

  • 1 to 3 kg total in the first 3 months
  • 1 to 3 kg each month from 4 months until delivery

Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should gain.

 She will take into account your age, weight, and health before deciding how much weight gain is ok for you. Work with your doctor  to set goals for your weight gain. Do not try to lose weight if you are pregnant.Healthy food is needed to help your baby grow

Healthy Eating

How much to eat?

Eating healthy foods and the right amount of calories helps you and your baby gain the proper amount of weight. Each woman’s needs are different. Your needs depend on if you were underweight, overweight, or obese before you became pregnant, or if you are having more than one baby. In the first 3 months of pregnancy, most women do not need extra calories. If you are not gaining the right amount of weight, your doctor may advise you to eat more calories. If you are gaining too much weight, you may need to cut down on calories.

 Kinds of foods to eat

A healthy eating plan for pregnancy includes nutrient-rich foods.  

Current U.S. dietary guidelines advise eating these foods each day:

  • Fruits and veggies (provide vitamins and fiber)
  • Whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice (provide fiber, B vitamins, and other needed nutrients)
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products or non-dairy soy, almond, rice, or other drinks with added calcium and vitamin D
  • Protein from healthy sources, like beans and peas, eggs, lean meats, seafood (8 to 12 ounces per week), and unsalted nuts and seeds

A healthy eating plan also limits salt, solid fats (like butter and shortening), and sugar-sweetened drinks and foods. Does your eating plan measure up? How can you improve your eating habits Think about things you can try. You can discuss this in details with your doctor and seek dietician help to plan for the best combination of foods for you.

Yes. During pregnancy, you need more vitamins and minerals, like folate, iron, and calcium. Getting the right amount of folate is very important. Folate, or folic acid, may help prevent birth defects. Before pregnancy, you need 400 mcg per day. During pregnancy and when breastfeeding, you need 600 mcg per day from foods or vitamins.  Foods high in folate include orange juice, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, beans, and fortified breads and breakfast cereals.

Most health care providers tell women who are pregnant to take a prenatal vitamin every day and eat a healthy diet. Ask your doctor about what you should take.

Better eating habits help with weight gain

Pregnancy can create some new food and eating concerns. Meet the needs of your body and be more comfortable with these tips:

  • Eat breakfast every day. If you feel sick to your stomach in the morning, try dry whole-wheat toast or whole-grain crackers when you first wake up. Eat them even before you get out of bed. Eat the rest of your breakfast (fruit, oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, low-fat milk or yogurt, or other foods) later in the morning.
  • Eat high-fiber foods. Eating high-fiber foods, drinking plenty of water, and getting daily physical activity may help prevent constipation. Try to eat whole-grain cereals, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
  • If you have heartburn, eat small meals more often. Try to eat slowly and avoid spicy and fatty foods (such as hot peppers or fried chicken). Have drinks between meals instead of with meals. Do not lie down soon after eating.
  • Take small and frequent meals . It will help with the issues like acidity and nausea both while providing you with continuous nourishment

 Foods to avoid

There are certain foods and drinks that can harm your baby if you have them while you are pregnant. Here is a list of items you should avoid:

  • Alcohol. Do not drink alcohol like wine or beer. Enjoy decaf coffee or tea, non-sugar-sweetened drinks, or water with a dash of juice. Avoid diet drinks,sports drinks and drinks with caffeine.
  • Fish that may have high levels of mercury (a substance that can build up in fish and harm an unborn baby). You should eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week, but limit white (albacore) tuna .Make sure you are buying fresh seafood. Do not eat tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
  • Anything that is not food. Some pregnant women may crave something that is not food, such as chalk or clay. This may mean that you are not getting the right amount of a nutrient. Talk to your doctor if you crave something that is not food.  She can help you get the right amount of nutrients.

Physical Activity

Activity  during  pregnancy

Almost all women can and should be physically active during pregnancy. Regular physical activity will

Help you and your baby gain the right amounts of weight

Reduce backaches, leg cramps, and bloating

Reduce your risk for gestational diabetes and PIH

If you were physically active before you became pregnant, you may not need to change your exercise habits. Talk with your doctor about how to change your workouts during pregnancy. It can be hard to be physically active if you do not have child care for your other children, have not worked out before, or do not know what to do.  Try engaging help from family on friends so that  you can work around these things and be physically active.

How much physical activity do I need?

Most women need the same amount of physical activity as before they became pregnant.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day on most days of the week. Aerobic activities use large muscle groups (back, chest, and legs) to increase heart rate and breathing. The aerobic activity should last at least 10 minutes at a time and should be of moderate intensity. This means it makes you breathe harder but does not overwork or overheat you.

If you have health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, or anemia (too few healthy red blood cells), ask your doctor about a level of activity that is safe for you.

Stay active while pregnant

Even if you have not been active before, start off with the following basic things like :

  • Go for a walk around the block, in a local park, or in a shopping mall with a family member or friend. If you already have children, take them with you and make it a family outing.
  • Get up and move around at least once an hour if you sit in a chair most of the day. When watching TV, get up and move around during commercials.
  •  Even a simple activity like walking in place can help.

Stay safe while being active

For your health and safety, and for your baby’s, you should not do some physical activities while pregnant.  Talk to your health care provider about other physical activities that you should not do Make a plan to be active while pregnant. List the activities you would like to do, such as walking or taking a prenatal yoga class. Think of the days and times you could do each activity on your list, like first thing in the morning, during lunch break from work, after dinner, or on Saturday afternoon.

 Look at your calendar or planner to find the days and times that work best, and commit to those plans. Engage your partner while planning these activities .this helps in keeping up the motivation levels high.

Get some rest

The fatigue you feel in the first few months is due to high levels of pregnancy hormones circulating in your body. Later on, it’s more likely to be because you’re getting up in the night to go to the loo or not being able to get comfortable in bed. 

Try to get in the habit of going to sleep on your side. By the third trimester, sleeping on your side reduces the risk of stillbirth compared to sleeping on your back. If your sleep is disturbed at night, try to take a quick nap in the middle of the day or go to bed early to catch up. If that’s impossible, at least put your feet up and try to relax for 30 minutes. If backache is disturbing your sleep, try lying on your side with your knees bent. Placing a wedge-shaped pillow under your bump may help ease the strain on your back. 

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