Soon, your life will change forever with the addition of a new family member. Preparing for this bundle of joy is an exciting time, however can also be overwhelming and a time filled with joy, panic, excitement and fear all at the same time. These emotions are normal, as it is totally expected to feel clueless about your changing body and how to prepare what’s next. Here are a few pregnancy tips related to diet and exercise that can help ensure safe and healthy prenatal development.
• Take a prenatal vitamin. You can begin taking these when you are trying to conceive or immediately when you discover you are pregnant. It is essential you get nutrients such as folic acid, calcium and iron from the beginning as the baby’s neural cord, brain and spinal cord develop the first month of pregnancy.
• Don’t skip breakfast. Try fortified cooked cereal and fruit, however if you experience ‘morning sickness’, start with whole wheat toast and eat more food later.
• Eat foods with fiber. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables and plenty of beans and whole grains. Brown rice and oatmeal are full of fiber.
• Prep and pack healthy snacks. Yogurt with fruit, whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, trail mix and or nuts.
• Eat 12 ounces of fish a week. One 3 ounce service is the size of a deck of cards. Avoid fish with high levels of mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish. Common fish that is low in mercury are Albacore white tuna, shrimp and salmon.
• Avoid foods that may contain bacteria. Such as sushi, uncooked or undercooked meat, soft cheese such as feta, brie and goat cheese and lunch meats and hotdogs.
• Limit caffeine and avoid alcohol.
• Track your weight gain. You are eating for two, however packing on to many extra pounds isn’t healthy for you, however not gaining enough is not healthy for the baby and may cause developmental problems. Below are the recommendations for weight gain in pregnancy. Check with your doctor regarding a healthy weight gain for you.
o Underweight: Gain 28-40 pound
o Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
o Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
o Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds
• Exercise. Staying active can reduce stress, control your weight, improve circulation, boost your mood, improve your sleep quality and above all is important for your general health. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day to increase your heart rate and breathing. This can be broken up into 15 minute segments. A group fitness class, Pilates, yoga, swimming and waking are great activities for most mom’s to be. However, be careful of any activity in the hot summer sun and do not get dehydrated or overheated. Listen to our body and don’t’ overdo it. Talk to your doctor regarding the amount of exercise that is best for you personally.
• Practice your Kegels. Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles provide support for your bladder, bowels and uterus. Kegel exercises alone can help make your delivery easier and prevent urinary incontinence later in life. You can practice these exercises any time of day, and no one will know. Here is how you exercise your Kegel muscles.
o Practice squeezing as if you are stopping the flow of urine.
o Hold for 3 seconds, relax for 3 seconds and repeat 10 times.
o Do this daily.
• Sleep. Drink plenty of fluids during the day, however cut down before bed to reduce nighttime urination. Finding a comfortable sleep position can be a challenge. You may find it comfortable to purchase a pregnancy body pillow or a pillow under your knees and another under your belly. After 20 weeks, sleep on your left side to allow optimal blood flow to the baby. Avoid lying flat on your back. Heartburn can be an issue with pregnancy. Reduce heartburn by avoiding spicy or acidic foods. If you do experience heartburn, do not recline for 2 hours after meals and sleep with your head elevated on pillows. Still not feeling rested? If you are not able to sleep well at night, you may need to take a half-hour nap. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. During pregnancy, women may need 2-3 more hours of sleep a day, thus a few short naps may be needed.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. In addition, all four College Hill physicians contract with all major insurances and are accepting new patients. Call us today to schedule an appointment.