Amazing changes will happen to your body throughout your nine months of pregnancy. While it is quite exciting to witness your baby's development and movement in your tummy, your body is working harder to support your baby's growth. 

You may feel physical changes that may make you feel exhausted. Hence, prenatal care is essential to ensuring a joyful and smooth pregnancy as your baby grows in your tummy.  Here are ten tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Prenatal Care Tips

1.    Prepare Your Body Even Before Getting Pregnant

Prenatal care should start three months before you get pregnant.  Doing these actions may help you have a healthy pregnancy and aid in your baby's development.

·       Smoke free and alcohol free body

·       Take Folic Acid supplements

·       Consult Your Obstetrician to know if you have any medications that should be stopped or changed.

2.    Visit Your Doctor

Upon learning that you are pregnant, it is best to set an appointment with your Obstetrician.  Your doctor can help you know the estimated delivery date, give you advice on prenatal care, and monitor your pregnancy journey.

Doctor consultation is a must, especially if you are 35 years and older, have any pre-existing health problems, or uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. 

Tip:  Here are discussion points you can talk about with your Obstetrician if you are a first-time mom

·       Frequency of your prenatal checkups

·       Tests you need to complete

·       Vitamins and vaccines you need to take

·       Risk Factors

·       Safety of Existing Medications

·       Limitations in Physical Activities

Ensure that you are honest with your medical history and pre-existing conditions so that your doctor can better care for you. If you feel any discomfort or pain, heavy bleeding, sudden loss of fluid, lack of baby movement, or frequent contraction, contact your doctor immediately. 

3.    Watch Your Diet

pregnant woman eating healthy salad

It is a widespread misconception that pregnant women should eat for two people. Hence, mothers tend to gain weight during pregnancy. Your body requires more nutrition to support the growth of your baby, but you don't need to double your servings. You only require to add 100 calories to your usual diet during your first trimester and increase it to 300 calories on your second trimester.

Throughout your pregnancy, you should put on 15 to 35 pounds only. Gaining less than 15 pounds may result in a premature baby or very low birth weight. On the other hand, gaining more than 35 pounds can lead to complications such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

Apart from the amount of food intake, you should also watch the food that you eat.  It would be best if you lean towards healthier food options. You should increase the fruits and vegetables to your diet and choose foods that are rich in calcium, folic acid, and iron.  Avoid eating processed food, unpasteurized dairy, undercooked and raw seafood.

4.    Drink Lots of Water

Water is essential to fetal development and so keeping hydrated is a must, especially during pregnancy. Target to drink at least eight to twelve glasses of water daily so that you can replenish all of the fluids lost during the day

5.    Follow Schedule of Routine Checkups and Tests

You must follow your checkup schedule so that your doctor can monitor you and your baby's health. If you have a normal pregnancy, you should visit at least once a month until your 7th month. Your checkup will become more frequent during your third trimester and as you near your delivery date.

In between your routine checkups, the doctor will advise you to undergo an ultrasound scan during your first trimester and an anomaly scan during your 20th week. 

Also, you have the option to have your child tested for the chromosomal anomaly (e.g., Downs Syndrome or Patau Syndrome) or genetic disorders.

If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, your doctor will need to see you more frequently and may request more tests done throughout your pregnancy. 

6.    Do light to moderate exercises

Light to moderate exercises is beneficial to women. It may help lessen the risk of gestational diabetes, improve overall mood, relieve stress, and prepare you from the physical demands of labor.

If you are not physically active before getting pregnant or have any medical history, consult your doctor before starting any fitness regimen. 

Here are some examples of light and moderate exercises you can do during pregnancy:

·       Swimming

·       Walking

·       Low-impact aerobics

·       Prenatal Yoga

7.    Get Enough Rest

pregnant woman taking a nap

It is typical to feel sleepy and tired, especially during your first and third semester. Your body is using up your energy to support your baby's growth and development. 

Allow yourself to rest and take a nap. Napping at least once a day can help lessen the risk of low birth weight.  Also, naps can help you catch on lost sleep at night due to frequent urination, body discomforts, and other pregnancy complications. 

8.   Avoid taking Over-The-Counter Medicines

Pregnant women are advised not to take over-the-counter medicines unless it is necessary.  If you feel ill, consult your doctors so that he/she may prescribe the proper medication.  Avoid self-medicating to avoid any complications and side effects. 

9.    Get Vaccinated

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends pregnant women to get flu shots anytime during the pregnancy.  Pregnant women are vulnerable to the flu so that the vaccine can give them protection.

Your doctor may advise you to get the 22-week vaccine to protect your baby from whooping cough.  Whooping cough can be dangerous and fatal for babies, and so they must be protected from the day they are born through the mother's vaccine. 

10.  Take Prenatal Vitamins

Ideally, your main source of nutrients should be food, but your doctor may advise you to take supplements throughout your pregnancy.  Women are typically asked to take Folic Acid before pregnancy until the first trimester.  Folic acid helps lower risks of brain and spinal cord defects.

We hope that these healthy pregnancy tips help you have a happy and smooth pregnancy.  Do you have other tips to suggest?  Let us know by writing your suggestions in the comment box below.

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