Essential Steps for a Healthy Pregnancy

Get good prenatal care as soon as you can

Once you know you’re pregnant, call your gynecologist to schedule your initial prenatal visit. Your first visit is vitally important because you will be screened for any health conditions that may cause complications. If you still have to choose a gynecologist, you should find one right away. During your first visit, make sure your gynecologist knows about any medical concerns and is aware of any medications you currently take.

watch your diet

Ignore any advice you’ve heard about eating for two because you only need about 300 extra calories each day. Making sure you get enough protein is essential and you should aim for around 70g every day. Calcium is particularly important, and while you don’t need to take extra calcium, you should make sure your diet contains the daily requirements.

Many women find it difficult to get adequate calcium from their regular diet. When choosing your foods, avoid undercooked meat and eggs, as well as unpasteurized dairy products, raw seafood, and juices that may contain bacteria that can harm your baby. Certain types of fish can also contain high levels of mercury and are best avoided during pregnancy.

take your vitamins

You’ll need to take a good prenatal supplement that probably contains more iron and folic acid than you’ll find in a standard multivitamin. Folic acid is especially important during early pregnancy because it greatly reduces the risk of your baby being born with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. In an ideal world, you would start taking 400 µg of folic acid at least a month before you get pregnant, and once your pregnancy is confirmed, you should increase to 600 µg per day.

While you’re pregnant, your iron requirement will increase significantly, and particularly during the second and third trimesters. In general, it’s best to ask your health care provider which vitamins are most essential and what daily dose they recommend. As with most things, taking too much of something can be harmful.

exercise regularly

Regular exercise will help build your strength and endurance in preparation for childbirth, and make it easier to carry the extra weight gained during pregnancy. A good exercise regimen will also help improve your circulation and make it much easier to get back in shape once your baby is born. In addition, exercise is a good way to reduce stress and increases levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Just remember to exercise properly and ask your gynecologist for more personalized advice.

get enough rest

During your second and third trimesters, you’ll probably start to feel pretty tired, and it pays to listen to your body and slow down when necessary. If she can’t take a midday nap, at least find time to put her feet up for a few moments and relax with a book or magazine. Other things that can help include doing yoga, getting regular massages, or simply practicing deep breathing techniques.

avoid alcohol

It’s only for a few months, so avoid all alcohol during pregnancy. When you have a drink, the alcohol quickly reaches your baby through the bloodstream, and your baby will most likely end up with higher blood alcohol levels than you. Drinking during pregnancy increases the risk of a child being born with learning difficulties or low birth weight. Even just one drink a week can make a difference.

Give up smoking

Smoking is bad for your health on many levels and it’s really terrible for your baby. It increases the risk of premature birth or miscarriage, and it is thought that smoking might increase the risk of having a baby with a cleft lip or palate. That’s not to mention the increased risk of your baby being stillborn or dying in infancy. If you smoke and find it hard to quit, ask your health care provider for advice and practical help.

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