As soon as you think you might be pregnant, schedule an appointment with your doctor! You’ll need to ensure that sure you’re healthy and clear from complicated risk factors. You’ve taken care of yourself your entire life by eating right, getting enough rest and exercising. Now you have another life – one growing inside of you, and one that you are responsible for!
Once you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll be asking yourself plenty of questions: What should I eat? Can I exercise? How much should I weigh? Do I need more sleep? What can I do to stop morning sickness? FITTODO will guide you in making the right choices during this wonderful time of your life. Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will give you check ups to monitor the growth and development of your baby. You’ll also get prenatal tests, blood tests, urine tests, cervical tests and ultra sounds.
You’ll be eating for two, so now is not the time to cut calories and worry about your weight. You want to maintain a healthy weight as directed by your doctor, but weight gain is expected in pregnancy. You will need extra calories, especially later in your pregnancy as your baby grows. Maintain a balanced diet of lean meats, dried fruits like prunes or raisins, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Your doctor will also give you prenatal vitamins and let you know exactly how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.
Your baby’s calcium needs will be high to ensure development of bones, strong nerves, muscles, and heart, and a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. Make sure you get significant amounts of calcium from whole foods such as tofu, beans, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. You can also get calcium-fortified foods, such as drink mixes (like Carnation Instant Breakfast) or whole grain cereals and breads.
Iron is another necessity in your diet; you’ll need to create more hemoglobin and provide iron for your baby’s development. Additionally, anemia in pregnancy (iron deficiency) can cause preterm delivery or low birth weight. Iron rich foods also include red meat, salmon, dark leafy greens, beans, lentils, soybeans, eggs, and blackstrap molasses (use it as a sweetener!). Almost all of these foods contain folic acid, or folate. Folic acid is a necessary supplement during your pregnancy because it decreases the risk of neural tube defects (such as incomplete spinal cord or brain development) up to 70%. Citrus and poultry are also good sources of folate.
Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are essential during pregnancy for your baby’s brain, eye and heart development and health. Coldwater fish such as salmon, lake trout and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3s. Carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta and bread, bran, oats and crackers can be lifesavers during first-trimester nausea, or “morning sickness”. They calm the stomach and are an essential part of a nutritious pregnancy diet. Whole grain carbohydrates are also excellent sources of energy and fiber (which should be eaten every day to avoid constipation during pregnancy). Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts and tofu.
Eat breakfast every day. Whole grain cereals contain folic acid, which is essential during pregnancy. Fruits and vegetables are also extremely important during pregnancy because they contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that both you and your baby need. Be sure to get a minimum of six servings per day!
Load up on protein rich foods. Pregnant women should get 70 grams per day. Look to lean meats, fish, nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, beans and poultry to get your daily intake. Avoid raw fish (this means no sushi!), fish high in mercury (including swordfish and mackerel), raw eggs, soft cheeses (such as feta, brie, and gorgonzola) and deli meats. During pregnancy, the immune system is suppressed, so it’s best to avoid ingesting harmful bacteria that may exist in these items that could make you sick. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent common pregnancy problems, like constipation and dehydration.
Exercise is recommended during your pregnancy because of all the benefits; it prevents excess weight gain, reduces pregnancy related problems like back pain, swelling and constipation, improves sleep, and increases energy levels. However, you should never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and your body cannot get the oxygen supply needed. Wear comfortable exercise clothing and footwear; drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise and take frequent breaks. Avoid exercising in extremely hot weather, as this can quickly lead to overexertion or heat exhaustion. Contact sports should be avoided during pregnancy to avoid injury to you or the baby. You should also avoid lifting weights above your head, and using weights that strain lower back muscles. Avoid activities where falling is possible, such as horseback riding and skiing. Falling can cause serious pregnancy complications.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep! You should avoid alcohol, recreational drugs and cigarette smoking to avoid pregnancy complications. Limit caffeine, as it may have effects on babies’ birth weight, as well as cause other complications. Avoid saccharin – artificial sweeteners have been shown to cross the through the placenta and end up in your baby’s blood stream. Use natural sweeteners instead, such as honey or molasses.
Take all necessary safety precautions in the workplace! You should tell important loved ones in your life that you’re pregnant right away. Some couples wait until they’re out of the first trimester, since the odds of a successful pregnancy greatly increase after this milestone is passed. However, waiting to tell your close loved ones might be too stressful, so you may want to consider sharing the good news earlier.
Continue to work on your relationship with your significant other! This is a crucial time to bond with your mate, as time to yourselves will be significantly reduced when the baby arrives. Have date nights with your significant other, and encourage them to attend preparatory classes with you. Pregnancy can be a very difficult time in a woman’s life, and the support of your partner will be crucial!