Health and Nutrition
The best way to help yourself have a healthy pregnancy is to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of rest, and avoid things that could hurt your baby.
For more tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy, see Reference Quick Tips: Healthy Pregnancy Habits.
- Try to Reference get proper nutrition. Pay close attention to your folic acid, iron, and calcium intake and the need for slow, gradual weight gain. Reference Women who are obese have a different weight-gain goal than other women.
- Reference A vegetarian diet requires special attention so that you get enough protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc, in addition to the extra Reference folic acid Opens New Window, iron, and calcium that all expectant mothers need. These nutrients are vital to your fetus's cellular growth, brain and organ development, and weight gain.
- Calcium is an important nutrient, especially during pregnancy. If you can't or don't eat dairy products, you can get calcium in your diet from Reference nonmilk sources such as tofu, broccoli, fortified orange juice or soy milk, greens, and almonds.
For more information on eating well, see:
- Reference Reference Healthy Eating: Changing Your Eating Habits.
- Reference Reference Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Shop.
- Reference Reference Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet.
- Reference Quick Tips: Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet.
- Reference Exercise during pregnancy can help your body best handle labor, delivery, and recovery. Reference Moderate activity Opens New Window such as brisk walking or swimming is ideal during pregnancy. Some women enjoy prenatal Reference yoga. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active. This is very important when it's hot out.
- Reference Do pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises during and after pregnancy. They strengthen your lower pelvic muscles. They may help prevent urine control problems (incontinence) after childbirth.
- In addition to moderate exercise, the following stretching and
strengthening exercises are well suited to pregnancy:
- Reference Back press Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Backward stretch Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Diagonal curl Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Forward bend Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Leg lift crawl Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Pelvic rocking Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Pelvic tilt Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Tailor press Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Tailor sitting Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Tailor stretching Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Trunk twist Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
- Reference Upper body bends Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window
What to avoid
- Reference Medicines that are not approved by your doctor or midwife
- Reference Alcohol and drugs
- Reference Tobacco smoke
- Reference Sources of food poisoning that may cause listeriosis or toxoplasmosis infection, such as raw meat, poultry, or seafood; unwashed fruits or vegetables; and cat feces or outdoor soil that cats commonly use
- Reference Fish that may contain mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, more than 6 oz (0.2 kg) of white albacore tuna per week, or fish caught in local waters that haven't tested as safe
- Reference Hazardous chemicals, radiation, and certain cosmetic products
- Reference Caffeine (Or limit your intake to 1 cup of coffee or tea each day.)
- Reference Hot tubs and saunas
- Reference Unripe papaya because it may cause the muscles of the uterus to contract.Reference 1
What's okay when you're pregnant
- Reference Sex causes no problems during an uncomplicated pregnancy, and sexual interest often changes during different phases of a pregnancy.
- Reference Working or going to school, if it isn't too physically demanding, is usually fine during pregnancy. Scale back if you're becoming too worn down as your pregnancy progresses. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you are at risk for Reference preterm labor Opens New Window.
- Reference Travel is usually a safe choice until later pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns. During your third trimester, it's best to stay within a few hours of a hospital, in case of sudden changes that need medical attention.
- Reference Wearing a seat belt Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window is vital to protect yourself and your baby during pregnancy.
- Reference Massage during pregnancy is safe when it is done by a specially trained massage therapist.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 23, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology