Having a healthy pregnancy can — at times — feel like an endless, uphill battle. Moms-to-be can feel pressure from all sides to take care of themselves and their unborn child, struggling to keep every important task, product, or exercise at the center of their focus. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, overstimulated, and flat-out nervous about childbirth – one of the most painful and equally beautiful times in a woman’s life. It’s because of this uncertainty that we bring you a quick, wide-ranging list of some of the most effective, practical, and honest tips for having a healthy pregnancy while also carrying precious cargo.
Keeping yourself hydrated on a good day can prove difficult for everyday people. Add in the extra weight from pregnancy and extra energy spent moving that weight around, and it becomes clear that expectant moms must stay hydrated for both them and their babies. Dehydration in pregnancy can begin affecting a mother rapidly if not addressed. When someone becomes dehydrated, the blood thickens, making it more difficult to pass through the circulatory system. This adds additional strain on the heart and lungs, forcing them to work overtime on both mother and child’s circulation. Overworked hearts and thickened blood could potentially lead to heart-related pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia. This high blood pressure-related issue can put both mom and baby at high risk for preterm labor, blood clots, seizures, liver damage, and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).
Every mother across the globe can attest to and admit that they have eaten a less than healthy, craving-related food item at least once during their pregnancy. Feeling an unexplainable urge to eat Flaming Hot Cheetos sprinkled over chocolate ice cream, or pickled jalapeños dipped in peanut butter may sound like the best idea ever when it pops into a pregnant mom’s head at 11:30 at night. All that aside, pregnancy cravings can sometimes take an unhealthy turn in a short amount of time. If you find yourself craving and eating unhealthy foods at home, consider adding healthier options to your shopping cart during your next grocery store visit or possibly even consider substituting healthier ingredients while preparing a recipe or snack. We all love those crunchy and salt brined cucumbers during pregnancy, however, fresh-packed pickles often contain lower amounts of sodium and other preservatives that can sometimes have a negative effect on pregnant women.
To say that it’s important to educate yourself and read as many books, leaflets, newspapers, or pamphlets during your pregnancy is an understatement. And as paramount as it is to stay updated and informed about your progressing pregnancy, close to trumping that would be discussing your postpartum journey with your Ob-Gyn. So many women struggle in silence after bringing their precious babies into the world, not realizing that their suffering could have been prepared for and prevented. As many as 20% of pregnant women experience postpartum depression. Learning about, talking about, and recognizing the symptoms of postpartum depression could make all the difference in both you and your baby’s lives.
Physical fitness really should be part of a pregnant mom’s daily routine. Staying loose and limber can benefit them not only during the first, second, and third trimesters of their pregnancies but could also be of great use to them in the labor and delivery room. Practicing or utilizing low-impact and low-risk exercise routines can aid pregnant moms in stretching and strengthening their hips, saddle muscles, and pelvic floor. Engaging the core while adding in yoga poses or Pilates can help prepare the womb, giving the baby more space in utero. Pelvic floor exercises that help stabilize that area can help prevent damage to the muscles and breech babies, among other benefits and damage control.
When it comes to pregnancy, there’s no better time to be prepared. Fear of the unknown, the uncertainty, and the painful process of birth can oftentimes overwhelm you. Feeling anxious and out of control are normal emotions for expecting parents. In order to combat those overwhelming fears, nerves, or simple butterflies in your stomach, consider sitting down with your partner and support team and create a birthing plan. Having an idea in your mind of how your birth will unfold can help ease the fears and frustrations of uncertainty in the labor and delivery room. Prioritize wants and needs extremely clearly. Try to make it impossible for the nurses, aides, doctors, and medical/support staff that are involved in the birthing process to deviate from that plan unless absolutely necessary.
Being pregnant, while exceptionally beautiful in its natural state, can also be utterly exhausting. If you feel yourself beginning to become overwhelmed with the pressures of being the best mother possible, or fearful of what’s to come, try to get back to the basics of pregnancy care. Drink lots of fluids, stretch and perform simple, daily exercises, include healthy foods and snacks in your diet, and design the ideal birthing plan. Doing these things could be the difference between a healthy and not-so-healthy pregnancy.
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