by Zoey Miller
When I was expecting my first child, my very first craving was for information. I read everything I could get my hands on, but I struggled to understand what was most important to remember. By my second pregnancy, I was sure I knew it all — but it was a completely different experience with a whole new set of needs. I felt like a new mom all over again! Even though I had to change my plan from one baby to the next, there are four tips I now know every mother needs for a healthy pregnancy:
#1: Eating Right
If you’re like me, you know this is the most important — and sometimes hardest — step in a healthy pregnancy. Depending on what kind of meal choices you made pre-pregnancy, eating right can mean different things for different moms-to-be. All expectant mothers should examine their diets for the right proportion of fresh, whole foods appropriate for their lifestyle needs. If you’re a pregnant mom with food sensitivities, your doctor or doula can help you create a menu and meal plan that satisfies your cravings and nutritional needs. One of the easiest ways to improve your health and minimize risks in your pregnancy is to stay hydrated with plenty of fresh, clean water.
#2: Working Out
Trust me, you might want to pump a little iron to get ready for lugging a baby carrier around. While the kind of exercises an expecting mother can perform changes in each trimester, there are still many options for every stage of pregnancy. Stretching and breathing exercises can be used without even leaving the bed! Even mothers who must modify their physical activity can find ways to improve their circulation and respiration. Using a maternity support belt helps with back strain common in later stages of pregnancy and post-partum.
#3: Maintaining Safe Habits
There might be tough choices to make once you’re expecting a baby. Certain lifestyle choices can have a dangerous and toxic impact on your pregnancy. Most moms know smoking, certain prescribed medications, and excessive drinking can lead to prenatal complications and birth defects. There are some other habits that can cause issues, too, and those can include high levels of caffeine and sugar in your diet. Some expecting mothers even limit exposure to other possible toxins, like those that can be found in everyday items such used cat litter or household chemicals.
#4: Staying Informed
Because of the delicate nature of pregnancy and the need for mothers to stay informed about their health, a lot of information can be overwhelming and hard to understand. Using different, trusted sources can help you prioritize what you learn as your pregnancy develops. Following up with your doctor with notes and questions helps you avoid the anxiety of the unknown, and keeps their course of care up to date and on track with your experience. Don’t be afraid to put your wish list of pregnancy-related books on the baby registry — they make an easy purchase for your friends and add a resource you can always turn to as your experience continues.
Every mother has to choose what’s right for her needs. Which foods, supplements, or activities work for me might not work for someone in different circumstances, so every mother should consider all the choices she has for the safest experience. After learning that all healthy pregnancies start with these essential steps, I was able to make the best personal choices I could and knew what do when it mattered most.
Zoey is the editor-in-chief of The Babble Out (http://www.thebabbleout.com/).