How to Maintain Your Health During Pregnancy
Maintaining your physical and mental health is never more important than when you’re expecting a baby. However, with so much conflicting advice from all angles, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction.
We all know that watching what we eat, staying active and keeping tabs on our mental health will all increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy, but when you’re new to expectant-motherhood, how do you even know where to start?
Luckily, there are numerous resources available, both on the Internet and through your primary care physician that will help you make the right choices for you and your baby. To get you started, here are four ways you can look after your health during pregnancy.
Watch Your Calorie Intake
It’s important to watch what you eat during pregnancy to make sure you don’t gain too much or too little weight. Most women should aim to gain between 25-30 pounds overall, though your doctor may recommend you gain more or less depending on your pre-pregnancy weight.
Sadly, the idea that you should eat for two is a myth. You may need to increase levels of specific nutrients during pregnancy, but you only actually need an extra 300 calories or so a day in the final trimester. Consuming too much food during pregnancy could lead to excessive weight gain, increasing your risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and back problems.
Follow Food Guidelines
To minimize health risks to you and your baby, you need to take steps to prevent foodborne illness. There is specific dietary advice for expectant mothers, and it’s important to follow it carefully. Fish containing high levels of mercury, such as mackerel, shark or swordfish, are not recommended during pregnancy, and you may be advised to limit your overall fish intake to 2 or 3 portions per week.
Soft cheeses like Brie, unbaked Camembert and feta contain bacteria that can be harmful to your unborn baby, so it’s best to avoid these along with other unpasteurized milk products. All meat should be cooked through, and consuming alcohol is not recommended.
Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, though you shouldn’t stray too far from your usual regime or put your body under extreme pressure. As you move toward your due date, your exercise routine will be more difficult to maintain, but it’s important to keep moving and stretching as much as you can to increase your circulation.
You also need to make sure you’re getting enough rest during pregnancy. Aim for eight hours sleep per night, and don’t forget to unwind after your workout with a mother-to-be massage from Serenity Spa. Treating yourself to a professional massage will not only decrease your stress levels – it will also relax your muscles and improve your circulation.
Look After Your Mental Health
1 in 10 women experience mental health problems in the pre or postnatal period, so looking after your emotional wellbeing is just as essential as staying active and eating a healthy diet. It’s normal for your moods to fluctuate during and after pregnancy, but if you feel sad, stressed or unmotivated more than you feel happy, then you may need to talk to someone.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your physician or see a therapist. Antenatal and postnatal depression are both incredibly common, so there are tones of resources out there to help you through.