So you’re pregnant – congratulations! It wouldn’t be surprising if you enter your pregnancy with the stereotypical idea of sitting on the couch and eating Ben & Jerry’s to your heart’s content off your bulging baby bump for nine months. But just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you can stop being healthy or give up on good habits. Instead, you should strive for those things. Staying healthy, strong and happy during pregnancy is a very realistic goal and very important for both you and your baby. Here are some tips on how to do it!
1. Get Rid of Bad Habits
The first thing you should do if you want to be happy and healthy during your pregnancy is to kick those bad habits you already have. There’s no better time or motivation, because now you are nourishing another human being. Don’t tell yourself that any effort you make goes down the drain because you’re pregnant. No, you won’t lose weight by eating healthier during pregnancy, but you will take care of your body and help your baby develop and be healthy.
Exercising during pregnancy has tons of benefits for both you and your baby. You will lower your chances of gestational diabetes and you will increase your stamina and energy by exercising. Exercise might even make your labor and delivery easier – seriously! Activities like jogging, walking and swimming are all great pregnancy exercises. Some gyms and exercise facilities offer aquatic fitness programs for seniors – these are a great choice for pregnant women, too! Aquatic fitness has been linked to reduced swelling later in pregnancy and can help ease the aches and pains associated with carrying all of that extra love in your belly. If you haven’t been exercising regularly prior to your pregnancy you should discuss what exercise approach is right for you with your doctor.
3. Supplement with Vitamins
You should always take a prenatal vitamin when pregnant. Prenatal vitamins give you and your baby that extra boost of iron and folic acid, which helps your baby develop properly. If you can’t find a prenatal vitamin with Omega 3’s and DHA – which both help with baby’s brain development – a fish oil supplement can keep you covered. Prenatal vitamins are also loaded with Vitamin D, which is great for your baby’s muscles and bones, and it will help your immune system, too! If you find that your morning sickness interferes with your vitamin routine, try taking them later in the day.
4. Stay Informed
Sometimes pregnancies can cause a lot of stress. Some of it can’t be avoided, but worrying about things that haven’t happened yet shouldn’t be a stressor in your life. It’s important to stay informed about potential dangers and situations that may arise while pregnant, like preterm labor or ruptured membranes, but don’t scare yourself with these things! Use reliable information and articles to prepare yourself and be aware of the signs of danger in your pregnancy. If anything questionable ever arises, be sure to contact your OB right away.
5. Eat Healthy
It’s a popular notion that you are “eating for two” while pregnant. While this is true, really, you only need to consume an additional 300-500 calories per day depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. You may be tempted to resign yourself to the fact that you are going to gain weight, so you might as well eat whatever you want. It’s okay to give in to those unhealthy cravings every once in a while, but eating healthy will make you happier in the long run. Why? You will avoid excess weight gain and you rest easy knowing you are giving your baby the vitamins and minerals they need by eating real, fresh foods. Your mood will be better because you won’t be filling your body with junk. Making healthy meals during your pregnancy doesn’t mean you’ll have to work harder, just smarter! And it will certainly be worth it to keep yourself healthy and happy.
6. Change Your Mindset
At the end of the day you need to remind yourself that your body is going to look different, you are going to will gain weight and your feet may swell. But pregnancy is something to celebrate, not dread! Whatever you may be stressed about, let it go. Stress won’t help you or your baby. A positive outlook on this new stage of your life is bound to increase your happiness and your health during your pregnancy.
Jennifer Landis is a 27-year-old healthy living blogger who loves yoga, running, and dancing it out with her toddler! You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or by following her on Twitter: @jenniferelandis.