Preparing for Your Baby: Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy
You should begin care as soon as you think you may be pregnant. Make an appointment with your doctor, and they can help you get started. Your first appointment should occur in the first three months of your pregnancy.
Learn more about the recommended prenatal visitation schedule here.
What can you expect at your first prenatal visit?
- The first prenatal visit is the longest.
- Your provider will ask you questions and perform an exam to asses your health.
- Your provider will do a genetic history of your family to know if they should watch out for a problem.
- Your provider will order tests to be sure that you and your baby are healthy. If they have a concern, they can treat you before there is a problem with your pregnancy and baby.
- The provider will estimate the date of delivery so you will know when you can expect your baby to arrive.
You can also prepare for regular check-ups throughout your pregnancy. Your provider will manage any problems and make sure the baby is growing well. Along with doctor’s appointments, there are a few things you should do on your own to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Make sure you eat lots of protein, including lean meats like chicken and turkey, nuts, beans and eggs. You should also eat iron-rich foods like beans, leafy green vegetables, grapes, peas, broccoli, raisins and so much more! You should also drink lots of water while you’re pregnant. Remember that you are now feeding both you and your baby. You’ll want to nourish the baby well.
- Check in with your doctor regularly. Your provider will want you to schedule appointments regularly. This will help keep track of how you and your baby are doing.
- Exercise regularly. Movement will keep you in shape and make you fit for delivery. Try prenatal exercise or yoga classes that are safe for pregnant women. Scroll down for our top 10 tips when exercising during pregnancy
- Quit smoking and drinking alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol can cause serious health problems for your baby. Talk with your doctor about taking steps to quit.
- Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine can cause problems during pregnancy and increase the chance of miscarriage.
- Take prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your doctor.
- Protect your gums. Brush and floss your teeth every day. Mouth and gum infections can increase your risk of preterm labor and low birth weight.
- Talk with your doctor about all medications. It’s important to make sure your doctor is aware of all other health issues and current medications you take. They can create a health plan tailored for you during pregnancy.1
10 Exercise Tips for Pregnant Women
For most women, exercising during pregnancy is important. However, the physical changes of pregnancy may limit some forms of physical activity and should be modified to accommodate your growing belly. You should always check with the health care provider before beginning or continuing any exercise program. By making the time for exercise, you may ease some of the pain and discomfort of both pregnancy and delivery. Light workouts can also relieve stress and help you relax during labor. Follow along these tips to exercise safely during pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to keep hydrated.
- Exercise in a safe environment and avoid jogging on streets or open roadways.
- Don’t engage in high impact sports that could harm your baby.
- To prevent a pulled muscle, always stretch to warm up and cool down.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes with proper tread.
- Avoid overheating and slow down if you feel short of breath.
- During yoga, make sure you have a skid resistant floor mat or towel. If a pose is too difficult, do a modified version.
- Get enough sleep so you are not tired.
- Find a buddy to exercise with to help motivate and keep you on schedule.
- Look for “Mommy and Me” exercise classes nearby that are tailor-made for pregnant and new moms. Check with your doctor to help you locate a nearby class. Most women’s hospitals offer them.