Last updated on 30 September 2019
Remember the epic song, “Aaj main Upar, Aasmaan Neeche” from the film ‘Khamoshi’?
Isn’t that we feel when we come to know about our pregnancy? Especially the first time?
But along with the glee comes the jitters; a CONCERN about your HEALTH, that EXTRA CARE you need to take, the changes to make in your LIFESTYLE, and a HOARD OF HEALTH TIPS FOR PREGNANCY from family members and relatives.
TIPS or shall I say daunting statements? Because that’s what it feels!
“Don’t do this, otherwise…”
“Don’t do that, otherwise…”
Too many of these make you overwhelmed. Whether to listen to or ignore? If you listen, you get confused, and if you don’t, you get anxious.
So, today, I will ease your fears and anxiety by giving you 11 simple health tips for pregnancy. These tips sound very basic but usually get ignored due to confusion.
But if you follow these simple tips, I assure you will deliver a healthy baby.
11Simple Health Tips for Pregnancy
1. Doctor Appointment
Starting with the basics, make an appointment with your doctor the moment you find you are pregnant.
Follow –up with the doctor every 4 weeks until the 7th month, every 2 weeks until the last month, and every week until delivery.
Discuss with friends and acquaintances in your area to choose the best and trustworthy doctor. You must feel comfortable in discussing your problems with him/her.
Things to keep in mind at the doctor’s visit:
- Get your blood pressure, urine, and blood samples checked for sugar, haemoglobin, HIV, and any other infection.
- If you have any previous medical ailment or taking any medication, inform your doctor about it at the first appointment.
- Get all the required vaccinations from the doctor. Find information about the vaccines here.
- If you are working, talk to your doctor about the working hours and the environment at the workplace.
- Track your weight gain at each visit to the doctor.
2. Dealing with morning sickness
Due to the hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy, you might feel nauseated or vomit in the first trimester of pregnancy.
To find relief:
- Always take a piece of bread or rusk along with your bed tea to settle down the feeling of vomiting.
- Sniff freshly cut lemons, coriander or mint, or sip a ginger-based drink every time you feel sick.
- Consult your doctor immediately if you experience fever, excessive vomiting or dizziness, bleeding or discharge from the vagina, shortness of breath, and swelling of feet.
- Do not take any medicine, even a home remedy for vomiting before consulting your doctor.
3. Diet during pregnancy
Everyone knows eating healthy is important in pregnancy. But don’t you want a list of what to eat and what to avoid?
So, here it is:
Foods to eat during pregnancy:
- Dairy products especially yoghurt help to meet the increased protein and calcium needs. Probiotic in yoghurt supports your digestive system.
- Legumes like beans, chickpeas, peas, soybeans, and peanuts are a rich source of folate and fiber.
- Sweet potatoes to satisfy your Vitamin A needs.
- Salmon fish which is a rich source of Vitamin D and omega-3-fatty-acids (limit to 1-2 times a week)
- Whole eggs
- Broccoli and green leafy vegetables
- Lean meat, beef, pork
- 1 tbsp of fish liver oil per day
- Fruits like berries, oranges, banana, etc. (Try these unique fruit recipes to give a healthy twist to eating fruits)
- Whole grains, cooked sprouts/corn
- Dry fruits/nuts, prunes, dates
- Nearly 2 litres of water per day (yes, water is also a food!)
Foods to avoid:
- High mercury fish like shark, swordfish, King mackerel and tuna
- Undercooked or raw fish
- Undercooked, raw, or processed meat
- Raw eggs
- Too much caffeine. Limit your intake of tea/coffee to 2 cups/day.
- Caffienated drinks
- Alcohol and smoking
- Raw sprouts
- Unwashed fruits and vegetables
- Unpasteurised milk, cheese, and fruit juice
- Processed junk food
Few other health tips for pregnancy:
- Leave a gap of an hour between a meal and your tea/coffee. That’s because tea and coffee interfere with iron absorption from the food.
- Be regular with any medicine or supplements the doctor prescribes you. Do not take them with tea/coffee, only with plain drinking water.
- Take small meals at smaller intervals rather than large meals at longer intervals. This ensures adequate nutrition for your body and keeps the feeling of vomit under control.
- Do not skip any meal.
Challenges with Diet
Most pregnant women have two challenges in relation to diet:
1. Cutting down tea/coffee intake
Cutting back on caffeine is a challenge for the ladies who are habitual of taking 5-6 cups in a day.
How caffeine affects your baby is quite not clear but being a diuretic it adds to your increased frequency of urination during pregnancy.
To cut back on your caffeine cuppa:
- Remember that you are doing this for yours and the baby’s good.
- Go gradual as you limit your intake of caffeine. Going down from 6 cups to 1 cup in a day can be a penalty for your body. You are likely to feel exhausted and cranky. So, reduce 1 cup a day till you reach the 2 cups-a-day mark.
- To fancy your coffee cravings, choose a brew without caffeine but in moderation.
2. Food Cravings
50-90 percent of pregnant women experience a sudden urge for a particular food while being turned off by another item.
These food cravings and repulsions usually emerge at the end of the first trimester, peak during second, and subside thereafter.
You can’t always fight these symptoms, so try to respond to cravings and aversions with reason. Here are some useful tips:
- Don’t go crazy with pregnancy cravings that don’t benefit you nutritionally. For example, if you crave for a chocolate ice-cream, go for a mini chocolate bar instead of a king-sized version, or a glass of low-fat chocolate milk rather than a tray of brownies.
- Try to distract your mind from the unhealthy cravings by taking a walk, reading a good book, or chatting with a friend.
- Give in to your cravings once in a while and eat well for the rest of the day.
- If food aversions are towards healthy food, look for their substitutes you can eat and digest.
Consult your doctor if:
- Food cravings don’t subside after 4-5 months of pregnancy.
- You crave weird substances such as clay, ashes or laundry starch. This type of craving known as pica usually indicates a nutrient deficiency which your doctor can help with.
4. SleepThe best sleeping position recommended for pregnant ladies is to lie on side; more better on the left side as it ensures proper blood supply to your baby. Click To Tweet
Avoid lying on your back or stomach while sleeping.
Sleep with your knees bent and keep a pillow between the legs as well as under the abdomen. This provides relief from backache, acidity, and shortness of breath experienced during pregnancy. You must change sides as per your comfort level.
*Tip: Use a pillow that is soft as well as firm to mould around your baby bump and doesn’t put an undue stress on your back, belly or legs.
Regular exercise during pregnancy helps to strengthen your muscles, improve posture, relieve backache and anxiety, keeps blood sugar under control, and improves your stamina required for labor and delivery.
However, discuss the exercise program with your doctor especially if you begin exercises for the first time during pregnancy. Join pregnancy exercise classes in your area to know which exercise suits you best.
Following activities are considered safe during pregnancy provided you don’t overdo it:
- Indoor stationary cycling
- Low-impact aerobics
- Yoga (see the yogasanas which are safe to practice during pregnancy)
Precautions to be taken during exercise:
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes and proper shoes during exercise
- Exercise on a flat, levelled surface to avoid injury
- Consume enough calories to meet the demands of pregnancy and exercise program
- Have your meal at least an hour before any exercise
- Drink water before, during, and after exercise
- Get up slowly and gradually from the floor after completing your exercise
- Do not exercise to the point of exhausting yourself
Avoid the following activities during pregnancy:
- Holding your breath during any activity
- Horseback riding, skiing, football, basketball, and volleyball
- Exercises involving waist movements, deep knee bends, jarring motion, sit-ups, leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches
- Jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, and running movements
- Exercise in hot, humid weather
Note: Stop your exercises and consult your doctor in case you experience any pain in the chest or womb, feel dizzy, difficulty in breathing, bleeding or fluid leakage from vagina, and swelling in your feet.
Who should not exercise during pregnancy?
- Women with asthma, heart disease, and diabetes
- History of recurrent miscarriage, premature births or early labor
- A complaint of bleeding or spotting from the vagina
- Low placenta
- Weak cervix
6. Practice KegelsKegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which support your bladder, bowels, and uterus. This simple exercise helps make your delivery easier and prevent problems later with incontinence. Click To Tweet
How to do Kegel Exercises:
- Practice squeezing as though you’re stopping the flow of urine when you use the bathroom
- Hold for three seconds, then relax for three
- Repeat 5-10 times
You can practice Kegels in the car, while sitting at your desk, or even standing in line at the grocery store.
7. Bid off chores
I am not asking to bid goodbye to all the household chores. In fact, the more active you are since early pregnancy, easier to carry on for 9 months, and more the chances of normal delivery.
However, take off these from your to-do list:
- Heavy lifting
- Climbing on step stools or ladders
- Cleaning your pet litter
- Using harsh chemicals
- Standing for long periods of time, especially near a hot stove
8. Travel Smart
Mid-pregnancy (14-28 weeks) is the safest time to travel by flight. However, always ask your doctor before you go.
Always choose the flight with special facilities for pregnant women.
9. Mosquito protection
That’s crucial to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases like Malaria and Dengue. Use a high-quality mosquito net while sleeping. Apply a mild mosquito repellent cream while sleeping or stepping outdoors where mosquitoes can be expected. (consult your doctor for cream recommendations)
10. Watch your hygiene
Proper hygiene measures go a long way in protecting you and the baby from common infections.
Always wash your hands properly with soap and water before eating and drinking, after using the washroom, and coming from outdoors.
11. Go gadget-less
Gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, desktops, microwave ovens, Bluetooth headsets, and tablets radiate rays that might be harmful to your baby in excess. So, always use these gadgets in moderation.
It’s not possible to swear off the gadgets altogether, but take these precautions while using them:
- While using your cell phone, wear earphones to avoid bringing the phone near the brain. OR if possible, switch over to landline phones to minimise its use.
- Keep the laptop away from your body on a cushion while using, and not on your tummy.
- Turn off any electronic gadget when not in use, especially at night before going to bed. This reduces the radiation exposure time during sleep.
- Toggle off your mobile data when not in use.
- Relocate the WiFi router and other wireless gadgets away from your bedroom. OR replace WiFi technology at home with wired internet.
How to spend time if you are on bed-rest?
Sometimes, due to some complexities, the doctor may advise you to take complete bed-rest for 9 months of pregnancy.
The biggest question in such a situation is “How to kill your time?”
Consequently, you end up whiling away with your phone or watching TV for hours, both of which don’t prove beneficial for you and the baby.
- Pick up a good book that can inform you about pregnancy, labor and delivery so that all your fears and questions get answered.
- Read a book that motivates you and fills with good thoughts about pregnancy and motherhood. The above book provides that too.
- Maintain a diary where you can write your positive as well as negative thoughts running through mind at that time. This gives you a chance to express yourself freely and keeps your mood uplifted.
- Play card games, carom, ludo, etc. with your family members.
Conclusion on Health Tips for Pregnancy
Though pregnancy is the time when you MUST take a bit EXTRA CARE of yourself, but by paying slight attention to the above-mentioned points, things become a lot easier.
So, note down these health tips for pregnancy, and rest assure to deliver a healthy baby!
HAVE A HEALTHY AND SAFE PREGNANCY!
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