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The Best For You And Your Baby - Tips To A Healthy Pregnancy

Updated on January 2, 2015

Expecting your first (or second or third) baby can be a terrifying experience - but it doesn't have to be. Becoming a mother is the most natural and magical experience a woman can have. Yes, some days are as rough as hell, but for the most part you are glowing and healthy and are carrying a little person inside you.

And trust me, it's all worth it in the end.

Nutrition

  • Try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Stock up on carbohydrates such as bread and rice. Opt for wholemeal rather than white to increase your fibre intake.
  • Make sure you get enough protein such as nuts, lean meat and eggs.
  • Do your best to have at least two portions of fish a week. This is good for Vitamin D, minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids go towards your baby's nervous system.

Simply keep a balanced diet.

If you're feeling too sick to eat properly, then try taking a pregnancy supplement either recommended by your doctor or from the chemist. Folic Acid reduces the chances of your baby developing spina bifida, and Vitamin D helps with your baby's bone health.

It is safest to avoid the following foods during your pregnancy as they can cause health risks, such as listeriosis to your baby.

  • Unpasteurised milk
  • Soft or blue cheese


Exercise

Good exercising activities include:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Aquanatal
  • Dancing
  • Weight training (but reduce the weight as your pregnancy progresses)

Exercise can be very beneficial as it builds up your strength and endurance which may come in useful during labour and helping with weight-loss after birth.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

It is very advisable to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles through exercise during your pregnancy to ease the strain of both pregnancy and labour. Another reason to do so is to prevent "stress incontinence" from occurring after your pregnancy.

First, to identify which are your pelvic floor muscles, imagine you are sitting on the toilet and wish to stop the flow of urine. The muscles you use for this are the ones we're looking for! (This is only to find the muscles, it is not an exercise I recommend.)

  • Relax your bottom, stomach and thigh muscles.
  • Squeeze in your pelvic floor muscles (imagine stopping the flow of urine).
  • Now squeeze in the muscles around your vagina and upwards.
  • Tighten your muscles as if you were trying to prevent breaking wind.
  • Hold in for 10 seconds. Repeat.

Oral health

It isn't the first thing that comes into mums-to-be's minds, but your oral health is very important. Make sure you visit your dentist, brush your teeth and floss regularly. The changes in your hormone levels can leave you open to gum disease. Also, due to your increased progesterone and estrogen levels, you can react different to bacteria, resulting in gingivitis (bleeding, swollen gums).

Quit

Please cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and stop smoking.

Alcohol can give your baby Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). This includes learning difficulties and serious birth defects.

Caffeine (above 200mg daily) increase your chances of a low-weight baby, or even miscarriage.

Smoking during your pregnancy may result in the following:

  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that happens outside of the womb).
  • Severe morning sickness (nausea and vomiting)
  • Low-birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Cot death
  • Stillborn or miscarriage

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