Preparing for Your Baby: How to Care for Yourself When You’re Pregnant

A new baby on the way means lots of preparations, many changes, and taking special care of your health. There are many things an expectant mother can do to live a healthy life for two.

Eat RightPregnant at work

  • Your prenatal care should begin the moment you know you are pregnant (and before if you are planning a pregnancy). You can begin to live healthy and take a prenatal multivitamin.
  • Everyone, and especially pregnant women, needs to get plenty of folic acid. A prenatal vitamin will give moms to be the necessary 400 to 800 mg of folic acid for the development of a healthy baby.
  • If you think you are pregnant, visit your doctor right away for confirmation.
  • Begin to eat about 300 extra calories a day. Make the calories count by eating extra fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein.
  • Get at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day from foods such as: low-fat milk, pasteurized cheese, and yogurt, calcium-fortified products, dark green vegetables, tofu, dried beans, and almonds.
  • Get at least 30 mg of iron each day. The best sources are red meat, dark poultry, salmon, and eggs.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best for preventing dehydration and constipation.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use tobacco products. Limit your caffeine intake to less than 2 cups of coffee each day (and account for other caffeine sources like soda, tea, and chocolate).
  • Do not eat unpasteurized cheeses or deli meat, which can contain dangerous listeria bacteria. Raw eggs, fish, and other uncooked foods can contain bacteria that can harm your unborn baby as well.

Exercise Right

  • A moderate workout 5 days a week for 30 minutes is recommended for everyone’s health. Pregnant women should also aim to fit exercise into their week.
  • Stick with moderate aerobic exercise unless you already have a routine of intense exercise. You can continue your intense workouts if your doctor okays it.
  • You will find that exercise can prevent you from gaining too much extra weight. It will also reduce back pain, swelling, and constipation, and it will improve your quality of sleep.
  • Try low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates or special exercise classes for pregnant women.
  • Focus on strength, flexibility, and relaxation rather than high-intensity workouts that may result in injury to the abdomen.
  • Pay attention to the changes occurring in your body, including the shift in your center of gravity. Avoid over-straining joints and muscles.

Sleep Right

  • Your body is doing a lot of work while growing a new life inside. You will often feel tired and fatigued, so get as much sleep as possible.
  • Try to find a comfortable position as your pregnancy progresses so you can get the best quality of sleep.
  • Sometimes lying on your side with knees bent or using a large pillow is most helpful.
  • You can also try meditation and prenatal massages as a way to relax and relieve stress.

Being pregnant can cause changes in your heart health as well. To learn more, join us for “Pregnancy and Heart Disease,” a seminar hosted by Samantha Avery, MD, Cardiology Fellow. The event, which includes an OB tour, will be held on Thursday, February 23, 2012, at 6:00pm. It is a free event, but please RSVP as space may be limited. The location is St Petersburg General Hospital Auditoriums A & B at 6500 38th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710. Call 1-888-741-5122 for more information or to register.

St. Petersburg General Hospital’s Women’s Services center is here to help moms-to-be, babies, and families live healthy and happy lives. You can even sign up to get texts each week that include tips for a successful pregnancy.

Related Posts:
Preparing for Baby
The Midwives at St. Pete General Really Deliver
What to Expect When You’re Expecting: First Trimester

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