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10 tips for a healthy pregnancy

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Your health and that of your unborn child should become the primary concerns after confirmation of pregnancy. For a healthy pregnancy and successful child birth, it’s crucial that you take charge of the situation and seek medical advice and form a plan to reduce health complications for yourself and the unborn baby. 

Medical specialists say that when certain precautions and steps are taken from the onset of pregnancy, it ensures that it proceeds as planned and there is minimum cause for worry. Taking care of health, following the doctor's advice, and taking responsibility for one's well-being is the key to a healthy pregnancy. Here are 10 vital tips for a healthy pregnancy.

1. Consult doctor after confirmation of pregnancy

When you find out that you are pregnant, immediately see a doctor or a health care professional. Opening this line of communication means that you get the right kind of latest medical consultation on a healthy pregnancy. Planning early also helps you to plan the various ultrasound tests and other kind of tests.

2. Take control of eating plan

Consuming a healthy diet is important for a healthy pregnancy. Daily multiple servings of vegetables and fruits are recommended. One is also advised to eat high carbohydrate food such as bread, pasta, and rice. Eat a lot of fibre. Consuming a lot of protein in the form of fish, nuts, eggs, lean meat, pulses and milk is key to a healthy pregnancy, and provides a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that are required to develop a baby's nervous system.

In diet requirements a pregnant women needs to eat for two persons. There's no need to go overboard though. For the first six months of pregnancy you don't need extra calories. In the last three months, you will need to consume extra 200 calories per day with the help of healthy snacks. In order to plan your diet, you can formulate a diet plan for each trimester (or three months) of the pregnancy.

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3. Don’t forget taking vitamin supplements

If for any reason you are not able to get sufficient healthy diet, you can rely on taking vital vitamin supplements. For example, it is necessary that you consume at least 400 mcg of folic acid in the first three months of the pregnancy. Folic acid prevents the risk of a baby developing a neural tube defect such a spina bifida. Similarly, 10 mcg of Vitamin D for the baby's bone healthy is crucial. These and other supplements should be had after consulting a doctor.


4. Ensure food hygiene

First thing to do for this is not to have certain kinds of foods. For a start ensure that all food items in the house are kept in a clean environment, and are cleaned before cooking. Doctors say that infection caused by listeria bacteria found in certain foods can cause pregnancy or birth complications. So avoid, unpasteurized milk; undercooked ready meals; mould-ripened cheeses such as brie blue-veined cheeses, such as roquefort. Salmonella bacteria can lead to food poisoning, and this can be avoided by not eating undercooked poultry.


5. Exercise is important for a healthy pregnancy.

Exercising regularly has many benefits for a pregnant woman. It builds strength and stamina. It helps in coping with weight gain and will be useful when you go into labour. Swimming, brisk walking, yoga, and pilates are safe ways to exercise.


6. Why pelvic floor exercises are important

A woman's pelvic floor has a set of muscles at the base of the pelvis, and these support your bladder, vagina, and the back passage. During a pregnancy the pelvic muscles can become weak or you feel weakness in them because of the extra weight and labour being extracted from them. Pregnancy hormones can also weaken these muscles. Weak pelvis can lead to developing stress incontinence, and even a sneeze, laugh or exercise will lead to leakage of urine. Thus, a pregnant women needs to do pelvic exercises throughout the pregnancy.


7. Reduce or cut out alcohol intake

Alcohol directly reaches the baby through a pregnant woman's blood stream and the placenta. There's no agreement among doctors as to how much alcohol is healthy, which is why doctors ask to completely cut out alcohol for a healthy pregnancy. Alcohol can lead to a baby having Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and will result in breathing difficulty and more serious birth defects.


8. Reduce caffeine consumption

Energy drinks, colas, coffee, and tea are mild stimulants. Medical research recommends that too much caffeine, especially in the first trimester, can increase chances of miscarriage, and ultimately having a low birth weight baby. But consumption of up to 200 mg is not harmful to a baby. Two cups of instant coffee is okay to consume.


9. Stop smoking immediately

Smoke can reach the unborn baby. Smoking can lead to serious health risks for a pregnant woman and the growing baby such as miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, cot death, and loss of birth at the time of birth. Smoking also triggers morning sickness, nausea and placental abruption.


10. For a healthy pregnancy ensure that you get enough rest

During the first three months you will feel tired due to the high level of pregnancy hormones released and circulating in the body. Get adequate sleep and use the day time to catch up with sleep time. If you have backache, then try lying on your left-hand side with your knees bent. Placing a pillow under your back will reduce back pain. Use deep breathing and meditation for relaxation.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 04, 2013