The first trimester of my pregnancy was very challenging for me. Not necessarily due to symptoms, but more from a mental health aspect. While I already had some great healthy lifestyle habits prior to becoming pregnant, it became harder to keep them up when I just wasn’t feeling like myself anymore. But pregnancy is not the time to slip from your healthy lifestyle. If anything, pregnancy is the time to make the healthiest choices of your life. This is the time to eat healthier, hit the gym in your off time and really hone in on your mental health. Having a healthy pregnancy is not only important for your own health but for the health of your baby as well. So I’m sharing some of my top tips for a healthy pregnancy.
Listen to your body
First and foremost, you absolutely need to know how to listen to your body. I hate all the rules saying women have to “take it easy” during pregnancy along with all the rules and guidelines associated with what we can and cannot do. If I listened to every single article I’ve read on those “rules”, I’d be spending the entire pregnancy on the couch while Zack does everything for me. That’s a problem for me and as far from a realistic scenario as you can get.
While I will discourage women from the obvious things like sports and roller coasters and certain household tasks that involve heavy lifting and things like that, the basics such as working out and doing household chores can be done without concern as long as you’re listening to your body. If you’re having trouble bending or lifting things, then don’t do it. Ask for help. If you have any types of concerns regarding your body or some of the tasks you’re doing on a daily basis then ask your doctor first before proceeding. These “rules” are in place to keep both you and the baby safe throughout the pregnancy, but at the end of the day only you and your doctor know what’s best for you.
Ask your doctor
Going along with my previous point, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help or advice. They’re there to provide you with as much information as they can throughout your pregnancy so that you’re happy and healthy at all times. If you have any concerns whatsoever, ask about it. If you can’t wait until your next appointment then call the office and see if someone there can assist you. For advice not medically related, feel free to gather helpful advice from friends and family or even Google. But before resorting to friends and family, be aware that everyone has an opinion and you may get a very wide range of views on whatever topic or issue you’re asking about.
Change up your household chores
Basics, here. Do your research on the chemicals you’re using to clean your house each day. Exposure to toxic chemicals are a big no-no when you’re pregnant. You should also watch out for harmful bacteria and avoid lifting heavy objects whenever possible. If needed, wear gloves to protect yourself from chemicals and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. Ask your spouse, friend or family member to help you with things that are out of your reach rather than standing on a step stool, chair or ladder as falls can potentially hurt both you and the baby. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor or ask someone for help.
Watch your diet
The list of foods you can and “cannot” eat while pregnant is never-ending, overwhelming, and a bit absurd if you ask me. Questionable items, I consult my doctor on first, but for the most part, I really don’t go on the full “pregnancy diet”. Like anything in life, the foods you eat are okay in moderation. Is one cup of coffee going to kill you? No. Is it going to make your baby addicted to caffeine? No, probably not. Now if you’re drinking multiple cups of coffee a day every single day then yeah, you’re probably going to have some issues.
While I do have my guilty pleasures when it comes to food just like any other human being, I’m big on watching how much junk I’m putting into my body. And being pregnant is not the time to eat whatever you want. It’s not an excuse to eat a whole tub of ice cream or an entire bag or Doritos or binge on take out food whenever you want. And despite the saying, you are not “eating for two”. So first and foremost, get all of those thoughts out of your head!
Fill your kitchen with good, healthy snack options like berries, fruits, and vegetables (although there are a million rules for those too!). Stay away from things like chips, ice cream, candies, soda and things like that. You don’t have to choose items that are low-fat or organic or anything weird like that, but be sure that the snacks you have in your house are good for you. That way when you’re eating out of boredom or craving a midnight snack, your options aren’t going to hurt your health. You can snack worry-free.
Also, be sure to make meals well-balanced. I hate to bring you all back to elementary school health class here, but think of the food pyramid when putting together your meals. That way you know you’re fitting in the right food groups during your day. Pregnancy is the time to really hone in on your eating habits and start making healthier choices if you don’t already.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink water, especially when you’re pregnant. Water has so many amazing health benefits like keeping you hydrated, keeping your skin clear, giving you more natural energy and even keeping your muscles hydrated and energized. Being dehydrated while pregnant is so much worse than when you’re not. Believe me. Been there, done that! It can give you serious migraines and bad muscle cramps just to name a few. So be sure to keep a water bottle on you at all times so that you constantly have access to the water you need throughout your day.
Related: 5 Benefits of Drinking Water
Take your prenatal vitamins
I started taking prenatal vitamins about a month before my husband returned home from overseas. That way, my body would already have the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy. So if you’re trying to conceive, start your vitamins now! Prenatal vitamins can be purchased pretty much anywhere that normal vitamins can be purchased like drugstores, Target, Walmart, etc. There are many brands and variations of them, but the two things they need to have are DHA and folic acid. It’s also essential to make sure you’re getting enough calcium and iron as well to help with the baby’s early development. Your doctor may also prescribe them to you when you become pregnant as well. Some vitamins may make you feel nauseous so if you experience this, try switching up when you’re taking them during the day or try taking them with a snack. If this doesn’t help, then consult your doctor to find a vitamin that works better for you!
Don’t forget about fitness
Has anyone else heard that working out while pregnant is bad for you? Am I the only one? Because I used to heart his a lot and even know, I constantly have people telling me to slow down or take it easy or even stop my workouts altogether! Well, this rumor is, in fact, a myth. While you need to be careful with your workouts while pregnant, it is actually very much recommended to add some type of fitness to your everyday schedule.
If you weren’t working out prior to getting pregnant, then now is not the time to jump into it. Start off slow! Maybe go for a walk around the neighborhood every night after dinner or join a prenatal yoga class. Something that gets you up and moving, but isn’t going to put a huge strain on your body. Going from not working out at all to working out five days a week can actually pose some serious health risks such as pulled muscles or hurt backs. So if you need some easy workouts to get yourself up and moving, consult your doctor for some ideas on where you can start!
If you’ve already been working out for a while prior to becoming pregnant, then great! Feel free to continue those workouts. But like I mentioned above, be sure to listen to your body every step of the way. Sometimes your workouts might need to be toned down a little bit or altered to fit being pregnant. For example, cardio for me instantly became an issue when I got pregnant. I get winded way too easily nowadays. So rather than overdoing it and pushing myself to run when I’m out of breath, I’ve resorted to some “easier” cardio options instead like walking uphill for a mile or going 3-5 miles on the stationary bike. Find something that works for you!
Another area that may be of concern while pregnant is weight lifting. It’s recommended that you not do anything that can cause you to be seriously hurt or hurt the baby as well so I stress caution there. Your fitness routine is something I recommend bringing up to your doctor on your very first visit so that they can further monitor what you’re doing and help you determine if/when it’s time to slow down or make some changes. As long as your doctor says you’re good to go, then keep up those workouts!
Schedule some ‘me time’
Do not forget about your mental health during your pregnancy! Many people focus on their eating habits and physical health, but your mental health is just as important and shouldn’t be neglected. If anything, it should be made your top priority. Everyone handles pregnancy differently and it’s more than okay if you don’t handle it as well as others. In fact, it’s okay if you hate it like I do. But it’s important to find some way to get through it and keep yourself mentally healthy in the process. Take time out of every day to do something for yourself. This can be a relaxing bubble bath, a mani-pedi, a yoga class or workout. Whatever makes you happy and keeps you feeling centered and balanced in your pregnancy.
How do you stay healthy while pregnant?