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Plan for a Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy, while miraculous and amazing, can also be very taxing on a woman's body, as well as her mind. Knowing that your baby's health and well-being is dependent on your own health and well-being can be a bit overwhelming. But there are steps you can take before and during pregnancy to help keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.
First, work on getting to a healthy weight prior to pregnancy. Women who are overweight tend to have more problems getting pregnant than those at a healthy weight. Of course, dropping the pounds by drastically cutting calories will be counterproductive: Women who want to conceive need a well-balanced diet filled with a variety of foods that will provide them with the vitamins and minerals their bodies need. When your body is healthy and well-nourished, it will be more ready to nurture a new life!
Once you get pregnant, focus on putting good, nourishing food into your body. Think about increasing your fruit and veggie intake and try to move toward lean protein like fish, chicken and pork. Try to drink 6-8 large glasses of water every day. And be sure you are taking a prenatal vitamin. All of these things will make you feel better, help your baby get the nourishment it needs, and – bonus! – keep you from putting on unnecessary weight.
Throughout your pregnancy, try to stay active. This doesn't mean you need to be doing the same hardcore workouts you did before you got pregnant, but just taking a walk or two every day is good for your body, your mind and your baby. Focus on being active – walking, swimming, even just taking the stairs whenever possible can make a difference. If you are feeling good and your doctor approves, try to get your heart rate up more days than not. This can be done through low-impact cardio exercise at your gym, light running, yoga – whatever you and your doctor agree upon.
Pay attention to the list of "don't's" that your doctor shares with you. Alcohol, smoking, certain types of fish, etc. – there is a reason these things are "no-no's" for pregnant women. When in doubt, don't do it. Talk to your doctor about any specific things he or she would you like to steer clear of and get his or her input on anything you are unclear about.
Finally, listen to your body and take care of yourself. Growing a baby is hard, exhausting work on your body and you need to respect the process. If you feel tired, rest. If you feel hungry, eat. This is not the time to push yourself and ignore what your body is trying to tell you. This is also a good time to indulge a little – make plans with friends, plan a weekend away or just clear your calendar for a day or two of reading and relaxation. Pamper yourself a little – you've earned it! And your body will thank you for it.
To learn more about pregnancy, child birth and caring for baby – visit the Dignity Health website and register for one of our upcoming classes or events!