Hey mama! Ready to learn about tips for a healthy pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time in our lives as women when we can feel like our health choices are under a magnifying glass.
Suddenly, the choices you are making for your body no longer just affect your own health. Now, you have a beautiful tiny human inside that is influenced by the choices you make. It both magical and frightening at the same time.
That’s why it leads to many of us pregnant mamas diving into some intense research about health. I definitely did this with my daughter and it’s had amazing long term benefits for my overall health. If you’re not sure where to get started or want to gain some further insight- these tips are for you!
15 Tips for Healthy Pregnancy
As a mother, physical therapist, and mom blogger, these are my top recommended tips for staying healthy during your pregnancy- something that is probably your top priority!
1. Avoid Certain Foods
It should comes as no surprise that some foods can be harmful for your health during pregnancy. Some can affect hormone balance or cause uterine contractions while others will encourage unhealthy weight gain that puts you and baby at a higher risk for diabetes. Some of these foods include:
- Raw meat or eggs
- High mercury fish
- Canned vegetables (unless BPA free)
- Lunch meat
- Unpasteurized cheese
- Highly processed or sugary foods
2. Load Up on Nutrient Dense Foods
There are so many whole foods out there that are great for you and baby to boost development and reduce symptoms like fatigue and morning sickness. Always go for whole foods when possible- meaning there are little or no “ingredients” (aka an apple doesn’t have ingredients). The heavy weight champions for most nutrient density during pregnancy include salmon, eggs, beans, any leafy green, nuts, avocado, pomegranate, and berries.
3. Exercise Consistently
If you’re feeling totally “blah” it may feel counterintuitive to get moving- yet you will feel SO much better when you do. Plus, it’ll help your with healthy weight management too. I had many days after work when my hips were killing me and I just wanted to plop into bed. But after a short walk or pregnancy friendly home workout I ALWAYS felt better. Some of the best exercises for pregnancy include: yoga, walking, swimming, low impact cardio, weight lifting (high reps, low weight for endurance), and standing core strengthening.
4. Be Kind to Your Back By Avoiding These Moves
As that belly grows, there is a high change that hip or back pain will occur. Certain moves put you at a higher risk of pain. These include sitting for too long, leaning to one side for an extended period, and standing on one leg. For an extra boost don’t forget to strengthen your core and hips in standing or on the hands and knees. You might also want pick up some belly support or a hip belt.
5. Strengthen the Pelvic Floor
Having a strong pelvic floor has two awesome benefits. First, it will help with the birth. Second, you can avoid complications after birth with urinary incontinence and painful sex. Pelvic floor exercise can be as simple as doing Kegels (tightening and holding the muscles that we use when we pee). Do them while sitting at a stop light, relaxing before bed, and any other time in between. Try holding for 5-10 seconds and repeating up to 20 times in a row throughout the day.
6. Practice Stress Management and Mindfulness
Pregnancy is a sensitive subject in the health world and it can be easy to feel paralyzed in fear at what the heck you should be actually be doing. This is where having a good mindfulness routine in place can help you to stay focused on what’s in your control rather than falling into a spiral of constant anxiety. Daily meditation, gratitude expression, keeping a journal, or meditating are some of the simplest ways to get started.
7. Learn to Let Go
Pregnancy is a perfect time to start learning how to let go. As women, we often like to be in control. Yet, there is a lot that we can’t control in pregnancy and motherhood. When we hold on too tightly, it can have some major stress inducing repercussions on our health, such as anxiety, stress, and even depression. Take some time learning to delegate, ask for help, and take some deep breaths. It’s easier said than done but totally worth it!
8. Practice Daily Self-Care
Taking time for yourself is so important mama! When the to-do list is growing and you feel like you have a lot of preparation to do, you might feel tempted throw your self-care routine out the window- but don’t! Self-care can be as simple as taking 5 minutes of quiet time to drink a cup of hot tea. Find ways to pamper yourself daily. You’ll need these habits in place when that little on arrives!
9. Get Enough Sleep
Since you are probably feeling pretty tired these days, this one should be easy to do. Sleep is crucial for growing that baby and will help you with pregnancy symptoms enormously. Try going to bed a little earlier or sneaking in a nap during the day- your body will thank you.
10. Find Comfy Sleep Positions
Getting comfortable in your bed might be a challenge these days, especially since you can’t really lie on your back or stomach as that belly grows. This is the perfect time to make yourself a nest of pillows. Make sure to support your hips with a pillow between your legs at a minimum. Body pillows are a great way to support the entire spine and arms to prevent issues like carpal tunnel and a sore neck too.
11. Take a prenatal vitamin
Your body needs a lot of nutrients to grow that baby. Diet often isn’t enough. Talk to your doctor about their favorite prenatal and start taking one daily. Make sure you vitamin includes folate (not folic acid), choline, and DHA.
12. Write a birth plan
This made the list because of the stress relief that comes with having a plan! Knowing what you want from your birth and having it written down for your healthcare provider can help you feel prepared and illicit a sense of calm. Find a template you like online and fill it out!
13. Drink enough water.
Staying hydrated can also help with nausea, fatigue, and general health. During pregnancy you should be increasing your water intake, even though pregnancy brain and constant bathroom trips might have you unmotivated. Tote that water bottle around and get drinking mama!
14. Take a birth class.
This is my favorite recommendation. After taking an online course (my favorite is by The Natural Mama), I felt SO empowered and ready for my baby to arrive. I also read a ton of pregnancy books too. Knowing what to expect, for you and your partner, will help you start motherhood with a bang. You will not regret it.
15. Enjoy the experience!
Pregnancy is tough and can leave you feeling miserable. But don’t forget to enjoy it too! Pregnancy and birth are such miraculous and magical events. It can be hard to realize it in the moment, so take a moment to pause and thank your body and nature for being so awesome.
There you have it! 15 of the best tips for a healthy pregnancy. The most important aspect of pregnancy health is tuning into your body and intuition and body to figure out what it (and your baby) needs.
What tip did you find most helpful?
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