There are so many things to remember when it come to prenatal health care, not to mention things to get ready for when the baby does arrives. Don’t let yourself get stressed. Focus on the key aspects of good health during pregnancy and ensure both you and your baby are healthy by the end of it, everything else is inconsequential.
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You may be eating for two but the second person is pretty small at the moment, now is not the time to go on a nine-month binge. Your body only requires an extra 300 calories during pregnancy, so don’t pig out! A high BMI in expectant mothers increases the risk of problems during birth. Make sure you are eating a healthy, varied diet and that those extra calories come from foods such as lean meats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dairy.
Your requirement for micronutrients including folic acid, calcium and iron will change. It is a good idea to take a multivitamin for pregnant women throughout pregnancy to ensure your body gets everything it needs to keep the two of you (or more!) healthy.
It’s worth noting that your blood volume increases during pregnancy, so drinking more water is important. It also has the added benefit of reducing the occurrence of constipation and dehydration, both common during pregnancy.
You will require more sleep once you fall pregnant and will probably get tired very easily. This is especially true during the first twelve weeks when hormone levels are high. Many women also struggle to sleep towards the end of the pregnancy, as the baby gets very big, they find it difficult to get comfortable. Lying on your side with a pillow between your legs is the position that is likely to be most comfortable as your pregnancy progresses. Doctors recommend sleeping on your side at this point as well since it keeps the weight of the baby off any major blood vessels and limits the amount of work your heart has to do.
Many women report having strange dreams throughout pregnancy. These are completely normal and tend to focus on the baby, labour and birth. They are your body’s way of processing what is happening and what might happen. Don’t let them upset you, talking them through with your midwife or partner can help to put them in perspective and stop you getting stressed.
The amount of exercise you do during pregnancy will be entirely dependent on how active you were before you fell pregnant. It is perfectly safe for runners to continue running right up until they no longer feel like it. If you weren’t an exercise bunny beforehand, it’s important not to go overboard now. Try to get around 150 minutes of exercise a week with a low-impact activity, such as yoga, swimming or a brisk walk. There are also loads of prenatal exercise classes you can choose to take; these are great for keeping you active and introducing you to other women going through pregnancy as well.