Top 11 Healthy Pregnancy Tips for the First Trimester: Essential Advice for Expectant Mothers | Bedekar Hospital

Discover vital tips for a healthy pregnancy journey, including taking prenatal vitamins, exercising safely, writing a birth plan, and more. | Bedekar Hospital


22 Healthy Pregnancy Tips for the Whole 9 Months - Part 1

May 2024

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Pregnant woman practicing yoga for a healthy pregnancy

If you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you probably already know the most basic pregnancy advice: Don't smoke or be around secondhand smoke. Don't drink or consume other dangerous substances. Get your rest. But what other healthy pregnancy tips do you need to know?

From taking vitamins to what to do with the kitty litter, here are the most practical pregnancy tips to help ensure safe and healthy prenatal development.

  1. 1. Take a Prenatal Vitamin
    It's smart to start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you know you're pregnant. In fact, many experts recommend taking them when you start trying to conceive. This is because your baby's neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops within the first month of pregnancy, so it's important you get essential nutrients—like folate, calcium, and iron—from the very start.

    Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter at most drug stores, or you can get them by prescription from a doctor. If taking them makes you feel queasy, try taking them at night or with a light snack. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy afterward can help, too.

  2. 2 Exercise
    Staying active is important for your general health and can help you reduce stress, improve circulation, and boost your mood. It can also encourage better sleep. Studies have shown that exercise has many benefits to support a healthy pregnancy, including helping to lower the risk of preeclampsia.

    Take a pregnancy exercise class or walk at least 15 to 20 minutes a day at a moderate pace—in cool, shaded areas or indoors in order to prevent overheating.

    Pilates, yoga, swimming, and walking are also great activities for most pregnant people, but be sure to check with a health care provider before starting any exercise program. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Listen to your body, though, and don't overdo it.

  3. 3 Write a Birth Plan
    Determined to have a doula? Counting on that epidural? Write down your wishes and give a copy to everyone involved in your labor and delivery. Here are some things to consider when writing your birth plan:

    • Who you want present
    • Procedures you want to avoid
    • What positions you prefer for labor and delivery
    • Special clothing you'd like to wear
    • Whether you want music or a special focal point
    • Whether you want pain medications and what kind
    • What to do if complications arise

  4. 4 Educate Yourself
    Even if this isn't your first baby, attending a childbirth class will help you feel more prepared for delivery. Not only will you have the chance to learn more about childbirth and infant care, but you can also ask specific questions and voice concerns. You'll also become more acquainted with the facility and its staff.

    Now is also a good time to brush up on your family's medical history. Talk to your doctor about problems with past pregnancies, and report any family incidences of congenital disorders.

  5. 5 Practice Kegels
    Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder, bowels, and uterus. Done correctly, this simple exercise can help make your delivery easier and prevent problems later with incontinence.

    The best part: No one can tell you're doing them—so you can practice Kegels in the car, while you're sitting at your desk, or even standing in line at the grocery store.

    Here's how to do them:

    • Practice squeezing as though you're stopping the flow of urine when you use the bathroom.
    • Hold for three seconds, then relax for three.
    • Repeat 10 times for a complete set.

  6. 6 Eliminate Toxins
    Because of their link to congenital disorders, miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications, you should avoid tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and even solvents such as paint thinners and nail polish remover while pregnant. Smoking cigarettes, for example, decreases oxygen flow to your baby, and it's linked to preterm birth and other complications.

    "If you can't stop smoking, drinking, or using drugs, let your doctor know," recommends Roger Harms, MD, an OB-GYN at the Mayo Clinic. A doctor can offer advice and support and refer you to a program that can help you quit.

  7. 7 Change Up Chores
    Even everyday tasks, like scrubbing the bathroom or cleaning up after pets, can become a little riskier when you're pregnant. Exposure to toxic chemicals or coming in contact with certain germs can harm you and your baby. Here are some things to take off your to-do-list:

    • Climbing on step stools and/or ladders
    • Changing kitty litter (to avoid toxoplasmosis, a disease that can be found in cat feces)
    • Using harsh chemicals
    • Standing for long periods of time, especially near a hot stove
    Also, wear gloves if you're working in the yard where cats may have been, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.

  8. 8 Check Your Medications
    Check with a health care provider before taking any medications, supplements, or "natural" remedies. Some are surprised to learn that even commonly used over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided during pregnancy.

    For example, some studies have shown a potential link between using ibuprofen during pregnancy and an increased risk of miscarriage and congenital disorders.6 Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration doesn't recommend the use of ibuprofen after week 20 of pregnancy due to the risk of kidney problems in the fetus.

    Rather than worry about whether something is safe to take during pregnancy, go ahead and check with a health care provider before taking any medication, prescribed or otherwise.

  9. 9 Go Shoe Shopping
    As your bump grows, so may your feet—or at least they may feel like they are. That's because your natural weight gain throws off your center of gravity, putting extra pressure on your tootsies. Over time, this added pressure can cause painful overpronation, or flattening out of the feet.

    You may retain fluids, too, which can make your feet and ankles swell. It's important to wear comfortable, non-restricting shoes when you're pregnant. And be sure to put your feet up several times a day to prevent fatigue and swelling of the feet, legs, and ankles.

  10. 10 Rethink Your Spa Style
    Pregnancy is definitely a time for pampering, but you need to be careful. Avoid saunas, which can make you overheat. The same goes for hot tubs. Also, certain essential oils can cause uterine contractions, especially during the first and second trimesters, so check with your massage therapist to make sure only safe ones are being used.

    On the list to avoid: juniper, rosemary, and clary sage. The same goes for over-the-counter medicines and supplements containing these herbal remedies. Don't take them without first consulting your obstetrician or midwife.

  11. 11 Drink More Water
    During pregnancy, your blood is supplying oxygen and essential nutrients to your baby through the placenta and carrying waste and carbon dioxide away, and your blood volume increases up to 50% to handle all this extra activity. So, you need to drink more to support that gain.

    Drinking water can also prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, urinary tract infections (UTIs), fatigue, headaches, swelling, and other uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Aim for eight to 10 glasses per day, and if you don't enjoy the taste, try adding a squeeze of lime or a splash of fruit juice.

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    Also read : 7 Potential Health Benefits of Running

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