5 Things Pregnant Women Should Do For Healthy Pregnancyby Aliza Bancoff, founder of Philadelphia area doula practice, Main Line Doulas
Pregnancy is probably the best and the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to women. While pregnancy can be a very exciting experience to every parent, it can also be one of the most intrepid undertakings. To keep up a problem-free pregnancy and a healthy baby, there are 5 key ideas expectant mothers should take under advisement:
1. Consume a healthy diet.
Fruits and vegetables are surely good for expectant mothers. However, certain foods are must-haves when trying to conceive, to achieve maximum nutrition for the health of the mother and the baby. The best pregnancy diet contains the following superfoods:
- Whole grains include cereals, oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Whole grains are rich in folic acid, which is necessary for baby’s brain development; fiber, which helps in digestion; and iron, which plays a role in red blood cell production.
- Beans. Beans of any type are good sources of calcium, which is necessary for the development of bones and teeth; zinc, which strengthens the immune system; folate, which prevents neural tube defects; and iron, which plays a role in red blood cell production.
- Salmon. Salmon is rich of omega 3 fatty acids that are crucial for baby’s brain and eyes development.
- Eggs. Besides a dozen of vitamins and minerals, eggs contain choline, a nutrient that helps in improving brain functions.
Note: do not eat raw, undercooked eggs.
- Berries. Berries are known to be rich in antioxidants. But for pregnant mothers, berries provide potassium, folate, fiber and vitamin C.
2. Take supplements.Not all vitamins and minerals can be obtained from regular diet. Hence, taking prenatal vitamins along with healthy meal plan is the best way to bridge any gap of nutritional deficiency during pregnancy. There are three most recommended supplements when a mother is pregnant, and these are folic acid (to prevent neural tube defects), iron (to reduce preterm birth risk), and calcium (to build strong teeth and bones).
3. Perform light exercise.Pregnancy is no exception for mothers to get fit and stay in shape. Light exercise does not only relieve body discomforts but also helps diminish sleep problems. Equally, light exercises are found to be beneficial to babies by enhancing their brain activity and strengthening their cardiac functions. Best exercises for pregnant women are swimming, yoga, brisk walking and stretching. Make sure to talk with your doctor about the best exercise for you.
4. Avoid hazardous activities.There are certain things mothers should avoid during pregnancy. These activities not only exhaust their energy but they can also be detrimental to baby’s health. Pregnant women should steer clear of the following practices:
- Smoking and alcohol drinking
- Consumption of illegal drugs
- Taking unprescribed medications such as aspirin (it causes bleeding)
- Eating uncooked meats and fish high in mercury content (e.g shark, swordfish)
- Drinking too much coffee
- Cleaning animals’ feces, cat litter
- Eating food high in preservatives
- Taking vitamin A supplements
- Performing procedures that involve X rays and microwaves
- Lying on water bed and electric blanket
- Utilizing pesticides, fumes and house cleaning products
- Taking long baths, saunas