Hi, new moms to be! The countdown has begun and you probably are more ready now than ever. With all the pregnancy advice coming in you realize that some of it is useful and the rest – oh well, not so much.
In order to clear your mind of all the confusion, we have jotted down 20 pregnancy tips to help you ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. So, here goes:
1) Dehydration is a big NO:
As pregnant women, you need more water than an average individual. Water plays an important role in forming the placenta as well as the amniotic sac later in your pregnancy.
Therefore, it becomes essential to stay well hydrated at all times.
2) Invest in a nursing pillow:
As your pregnancy advances, your baby bump enlarges and it becomes difficult to sleep. Keep the pillow in between your legs while sleeping on your side or use it to support your back.
3) Avoid the following foods:
Make sure that your pregnancy diet does not include the following foods, as suggested by American Pregnancy Association
- Raw meat and eggs: Raw or undercooked meat and eggs may be contaminated with harmful bacteria.
- Some varieties of fish: Fish containing the high level of mercury should be avoided. Mercury consumption has been linked to brain damage and development delays.
Some of the fishes known to be contaminated are swordfish and mackerel.
- High levels of caffeine: Excessive consumption of caffeine has been related to miscarriage. As caffeine is a diuretic, it eliminates fluids from our body. This may lead to water and calcium loss. Limit caffeine consumption to 200 mg per day.
- Smoked seafood: Refrigerated or smoked seafood could be contaminated with listeria. They can be safely eaten when they are cooked thoroughly.
- Unpasteurized milk and juices: Like smoked seafood, unpasteurized milk and fruit juices can also contain listeria. So before chugging in that big glass of milk or juice, make sure it is pasteurized.
- Raw shellfish: Undercooked Seafood, particular shellfish like clams and oysters can cause digestive disturbances. They pose a concern to everybody and should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Soft cheese: Soft cheeses like Brie, Feta, Camembert, and Roquefort need to be avoided as they may house listeria. However, if you want to indulge in them, you need to be sure that they are made from pasteurized milk.
- Unwashed fruits and vegetables: Unwashed fruits and vegetables become contaminated with harmful bacteria. Thoroughly rinse them under running water before eating them or preparing them.
As fruits and vegetables are necessary to be included in pregnant women’s diet, completely skipping them is not a solution.
- Papaya: Unripe or semi-ripe papaya contains high doses of latex that is known to produce uterine contractions. This latex is not found in fully ripe papaya. This latex is said to induce labor and ultimately lead to abortion.
- Eggplant: Eggplant is a diuretic having phytohormones, which trigger menstruation when consumed regularly. Hence, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Some varieties of edible seeds: Fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds are all known to trigger miscarriage. But any amount more than that is known to stimulate uterine muscles promoting contractions ultimately leading to premature delivery or miscarriage.
So, it would be best to steer clear of these.
4) The ideal pregnancy diet:
A good diet becomes more necessary than ever before. It should contain all nutrients in the right proportion. Following is the list of products that you should try to include in your diet –
- Dairy products: Dairy products are rich in high-quality proteins like whey and Casey. Not only this, they are abundant in phosphorus, calcium, and zinc.
However, if you are lactose intolerant, you can go in for probiotic yogurt and supports digestive health.
- Broccoli and green leafy vegetables: Broccoli and greens like spinach and kale are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As pregnant women often face constipation, these are a great option for them.
- Whole grains and bread: You need to meet all the calorie deficits that come with being pregnant. These are packed with fiber, vitamins and plant compounds which are frequently lacking in the diets of pregnant women.
- Proteins like lean meat, beans, and poultry: Eat lean meat like skinless chicken, turkey, and vegetable such as beans, peas. These contain high amounts of protein, fiber, iron, and calcium, all of which is required during pregnancy.
- Fruits like avocados, berries, and apples: Avocados are great reserves for monounsaturated fatty acids, folate, and potassium, all pregnant women are advised to eat avocados.
Berries are a great snack option for pregnant women as they are rich in healthy carbs and water. They are highly nutritious and flavourful minus the calories. Also, being rich in antioxidants, they protect the body from free radical damage.
- Dried fruits: It is believed that one piece of dried fruit contains all the nutrients in a fresh fruit, just without all the water and in a much compact form.
Also, as they contain a high amount of natural sugars, they should be consumed in a proper amount.
Keep in mind that you need to at least eat about 300 extra calories per day.
5) Smoking or alcohol consumption is a strict no-no:
There is no amount of smoking or alcohol consumption that is considered safe for pregnant women. Prenatal exposure to smoking or alcohol can interfere with the healthy development of your baby.
Therefore, avoid smoking or drinking during pregnancy at all costs.
6) Exercises during pregnancy:
Gentle exercising or going for a walk are proven effective stress-busters as well as helpful in controlling weight. The safest exercises that can be done during pregnancy are Pilates, Yoga, Swimming and Brisk walking.
However, avoid heavy exercises that put too much load on the abdomen.
7) Practice Kegels:
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which increase bowel and bladder control.
You simply have to contract the muscles as if you’re trying to stop the urine flow and then release. The best part is no one can tell you’re doing them.
8) Educate yourself:
Although too much information should be avoided, attending a childbirth class and/or reading and joining mom blogs will equip you with all the information you’re going to need.
Apart from all this, you can even voice your concerns and seek help from the members of the community you decide to join.
9) Take nutrient supplements:
A healthy and a nutritious diet is of utmost importance during pregnancy. Your gynecologist is going to prescribe prenatal supplements, which assist with the fetal development and your dietary requirements.
Prenatal pills contain many different vitamins and minerals like folic acid, iodine, iron, and calcium.
Below is a list of vitamins and minerals required during pregnancy along with their appropriate amounts:
Vitamin A and Beta Carotene: 770 mcg
Vitamin D: 5mcg
Vitamin E: 15 mcg
Vitamin C: 80-85 mcg
Folic acid: 600 mcg
Calcium : 1000-1300 mcg
Iron: 27 mcg
Protein: 71 mcg
Zinc: 11-12 mcg
Remember to consult your healthcare expert before going in for prenatal pills.
10) Never skip meals:
As your body has to support not only you but your baby too, make sure you eat enough and never ever skip your meals. Skipping meals can make you deficient in minerals like iron, folic acid, calcium and that could be hazardous to you and your baby.
11) It’s okay to indulge:
Taking the extra bite of that creamy cheesecake or gulping down that ice-cream is okay as long as you’re consuming a healthy diet majority of the time. Give in to your cravings, sometimes.
12) Ask for help:
Everyday tasks like tying your shoelaces or picking up something from the floor may seem too hard, especially when you’re in your last trimester. Instead of trying to do them yourself and consequently putting yourself and your baby at risk, ask for help.
13) Get good sleep:
Take more naps. Your body is going through numerous changes during pregnancy. Since your body is working on the growth of you and your baby, frequent naps and rest will help fuel your body with energy.
14) Track your weight gain:
The Institute of Medicine(IOM) component of the US National Academy of Sciences, recently issued some new guidelines regarding the weight gain during pregnancy.
Below is an approximation of total weight gained during pregnancy:
- Underweight: Gain 13-19 kgs
- Normal weight: Gain 11-16 kgs
- Overweight: Gain 7-11 kgs
- Obese: Gain 5-9 kgs
Make sure you’re gaining weight at a healthy rate.
15) Don’t gain too much weight:
Excessive body weight acquired during pregnancy significantly heighten the risk of pregnancy complications such as stillbirth, cesarean delivery or preterm delivery.
Also, this weight gained during pregnancy makes it difficult to lose it later on, thus contributing to obesity.
16) Know when to call the doctor:
Call your doctor if any time during pregnancy if you:
- Have sudden swelling of your arms, feet or face
- Have severe cramping, pain, and vaginal bleeding
- Have fever
- Vomit for more than three times a day
- Suffer from a severe headache
- Pass some tissue from the uterus
- Have pelvic pain that won’t go away
- Urinate frequently or urine is cloudy or bloody
17) Wear comfortable shoes:
A woman’s foot grows by a half to two inches during pregnancy. This is gradual and may not be realized at early stages.
As your pregnancy advances, you would need comfortable shoes like sandals or flats. Say no to high heels! Your feet would thank you.
18) Don’t follow fad diets:
This is not the time to experiment with your diet. You need much more nutrition than ever before to be able to build a healthy baby. Going on a low carb diet may affect your baby’s weight and the way she develops.
So, steer clear of low-carb or calorie-restrictive diets and stick to healthy eating.
19) Trust your instincts:
Yes, trust your gut and follow what it says. Even though you’re going to be a first-time mom, don’t let anybody tell you that you’re being paranoid about something.
If something worries you, go see your doctor. Better safe than sorry!
20) Lastly, take a deep breath and enjoy every second:
Remember, it’s only 9 months, so take a deep breath once in a while and think about how far you’ve come. Enjoy it as much as you can. After all, it’s not going to last forever.
Apart from all this, Indian grandmothers too have some pregnancy tips in their kitty that are passed on from generation to generation. Some of them are:
- Roasted and crushed almonds, walnuts, dates, cashew nuts are put into the traditional dish of the pantry. It is either consumed by pregnant women in powdered forms or laddus.
It is said to provide wholesome nutrition and for inducing milk.
- The pregnant woman’s meals are divided into 5-6 portions and include dal-chawal, sabzi, vegetable curry, chapatis, curd, and salad.
- In addition to this, some elderly women recommend a particular posture like squatting while sitting down on a bed or resting.
- For lactating mothers, moong dal, jeera(cumin seeds), ajwain(bishop seeds) and milk are extremely helpful in inducing milk.
- ‘Khanewala gondh’ or edible gum prove helpful in relieving back pain and strengthening the bones.
- Spicy food should be kept at bay because they bring about digestive problems and heartburns.
- Fruit juices like pomegranate should be included in pregnant women’s diet. These contain folate, iron, Vitamin C, antioxidants which are of great importance, especially during pregnancy.
- A glass of warm milk with a dash of honey improves the quality of sleep.
- Meditation and yoga are efficient ways to relax yourself and your baby.
- Pregnant women should listen to music, especially Garbha Sanskar Music. Literally translated, it means “developing the mind of the fetus”. The benefits of this in babies include better sleeping habits, being alert and confident, better at breastfeeding and greater bonding with parents.
These were some of the tips recommended by our beloved grandmothers. We are positive you must have heard them at some point or the other. We hope you could use some of them and let us know whether they worked for you or not.
Pregnancy may seem overly difficult but these pregnancy tips will surely assist you. You’re a fighter and you’ll get this right.
Try to enjoy all the kicks you get(pun intended) and go make some memories that you’ll cherish forever!