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Healthy Pregnancy

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by lavender, Jan 9, 2017.

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  1. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    Staying healthy while pregnant is important not only for your physical and mental well being, but also for your growing baby's. Health is a combination of a number things, including making lifestyle changes, getting proper nutrition, exercising regularly, and avoiding unhealthy/dangerous activities. By making changes to be the healthiest you possible, you'll significantly improve the health of your future child.

    Lifestyle Changes

    1. Get regular prenatal care. The most important first step in your pregnancy is choosing a prenatal care physician, and seeing them on a regular basis. Frequent and consistent appointments with an OB/GYN, a family doctor or a certified midwife can ensure both your safety and your growing child’s throughout the pregnancy process. Begin prenatal care as soon as you know that you’re pregnant, when you decide you want to be, or when you suspect you might be. You can start by seeing your regular doctor, but will likely want to transfer to a specialized prenatal care doctor as your pregnancy progresses. So long as you are undergoing a normal pregnancy (according to your doctor), your scheduled prenatal appointments should be along this timeline:
      • See your physician every four weeks until you are 28 weeks pregnant
      • See your physician every two weeks from the time you are 28 weeks to 36 weeks pregnant
      • See your physician once a week (or more often, as per your doctor’s instructions) after the 36th week of pregnancy[1]

     
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  2. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    1. Keep active by exercising regularly. Carrying around extra mid-body weight, morning sickness, and aching muscles can all combine to make exercise sound incredibly unappealing. However, keeping active while you are pregnant will ensure not only your health, but your baby’s as well. Regular exercise can make delivery less difficult, make losing your baby weight easier, aid in post-birth physical recovery, and encourage healthy fetal growth. Aim to do thirty minutes of low-impact exercise such as swimming, riding a bicycle, lifting weights, or yoga a day. Walking is a good option too
      • Don’t participate in any high-impact exercises (workout classes, long runs) or contact sports (soccer, rugby, football), as these put you at a high risk for injury.
      • Always stretch before you exercise while pregnant; a hormone called ‘relaxin’ is released to prepare your body for labor, but this can weaken your muscles and joints. Without stretching, you increase your risk for muscle or joint injury.
      • Avoid activities or stretches that require you to lie down on your back, because this puts pressure on a major vein that reduces blood flow to the uterus, which may make you feel dizzy and lightheaded.
      • Overheating can be dangerous to your baby, so make sure you always keep cool by having a fan and cold water at the ready.[2]
     
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  3. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    1. Get plenty of sleep. Not only are you eating to nourish you and you baby(ies), you’re resting for both of you as well. Getting lots of good sleep while pregnant will give your body the time it needs to help develop your growing baby, making you feel better in the process. Aim for eight hours of sleep minimum a night, and try to snatch a mid-afternoon nap as well. Going to bed at a consistent time every night (preferably before midnight) will also help to regulate your sleep schedule, making your sleep more restful and deep.
      • Sleeping on your left side is recommended for pregnant women, as this relieves pressure from your back and prevents a major vein connected to your uterus from having the circulation cut off.
      • Waking up for a short (5-10 minute) walk in the middle of the night may help to reduce or remove any morning sickness you experience.
      • Don’t take any sleeping pills while pregnant, unless prescribed and approved by your doctor.
     
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  4. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    1. Take prenatal supplements. Although a daily regimen of pills, supplements, and vitamins may be difficult to keep track of, it can be incredibly helpful in reducing the risk of a series of birth defects. To start, women should consume prenatal vitamins (advertised as such) in 600 micrograms per day after becoming pregnant. Prenatal vitamins contain a combination of high levels of folic acid and iron among other things, both of which are responsible for early development of the baby and reducing the risk of complications and defects such as spina bifida and premature birth. Talk to your doctor about what supplements to take, but keep in mind that most pregnant women need to consume extra:
      • Folic acid (folate) - between 400-600 micrograms daily
      • Iron - 30 milligrams daily
      • Calcium - 1200 milligrams daily
      • DHA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) - 200 milligrams daily[3]
     
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  5. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    Keep an eye on your weight. It’s true that you should be gaining weight while pregnant, but the amount you gain can have a big impact on both your child’s health and your own. Individual weight gain will be dependent on your weight and BMI prior to pregnancy, meaning that each woman will need to gain a different amount to be in a healthy range. To determine your ideal weight gain, start by calculating your BMI. Then, use that and your weight to locate yourself on the following weight gain chart:
    • Underweight women (BMI less than 18.5) should gain 28-40 pounds.
    • Women at a healthy weight (BMI between 18.5-24.9) should gain 25-35 pounds.
    • Overweight women (BMI between 25-29.9) should gain 15-25 pounds.
    • Obese women (BMI higher than 30) should gain 11-20 pounds.[4]
     
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  6. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    Visit your dentist regularly. Strange as it may seem, dental care is particularly important during pregnancy. This is because your body is producing higher than normal levels of estrogen and progesterone, both of which (in high levels) can be responsible for causing gingivitis and gum disease, leading to bleeding, gum sensitivity, and swollen gums on a regular basis. You should try to visit your dentist every 3-4 months while pregnant to make sure you’re keeping a healthy mouth. In between visits, make sure that you brush and floss your teeth regularly. You may, depending on where you leave, benefit from free or discounted dental treatment.
     
     
  7. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    Visit your dentist regularly. Strange as it may seem, dental care is particularly important during pregnancy. This is because your body is producing higher than normal levels of estrogen and progesterone, both of which (in high levels) can be responsible for causing gingivitis and gum disease, leading to bleeding, gum sensitivity, and swollen gums on a regular basis. You should try to visit your dentist every 3-4 months while pregnant to make sure you’re keeping a healthy mouth. In between visits, make sure that you brush and floss your teeth regularly. You may, depending on where you leave, benefit from free or discounted dental treatment.
     
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  8. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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      Do not diet while pregnant unless specifically advised to by your health professional. Weight gain during pregnancy is expected, so you are doing yourself and your baby a disfavor by attempting to diet to keep off weight. While you should avoid eating huge amounts of food (beyond the extra 300 calories a day), you should not cut down your eating at all, or remove major meals or food groups from your regular diet. Further, regular eating supplies your body with vital vitamins and minerals you can’t receive elsewhere. Other than potentially dangerous foods (listed below), do not cut out food from your diet. This means that diets like paleo/atkins (no carbs), juicing (no solid foods), and weight watchers/nutrisystem (low calorie) should not be started during your pregnancy unless prescribed by a licensed medical doctor.[6]
      • By depriving your body of nutrients through dieting, your child may suffer from malnutrition and certain birth defects.
      • Diets held for medical/religious/moral reasons can be maintained in pregnancy.
      • Avoid trying to lose weight or maintain your pre-pregnancy weight through food restriction, at any point during your pregnancy.
     
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  9. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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      Don’t rely on prenatal vitamins and supplements for all your nutrients. Taking prenatal vitamins is important for supplying your body with the extra folic acid, iron, and calcium you need. However, there are lots of other nutrients and vitamins you can only get through consumption in food, meaning that you can’t rely on supplements for your vitamins and continue to eat junk food and unhealthy alternatives. Supplements are intended to be just that - to supplement you with the extras you many not be able to consume enough of. This means you should be eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein every day.
      • If you eat fast food regularly, aim to cut down your consumption to once or twice a week at the most. Fast food is notoriously nutrient-deprived, filling you with empty calories.
      • If you’ve got a strong craving for unhealthy foods that lack vitamins, try eating something healthy first (like a piece of fruit) and following it up with a small bit of ‘cheat’ food. This will help you transition away from a diet of unhealthy junk food.
      • Don’t exceed the recommended daily dosage of prenatal supplements in an effort to reduce the amount of food you need to eat.
     
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  10. lavender

    lavender Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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      Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. The recommended amount of vitamin C for pregnant women is 70mg per day. However, it is best to get this from natural foods rather than pills and supplements. You can get lots of vitamin C from citrus fruits, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and red peppers (among other foods). Aim to eat 3-4 servings of these foods per day.
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      Consume more protein. Eating protein is always important, but when you’re pregnant you should aim to eat 2-3 servings of protein a day. Protein is primarily responsible for blood production and cell growth, both your own and your baby’s. Great sources of healthy proteins include eggs, Greek yogurt, legumes (beans), tofu, peanut butter, and lean meats.
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      Get plenty of calcium. Calcium is vital to pregnant women, and many don’t get nearly as much as they need. Although there is normally some calcium in prenatal supplements, you should try to consume an additional 1000 milligrams of calcium per day. Great sources of calcium include yogurt, hard cheeses, milk, and spinach. By consuming more calcium, you’ll be aiding in your child’s bone and nerve development.
      • Vitamin D is important to consume as well, as it is required for your body to absorb calcium. It is found in most of the same foods as calcium is, as well as in cereals and breads.
     
     
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