Whether you are a few weeks or a few months along or yet to conceive, planning on bringing a baby into the world can be both stressful and exhilarating. With so much to consider about the birth and the baby, taking care of your own well-being can sometimes fall to the wayside. The best way to keep your baby safe and healthy – before and after the birth – is to take care of you. For each stage of pregnancy, there are different things you can do to keep yourself in good health. Many are simple things which you may even be doing already but you can never do too much to stay healthy especially with a little bun in the oven.
Trying To Conceive
Conceiving a baby can be a long process for some people. For others, it seems to just happen overnight. Regardless of how easy or hard you are finding it to conceive, there are things you should be doing to ensure you are in peak health condition. Some may even help with conception. You are likely already tracking your menstrual cycle and know when you are due to ovulate so we will skip over that! If you are taking any prescription medication or have any long-term conditions like diabetes or heart disease, now is when you should consult with your doctor to make sure your health is strong enough to conceive and carry a baby. Now is also the time to quit smoking and cut back on alcohol. You should also examine your diet and check that you are getting your recommended daily allowance of essential vitamins and minerals. Folic acid supplements are highly recommended for all women who want to conceive. Folic acid can drastically cut the chance of a baby being born with neuraltube defects.
Congratulations; there’s a baby on the way! You may be feeling a lot of things you didn’t before you conceived. Now is when you really become aware of your health and well-being. Most women will report feeling some physical and/or emotional changes during the first trimester:
- Nausea and/or morning sickness
- Tender breasts
- Increased urination
- Aversion to certain smells or foods
If you experience any of these, you should visit your doctor to make sure that there’s nothing more serious going on. Once you get a clean bill of health, there are things you can do to ease any first trimester discomfort.
- Keep on eating as healthfully as you can. Eating three meals a day stops working for some women at this point so try six smaller meals if you are struggling with food.
- When you’re energy levels allow it, continue to exercise. It’s also a good idea to start Kegel exercises now….your body will thank you in a few months!
- Some people worry about whether or not to tell people their news now. However, only you can say when you are ready. Telling people too soon can cause unnecessary stress for many parents-to-be so keep this in mind when deciding what to do.
You’re half way there! If you were good during the past few months, your pregnancy health is hopefully still strong. Nearly all women who have gone through a pregnancy say the second trimester is the easiest. It’s sometimes referred to as the honeymoon period as many women adjust to the physical and emotional changes felt during the previous months. A lot of women reclaim their libido during this time too.
Women are strongly encouraged to keep on exercising during this trimester, even if a blossoming belly seems like it will get in the way. Gentle exercises like swimming and walking can help keep energy levels up and ward off gestational diabetes. Most ladies will still have pretty good mobility and energy levels during these months so you should also work on your birth plan and prepare for the next few months. Preparing now can help prevent anxiety or stress from popping up later when you’re busy with baby.
The home stretch! Tiredness; aches and pains and feeling too large are the most common complaints from ladies during the final trimester. However many will also endure the discomfort of:
- Swollen feet and/or hands
- Increased urination (again!)
- Braxton Hicks
- A baby doing gymnastics in her uterus
- Swollen face
- Leaky breasts
Resting up is one of the best things for pregnancy health at this time but it’s not the only thing:
- When you can, squeeze in some light exercise. This might help alleviate any pain or discomfort and movement will keep your bones and muscles flexible.
- Try not to travel too much.
- Stick to a diet that contains a lot of fruit, veg and foods high in fiber and drink plenty of water.
- Keep going with the Kegels!
Once you have your baby in your arms, you will forget all about the uncomfortable months you spent waiting for this moment. As your body adapts to hosting a baby, your pregnancy health should be as good as your pre-pregnancy health. If you ever have any doubts about your health or your unborn baby’s health speak with your doctor as soon as you can.
Feeling better about your health or fitness shouldn’t be a chore. If you ever need some extra support, come by BEFIT to speak with one of our trainers or simply fill out a Free Consultation Request by clicking the link and a fitness professional will reach out to you within 24 hours.