Pregnancy is an exciting time! Your body is supporting the growth of another human being. While most women are able to maintain their normal lifestyle in most ways, there are some important things to keep in mind. Doctors and experts make recommendations about what pregnant women should and should not do in order to ensure the optimal health of themselves and their unborn child.
Gain a Healthy Amount of Weight
Some women may see pregnancy as an excuse to eat unlimited junk food and gain a lot of weight. Although this may be tempting, this is not healthy for you or your baby. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet.
Typically during the first trimester a fetus only requires about an extra 100 calories per day. During the third trimester 300 extra calories are recommended when the fetus is growing and gaining weight more rapidly. Women who are overweight may not need to eat many additional calories since excess weight can lead to gestational diabetes, hypertension, and other complications during pregnancy. Each woman is different so you should consult your OBGYN about what is best for you.
According to the Institute of Medicine these are the general recommendations for weight gain based on pre-pregnancy weight.
- Underweight: Gain 28 to 40 pounds.
- Normal: Gain 25 to 35 pounds.
- Overweight: Gain 15 to 25 pounds.
- Obese: Gain no more than 20 pounds.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are very important for the healthy growth of your unborn baby. During pregnancy women need higher levels of folic acid, calcium, iron, and Vitamin D.
These are the recommended doses:
- Folic acid 400–800 micrograms (until the end of the first trimester)
- Iron 30 mg
- Vitamin D 600 international units
- Calcium 1,000 mg
Pregnant women should engage in low-impact exercise for about 30 minutes at least 5 days per week. This could include walking or stationary cycling, but should not be too strenuous. Strenuous exercise can restrict oxygen from the uterus. You should be able to have a conversation without huffing and puffing.
Get Plenty of Sleep
During pregnancy, women should get plenty of sleep. Your body needs sufficient rest for you and your baby, especially during the third trimester. You should try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night and nap if you feel tired during the day.
Visit the Dentist
Pregnant women should still visit the dentist for their routine visits to ensure good oral health. Let your dentist know that you are pregnant.
Get a Flu Shot
The flu can be severe, or even deadly, during pregnancy so the flu vaccine, without the live virus, is recommended.
Engage in Sexual Intercourse
Pregnant women can engage in sexual intercourse until their water breaks, unless they have a high-risk pregnancy. Consult your doctor about their specific recommendations for you.
Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy since it has been linked to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and other complications.
Symptoms of FAS include:
- low birth weight
- learning disabilities
- behavior issues
- Delays in growth and developmental milestones
Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than 300 mg/d. This is equivalent to about 2-8 oz. cups of brewed coffee or several cups of 8 oz. of tea or 12 oz. of soda (50 mg in each).
Smoking, Nicotine, Vaping, and Marijuana Use
These are not recommended during pregnancy since they can lead to birth defects and have been linked to long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes and learning disabilities.
Hot Tubs and Saunas
Pregnant women should avoid hot tubs and saunas, especially during the first trimester. Both can raise the body temperature to 102 degrees F which may disrupt fetal development, increasing the risk for miscarriage.
Eat Certain Foods
Pregnant women should avoid raw and undercooked meat, unpasteurized dairy products, deli meat, and anything that may contain Listeria bacteria. You should wash vegetables and fruits before eating them.
Take Care of Yourself
It is essential that you take care of yourself during pregnancy. Your body is going through many changes during this time. Be aware of what is best for your body and for your growing baby. Talk with your doctor about their specific recommendations for you and your unborn child.
Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny Services
Night wakings can be exhausting for parents and lack of sleep can leave parents feeling scattered and foggy. An overnight newborn care expert provides care so sleep deprived parents can get a good night of sleep. Your baby needs sleep and so do you.
Your Newborn Care Expert will care for your infant and create a stimulating environment that will help foster your baby’s development.
Our trained professionals can teach you how to best care for your baby. Many parents have questions about how to bathe their babies, how to swaddle, or a host of other questions. We also offer a variety of breastfeeding support and lactation services designed to help support and maximize your breastfeeding experience.
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The care of your children is our highest priority. Connecting families with warm, responsible, and trustworthy caregivers is what we do best. Our team will meet with your family, identify qualified caregivers, and hand-select the best candidates for you to meet with.