If you are newly pregnant, or you plan to start trying in the near future, the first couple months of pregnancy are very important. By taking good care of your body from the beginning, you will also nurture the growing baby inside you.
Eat Healthy Foods
You need to bump up your protein consumption during pregnancy. The baby will need a lot of protein to grow, so if you don’t eat enough protein-rich foods, the nutrients will be leached from your bones to supply the baby. It is recommended that pregnant women take in 1,000 mg of protein each day to satisfy the needs of both the baby and the mother. Healthy proteins include such foods as dairy yogurt, broccoli, kale and chickpeas. Red meats, poultry and fish are also excellent sources of protein for meat-eaters.
Low iron is one of the biggest concerns facing pregnant women. Beef, black beans, oats and chickpeas all contain large quantities of iron.
Make sure you include plenty of fiber in your diet as well. Constipation and hemorrhoids are common complaints, so eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed to a fruit smoothie or sprinkle it onto your oatmeal in the morning for extra fiber.
Drink plenty of fluids each day. Water and fruit juices are the best choices. Limit your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee per day, if you need it.
Begin Ongoing Doctor Care Right Away
As soon as you suspect that you are pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor. Doctors can quickly detect any problems and prescribe the proper treatment. They can also help you avoid potential health problems down the road. Your physician will monitor your weight, blood pressure and other vitals at each visit.
Your doctor will recommend that you start taking prenatal vitamins right away. Don’t take vitamins and supplements that you took before you became pregnant, however. Many over-the-counter medicines are also not advised. Discuss with your doctor all the medications you are currently taking. He or she will caution you to stop taking any harmful meds right away.
Smoking and alcohol intake should stop completely during pregnancy. If you need help quitting, your doctor can give you recommendations.
Follow Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Try to get 20 to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every day. Ride your stationary bike or take a brisk walk, if the weather allows.
- Avoid baths with very hot water, as well as hot tubs and saunas.
- Stay informed. Read as much as possible about proper prenatal care. Your doctor can also suggest educational childbirth classes to help you prepare. Talk with other moms who have been pregnant. Nothing beats firsthand experience.
- Avoid harmful chemicals, such as insecticides and solvents. This includes paint thinners and some cleaning supplies. Ask your doctor if you are unsure about a product.
- Don’t change the cat litter box. A parasite sometimes found in cat feces can cause an infection. Ask a family member or neighbor to help you out during your pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves when working in the garden.
Seek Additional Help
Pregnancy care can be expensive. If you are struggling with the costs, free prenatal ultrasounds are available. An ultrasound is important, especially during the early stages. It can rule out a tubal pregnancy and determine how far along you are.
A registered nurse with technical training in sonography will perform the ultrasound. The appointment typically takes from 45 to 60 minutes.
Pregnancy can be such an exciting time in your life. Following some healthy habits can keep both you and your baby safe.