Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

You just got the good news: you’re pregnant. Your life now will be filled with changes in your body, your emotions, and your lifestyle. What you do during the next few months will help shape your baby’s health, and you should consult with your doctor regularly to make sure everything is going smoothly.

Here at Woman’s Hospital, we know how important prenatal care is, and our Maternity Services include a variety of classes to help make your pregnancy a safe one for both you and your baby.

Want some advice about what you should and shouldn’t do during your pregnancy? Here are some tips from the Office on Women’s Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

If you smoke cigarettes, quit. Each puff you take sends dangerous chemicals into your baby, and smoking increases the chances of miscarriage. Talk to your doctor if you need help giving up the nicotine habit.

Don’t drink alcohol or take illegal drugs. As with cigarettes, harmful chemicals from these substances pass from your body into your baby’s. Giving them up completely is the best way to ensure your baby develops as it should.

Eat right. Those two simple words that suggest a range of things to do and things to avoid:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wash your hands after handling raw meat.
  • Follow a nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and calcium-enriched food. Consult with your doctor about whether you should also take vitamin and/or iron supplements.
  • Don’t eat swordfish, shark, or other fish known to be high in mercury, a poisonous metal.
  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish.
  • Don’t eat soft cheeses (bleu cheese, brie) if you’re not sure that they’re made from pasteurized milk.
  • For more on how to eat right, see “Food Don’ts,”

Stay active. Don’t limit your physical activity unless your doctor tells you to. 

Watch your weight. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, of course, but you don’t want to put on too much. Your doctor can tell you the right amount of weight to gain, to ensure your baby’s proper development and prevent possible complications. Controlling your weight now will also make it easier for you to lose those extra pounds after your delivery.

Get a flu shot. Getting the flu while pregnant could be bad news for you and your baby.

Get a good night’s sleep. Being comfortable might be tricky as your baby grows, so try putting pillows under your belly or between your legs to find the position that helps you sleep. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

If you own a cat, don’t change the litter box. A parasite that causes the infection toxoplasmosis sometimes lurks in the litter.

Pregnancy presents certain physical challenges, but you, your doctor, and the caring professionals at Woman’s Hospital can work together to make sure your baby gets a healthy start to life.

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