Congratulations on Your Pregnancy Part 2: How Do I Have a Healthy Pregnancy?

In our previous post, we discussed what to expect during your routine prenatal care visits. Now, let’s take a look at some of things you can do to help ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy.

Nutrition

  • Energy requirements are higher in pregnancy. We typically recommend adding about 300 extra calories per day, however, your individual needs may vary. Please talk with your provider about weight gain goals.
  • The hormones in pregnancy make it harder to maintain blood sugar balance. We recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals with both a healthy protein and a healthy carbohydrate to help maintain blood sugar balance.
  • Eating healthy in pregnancy is very important. Remember, what you eat provides energy to the baby. Pregnancy is not an excuse to make poor food choices.
  • You should be drinking enough water to make your urine clear in color. Water intake during pregnancy is very important. Becoming dehydrated can cause preterm contractions.
  • Eat wholesome, unprocessed food. If you can’t read the ingredients on the label, or there are more than 5 ingredients then it is probably NOT a good food choice.
  • Fruits and vegetables are important and should make up the majority of your daily food intake. Opt for fresh or frozen.
  • Reduce intake of simple carbohydrates and increase complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates turn into sugar quickly and will spike both your sugar and your insulin levels. Examples of simple carbohydrates include: honey, juice, soda, milk, candy, syrup, white breads, pastas, and potatoes. Complex carbohydrates are a better choice because they convert to sugar much slower, which is better for your body. Examples of complex carbohydrates include: vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, fruits, beans, oatmeal, and lentils.
  • Avoid soda. Soda contains the worst type of sugar: high fructose corn syrup. It is not good for you or for your baby. Just one can of soda has more than the daily recommended amount of added sugar.
  • We recommend starting prenatal vitamins 3 months prior to getting pregnant, or as soon as possible after learning you are pregnant.
  • There are foods that should NOT BE CONSUMED in pregnancy. During pregnancy the immune system function is slightly suppressed, which makes you more vulnerable to foodborne illnesses. Foods to avoid include deli meats, unpasteurized foods (certain cheeses, juices and apple ciders), no raw meats (like sushi), highly processed meats (salami, sausages) and; fish that may contain mercury (Tuna, Shark, Marlin, King Mackerel, Tilefish, Orange Roughy).

Exercise

Regular exercise 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week is also appropriate in pregnancy. You can continue your pre-pregnancy exercise routine as long as you continue to feel okay. If you haven’t exercised prior to pregnancy, we recommend walking or light cardio activity. Pregnancy yoga can be a great exercise as well.

Mood

Pregnancy can be very stressful both physically and emotionally. Hormones can cause mood swings and irritability. This is normal, but talk to your doctor if these symptoms worsen or you feel overwhelmed. If you have been taking anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications pre-pregnancy, you will most likely be able to continue these during your pregnancy. Talk to us! We want to help you have a safe pregnancy, which includes good mental health.

When Should I Worry?

During pregnancy, a lot of changes are happening to your body. Even if you’ve been pregnant before and have an idea of what to expect, your next pregnancy could be very different from your first. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish what symptoms are just a normal part of the process and what symptoms are cause for alarm. Below is a summary of some of the things to keep an eye out for during each trimester.

First Trimester

  • Many women have mild cramping and light bleeding during pregnancy, and we want to know if you experience this. Call us immediately if you are experiencing intense cramping or heavy bleeding.
  • Nausea and vomiting is also common. Eating small frequent meals, bland foods like crackers, cereal, bananas, rice, ginger snaps or ginger tea may help to combat nausea. Vitamin B6, 25 mg, three times daily and Unisom at night may help decrease nausea and vomiting. Prescription medications may also be an option. Please call if you have a fever over 101.

Second Trimester

  • This is usually the best trimester so enjoy it! Nausea and vomiting typically resolve and fatigue is improved.
  • Call if you have any heavy bleeding, cramping, contractions, or fever over 101.

Third Trimester

  • Women may start feeling more uncomfortable during the third trimester. Common complaints include lower back pain, pelvic pressure, fatigue, difficulty sleeping. Talk to us during your appointments about these symptoms.

Additional Guidelines

  • Prior to 37 weeks, please contact us if you have 4 painful contractions in 1 hour. After 37 weeks, please contact us if you are having contractions every 5 minutes for an hour. If your water breaks, please go to Oaklawn Birth Center for evaluation.
  • Please contact us if you have a fever over 101 or any severe abdominal pain.
  • We also recommend monitoring how much baby moves. Every baby is different. If you are worried your baby isn’t moving, please contact us. We may suggest going to Oaklawn Birth Center to be evaluated. You can also try “fetal kick counts” at home. A fetal kick count is performed by drinking a cold beverage or eating some food, then laying down in a dark room. If you feel the baby kick 10 times in 2 hours, that is generally reassuring.
  • We monitor for preeclampsia, which is when women develop high blood pressure and protein in their urine. Symptoms include severe headaches, blurred vision, swelling in hands, legs and feet or pain in your right upper abdomen.

When in Doubt, Give Us a Call!