Pregnancy, for most women, is a joyous time; magical changes are happening to your body and health and wellness take centre stage as you give baby a healthy start in life. Getting the right amounts of sleep, nutrition, rest and exercise are all essential at this time. Here are SleepiMum’s top 10 tips for a healthy pregnancy:
1. Pregnancy diet
Eating healthy foods is especially important during pregnancy when your baby needs nutrients to grow healthy and strong in the womb. Choose from the ‘rainbow’ variety of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods and foods low in saturated fat. The occasional treat is fine but don’t be tempted to give in to the ‘eating for two’ myth: expecting mums typically only need an additional 300 calories per day.
2. The importance of sleep during pregnancy
It can be a real challenge to get enough sleep but it’s especially important during these uncertain times as sleep and mental health are closely interconnected. Seven to nine hours sleep is vital for you and your baby but if you struggle to get off to sleep or wake up during the night, you could try some relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation. Sleeping on your left side can improve blood flow to the baby. Using your SleepiMum pillow will help you get comfortable.
3. Take a daily pregnancy multivitamin While supplements are no replacement for a healthy diet, during pregnancy your body will need the right amounts of folic acid and calcium. These vitamins play an important role in bone, vision and brain development in your unborn baby, whilst you need additional iron in your blood to carry oxygen to your baby.
4. Keep hydrated during pregnancy We all need water, but a pregnant body needs even more hydration, to prevent common ailments such as constipation, haemorrhoids, urinary tract or bladder infections. Aim for at least eight glasses each day.
5. Don’t neglect your prenatal check-ups
Early and regular prenatal visits from a health care provider will help keep track of your health and the health of your baby and monitor any changes that need medical attention.
6. Foods to avoid during pregnancy
There are certain foods that women should avoid eating while pregnant including uncooked meats, soft cheeses (feta, brie), liver, sushi, raw eggs and anything containing unpasteurised milk.
7. Alcohol and smoking during pregnancy
It’s important to take good care of your body during pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby from some of the most preventable health conditions. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which can cause abnormalities, learning disabilities and behavioural issues, while smoking can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), premature birth and miscarriage.
8. Wear sunscreen during pregnancy Being pregnant makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you'll be more prone to sunburn and skin pigmentation. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (many brands now offer organic formulas) and cover up with a hat and sunglasses.
9. Get moving
Staying active can help you keep healthy both mentally and physically during pregnancy. Pilates, yoga, swimming and walking are great activities for most pregnant women, but if you’re unsure, check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme. Listen to your body and don't overdo it. The NHS website has some great tips on exercising during pregnancy.
10. Reduce stress & let others help
The first and third trimesters of pregnancy are often the most exhausting, so finding the time to relax, to sit down or take a nap is essential not a luxury! Reducing stress is also crucial for improving birth outcomes, so if you’re feeling especially overwhelmed, be sure to seek help from your partner, friend, GP or midwife. Find out more here.