Pregnancy can be very exciting – but it can also be a little nerve-wracking!
There’s so much to learn and do, it can be overwhelming sometimes. We just want to take good care of ourselves and our babies before the big day, but there’s a lot of information out there.
We’d like to help by sharing a few essential, important prenatal care tips that will get you on the right track.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
What you eat is very important when it comes to prenatal care. You want nourishment not just for yourself, but for your baby. And since your baby “eats” whatever you eat, you have a responsibility to follow a well-balanced diet.
So, what is a well-balanced diet while pregnant?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, a healthy diet first involves not restricting calories or macronutrients. So, no Atkins or South Beach diets, and no diet in the usual way we understand the word. (In fact, you’ll need about 300 extra calories a day.)
Your diet should be heavy in fruits and vegetables, protein (lean beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans), whole wheat or whole grain breads and pastas, and dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.). Be sure to balance your meal with:
- 4 servings of dairy
- 3 servings of protein
- 6-11 servings of grains
- 2-4 servings of fruit
- 4-6 servings of vegetables
This combination will give you the macronutrients and micronutrients you need. But you’ll need a lot of micronutrients, which leads us to the next part.
Take Prenatal Multivitamins
Your micronutrients ideally should come from your main diet. But you might need to supplement in case you don’t get the full amount of the vitamins and minerals you need, which is common.
You’ll need a multivitamin that offers:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
These nutrients are essential, not just for general health, but to also help prevent birth defects. For these reasons, if possible, you should start taking prenatal vitamins three months before conception.
Make Lifestyle Changes
The lifestyle you follow also matters.
For example, you should get around 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. You should drink plenty of water, avoid smoking or drinking alcohol, get plenty of sleep, and consider doing yoga or meditation as a way to control stress levels.
Also, gain weight. You should gain 25 to 35 pounds during your pregnancy. So, eat up! This is one part of your life where you want to gain weight! (Within reason, of course.)
Visit Your Doctor Often
Finally, you need to visit your OB/GYN as often as he or she directs. Don’t miss an appointment or a checkup. Follow the schedule and your OB/GYN’s advice religiously. They’ll help you keep yourself and your baby healthy and can notice any issues as soon as they arise.
Pregnancy is exciting. It can be rewarding and fulfilling. Follow these tips for a better pregnancy!