For many new moms, getting pregnant means saying goodbye to a lot of things you used to love. So long, roller coasters and bike rides! Farewell, sushi and lunch meat! Yet despite all the no’s, there are a few things most pregnant women can and should try to do on a daily basis.
Drink plenty of water.
Because growing babies need lots of fluid to cushion them and help them grow, pregnant women need more water than the average adult to stay hydrated. Not getting enough fluids can cause potentially serious problems for you and your baby, including going into labor too early. Keep a bottle of water with you to take small sips throughout the day to make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you spend a lot of time in the heat or engage in physical activity. Speaking of which …
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all adults — including pregnant women — get at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity exercise, like going on brisk walks or taking a yoga class. Staying active for even as little as 10 minutes a day can help you avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy, as well as help you build muscles for labor and delivery, and set you up for shedding the baby weight after giving birth. It can also help boost your mood and lower your stress levels — resulting not just in a healthy mom, but a happy one, too.
When you drink coffee (as well as teas, sodas, and energy drinks), you can take in a lot of caffeine, and that can make its way to your baby. While the evidence is still pretty mixed about what large amounts of the stimulant can do, most doctor agree that small amounts (less than 200 milligrams a day) is likely safe for most pregnant women and their babies. If you can’t live without your morning cup of joe, try to limiting it to just one small cup of coffee (or less) a day, or switching to decaf.
Get enough of key nutrients.
A well-balanced diet is essential to any healthy lifestyle, but it’s especially important during pregnancy. Babies need certain vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to grow, and not getting enough can lead to potentially serious complications or birth defects. Pregnant women should fill their plates with plenty of both fruits and vegetables (especially the dark green kind), and talk to their doctor or midwife about whether a prenatal vitamin and/or iron supplement is right for them.
Avoid drinking, smoking, and other harmful substances.
Entire structures could be built with the amount of evidence showing how dangerous alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can be during pregnancy. These substances can slow your baby’s growth, lead them to be born too early, too small, or with serious birth defects.
Health experts warn that no amount of alcohol or tobacco has been shown to be safe during pregnancy, and that includes being around people who are smoking. If pregnant, it’s best to avoid these substances altogether and to talk to your doctor or midwife before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications or nutritional supplements.