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Tips for Healthy Pregnancy
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Take Good Care of Your Baby
From day one of your pregnancy, when sperm and egg unite to form one cell, to month nine, when more than 2 trillion cells combine to make your baby, everything you do and eat directly affects your child. Taking special care of your body before and during pregnancy can help you and your baby develop healthfully.
Eating for one-plus
Eating for two is an outdated notion that can lead to unnecessary weight gain. Gaining too much weight can lead to pregnancy complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation and backaches, as well as a more difficult delivery. While it’s important to eat a varied, balanced diet, the National Institutes of Health recommends eating only 300 extra calories a day.
However, you will need to add more nutrients to your diet to help your baby grow. You may be able to glean some of these extra vitamins and minerals from food, while others may require a supplement.
acid helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida and is essential to the formation of red blood cells. Pregnancy doubles the need for folic acid, which is found in kidney beans, leafy green vegetables, peas and liver. Your doctor may recommend a supplement.
helps form red blood cells, and pregnancy calls for higher than normal doses. Iron deficiency can lead to exhaustion and anemia, which can depress the mother’s immune system and the blood’s ability to clot.
helps build a baby’s bones, so it’s important for pregnant and breast-feeding women to consume 1,000 to 1,300 mg a day. For lactose-intolerant women or those who struggle to eat enough dairy products, your doctor may suggest a supplement.
Some foods can add to your discomfort and may actually harm you and your baby. Caffeine can cause irritability, insomnia, nervousness and dehydration in the mother, and low birth weight in the baby. Alcohol consumption can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, a leading cause of birth defects and mental retardation. You may also want to steer clear of raw fish, fish high in mercury and soft cheeses.
Get fit for two
Exercising for 30 minutes on most days during pregnancy offers a range of benefits, including:
Reducing backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling.
Preventing or controlling gestational diabetes.
Improving your mood, increasing your energy, and improving sleep.
Building muscle tone, strength and endurance.
Managing weight gain.
You may find that non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming and biking, are the most comfortable during pregnancy. Walking and low-impact aerobics can also provide a safe and healthy option.
Get the care you need
Seeing your health care provider regularly helps ensure that you and your baby grow strong. Your doctor will monitor the health and development of you and your child, as well as give you an opportunity to ask questions about pregnancy, birth and infant care. For a list of local obstetricians, go to hollandhospital.org and click on “Find a Physician.”
Your Pregnancy and Parenting Resource
At Holland Hospital, we offer a range of pregnancy, parenting and birth classes that can help you make a smooth transition to pregnancy and parenthood. Sign up to learn about the stages of labor and delivery, take a tour of the Boven Birth Center, prepare for breast-feeding and much more.
Special classes are offered for new and repeat parents, expectant teens, babysitters, and new brothers/sisters.
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