When you’re pregnant, the list of dos and don’ts can feel like a mile long, and while most of the advice you receive is meant to help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy, it might feel overwhelming. Rest assured that you can enjoy a healthier, less stressful pregnancy by taking care of your mind and body. Here are four simple ways to enhance your nine-month journey.
#1 – Choose nutrient-dense foods.
It might seem like your doctor has barred you from eating all your favorite foods, like sushi or your evening cocktail, but the list of what pregnant women should avoid is actually quite short. Examples of satisfying, nutrient-dense options include:
- Whole grain crackers with the nut butter of your choice
- Watery fruits, such as watermelon or honeydew, dipped in Greek yogurt
- Nuts, roasted sunflower or gourd seeds, and hard cheeses like cheddar
Steer clear of foods that aren’t pasteurized, such as soft cheeses and raw milk, and hold off on alcohol for now. But you can enjoy plenty of other foods, and in fact, eating a balanced diet is the best way to avoid gaining too much weight.
#2 – Get the right vitamins, minerals and macros.
You might be craving tuna with whipped cream, but chances are that your body is signaling what it actually needs. In this case, you may be low on protein or vitamin D. Make sure you’re taking a prenatal vitamin that includes the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy, including folic acid. Folate, another name for folic acid, guards against neural tube defects in developing babies. Calcium is also critical during pregnancy because your baby will use calcium for bone growth. To make sure you’re getting the right nutrients, talk to your doctor about adding a prenatal vitamin to cover any gaps, especially if morning sickness has stolen your appetite.
#3 – Stay active, even when those ankles start swelling.
When you’re staring at swollen ankles and feeling the full weight of that bun in your oven, it can be hard to find the energy to work out. Staying active, though, offers a bevy of benefits before, during and after labor. Regular exercise during pregnancy can:
- Reduce swelling, aches and pains
- Ease constipation and bloating
- Improve your mood and energy levels
- Help you sleep better
Don’t overdo it on the workouts. Try lower-impact activities, such as yoga or swimming, and dial back the intensity of your normal routine. You could also join a group with other pregnant women, which will encourage you to continue as your belly grows.
#4 – Find ways to destress.
There are lots of things to worry about as you prepare for motherhood, but stress can make every ache and pain much worse. Stress is also bad for your baby-to-be, so find an activity or hobby that helps you relax. You could try painting, going out for mocktails with friends or spending your weekends binge-watching the latest Netflix craze. Pick a few things that bring you joy, and make time for yourself. A relaxed mom is a happy mom.