5 Things You Should Be Doing During Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a wonderful time, even if some symptoms can be distressing. Amidst the morning sickness, back pains, constipation, heartburn, insomnia and skin changes, nothing is more meaningful than the experience of carrying life inside of you. Despite the sudden physical changes, mood swings and fear of the unknown, feeling your baby move and knowing you will soon become a mother is a comforting thought.
That being said, pregnancy is not the time to be complacent. You will need to look after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and even financially, as you provide nutrients to a growing baby.
As an expectant mother, here are 5 things you should consider doing during your pregnancy:
1. Eat a balanced diet
If you never paid much attention to your diet, now is definitely the time to be aware of what you eat and make sure what you are consuming meets the nutritional requirements your body needs throughout your pregnancy. Important vitamins include B-vitamins, as well as some nutrients like folic acid to prevent neural tube defects and iron to prevent anemia. Omega-fatty acids found in fish oil also help in proper brain development.
If you are unsure, your healthcare provider will be able to point you in the right direction. It is never too late to start eating right!
2. Staying fit
A growing belly is not an excuse for you to lie down and binge-eat all day. You still need some form of exercise to keep you fit. Ever heard of the phrase “eating for two”? It may not be true, as your baby’s nutritional needs are not the same as yours. Remember that during the first trimester, you need not increase your caloric intake. An additional 300 and 500 calories per day are required during the second and third trimesters, respectively.
Exercises considered safe for pregnancy include swimming, yoga, brisk walking and other light activities. The key is to exercise at your own pace and never over-exert. Staying fit during pregnancy has been proven to reduce the risk of complications like preterm labor, hypertension and gestational diabetes.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle
Pregnancy is definitely not the time to sip martinis and puff a cigarette--these are all harmful for the baby! There is no safe amount of alcohol or nicotine, as these easily cross the placenta and affect your baby with physical and mental defects. Caffeine in coffee, tea and soda of 200mg per day is said to be fine, but it is still best avoided.
If you think it is difficult to give up alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine, simply think of your baby’s health. Better yet, you may seek professional help to help you let go of your previous lifestyle.
4. Rest and de-stress
When your body is working double time to accommodate a growing baby, it is not unusual at all to feel a little burned out every now and then. Give yourself a break and rest as much as you can. Sleep at least 7 hours a day, and take power naps. Listen to your body and never force yourself to do activities you feel that are too stressful.
To de-stress, you can also try relaxation activities that are safe for pregnant women. Prenatal yoga is an excellent way to relax. You will be taught different breathing exercises that will come in handy during labor! It may not sound like much, but proper breathing really does make a difference to make labor pains more bearable.
In between the back pains and hip aches, you can also try prenatal massage to relax tense muscles. Just make sure the therapist is trained and qualified to perform prenatal massage, and always inform your doctor.
5. Consider cord blood banking
Now that you have a growing life inside of you, there are so many things to think about, which include the future of your baby. Many institutions now offer family cord blood banking as a means to secure the health of not just your child, but to other family members as well.
Stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood of a newborn have profound healing properties. Stem cell transplant using preserved cord blood is especially beneficial for patients suffering from terminal illnesses like cancer, metabolic disorders and bone marrow diseases.
Investing in a family cord blood bank is an investment for your child’s future. Your newborn’s fresh cord blood will be extracted from the umbilical cord, and it will be preserved in a family bank until such time that you, your baby or other relatives may need to use it for a stem cell transplant.