5 pregnancy tips for new mamas.
Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash
The first few months of pregnancy are exciting but can also be a little scary. Maybe you haven’t been around babies much, or you’re concerned that your body is changing quickly. Whatever your worries are, there are things you can do to make sure things go as smoothly as possible for both you and the baby. Here are some tips that have worked well for me (and countless other women) over the years:
Watch your diet
You may be surprised to learn that eating a lot of food or even any specific types of foods is unnecessary for you and your baby to thrive. Many obstetric care doctors recommend that mothers limit their caloric intake during pregnancy. This can be tough for many women who are used to eating big meals three times a day, but it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby.
You may still feel really hungry when pregnant—after all, pregnancy hormones make you crave certain foods more than usual. but there are several reasons why limiting your intake is better:
- Avoid uncomfortable gas pains by avoiding too much food at once (and eating more often throughout the day).
- If you’re experiencing nausea during pregnancy, eating smaller meals more frequently can be helpful instead of trying one large meal at dinner time (which will likely worsen matters).
Get lots of rest
Sleep is an essential part of your health. Sleep deprivation can affect how well you take care of yourself, how much energy you have, and the quality of your relationships with others. During pregnancy, getting enough sleep is imperative because your body needs extra rest to prepare for labor and breastfeeding.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you get about eight hours of sleep each night during pregnancy. If you’re having trouble sleeping or are not tired at bedtime because of excitement about the baby, try these tips:
- Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m., including chocolate and some decongestants.
- Exercise regularly but avoid strenuous activity in the evening hours before bedtime (unless recommended by your healthcare provider).
- Read a book instead of watching television right before going to sleep. Look at something soothing instead of looking at bright lights like smartphones or TVs for 30 minutes before going to bed. Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness rather than light exposure, which can keep us awake longer than necessary.
Control your stress levels
Stress can affect your pregnancy. It can affect your baby. It can affect your birth, recovery, and postpartum. It can even negatively impact your relationships with others—including those closest to you.
Chronic stress is associated with a host of health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, insulin resistance and diabetes, stroke, digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, mood disorders such as depression or anxiety disorders (e.g., PTSD); sleep disturbances (insomnia/hypersomnia); thyroid disorders (both overactive or underactive); premature aging of skin and hair follicles as well as osteoporosis (weak bones).
It’s important to remember that exercise is good for you, your baby, and your body. It can help you sleep better, relieve stress, and boost your mood. However, it’s also important not to overindulge in physical activity during pregnancy as this could cause harm to the growing fetus.
If you’ve been sedentary before becoming pregnant, try slowly adding some light walks into your daily schedule. Try starting with just 10 minutes per day and then gradually build up until you can do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week (but make sure not to exceed 40 minutes). As always with exercising while pregnant: listen closely to what feels comfortable for yourself and your baby! Make sure that if any exercise becomes uncomfortable or painful—especially during the first trimester—stop immediately!
Drink lots of water
It would be best if you stay hydrated during pregnancy. Drink water before, during, and after pregnancy. Water keeps you healthy and energized and can even help with weight loss after childbirth.
Drinking water daily will help flush out toxins in your body while supporting your baby’s development. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses daily is recommended for most adults (including pregnant women). Still, you must drink more if you are exercising or experiencing hot temperatures outside your home—especially if it’s been months since your last period!
You’re the most important person in your pregnancy, and taking care of yourself is crucial to ensuring that your baby has a healthy start. That means ensuring you get enough sleep and eat well, exercising regularly (if possible), avoiding unnecessary stress, and getting prenatal care on time. Your doctor is there to help you with these things—but if you have questions or concerns about your health or your baby, don’t hesitate to talk with them about it. Your doctor’s office may also have information about support groups for pregnant women or new moms, which can be a great way to meet other moms going through similar experiences.