Pregnancy

Top tips for staying healthy whilst pregnant

First off, make a GP appointment

Got a BFP (Big Fat Positive)? Congratulations! Now you know you’re pregnant, you’ll need to be registered for antenatal care so make sure you get an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. This gives you and your baby the best chance of a smooth pregnancy from the start and you’ll be able to get your scans booked in too.

Eat plenty of good stuff

When it comes to food, you don’t need to be an angel for nine months, but you do need to make sure your diet is as healthy as possible. Include plenty of starch, fibre, vitamins, carbohydrate and natural sugars by stocking up on plenty of fresh meat, fish, fruit and veggies. Dairy is also a great source of calcium for your growing baby, so don’t forget to have plenty of cheese, milk and yoghurt too.

Keep your fluids up

Aim to drink around eight glasses of water a day to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruit teas, milk, juice and squash are all fine too. Many women also decide to cut down on caffeine, as it’s been shown to raise the chances of having a low birthweight baby.

Take a supplement

It is strongly advised you take vitamin D throughout your pregnancy, and folic acid for at least the first three months. Taking folic acid reduces the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. If you’re not sure what dose to take, speak to your GP.

Keep hygiene in check

Basic food hygiene is more important now than ever. Make sure you always wash your hands especially before preparing food, and never mix raw food with cooked. There are also some foods best avoided altogether during pregnancy, as they can harbour bacteria or parasites that pose a health risk for your baby. These foods include:

  • Unpasteurised milk
  • Undercooked ready meals
  • Mouldy or soft cheeses like stilton and brie
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Raw shellfish such as oysters

 

Exercise regularly

Regular gentle exercise works wonders for your weight, posture and mental health. Staying in shape also increases your chances of a trouble-free labour and birth.

Excellent examples include:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Aquanatal classes

If you play sport, there’s no reason you can’t carry on as long as it’s comfortable. But best avoid contact sports, or anything where you might fall. Chat to your midwife or GP if you’re unsure.

Cut out alcohol and smoking

It’s almost impossible to know how much is safe to drink during pregnancy, so it’s strongly advised you abstain from alcohol altogether. If you do have alcohol it will very quickly reach your baby via your bloodstream and the placenta.

Expectant mums who regularly drink are more likely to give birth to a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Problems can range from learning difficulties to more serious birth defects. If you’re worried about the amount you’re drinking, make an appointment with your GP for advice. You can also visit the Drink Aware website for tips on giving up completely.

Both drinking and smoking in pregnancy affect the chances of having a miscarriage, a premature baby, a low birthweight baby, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or “cot death”. Smoking in particular has also been shown to increase the likelihood of ectopic pregnancy (where the baby grows outside the womb and therefore cannot survive) and placental abruption, where the placenta comes away from the womb wall before your baby is ready to be born.

If you’re struggling to give up smoking your GP can help find the best solution for you. You can also call the confidential NHS smoking helpline on 0300 123 1044 or visit Smokefree NHS.

Rest up!

Your body is growing a new little one so you’re bound to be tired! Also, later in the pregnancy sleeping may be uncomfortable and you may be up in the night for the loo. So make you rest when you can and go easy on yourself – you’ll be glad you di

 

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