Every mother dreams of a healthy pregnancy and delivery, and I’m sure you’re no different. We want the best for our babies during pregnancy and beyond which is why I wanted to share my Top Pregnancy Tips for a Healthy Delivery. As a Certified Health Coach for Pregnancy and Postpartum Mothers, I work with a lot of mothers that want the best for their health and their baby’s health. How they achieve this is through a four-part approach that I’ve adapted from Dr. Sears during my training as a health coach.
It’s truly amazing how much our lifestyle can affect our health before and during pregnancy, and even the recovery period after pregnancy. The benefits of focusing on your health during pregnancy are endless, including:
- Taking care of yourself during pregnancy gets your baby off to the best possible start in life.
- Helps ensure you will be a happy, healthy mother
- Fewer problems with morning sickness, constipation, fatigue, heartburn, and muscle cramps
- Experience fewer cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods
- Less likely to develop pregnancy complications such as anemia, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature birth, or giving birth to a baby with a low birthweight
- Easier labor with fewer complications
- Easier to take off the excess weight after the birth
- Experience less postpartum depression
Top Pregnancy Tips for a Healthy Delivery
Let’s discuss four areas that you can focus on during pregnancy that will encourage a successful and easy pregnancy and create a healthy womb environment for your baby.
How you live your life each day will have a great impact on your health and your baby’s health. According to Dr. Sears, who is the most trusted pediatrician in America, here are some tips to help you live a healthier lifestyle:
- Avoid environmental toxins including smoking, alcohol, illicit drugs, caffeine, and airborne chemicals such as household cleaners. Use safer alternatives to cleaners such as vinegar and water, or make your own with essential oils.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and using illicit drugs yourself.
- During pregnancy, it is also better for your baby to avoid caffeine, which is found in coffee, colas, tea, chocolate, and some over-the-counter medications.
- All of these environmental toxins are especially dangerous in the first trimester (conception through month three).
- Other environmental toxins to avoid include bug sprays, building materials, and the like as they contain known or suspected teratogens – substances that can cause birth defects.
- Get plenty of Vitamin D through sunlight preferably to ensure optimal bodily functions and a positive mood.
Other important lifestyle considerations include getting adequate and quality sleep as well as keeping your stress levels as low as possible. Research shows that babies that are stressed in the womb environment, tend to be colicky when they are born. Practice prenatal yoga or meditation to help yourself relax during pregnancy.
How you move your body can have one of the greatest impacts on a healthy delivery. Exercise is really important for your physical, as well as mental and emotional health. Regular exercise can help you feel good about your changing body. It can help regulate your sleep cycles too.
Exercises for pregnancy include brisk walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga. You also want to do kegel exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor which supports your uterus and other organs.
Before you begin an exercise routine, consult with your doctor. Other important considerations when you’re exercising during pregnancy include:
- Listen to your body. Don’t overdo it.
- Dress for the occasion
- Exercise regularly
- Go easy on your joints
- Don’t shake the baby
- Realize your balance is off
- Slow down as your baby grows.
- Rehydrate and refuel
- Keep cool
- Keep off your back
- Breathe! Both you and baby need oxygen
Your mindset is super important during pregnancy too because it can help ease stress and anxiety around your pregnancy journey and experience. Keeping your mind healthy and your outlook positive is vital as your body is going through so many changes. Maintaining a positive attitude and reframing any negative thoughts can really help you feel better and even maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy and after. Here are a few common phrases I hear mamas say to help you reframe them into a more positive outlook:
- “Fat” to “Fabulous” – The weight you’re gaining has a purpose! It is helping to sustain your baby, and it’s preparing your body not just to endure nine months of pregnancy, but also to produce milk after your baby is born.
- “Big” to “Beautiful” – Every pregnant mother must gain weight to sustain a healthy pregnancy and provide the right amount of nutrients for her baby. The healthy fats you are eating are helping your baby’s brain develop. Remember that the quality foods you’re eating serve a purpose.
- “Lazy” to “Life-giving”– When you’re feeling super tired early in pregnancy or late in pregnancy (you’ll usually feel pretty energetic in your second trimester), allow yourself to take a rest. Your body is busy giving life to your baby and that means some of your energy is being redirected for that purpose. Realize that need to take a quick nap during the day doesn’t make you “lazy” at all.
Have you heard of the phrase “eating for two” when you’re pregnant? This is because the food you eat nourishes both you and your baby. However, pregnancy is not a license to eat twice as much as you did before. The reality of eating for two is that you must now be twice as careful about what you eat and what you choose not to eat. During your pregnancy, you will need a slight increase in the quantity of food you eat and a major improvement in the quality of the food you eat.
You need an average of 300-500 extra calories per day, especially in the second and third trimesters. This equates to about 2,100 to 2,500 calories per day. If you’re having multiple babies, that number increases by about 250 calories per day per baby.
Pregnancy is a great time to improve your eating habits. Eating well during pregnancy is much like eating well when you aren’t pregnant, except that your body needs more of certain nutrients every day. According to Dr. Sears, here’s a breakdown of the nutrients you need to include in your diet in pregnancy:
- 300-500 extra calories (second and third trimesters)
- 25 grams extra protein (100 grams of total protein)
- 800 milligrams of extra calcium (1,400-1,600 milligrams of total calcium)
- 400 milligrams of extra folate (600-800 milligrams of total folate)
- 12 milligrams of extra iron (30 milligrams of total iron)
- 500-600 milligrams of extra DHA (1,000 milligrams EPA/DHA of omega 3s
Eating right is one of the best tips for a healthy pregnancy. Make sure you are getting the right mix of the six basic nutrients: proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals (mainly calcium and iron), and water.
When it comes to nutrition during pregnancy, my advice is to keep nutrition simple! Focus on real, whole foods and you’ll be giving your body and baby exactly what they need. Read ingredient labels, keep healthy snacks on hand, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables with fiber. Avoid hydrogenated oils, any ingredient with a number in it (like artificial food dyes), and high fructose corn syrup which can all alter the brain chemistry of you or your baby.
Taking a prenatal vitamin is especially important if you’re not getting all of these key nutrients through whole foods. Check the brand authenticity for accurate reporting through third-party testing. You want to be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for!
If you’re wanting to create a healthy environment for your baby, start now! You can begin by making small habits and lifestyle changes that will dramatically improve your health and the health of your baby for the long term.
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