You had all the pregnancy symptoms and found out you’re pregnant! Congratulations! You might be thinking about all the exciting things in your future. And all the things that you need to do to prepare for your little one. Having helped hundreds of couples during their pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy, I have some great tips on how to help you have a happier and healthier pregnancy. Here we go!
1. Eat Right
This is not much of a secret, but I have seen many people not take this point as seriously. Many women hear that once you’re pregnant, you are now “eating for two.” This is completely misunderstood. It doesn’t mean you should eat enough food to feed two people. Instead, it means you need to eat enough nutrients and healthier food for yourself and your growing baby. So that means reducing the amount of sugar and carbs and eating more vegetables and protein.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you’re at a healthy weight and are expecting, you do not need any additional calories during your first trimester.4 You should only be consuming an additional 340 calories per day in your second trimester.4 In your third trimester, you should have 450 extra daily calories.4 However, if you are overweight or underweight, you will need more or fewer calories added to your diet. *Be sure to speak with your doctor or midwife to know what is best for you and your baby.
Okay, don’t think I’m the diet police over here! Everybody that knows me knows that I LOVE sweets and am all about celebrating this time of your life. Indulging here and there with some ice cream or truffle fries (yum!) is alright, but I also care about you and your baby’s health, so try not to make this a constant habit now that you are growing a little human. Remember, you’re feeding your baby everything you eat and drink.
An unhealthy diet during pregnancy could also potentially cause more pregnancy and birth issues. Which none of us want. It can increase your chances of having gestational diabetes and having a bigger baby.1 This can cause them to have bigger heads (cephalopelvic disproportion) and not be able to be born vaginally (if you want a vaginal birth).2 It also becomes more challenging to lose the baby weight if you gain more weight than your doctor or midwife recommended.
- Healthy and Delicious First Trimester Recipes
- Healthy and Nutritious Second Trimester Recipes
- Healthy and High Energy Third Trimester Recipes
- 8 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks Perfect for You and Baby
- 22 Pregnancy Snacks to Keep in Your Purse
- Decoding Pregnancy Cravings and What They Mean
- How to Curb Pregnancy Cravings
Exercising during your pregnancy is highly beneficial. It helps with the following:
- The circulation of blood and oxygen to you and your baby (which can boost your baby’s brain).
- It also allows you to indulge a little in those extra sweets and carbs you’ve been craving and not feel as guilty.
- It keeps you from having more intense aches and pains during your pregnancy. Now hear me, they won’t take them all away, but it does help.
And so much more. With all of the women I have worked with during their pregnancies, I have seen that women who exercise more have fewer complaints about discomfort throughout their pregnancy than women who do not work out. Not only that, but I have also noticed that my clients who workout can tolerate labor better and have faster births and recoveries. Now we all want that, don’t we?!
3. Rest Your Body & Mind
Once your baby arrives, you will never be able to sleep like this again, so try to catch up on as much rest as possible while pregnant. Don’t feel guilty about needing a nap during the day and resting. I know this can be difficult when you’re working, but on the weekends, do your best! Growing a baby is hard work and requires more rest!
4. Pamper Yourself
Your body is growing and moving things around to make room for your baby. Some services that I recommend to my clients are prenatal massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. These all help you relieve stress and aches and pains that you may have during your pregnancy (for example, those cramps in your calves, sciatica, headaches, hip pain, round ligament pain, etc.). Not only that, but they have also proven to have significant benefits during labor.3
If your budget is tight and you’re worried you can’t sign up for these services, ask your partner to give you a well-deserved massage. This will benefit you, but it will also better prepare your partner for when you go into labor because it will help strengthen their hands, know how to relax, and keep you comfortable during labor.
5. Educate Yourself
The great Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer (authors of A Good Birth, A Safe Birth) said, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” That is so true. This is your body, your baby, your pregnancy, and YOUR baby’s birth. It should be what you want it to be, so you need to know all those options. There are so many different childbirth classes that you can take:
- Lamaze (here)
- ICEA (here)
- The Bradley Method (here)
- Hypnobabies (here)
- Hypnobirthing (here)
- Birth Boot Camp (here)
- Birthing from Within (here)
- and many more
You want to make sure you choose the suitable class for you and your partner to prepare for the big day! It also makes it less scary and intimidating when you know what to expect. This can make a lot of those anxious, nervous feelings go away.
6. Listen to YOU!
I’m sure by now you have already received some unsolicited advice from almost everyone. They will tell you what they think you should and shouldn’t do—you name it. However, receiving advice from friends and family is always helpful, but what may have been beneficial for them may not work for you. Remember that. So be sure to listen to YOUR instincts and do what you feel is right for you and your baby.
I hope this helped! Did you use any of these tips during your pregnancy? Would you add anything to this list?