Here are few tips which If kept in mind can assure a healthy baby. So let’s go through them one by one:
- See your doctor: As soon as you find out you're pregnant, get in touch with your GP or a midwife to organise your antenatal care. Organising your care early means you'll get good advice for a healthy pregnancy right from the start. You'll also have plenty of time to organise any ultrasound scans and tests that you may need (NHS 2011a).
- Make every bit count: It takes about 55,000 extra calories to make a healthy baby. That might seem like a lot, but its only 300 extra calories a day (the equivalent of a glass of low-fat milk, a slice of bread and an apple), and thats only in the last two trimesters. Calorie needs dont budge an inch in the first trimester when your baby grows no longer than a green bean. Your vitamin and mineral needs, however, have skyrocketed. So at pregnancy stage whatever we eat is accounted for the coming baby.
- Focus on real foods: What is a real food? One must be clear on this, real food is that food which is minimally processed and maintains its natural integrity. Foods like apples, eggs and green beans are real food. On the other hand Cooked, frozen or canned apples, eggs and green beans count as real food too so long as they are not in the company of artificial ingredients. So pregnant women must ensure that they consume maximum of real food as possible.
- Ensure Calcium enriched diet: As most people know, calcium helps build bones in the baby and prevent bone loss in the mom. Calcium also helps prevent pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and is important for normal functioning of nerves and muscles. The pregnant mom needs 3 or more glasses of low-fat or nonfat milk or fortified soymilk every day before, during, and after pregnancy if she plans to nurse her little one. You can cook your rice or oatmeal in milk instead of water to sneak more calcium into your diet. Also, look for non-conventional sources of calcium, such as foods fortified with calcium. Aim for at least 1,000mg a day.
- Intake Enough Fluid : Getting enough nourishing fluids, like water, is important during pregnancy to prevent constipation and provide for the expanding blood volume that carries oxygen and nutrients to both the mother and baby. So, carry a water bottle, take 8 swigs of water every time you see a water fountain (1 swig = 1 ounce), and drink a glass of water between each meal and snack. Also, drink nutritious beverages, such as reduced-sodium V8, orange juice, or nonfat milk to get your fluids.
- Eat iron-rich diet: Protein-rich foods, like extra-lean meat, chicken without the skin, fish, or cooked dried beans and peas, are important sources of iron. This mineral is one of the most difficult nutrients to get enough of during pregnancy, yet is critical for maintaining normal oxygen supply to the baby, for normal development and growth, and for preventing premature delivery. Make sure you include several iron-rich foods in the daily diet, cook in cast iron pots, and take a multivitamin that includes iron.
- Give up on seafood: This is one of the hottest topics in nutrition for pregnant women right now. Here’s the good stuff: The fats in fish, called omega-3 fats, are essential for brain and vision development in the baby. Babies whose mothers consumed ample omega-3s, in particular DHA (97% of the omega-3s in the brain are DHA), score higher on IQ tests later in life, while low intake is associated with developmental delays. Omega-3s also might help prevent preterm births, as well as allergies and asthma later in life. But, here comes the bad: All fish contains mercury, a toxic metal that can cause serious nervous system damage. Hundreds of studies have shown that the more fish you eat, the higher the mercury levels. As a result, pregnant women have been told to limit fish consumption to no more than 12 ounces/week and to avoid altogether the worst offenders — shark, swordfish, mackerel and tilefish. But many woman have taken this recommendation so seriously that they avoid fish altogether, which explains why 75% of the population consumes no DHA on a given day.
- Stay Healthy: Avoid alcohol, coffee, colas, teas or soft cheeses: Consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages is not quite as clear-cut. Recent studies show no effect of caffeine on birth weight or birth defects. However, studies in the past have found a possible link between caffeine consumption and miscarriage, low birth weight and growth retardation.
- Clothing: Another most important point to remember is what you wear during pregnancy. Wear comfortable, non-restricting shoes and put your feet up several times a day to prevent fatigue and swelling of the feet, legs, and ankles.
- Regular Exercise: It's important for your general health and also can help reduce stress. Take a pregnancy exercise class or walk at least fifteen to twenty minutes every day at a moderate pace. Walk in cool, shaded areas or indoors in order to prevent overheating.
Exercise can benefit in following ways:
- Build your strength and endurance. This may help you to cope better with the extra weight of Pregnancy and the hard work of labour (RCOG 2006c).
- Make it easier for you to get back into shape after your baby is born.
- Boost your spirits and even help to ward off depression .
(Mead et al 2009, NCCMH 2007:105, RCOG 2006c)
Good exercise choices for pregnancy include:
- Brisk Walking
- aqua natal classes
- Proper Sleep: At least eight hours a night. If you're suffering from sleep disturbances, take naps during the day and see your physician for advice. Proper rest and sleep is very important for body to ensure healthy growth of body.
- Cooking habits: One should focus on cooking habits. For example, Cooking in cast iron pots can add iron to your diet, helping to prevent the anaemia that's so common during pregnancy.
- Ensure Safety while travelling: Continue to wear a safety belt while riding in motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the shoulder portion of the restraint should be positioned over the collar bone. The lap portion should be placed under the abdomen as low as possible on the hips and across the upper thighs, never above the abdomen. Also, Pregnant Women should sit as far from the air bag as possible.
- Consult Doctor Regularly: Don't take over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies without first consulting your obstetrician or midwife.
- Take a supplement (not necessary): Pregnancy vitamin supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet. But they can help if you are worried that you are not eating well, or you are too sick to eat much. Make sure your supplement contains 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. You need this while you are trying for a baby and for the first three months of the pregnancy. It basically reduces the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.
- Be positive: Human psychology plays very important role on the health of baby. Family members should ensure that a pregnant woman is happy and positive all the time. There are chances of mood swings during pregnancy so it must be taken care. Only family members and close ones can help in this matter.
- Stay Happy: Sometimes, despite our best efforts, life is stressful during pregnancy. If this is the case for you, then be sure to take time out regularly to do something that soothes you - be it yoga, meditation, listening to your favourite music, watching your favourite TV show, or taking a warm bubble bath (but avoid very hot water, which is bad for the baby)