A healthy baby needs a healthy vessel, after all that’s where they’ll be growing for their first nine months. While drastic steps are unnecessary and can cause more stress then they're worth, taking gradual steps to get ready can make the difference in how to have a healthy pregnancy.
How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy
1. Schedule a preconception visit.
Review your present health with your doctor or midwife in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Discuss medical history, current medications, chronic health problems, etc.
2. Cut the caffeine.
Research has shown that caffeine can cause birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, reduced fertility, and increase the risk of low-birth weight in infants. Switch your coffee to decaffeinated and don’t steep tea for any longer than one minute.
3. Cut the booze.
What you drink, your baby drinks. Remember, some of the most important cognitive development occurs during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
4. Take a prenatal vitamin.
You should start taking a prenatal vitamin three months ahead of conception to get the necessary folate. If your prenatal vitamin makes you feel nauseous, take it before you go to bed.
5. Take DHA.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants. DHA is also required for maintenance of normal brain function in adults.
6. Ask your doctor about supplementing iodine.
New research has found that iodine deficiencies can cause issues to an infant's nervous system and brain development so it's worth asking your doctor about supplementing. Also, switch to iodized salt.
7. Get in a good exercise habit.
Exercise is really important during pregnancy but you don’t want to overdo it. Get into good habits before you get pregnant so that when you’re tired and don’t feel like working out, you’ll be more likely to make the right decision.
8. Practice stress reduction.
Trying to get pregnant can be stressful and it makes conception that much more difficult. Consider restorative or yin yoga, meditation, or stress reducing acupuncture before and during pregnancy to feel at ease throughout your day.
9. Enjoy ample fruits and vegetables.
If there is ever a time to get ample fruits and vegetables, before and during pregnancy are the most important. Consider a fresh juice in the morning, a colorful side salad for lunch, and hearty vegetable soup for dinner.
10. Start watching your intake of fish.
Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as protein and vitamin D, but it also contains mercury. Eat low on the fish food chain and watch your overall intake. Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish entirely.
11. Download a pregnancy app.
This is the easiest way to figure out when you ovulate and when your fertile days are each month. All you need to do is track your period and the app does the math for you.
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Image: Tobias Lindman