If you are pregnant for the first time, you may wonder what to expect and how to deal with your changing body as well as any discomforts and concerns you experience. As with many new experiences, pregnancy may seem overwhelming at first. Knowing how to keep yourself healthy and comfortable while you are growing a new life can help you enjoy your pregnancy and give your baby a great start in life.
Dump the Vices
Now is not the time to light up a cigarette or to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions against smoking during pregnancy. This practice can increase your risks of having a premature baby or one with birth defects. Even though you may be used to having an evening cocktail, the CDC advises that a safe level of alcohol for pregnant women remains unknown. Refrain from all recreational drugs to increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy.
If you are thinking of replacing your evening cocktail with a soak in the hot tub, consider the temperature. Although warm water can help you relax and unwind, excessive heat from saunas and hot tubs can be dangerous to your pregnancy. The CDC recommends avoiding both of these during pregnancy.
Stay in Shape
Even if you don’t normally follow an exercise routine, some simple activities can help you stay comfortable and fit. Get your doctor’s approval before beginning your routine. Try walking in good shoes or swimming at your local pool. Check your area health clubs for beginner yoga classes or ones that are specifically designed for pregnant women. Start slowly and increase gradually. Activities that include back stretches and strengthening can help reduce discomfort as your pregnancy progresses. Don’t participate in high impact activities or ones that require a high level of effort. Avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back after your fourth month.
Eat Good Foods
Your baby depends on you for all his needs, including good nutrition. Make sure you include items from all five of the basic food groups. Include servings of meat or other sources of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and milk or milk products. The CDC advises pregnant women to eat foods that contain plenty of fiber and to decrease the intake of fatty foods. Limit the intake of caffeine while you are pregnant. Substitute unhealthy, sugary drinks with clear water.
This may be one of the few times in your life when you have a great excuse to slip in the occasional nap or to retire to bed early. Many women experience an increased need for periods of rest and sleep during the different stages of pregnancy. Sleep and rest on your left side to encourage healthy circulation to your growing baby.
With all the changes your body is undergoing, you may experience occasional pains and discomforts. Keep these at a minimum by getting regular massages, drinking plenty of fluid and avoiding quick movements. Change your position frequently to stay comfortable. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience intense pain or pain that accompanies regular, uterine contractions.
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