Prenatal care is the health care that you receive throughout your pregnancy. It is important to see your OBGYN regularly throughout the pregnancy. However, there are several lifestyle habits that you can adopt to promote a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal self-care is a big part of prenatal care. Self-care involves the care that you can do for yourself to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Engagement in prenatal self-care activities leads to good pregnancy outcomes. A healthy lifestyle is important so that you and your baby are happy and healthy throughout your pregnancy. There is an abundance of information online but sifting through fact or fiction can be challenging. To help assist our patients, we provide some simple “Do’s and Don’ts” to filter the influx of information surrounding healthy pregnancy habits.
- Exercise – You may continue your normal exercise activities during pregnancy. However, before you begin a new workout regimen, it is important to consult with your doctor first. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-4 times a week.
- Drink lots of water – It is suggested to drink 8 8-ounces glass of water daily to promote healthy kidney function and ensure a sufficient amount of amniotic fluid for your baby.
- Sleep – Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day.
- Diet – In order to get the nutrients you need, you should eat a variety of food groups including: fruits, vegetables, breads, grains, protein, and dairy products. Typically, you will need to consume an extra 300 calories a day.
- Restrict your caffeine intake to 200mg of caffeine daily or two 8-ounce caffeinated drinks daily.
- Do not consume raw or under cooked meats (such as: hot dogs or lunch meat)
- Do not consume unpasteurized cheeses and milk (such as: feta or brie)
- Limit your fish intake to no more than 1-2 servings per week or 12-ounces. Avoid swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, whale, and albacore tuna due to high mercury content.
- Eat small meals throughout the day. This can help with morning sickness and heartburn related to pregnancy.
- Remain up-to-date on all your immunizations to protect you and your baby from disease.
- Take a prenatal vitamin daily – Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid which may prevent certain birth defects such as Spina Bifida.
- No smoking, alcohol, or illicit drug use
- Take care of any preexisting medical problems – If you have a chronic illness be sure to have it under control before and during pregnancy to avoid complications (Such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, and obesity)
- Avoid hot tubs or saunas – High temperatures can be harmful for your baby.
A lack of engagement in prenatal self-care activities can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, placental abruption, preterm delivery, and birth defects. If you have any questions about life style habits or medications during pregnancy please contact your healthcare provider.