A healthy pregnancy not only benefits your growing baby, but also benefits you. This all starts with a healthy diet. A healthy diet is vital when you are pregnant. There is no magic trick to a “pregnancy diet”. A balanced diet is all that you (and your baby!) need. However, there are food that you should avoid during pregnancy, this includes:
1. Raw (or undercooked) eggs
2. Raw (or undercooked) meat
3. Raw (unpasteurised) milk
4. Liver (excessive amount of vitamin A)
5. Soft cheeses (especially those with white rinds and blue cheeses)
6. Game (meat of any wild animal or bird)
7. Cold cured meats
Some studies have shown that high caffeine consumption during pregnancy may result in low birthweight, and excessive caffeine consumption may even result in miscarriage. If eliminating caffeine is not possible for you, it is recommended to keep your daily caffeine intake to under 200mg. Remember, caffeine is found not only in coffees and teas, but also in soft drinks, chocolates, cold medicines and pain killers. So look out, and always consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications during pregnancy.
Needless to say, smoking and drinking alcohol are harmful to your growing baby. Whatever habits you have during pregnancy, your unborn baby now has it too! Substances that you consume will pass through to your baby via the placenta. Alcohol is not broken down by your baby as fast as by you. This is why when you consume alcohol, it causes various damage and irreversible health complications, from mental retardation to heart damage. Remember, even a sip of alcohol counts. Whatever you consume, your baby consumes too!
Recent studies have shown that smoking is highly linked to various birth defects. It also increases the risk of ectopic pregnancies, low birthweights, pre-mature birth and even stillbirth. Keeping your baby away from your smoking habit gives your baby a good start in life. Your cigarette not only contains tobacco, but a number of damaging chemicals including tar. It is advisable for you to seek help from your doctor to stop smoking prior to planning your pregnancy. However, if you are unable to stop smoking, nicotine replacement therapy (“NTC”) might be the option for you. NTC contains the nicotine that your body craves, yet does not contain the chemicals that are often found in your cigarettes. Contact your doctor to see if NTC is suitable for you.
Keeping fit is another way to keep your pregnancy healthy. Exercise not only prepare your body for labour and assist with post-labour recovery, it will also assist in the development of your baby. During exercise, your body also releases “happy” chemicals called endorphins, which keeps both your energy and your mood up. Exercise is suitable for low-risk pregnancies. However, consult your doctor before embarking on a workout regime. Read our article on “HOME WORKOUTS DURING PREGNANCY” to learn more.
While maintaining your physical health is important, taking care of your mental health is just as important during your pregnancy. Many women experience anxiety during their pregnancy, as well as other more severe mental issues ranging from depression and panic attacks to post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. It is important to tackle such issues head-on, and seek help from doctors.
Last but not least, SLEEP! As a pregnant woman, sleeping can sometimes be taxing. Remember, sleeping is the time your body restores and repairs itself. It is vital for you to get a good night sleep to provide your body with the opportunity to recover and guard against illnesses. Try drinking warm milk before bed to aid sleeping. Light, however little, disrupts sleep. Melatonin is the hormone that your body produces to prepare you for a good night sleep. Light causes melatonin suppression, which means bad sleep! Try using sleep masks and light-blocking blackout curtains to stop light from disrupting your sleep.