Tips for A Healthy Pregnancy During the Summer
I think it is a great thing that mothers want to be more educated about their health during pregnancy and about how to have healthy pregnancies. We are no longer throwing back espressos and puffing on the old cigarettes during those nine months, but are instead eating better, staying active and becoming more educated than ever before. However, pregnancy is also not the time to take the health focus to an extreme by going on a juice cleanse or training for a marathon. Balance and moderation are key, even during those endless summer BBQ’s!
Here are some of my tips for a healthier pregnancy during the summer and beyond:
- Put on a healthy amount of weight. 25 – 35 pounds for most women, depending on your starting weight (always consult your doctor to find out what is right for you). The sooner you can your head around putting on the weight, the better you will feel both get physically and emotionally. If you are constantly battling the scale and not embracing your new curves, it is going to be a miserable pregnancy. What’s more, it is imperative to remember you are doing this for the health of your baby.
- Take vitamins and maintain good nutrition. It is important to get enough Folic Acid, not only during your pregnancy but in the year to 6 months leading up to pregnancy, if you can. If you aren’t pregnant yet but would like to be, I suggest you start taking your prenatal vitamins already. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are also very important during pregnancy. Fish is the obvious source of these fatty acids, but this can be tough during pregnancy — either because of the mercury content or because it simply makes you want to hurl! If you do find that you’re having trouble getting your fatty acids from your diet, I would suggest getting them from vitamins, but consult with your doctor which Omega-3 vitamins are safe for you to take. And while we’re on the topic of diet, be sure to stay away from fast food, hot dogs and deli meats, as all present potential risks. Any food that has been linked to the pesky bacteria listeria needs to be struck off your list of foods. For some great summer alternatives, check out my recent food safety post here.
- Exercise. Pregnancy is not a time to take up running a marathon if you weren’t a marathon runner prior to getting pregnant. It is equally not a time to be completely sedentary (unless otherwise indicated by your doctor) for your entire pregnancy. My best advice is to try and maintain the exercise routine you kept up prior to pregnancy — don’t increase it, but don’t drop it to zero either. However, you may have to change up the type of exercise you are doing so that you feel comfortable, especially as you head closer to your third trimester. I love walking (vary it and make more difficult by finding hills or increasing the incline on a treadmill) and swimming, if you have access to a pool. Prenatal Pilates and Prenatal Yoga are also great options and, as an added benefit, provide you with great physical tools for labor.
- Remember change is good. For your emotional stability, remember that all these changes that are occurring with your body and your mind are important for the baby. You are actually growing and nurturing a human being in that uterus of yours and so there are bound to be changes that go with that. I think understanding that pregnancy is preparing you for parenthood is the best way to deal with these changes. Becoming a parent means that you are no longer going to be the most important thing in your life — someone else comes first now. I think surrendering to some of these mental and physical changes during the pregnancy are the first steps in becoming a mom.
- Prepare and educate yourself. You are heading into the most important time of your life and I believe in preparing for this. Of course, simply reading books and blogs and taking classes are not going to equip you with every parenting skill you are going to need. However I believe they will give you the confidence to be able to get to know and enjoy your new baby and to become the parent that you want to be. Knowledge always gives us strength and you need to be strong as a parent.
- Get your home ready for the new baby. Many people ask me why they need to get the baby’s room ready or why they need to baby-proof before the baby is born. Of course, I know your baby is not going to come out walking and sticking their fingers in electrical sockets. And, yes, your baby will probably sleep in a bassinet at your bedside for the first few weeks and not in his or her room. However, time and energy is not something you are going to have a lot of once your baby has arrived and I can tell you from experience that the baby-proofing and the nursery decorating will take a back seat. Before you know it, your wee one will be running around exposed to all the hazards in your home. So give yourself a break and prevent any bad accidents ahead of time by preparing your home for your new arrival before they arrive!
- But most of all, try to enjoy this amazing time in your life. It is truly an honor and a privilege; you are becoming a mom!