Prenatal Care

Now that you are pregnant, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important than ever. Staying healthy during your pregnancy depends on you, so it’s important to get information needed to keep both you and your baby healthy.

Here’s some basic information to get you and your baby off to a healthy start. If you have additional questions, speak with your physician during your regular prenatal visits.

Nutrition

Remember that you are eating for two! This means that you need about 300 extra calories a day, especially later in your pregnancy as your baby is growing. When you consume calories, make sure they come from foods that are nutrient-rich, which contributes to your baby’s development and growth. Lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy items are great options.

Alcohol should always be avoided during pregnancy as no amount is safe. Caffeine can be consumed in moderate amounts (200 mg per day, or the equivalent of a cup of coffee).

Exercise

You should get at least 150 minutes of low-impact aerobic activity each week like walking, yoga, and swimming. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and take lots of breaks.

Exercise will benefit you both during pregnancy and after your baby arrives:

  • Help prevent excessive weight gain
  • Improve much-needed sleep
  • Increase your energy
  • Prepare your body for labor
  • Incease your recovery time after delivery

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Sleep

It is also important to get plenty of sleep during your pregnancy. Here’s great news: doctors recommend that you add two extra hours of sleep to your normal schedule when pregnant. You will probably feel more tired than usual as your body is still accommodating to a new life. Lying on your side with your knees bent is likely to be the most comfortable position.

Things to Avoid

It is important to avoid certain medicines and supplements during pregnancy as they can cause problems for baby. If you are unsure, check with your doctor who can answer any questions or make recommendations. Always consult a doctor before starting or stopping any medicine.

It is most important to avoid smoking during pregnancy as it is not only harmful to you but for your baby as well. The risks to your baby include:

  • Stillbirth
  • Prematurity
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Respiratory problems

During pregnancy, you should avoid exposure to lead, mercury, arsenic, pesticides, and solvents.