You truly can enjoy your pregnancy and not worry so much or feel miserable. Try these 6 pregnancy tips to get the most out of this life-changing experience.
1. Eat More Protein and More Calories for a Healthier Pregnancy
Yes, that’s right! I just gave you permission to eat more! But pick your extra 300 calories wisely. This doesn’t mean that eating for two gives you permission to binge on ice cream and pizza and junk food. I’ve seen some moms gain 50-80 pounds during pregnancy. This is just not safe or healthy for mom or for baby. Pregnancy is not a time to indulge and pig out. Pregnancy is a time to take the best care of yourself. Because everything you do and everything you eat affects your growing baby – not just today but for a long time.
Most women don’t know that they are supposed to eat 60% more protein during pregnancy compared to how much you eat when you’re not pregnant. You actually need to make sure you are eating 80-100 grams of protein daily. Start at the very beginning of your 2nd trimester or week 12-14 of your pregnancy. Every single cell is formed from protein. That means: baby, placenta, amniotic sac, amniotic fluid, blood, and the muscles of the uterus. You’re probably thinking, “That’s a heck of a lot of protein!” Yes it is, but your body and baby need it!
Take a moment and take this quiz from Dr. Brewer’s Pregnancy Diet to see if you know how to create the perfect diet to grow your healthy baby:
Pregnancy Nutrition Quiz
Section I – Are the following statements True or False?
1. When a woman becomes pregnant, she should cut down on her salt intake.
2. A woman’s weight gain in pregnancy must be controlled in order to reduce her chances of a difficult labor.
3. Taking prenatal vitamins and mineral supplements will satisfy a pregnant woman’s special nutritional needs.
4. Swelling of ankles, fingers, and face (edema) is a danger sign in pregnancy calling for the elimination of salt from the diet.
5. A baby’s length and weight at birth depends on the parents’ stature.
6. Brain damage in babies is primarily caused by difficulties at the time of birth.
7. Mothers pregnant with twins should expect them to be born ahead of time and to weigh less than 5 1/2 pounds each.
8. Obstetricians receive training in applied nutrition for pregnancy as part of their residency programs.
9. A high-protein, low-calorie diet is desirable in pregnancy.
10. Pregnancy imposes a nutritional stress only on adolescents and women who were poorly nourished before they became pregnant.
Section II – Choose the best answer.
1. During pregnancy a woman should gain:
- at least 24 pounds.
- no more than 24 pounds over her ideal weight.
- the number of pounds her doctor recommends.
- none of the above.
2. Babies have the lowest incidence of brain damage when their mothers gain:
- 0 to 15 pounds.
- 16 to 25 pounds.
- 26 to 35 pounds.
- 36 pounds or more.
3. Healthy mothers and healthy babies result when the mother’s pregnancy weight gain follows a pattern of:
- 4 pounds a month throughout pregnancy.
- nothing in the first three months, 4 pounds a month for the next three months, then a pound a week until birth.
- 1/2 pound each week throughout pregnancy.
- none of the above.
4. Milk and eggs are good foods for pregnant women because:
- they contain all the known nutrients in a balanced form.
- they are low in sodium (salt).
- they are low in calories.
- they are not good foods for pregnant women because they are high in cholesterol.
5. When a woman follows a sound nutrition program for pregnancy, her chances of experiencing hemorrhage and poor postpartum healing are:
- not affected in any way.
- dependent on her care in the hospital recovery room.
6. The most reliable indicator of a baby’s future mental and physical development is:
- the Apgar score given at birth.
- the physical exam given at one month of age.
- the baby’s weight at birth.
- the mother’s weight gain during pregnancy.
7. Nausea or vomiting in early pregnancy is best helped by:
- eating plain crackers before arising.
- eating high protein snacks throughout the day and night.
- eating as little as possible.
- eating foods high in vitamin C.
8. Metabolic toxemia of pregnancy is caused by:
- a poorly functioning placenta.
- excess salt intake.
- excess weight gain in pregnancy.
9. The best advice for pregnant women about salt intake is:
- salt food to taste.
- salt food while cooking, but use none at the table.
- avoid all foods high in sodium and use none in cooking.
- take in no more than two grams a day.
10. A sound diet for pregnancy includes every day at least:
- 25 grams of protein and 1,200 calories.
- 40 grams of protein and 1,500 calories.
- 60 grams of protein and 2,000 calories.
- 80 grams of protein and 2,600 calories.
Section I – All statements are False.
Section II –
1 — d; 6 — c; 2 — d; 7 — b; 3 — d; 8 — a; 4 — a; 9 — a; 5 — b; 10 — d
2. Start Exercising Now or
Just Keep Your Pregnant Body Moving
Exercise and pregnancy may take a little motivation. You benefit from exercise and so does your baby. Exercise and pregnancy actually improves your baby’s cardiovascular system. It’s a win win situation for al involved. Walking daily during pregnancy is the easiest and probably most accessible exercise to do during pregnancy. 30 minutes of walking every day is enough. If you have time and energy for more, go ahead and get those 10,000 steps in.
Swimming is also very good for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. It also may help the baby to get in the best position for birth.
Another daily exercise every pregnant woman should do are pelvic rocks. Get on your hands and knees. Starting with a flat back, inhale and tilt the tailbone up. Exhale and tuck the tailbone under. You will be moving just the pelvis and low back. The upper back is stationary. If you suffer from carpal tunnel pain, you can rest your forearms on the floor or place a pillow under your hands. Do 50 pelvic rocks/day.
Stretching, specifically, Yoga for Pregnancy. Prenatal Yoga has so many benefits for both the expecting mom and her baby. Studies have shown that practicing prenatal yoga 2-3 times/week in the last 10-12 weeks of pregnancy shortens labor, and reduces the mother’s perception of pain in labor. Pregnant moms learn how to breathe, stay in the moment, and respond to their contractions instead of react to them. You will meet other moms in a yoga class and make new friends with other pregnant women who are going through all the same changes that you are. Prenatal Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety, and depression. See related content here: Yoga and Pregnancy and try my FREE 25 MINUTE PRENATAL YOGA CLASS ON YOUTUBE.
4. Take a Nap
You are growing a new little person. You’re bound to be tired. Your body is working hard and overtime. Before you might have just pushed yourself through this feeling tired. But during pregnancy your body is giving you a message. That message says, ” Rest if you need it”. You need to rest and, it’s not only okay, it’s necessary! And don’t forget to invest in a pregnancy pillow. One of my former students said her pregnancy pillow saved her marriage. it was the only way she could get a good night’s sleep.Learning to listen to our bodies is important. If you get a strong feeling that motivates you to keep going, then do it. On the other hand if your gut is telling you, the opposite, take a moment and try to follow your instincts.
Sometimes we do feel tired and a nap is the solution. But if you find yourself still feeling tired, or fatigued, or even listless, you may need an iron supplement. One easy way to find out if you’re anemic, is to have a finger prick at your next doctor/midwife appointment. It’s an easy test. But if you don’t want to wait, it can’t hurt to start taking my favorite iron supplement today. It’s basically food. It is not a synthetic iron. It is liquid liver in a capsule.
My favorite iron supplement is Energizing Iron. The only side effect is an increase in hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein in your blood. You are making blood for your baby every day, so beef up on the iron. You’ll start feeling better within a day or two if you take 3-6 daily with each meal. These iron supplements don’t cause constipation or gas or any other ugly side effects of iron supplements. You can keep taking them after the baby arrives too and later on when you start to menstruate again.
5. Don’t Skip the Birth Class!
It is unbelievable to me how many people Do Not take a childbirth class. They are missing out on so much! You meet other expecting parents. You learn to work together as a team
and you learn to appreciate each other in a different way. There is so much to know. The biggest benefit of taking a childbirth class is that the information you get replaces the fear most people have about birth. So many people are terrified of the labor and birth process. Everything you’ve ever seen on TV or in the movies regarding birth has NOTHING to do with reality and everything to do with drama and ratings.
When you understand what a normal process labor is, you realize there is very little to fear. Birth is inherently safe. You also will learn Comfort Techniques and other tools and skills to deal with the challenges of labor, together as a team. It takes two people to make a baby and it takes a team to bring a baby into the world. It’s important to understand all of the ins and outs, and risks and benefits of the common medical procedures done in a hospital. Giving birth in the hospital can get complicated, especially if you don’t understand all of your options. But when you do know your options before labor starts, you’ll feel prepared and calm. So GET EDUCATED! Take the time to invest in one of the most important and memorable days of your lives.
6. Treat Yourself
Your body is changing DAILY so go shopping and buy just a few nice pregnancy outfits to show off that baby bump. Retail therapy is always a nice treat. Go ahead and splurge and buy yourself some well-made stylish outfits. Don’t limit yourself to just big tee shirts or cheap leggings. Check out my Pinterest Board for Pregnancy Fashion Ideas. And plan on looking fantastic during this pregnancy. Some other splurges might be a pregnancy massage, acupuncture, or a pedicure.
Having a massage during pregnancy is a real treat. You will feel tranquil and relaxed – stress free. Pregnancy massages, relieve back pain, increase circulation. Get your partner to practice massage so you will can get massaged during labor. Read my post on How to Give a Good Massage to a Pregnant Woman.
Acupuncture may be covered by your health insurance. Even if it’s not covered by insurance, acupuncture has been shown to improve sleep, reduce back pain, nausea, and headaches during pregnancy. Go ahead and treat yourself!