There are few stages in a woman’s life more exciting — or daunting — than pregnancy. Here are some tips to help ensure a safe and happy pregnancy and give your child a healthy foundation. These lifestyle changes can and should begin before you decide to become pregnant, but if you’re already expecting, simply adopt as many as you can.
Exercise is good for you and your developing baby. With a normal, healthy pregnancy, you can do just about any exercise you enjoy, as long as you follow the most important principle: listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Pregnancy is not the time to set a record or run a marathon.
Reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals during your pregnancy is important for you and your little one. The easiest way to avoid toxins is to eat real food (organic as much as possible).
Eat Whole Foods.
In general, choose fresh, organic foods whenever possible. Aim for a well-balanced diet with adequate protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Leafy green vegetables are loaded with folate, a B vitamin that studies have shown reduces the chance of your child being born with neural tube defects.
Supplement Your Diet.
Omega-3s play a big role in fetal growth and development, and are essential for brain and nervous system development. Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of many pregnancy-related complications, including gestational diabetes. It’s also important for your baby’s muscle, bone and hormone development, and supports your immune system during pregnancy. Probiotics are also critical; a high quality probiotic will help ensure that your baby will get a good dose of beneficial bacteria, which can reduce risk of illness in the first few years.
Your body needs rest to rejuvenate during this time of increased demand. Avoid excess worry, which drains vital energy. Pregnant women often need several more hours of sleep during their first trimester. Try to rest and nap anytime you can; if you can catch a 15-minute nap during the day, you’ll find that you’re much more relaxed when night comes. If you get in bed and are unable to relax, try to find a relaxation technique that works for you, like reading, meditation or listening to music.
Following these tips may help to keep you happy and healthy during your pregnancy.
Christopher S. Grady, MD
Attending Physician, OB/GYN
A native of the Louisville area, Dr. Grady received his undergraduate degree from Translyvania University, then graduated from the University of Louisville Medical School, followed by an OB/GYN residency at the Medical College of Georgia. He provides care for women of all ages, including general and high-risk obstetrics and a wide range of gynecological care. He has three boys and is a member of the Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Northside Christian Church