6 Things You Need to Know to Have a Healthy Pregnancy


1. Get Early and Regular Prenatal Care
The first 8 weeks of your pregnancy are very important to your baby's development. Early and regular prenatal care can increase your chances of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care includes screenings, regular exams, education, counseling and support.

2. Maintain a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet
Eating a variety of foods will help you get all the nutrients you need. Choose plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. You should eat and drink at least four servings of dairy and other calcium-rich foods every day. That way, you'll keep your teeth and bones healthy while your baby develops. Also, be sure to include good food sources of folic acid, such as leafy green vegetables, dried beans, liver, and some citrus fruits.

3. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise will help you stay at a healthy pregnancy weight, keep your strength up, and ease stress. Just be sure you review your exercise program with your doctor. You'll most likely be able to continue your normal exercise routine throughout your pregnancy. But your doctor can help you figure out if you'll need to scale back or modify your routine.

4. Gain the Right Amount of Weight
Talk with your doctor or midwife about how much weight you should gain based upon your pre-pregnancy weight. Make sure to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, assuming physical training has been cleared by your health practitioner.

5. Keep Other Doctor Appointments
If you have a chronic health problem such as diabetes or high blood pressure, be sure you keep up with your regular doctor appointments. Managing your condition before you get pregnant will keep both you and your baby healthy. Be sure to see your dentist for regular exams and cleanings, too. Having healthy teeth and gums lessens the chance of preterm birth and of having a baby with a low birth weight.

6. Take Prenatal Vitamins
All women of childbearing age should take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Getting enough folic acid every day before and during the first 3 months of pregnancy can help prevent defects involving a baby's brain and spinal cord.

 

Sources:
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
American Pregnancy Association
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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