Healthy Habits During Pregnancy
Knowing which habits are healthy during pregnancy is essential to enjoying your pregnancy in a more vital and safe way. You may have to make minor modifications to some habits, such as diet or physical exercise. However, all this is aimed at ensuring you and your baby enjoy a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy.
Several healthy habits during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it’s very important to feed properly since your body’s energy demands increase and your baby has to grow properly.
All recommendations should always be adapted to the health status of each pregnant woman. Nonetheless, there are certain guidelines that are applicable to most cases:
- Make a minimum of five meals a day.
- It’s preferable to eat smaller portions of food throughout the day than to ingest large meals and spend hours fasting between them.
- Avoid the consumption of pre-cooked and industrial products.
- Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s best to consume a minimum of five pieces a day.
- Include dairy products and legumes in your diet.
- Avoid consuming soft drinks.
- Don’t consume excessively stimulating drinks: coffee, tea…
To minimize the risk of getting toxoplasmosis during pregnancy:
- Properly cook meat, chicken, and fish. Don’t eat undercooked or raw foods.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables well before eating.
- Avoid consuming sausages and cured ham, like serrano. If you do eat them, freeze them beforehand for a minimum of 72 hours.
- Maintain proper hand and kitchen hygiene.
- If you have cats, don’t handle the litter box or their feces.
- Wear protective gloves if you do gardening work.
Listeriosis is a disease that can also be contracted during pregnancy and it affects the fetus. To minimize the risk of infection, follow these recommendations in addition to those in the previous section:
- Consume dairy products produced with pasteurized milk.
- Avoid the consumption of soft cheeses and cold cuts; especially those we can find in a delicatessen since there’s a risk of cross-contamination.
- Don’t eat patés.
Keep in mind that the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and any other toxic substance is completely contraindicated during pregnancy.
In addition to following a healthy diet, physical exercise during pregnancy is very beneficial for you and your baby; as long as it’s not contraindicated by your gynecologist.
During pregnancy, it’s advisable to continue with a level of physical activity similar to what you were previously doing. However, it’s likely that you’ll need to decrease the intensity.
The most advisable sports to practice during pregnancy are:
- Walking. This exercise is available to everyone. It’s healthy and will keep you fit. Try to walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
- Yoga or pilates for pregnant women. These sports will allow you to stay fit while exercising your muscles and your elasticity. It’s important that those who teach the classes are trained to adapt the exercises to pregnant women.
- Swimming. It helps strengthen the muscles and, thanks to the effect of the water, minimizes the risk of injury.
Sports that involve impact on the ground, such as running and Zumba, aren’t recommended during pregnancy; every “hit on the floor” has a small impact on the pelvic floor. It’s preferable to perform more leisurely physical exercises or to modify what you were previously doing to reduce these impacts.
It’s essential to rest during your pregnancy in order to feel energetic during the day. Moreover, hormones that act during pregnancy can influence sleep by increasing it, especially in the first trimester.
There may also be periods when it’s harder for you to sleep or you wake up frequently. This is usually due to the symptoms associated with pregnancy; such as the urge to urinate or burning sensations. To get adequate rest, you can follow these tips:
- Establish a sleep routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every day.
- Avoid lights and electronic devices in the bedroom.
- Have dinner an hour or two before bedtime.
- You can use a breastfeeding pillow to rest on it and maintain a more comfortable posture.
- If your legs swell up at the end of the day, sleep by resting them on a pillow or by raising your feet slightly.
It’s very important that you go to the dentist before or during your pregnancy to undergo a dental check-up. During pregnancy, hormonal changes occur that affect your saliva and gums and increase the risk of oral problems such as gingivitis.
Eating more times a day can also cause tooth decay, so maintain proper dental hygiene and don’t be afraid to go to the dentist. If it’s necessary to undergo dental treatment, most of them can be performed during pregnancy.
You can use the same hygiene products you were using before you got pregnant as long as they’re not aggressive on your skin and you’re sure that they don’t produce any allergic reactions.
Unless your gynecologist says otherwise, it’s ok to have sex while pregnant.
Other healthy habits during pregnancy
If you work or live with young children, it’s important to follow these recommendations to minimize the risk of cytomegalovirus infection:
- Perform proper hand hygiene whenever you come in contact with your fluids: saliva, mucus, urine…
- Avoid kisses on the mouth and sharing silverware with your children.
To maintain healthy habits during pregnancy, remember to…
Always consult your midwife or gynecologist for any questions you have about the changes you should make regarding your habits during pregnancy. Don’t forget that each pregnancy is unique and that many recommendations should be adapted to each individual situation.