Pregnancy is a gift of God and if you are blessed with it, you are lucky. It’s the time when you should think right, eat right and do right and be the best mom to your baby who is growing fast inside your belly.
Pregnancy is one of the many amazing miracles of life, but being prepared for this period is one of the most important jobs a woman will ever have. Being prepared for pregnancy involves balancing a woman’s own body health, as well as outside stress.
Eating a diet rich in necessary vitamins and other nutrients, along with balancing other parts of life is paramount to a successful and healthy pregnancy.
How to Stay Healthy While Being Pregnant
Moms and babies can exercise after birth to become healthier than ever, so it is important to maintain health to have a healthy baby.
Although all essential vitamins and minerals are necessary while a woman is pregnant, some are even more important than others.
Nutritional Needs for Pregnant Women
Are you eating right? Supplements are essential but food in natural form is the best. A balanced diet is all that you need to have during this time and not something that makes you fat or lean.
Being obese and underweight, both are risks during pregnancy.
Diet for Slightly Overweight Moms:
- Add the right amount of protein, little quantity of healthy fat and complex carbohydrate to your breakfast
- Consume whole grains, a lot of fresh and green vegetables, fruits, low-fat food and lean meat.
- Do not eat processed food that comes loaded with sugar, added colors, flavors, and preservatives.
- Eat healthy snacks like low-fat yogurt, hummus, salads and all types of fresh fruits like apple, oranges, bananas, pomegranates etc. Avoid all types of fried foods and junks. You can gorge on popcorn rather than potato chips, just feel the difference.
- Do not have packaged juice or beverages but drink plenty of plain water.
For the Underweight Moms:
- Consume all types of healthy fats and foods rich in omega-3 like avocados and nuts.
- Do eat fresh fruits but when it comes to putting on weight, focus more on dry fruits.
- Eat the right amount of protein
- Avoid junk and processed food but keep taking healthy snacks in between meals.
Calcium and Pregnancy
Calcium is one of the absolute most important vitamins for consumption by any pregnant woman, for a variety of reasons.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for proper bone and teeth development, and becomes even more important during this period. Intaking a proper amount of calcium can also help with preventing blood clots, stabilizing and maintaining the nervous system, and stabilizing and maintaining the growth and function of muscles in the body.
If a pregnant woman is not intaking the necessary amount of calcium during her pregnancy, there is an increased risk she will develop osteoporosis (bones beginning to weaken) as she ages.
During the pregnancy, the baby takes its calcium from the mother, necessitating it that the mother intake the maximum amount of calcium needed.
Calcium can be consumed adequately through products such as dairy milk or goat milk, and supplementation is also an option. Before taking any supplement, you should absolutely consult with your doctor, but there are many effective calcium supplements on the market.
Vitamin D and Pregnancy
Vitamin D is another vitamin essential to a pregnant mother. Vitamin D can generally be produced in sufficient quantities within a human’s body with only exposure to sun rays, although certain foods can also assist with intaking this nutrient.
Milk and fatty fish are two of the most prominent sources of Vitamin D in food, and can substantially help a pregnant mother intake enough Vitamin D. There are also a variety of healthy pregnancy snacks which can improve your daily Vitamin D intake.
There are certainly many different nutrients which are crucial to a healthy pregnancy, and these are just two examples.
Oral Health During Pregnancy – Important Information to Know
It is highly recommended that you visit your dentist for an annual check-up and or routine cleaning during your pregnancy. The best time to do your dental treatment is during the second trimester, or from 14 weeks to 20 weeks.
During your pregnancy, you will experience an increase in your hormones such as estrogen and progesterone and others which will contribute to a change in the oral bacteria; and such a condition will cause inflammation of your gums, swelling and redness.
This is what we call pregnancy gingivitis. If you have this condition, a visit to the dentist is a must. If left unattended, this infection of the gums can lead to trapping the food and ultimately will increase the likelihood of decay. If you do not treat this, the cavities become bigger and may reach the pulp chamber where your nerve is; causing more discomfort and pain.
Therefore, I advise that early prevention and visiting the dentist is a must!
During pregnancy, the mother tends to eat frequently. It is recommended that brushing and flossing be done immediately afterwards to prevent the bacteria from increasing cavities.
Any condition that may stress the mother should be prevented. You can stop the pain by doing simple fillers. If X-rays are needed, it is important to protect your abdomen with a lead apron to keep your abdomen safe; and you can also use a a lead collar to protect your thyroid. If possible, use digital X-rays which uses the least and lowest radiation as possible. Your safety is utmost concern!
Any cosmetic procedure such as teeth whitening can be performed after the delivery of the baby. For other conditions such as extractions and endodontics, these should be done immediately to avoid any additional stress for the mother.
A proper dentist will always consult your obstetrician and gynecologist before administering antibiotics.
For anesthesia, they will use the least amount to numb you so that you feel comfortable. The best option is lidocaine, which is the safest to use during pregnancy.
For mothers with sleep apnea, good dentists can provide an alternative to CPAP therapy, and do oral application therapy where they simply take your impressions, and a personalized oral device which will help you breathe better and sleep better.
Stress Factors and Pregnancy
Other factors which are necessary to account for to ensure a healthy pregnancy are external environment factors. One example of this is “maternity leave” from work.
For a mother who is expectant, it is important that she understands her rights and abilities to take time off from work, and still receive compensation.
This can drastically reduce stress from the mother, allowing her to maintain health for her and the baby.
One excellent example of this is the paid California Maternity Leave system. If you do not understand your rights as a pregnant mother when it comes from taking time off from work, it is highly advisable that you look at a resource such as this one for California.
Along with that, getting a pregnancy massage every once in a while can be a huge stress-reliever as well.
Every future mom knows that her bundle of joy also represents a threat to her low back health and overall spinal well-being.
Carrying a front load constantly puts your body under a great deal of physical stress, so moms-to-be often suffer from chronic back pain, and they experience trouble sitting down or finding a comfortable position.
To minimize joint swelling typical for pregnancy, as well as other aches and pains that accompany this blissful time in your life, a stress-relieving pregnancy massage can help with all these and many other issues.
For the best results, make sure that your therapist is willing to come to your home for greater comfort, and you’ll likely sleep like a baby afterwards.
Maintaining low levels of stress is vital to your health, and your babies’ health.
Pelvic Floor Exercises for Pregnant Women
The pelvic core is an often overlooked but critical part of our body. It includes our deepest abdominal muscles, specifically the transverse abdominis, the multifidus muscles of our spine, the pelvic floor muscles, and the breathing diaphragm.
The pelvic floor is the most critical part of the pelvic core. It supports the pelvic organs, including the:
- Uterus (In Women)
The muscles extend from back to front (from the coccyx to pubic bone), and from side to side; like a hammock or sling. A strong pelvic floor is essential for basic functions like peeing, childbirth, and sex.
Engaging the pelvic floor muscles keeps the internal organs in their proper place. It also tightens the sphincter muscles which hold the openings to the vagina, anus, and urethra closed. When relaxed, we are able to pass urine, poop, and gas.
According to Natalie Padveen, mom, a Physical Therapist, a Fitness Instructor, and the founder of Pelacore, a unique pelvic core workout program that teaches fitness instructors how to train and strengthen their clients’ pelvic core properly,
“The pelvic floor and core muscles play a vital role during pregnancy to support the baby while in the uterus and during the birth itself.”
Since the pelvic floor does not work in isolation, Pelacore takes a holistic and functional approach to strengthen the pelvic core.
As stated by Ms. Padveen,
“As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I meet countless women who don’t realize the importance of the pelvic core until they become pregnant with their first child and start experiencing symptoms that could have been prevented.”
In reality, women of any age can benefit from pelvic core training. Poor pelvic function – and even damage that may require surgery later on – can result from so much more than just birthing a child.
For example, other lifestyle factors which contribute to poor pelvic function include:
- Poor Exercise Form
- High-Impact Sports
- Poor Dietary Habits
- Previous Surgery
Pelacore helps women activate and train muscles, which help improve symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, and in many cases, decreases symptoms associated with prolapse. It helps women feel stronger from the inside, improving bladder control, sexual sensation, and reducing back pain. Pelacore students compare the program to “Kegels on steroids,” stating that they benefit both physically and aesthetically.
“I’ve never felt better,” said Kim Negre, a Pelacore client.
Jayne Justice, a Certified Pelacore Instructor, says that Pelacore has been a game changer for her health coaching and fitness career.
As stated by Ms. Justice,
“This is where all women should start their fitness journey, especially post-partum and menopausal women. I love seeing the increased confidence in the women I work with.”
Pelacore exercises should really be part of every women’s daily routine, according to Ms. Padveen, and based on the fast-growing number of students signing up for Pelacore, everyone seems to agree.
Especially for women who are close to the time of childbirth, pelvic floor exercises are especially important!