There’s no other time more important to start looking after yourself than when you’re expecting your first baby. This essential advice is suitable for women going through their first time or subsequent pregnancies and can help maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind during pregnancy.
The human body relies on an intake of water to carry out many important functions. It’s recommended that adult women aim to drink about 2 litres of water a day to avoid dehydration.
During pregnancy, there are naturally a whole new set of goings on in your body that can benefit from an increased intake of H20. Women experience increased blood flow throughout their pregnancy which can be associated with higher plasma volumes in the blood.
Plasma is made up of 90 percent water and you can assist your body in making the necessary amount by drinking plenty of water. Regular intake of water also helps avoid oligohydramnios, a condition which means reduced or low amniotic fluid which could have implications for both you and your child. Simple hydration is believed to be an adequate preventative measure for this avoid oligohydramnios.
It may sound cliché, but the phrase ‘eating for two’ exists for a reason. It’s believed that, on average, you will need to consume an additional 300 calories a day during pregnancy. One popular method of achieving this target is to factor in two smaller meals into your day on top of breakfast lunch and dinner. This can be difficult during the early stages of pregnancy when some women can experience nausea or morning sickness. It’s never advised to skip meals when pregnant, so early on try and identify foods that can sit with your stomach even when you don’t feel your best. Once your stomach settles down it’s important to get into a nutritious eating routine as soon as possible in order to get important minerals and vitamins to your growing baby.
When you’re doing your meal planning or shopping lists, don’t forget the importance of incorporating iron and calcium into your diet. As well as helping your body make new blood cells during your pregnancy, iron is an important component that helps your body develop the placenta. Calcium intake during pregnancy isn’t just important for helping your baby develop bones, it’s also crucial to your health and well-being over the nine months. If your unborn child doesn’t get enough calcium it will draw it from your bones instead and this could lead to health complications later on in your life. Your doctor can advise you about taking pre-natal vitamins, folic acid and other supplements that will help you and your unborn child stay in the best shape possible over nine months.
Food and drink restrictions
One of the most common queries about food and drink restrictions necessary to support a healthy pregnancy is in regards to caffeine. It’s widely believed that 200mg of caffeine or lower is a safe amount to consume per day. That’s roughly two cups of coffee. Don’t forget that caffeine is present in tea, green tea and some soft drinks, so be sure to factor your intake of these into your overall calculation. Alternatively, you can enjoy caffeine-free herbal tea such as camomile or fennel fusion to save yourself having to keep count. Raw seafood and unpasteurised milk should be left out of the diet completely and under-cooked meat should be avoided. While pregnant you are more vulnerable to the types of bacteria-related illnesses that can be associated with these foods.
If you have an active lifestyle that’s packed full of daily exercise it can be difficult to adapt to a restricted routine as your pregnancy progresses.
You don’t need to rule exercise out completely, just remember to consult your doctor before doing anything strenuous like weight training.
Walking, swimming and gentle water aerobics and yoga classes that are tailored for pregnant women are great ways to keep active.
It’s possible that exercises you enjoy during your first trimester will have to be adapted as you go on, so don’t be too hard on yourself if your medium-paced daily walk is reduced to a ‘stretch of the legs’ in the evening.
Mindfulness for a healthy pregnancy
As well as looking after your body during pregnancy it’s also important to look after your mental health. Of course such an important and exciting part of your life is going to come with some pressures and worrying thoughts, so don’t neglect mindfulness during your pregnancy. Consider the benefits of meditation at home and even think about practicing mindfulness in the workplace.
Also, do your very best to get into the habit of sleeping eight hours a night as you and your baby can benefit from the rest.
Most of all make sure you have someone you can talk to about any concerns you are having. A healthy mind goes hand in hand with a healthy body and a healthy pregnancy.
Every pregnancy is different for every woman, so if you’re ever in doubt about anything be sure to consult your doctor.
“Global Wellness Day has a natural fit with VOYA; both promoting a healthy balanced and contented lifestyle. We are encouraging our spa partners to take part in and host Global Wellness Day activities to boost awareness around this significant idea” -Kira Walton, VOYA co-founder and Global Wellness Day ambassador.