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  • Writer's pictureTaryn Goodwin

Staying Healthy Throughout Pregnancy

While pregnancy is certainly a joyous time, it is also a time of hard work for nearly every part of your body. As your baby grows, you may find yourself feeling tired, sick, and sore. Even though this makes perfect sense considering all of the changes your body is making for the sake of growing your little one, it doesn’t make the changes any less taxing. Fortunately, there are ways to make the process of growing a tiny being a lot easier on your body. All of the steps you can take toward an easier pregnancy are also steps toward a healthy pregnancy. By staying healthy throughout your pregnancy, you offer your body all of the things it needs to grow your beautiful baby while still giving you the energy you need to get through the day. — Drink Water — Staying hydrated is always important. However, during pregnancy, this becomes even more crucial, and because your body needs more water than usual, it can sometimes feel impossible to get enough. In order to ensure proper hydration throughout your pregnancy, try some of the tips below.

Drop most sweet drinks—especially anything caffeinated—from your diet. Caffeine dehydrates the body, and all too often, sweet drinks will end up replacing water, which is never a good thing.

Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. Invest in a good glass or stainless steel water bottle and keep it filled up throughout the day. You’ll be surprised just how much you drink when water is readily available. Drink water before you feel thirsty. Thirst is actually a sign of dehydration. A good rule is to aim for half your weight in ounces of water daily.

— Clean Eating — Though your morning sickness may leave you wanting to live on boxed macaroni 'n' cheese or Hostess cupcakes, It is very important that you make sure you are getting adequate nutrition during your pregnancy. Your diet should include plenty of leafy green vegetables, a vast array of colorful fruits and other vegetables, calcium, plenty of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. During the first trimester, when morning sickness is at its worst, it may seem impossible to eat anything. If this is the case for you, eat as much nutrient-dense food as possible, and remember to eat small meals (each including some protein) throughout the day. Allowing your stomach to become empty can make nausea worse. — Take Vitamins Daily — During pregnancy, a woman’s body requires a bit more in the way of vitamins and minerals. For this reason, every pregnant woman—and even those who are still trying to conceive—should be taking a prenatal vitamin daily, preferably one with folate instead of folic acid. If you have trouble swallowing your vitamin due to nausea, you can try finding one with a slick outer coating, or simply a smaller vitamin. Gummy vitamins can also be good for this, but do not contain iron. If you are considering a switch to gummy vitamins, make sure to consult your care provider and increase your iron intake via your daily food choices. — Stay Active — Contrary to the beliefs of some, women should not refrain from activity during pregnancy. In fact, staying active is one of the very best ways to keep your energy up, keep depression in check, and make sure you stay fit before, after, and during your pregnancy. While taking up vigorous exercise while you are pregnant may not be the best idea, almost any kind of exercise you did on a regular basis prior to pregnancy is fair game, as long as it doesn't leave you feeling ill or unable to breathe. For those who did not exercise before becoming pregnant, yoga, swimming, and walking are all great, low-impact ways to get some exercise. As mentioned above, almost any kind of exercise a pregnant woman practiced before becoming pregnant is likely fine. The exceptions to this rule are contact sports, sports that could easily lead to bad falls, and anything your care provider deems unsafe. — Sleep Well — Lack of sleep is something that plagues many, many expecting women. This is the result of frequent bathroom trips, heartburn, stress or worry, the many physical changes a pregnant woman experiences, and a variety of other pregnancy-related symptoms. Despite the fact that sleeping during pregnancy can sometimes be incredibly difficult, it is also very important that you find ways to get enough sleep. You are growing a baby after all, and this can be very draining. If you are finding it difficult to sleep through the night, you might try some of the following tricks.

Use plenty of pillows to get comfortable. Prop your belly up, use one between your legs and another between ankles, or use them as back support.

Hydrate early in the day. As mentioned above, it is very important to stay hydrated throughout pregnancy. However, if you are getting up to use the restroom multiple times a night, it might be best to get most of your hydration in earlier in the day to avoid the frequent urination that plagues expecting mothers.

Eat light and often. This will ensure you stay full and get all the nutrients you need, but will also help cut back on the terrible bouts of heartburn and nausea so often associated with pregnancy.

Get plenty of exercise and activity throughout the day. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to restlessness at night.

— Take Care of Your Mental Health — You want to be at your very best when baby comes along. In order to ensure you are a happy and fulfilled person, it is important to practice self-care during your pregnancy. This could mean going out with your girl friends, regular date nights, pedicures, bubble baths, writing in a journal, or snuggling up with a good book. It could also mean getting involved in your community or taking up a hobby. Whatever it is that makes you feel well-rounded is what you should be doing. Additionally, preparing for birth and baby by speaking with your doula or care provider about any fears you may be having can help relieve any stress you might be feeling. In the same vein, the two practices of meditation and visualization are things many women find extremely helpful when preparing for labor and delivery. As a final piece of advice, consider finding a collection of mantras to repeat to yourself whenever things get tough. These can be lifesavers during difficult times. If you feel depressed or would like counseling, Thrive Mama Collective in Oklahoma City has a therapist that specializes in prenatal and postpartum counseling. In the weeks after the birth of your baby you will be flooded with a cocktail of emotions that can sometimes trigger less-than-desirable feelings. In order to combat these feelings, it is a good idea to keep and encapsulate your placenta. The resulting pills are often referred to as “happy pills” and can be truly amazing in times of stress and depression. Caring for your health during pregnancy is the very best way to ensure you have the least complicated pregnancy and delivery possible. Although we certainly can’t control everything about our pregnancy experiences, you can rest assured that keeping healthy will do nothing but good for both you and your baby.

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