Need-to-Knows for Mothers-to-Be

For most women, pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of their lives. With the thrill of expecting comes choosing the baby’s name and designing the nursery. The most important preparation to consider, though, is a healthy lifestyle.

The very basic steps that every woman should take when she finds out she is pregnant include:

  • Maintaining a well-balanced diet.
  • Taking a multivitamin.
  • Scheduling an appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/Gyn).
  • Staying active through light exercise routines.
  • Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes.

Proper nutrition is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Besides eating three well-balanced meals every day, a woman should adjust her daily diet to include an extra 300 calories from healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Good nutrition is essential for normal organ development and growth of the baby. Pregnancy can be demanding on a woman’s body, and these nutrients are vital for her to stay healthy and strong.

Vitamins are also key elements to a healthy pregnancy and can help prevent certain birth defects. For example, calcium and iron are important to the bone and blood health of a mother and her baby.

Many studies have shown that light exercise may also improve the health of a mother and her baby. However, every expectant mother should consult her OB/Gyn before beginning an exercise routine, as hormones specific to pregnancy make her more susceptible to injury.

Consult your physician if you think you are pregnant or if you plan to be pregnant within the next year.