Are you concerned about having a healthy pregnancy? Let's face it, having a happy child begins with giving your baby the best possible start in life.
However, especially for first timers, it can be hard to be sure you're doing the right things to ensure a healthy pregnancy and therefore a strong and happy baby. If you wish there was a manual for first time Mums, you're not alone! The good news is, while everybody's different, there are some guidelines that are universally agreed to help promote a healthy pregnancy.
So what is it that you need to know, pre-conception and during your 9 months?
The first thing is to make sure you begin taking a folic acid supplement as soon as you stop using contraception, and to continue taking it right up to the end of the first trimester. Folic acid helps to prevent babies from developing neural tube illnesses like Spina Bifida. Folic acid can also been found naturally in dark green leafy vegetables like brussels sprouts. The next thing to do is to talk to your doctor about an appropriate diet. When you're expecting you'll want to make sure you diet is primarily made up of carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread and fortified cereals. These are good sources of iron, protein, folic acid and B vitamins, and are low in fat and high in fibre.
You'll also want to focus on getting the recommended daily amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and low fat dairy products. In order to keep your blood sugar regulated and to prevent unnecessary weight gain, it's a good idea to limit foods that are high in refined sugars such as cakes, candies and soft drinks. You should also limit caffeine intake and severely restrict alcohol consumption. Other foods to steer clear of include: shell fish, liver, pate, under cooked eggs, peanuts, undercooked meat and ice cream from ice cream vans.
Couple your new balanced diet with a moderate exercise regime. If you already exercise, you may have to cut back on your regular routine as the months pass, and if you're new to exercise, start gently. Avoid exercises that require you to be on your back, or need a lot of jumping around. Instead go for strengthening exercises like yoga or swimming, and focus particularly on stretching and strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. Lastly, get plenty of rest, and be sure to visit your doctor at regular intervals!