7 Ways to Have a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy
If you believe every movie made about pregnancy, you view it as a time of joy, peace, and glowing skin. But while plenty of women have lovely pregnancy experiences, many others deal with problems ranging from anxiety and nerves to severe all-day-long sickness and bed rest requirements. While there’s plenty you can’t do about your health during pregnancy – sometimes doctor’s orders are unpleasant, yet necessary – you can be proactive in the ways that are within your control.
1. Attend your prenatal checkups.
Between your second month of pregnancy and the very end, you’re going to be visiting your doctor a lot. This is a good thing; it ensures that both mommy and baby are doing well, and it catches and treats issues before they get out of control. It’s important to keep those appointments – it’s the only way you’ll know about risk factors. In the beginning, you’ll have a prenatal checkup every four weeks; between your 28th and 36th week of pregnancy, you’ll visit every two weeks; and then, during the home stretch, you’ll go weekly.
2. Be honest with your doctor.
Is something going on that’s out of the ordinary? Are you feeling sick or depressed? If you had preexisting conditions or you’re experiencing something that’s worrying you, tell your doctor ASAP. Conditions like asthma and diabetes can become more severe during pregnancy, which can be dangerous to both the mother and the baby. You may also experience something new, like anemia or depression, both of which are common side effects of pregnancy.
Whatever it is, telling your doctor will help you treat the issue instead of suffering. Especially for depression, whether it’s a pre-existing condition or a new development during pregnancy, it’s imperative you discuss any medications or supplements you may be taking for it with your doctor, as some may cause birth defects. Finding a way to manage depression with safe medications or coping mechanisms is important, and your doctor can help you.
3. Take extra precautions when sick.
Catching a cold or coming down with the flu isn’t fun for anyone, but it can be extra dangerous for pregnant women. While the immune system isn’t exactly weak during pregnancy, it is weaker than normal, which makes the women susceptible to colds while pregnant.
When it comes to the flu, it’s not a weakened immune system that’s to blame, but a hyper-sensitive one. Plus, when a pregnant woman does catch the flu, she tends to get sicker than a non-pregnant person because her immune cells respond more severely to the virus. Going to the doctor right away will help you determine what you’re dealing with – the common cold can sometimes feel like the flu, for example – and treat you accordingly.
4. Look great to feel great.
Truth: if you want to spend the next nine months in sweatpants and a sloppy bun and you feel awesome doing it, by all means, do it. But if you feel sloppy and unattractive, do something about it! Nobody said you have to look frumpy and unkempt just because you’re pregnant. You don’t have to forgo trips to the salon or spa for the better part of a year because you’re carrying a baby.
Make sure you stay safe (for example, some beauty products have dangerous chemicals or ingredients), but beyond that, wear clothing that makes you feel gorgeous, buy sexy lingerie and put on jewelry you usually save for a special occasion. What’s important here is not the aesthetics – it’s how you feel, and feeling like yourself will always boost your mood.
5. Keep nesting fun, not overwhelming.
It’s common to nest during pregnancy (i.e., setting up the perfect home for the new arrival). Be aware of when nesting turns from fun and exciting to stressful and overwhelming, though. Babies don’t actually need much – food, shelter, cuddles, and that’s about it. You can still have a lovely nursery without breaking your back or the bank. Decorate a bit, buy a couple of adorable outfits and then do the rest slowly – you’ll be getting tons of gifts, after all, and may not need to buy very much.
6. Use non-toxic cleaning products.
You’re probably aware of the food you’re putting into your body, but what about the products you’re using in your home? Even if you’re not purposely applying harsh products to your skin or ingesting them, they can still get in through your pores or as you breathe. Everything you surround yourself with should be extra safe right now. Look for cleaning products that are free of toxic ingredients, keep your windows open for proper ventilation while cleaning, and wear gloves so products don’t get absorbed by your skin.
7. Let people help you.
Being pregnant is hard. You feel unbalanced, tired, and maybe even sick. You have to be careful of how much you carry and lift. Your feet get sore quickly. As your baby bump grows, people will be more willing to lend a hand or a seat – and you should let them.
There’s nothing wrong with accepting the help that others offer, and there’s no better time to take advantage of it than now. If you feel guilty for saying “yes” so much, pass it on by helping someone else when you see the opportunity. Also, don’t hesitate to call in a favor from your friends – surrounding yourself with people who love you can reduce anxiety and keep you calm.
There’s no rule that says you have to love being pregnant – you’re allowed to not enjoy it. However, you can also take steps to feel healthier and happier. So much of your well-being is in your head and controllable by your thoughts that it’d be a shame not to exercise the control you do have. While you may not have the type of pregnancy that’s glorified in movies, you can get through your nine months with some degree of contentment.