May 23, 2014

Creating the most nurturing growth environment possible when you’re expecting will help give your unborn baby a head start on a healthy life!

Get regular medical care.

If you don’t already have an obstetrician, find one whose approach to prenatal care and birth aligns with your own. Ask your HANDS Counselor for help. She will help you find the best doctor for you right in your hometown! Prenatal care includes answering your questions, scheduling necessary tests and monitoring your baby’s development.

Eat healthy foods.

Most pregnant women should consume an additional 300 calories per day, mostly from fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and low-fat dairy products. Essential vitamins and nutrients for expectant moms and their babies include:

Calcium: 100 milligrams daily. Food sources include yogurt, cheese, broccoli, dark leafy greens, salmon and black beans.

Folic Acid: 400 micrograms daily. The best way to increase your folic acid intake when you’re pregnant is through a daily vitamin supplement.

Iron: 30 milligrams daily. Food sources include spinach, peas, sweet potatoes, tuna and prunes.

Stay active.

Physical activity improves sleep, increases blood flow, helps you maintain a healthy weight and prepares your body to face the challenge of labor – all of which affect the health of your newborn.

Choose low-impact, moderate-intensity activities such as walking, swimming and prenatal yoga. Stop if you experience unnatural pain or discomfort, shortness of breath or faintness. If you’re pregnant during the summer months, avoid outdoor activities that can cause your body to overheat.

Studies suggest that pregnant women who exercise are more likely to experience shorter labor and require fewer medical interventions!