While this is not the time to start a new high intensity fitness program, it is a terrific time to focus on your health. If you've always been active, you don't have to cut back now that you're expecting. Always check with your doctor to be sure that your desired level of activity is safe during your pregnancy.
Woman's offers you everything you need as you become healthy and fit for pregnancy and childbirth, including:
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 60 cancer-causing compounds. When you smoke during pregnancy, that toxic mix gets into your bloodstream, which is your baby’s only source of oxygen and nutrients. Nicotine and carbon monoxide are especially harmful; when combined, they reduce your baby’s oxygen supply.
Smoking can cause:
- Prematurity (baby born too early)
- Low birth weight (baby born too small)
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Birth defects
- Learning difficulties
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit quitwithusla.org to find resources to help you quit smoking.
No amount of alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy – even a small amount. There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy, either. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including wine and beer. Drinking alcohol can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause poor growth, cognitive disability, physical defects, vision and hearing problems, and learning and behavioral problems. Women who drink during pregnancy are also more likely to have a miscarriage, stillbirth or a baby born with a low birth weight.
Prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, herbal products and illegal street drugs such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine can cause serious problems for your developing baby. After birth, drugs can be passed to your baby through breastfeeding. Always ask your provider before you take any new medications or supplements during your pregnancy.
Caffeine may cause serious problems for your baby, such as low birth weight, breathing problems, sleeplessness and irritability. Caffeine is linked to an increased risk of early miscarriage. Reduce your caffeine consumption to no more than 200 mg per day, or about one 12 oz cup of coffee. Be aware that caffeine can be found in tea, soda, chocolate and some medications as well.
Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. Stress is common during pregnancy. Your hormones are changing, which can cause your mood to change. Life issues like managing work responsibilities may have you stressed. If you experience serious kinds of stress like a negative life event or a catastrophic event, talk to your partner, a friend or your healthcare provider. High levels of stress that continue for a long time may cause health problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease. When you’re pregnant, this type of stress can increase the chances of prematurity or a low birth weight.
Encourage your family and everyone around you and your baby to get vaccinated for certain diseases, including whooping cough and flu. This creates a circle of protection called “cocooning.” It is best to vaccinate prior to your baby’s birth because it takes at least two weeks to build immunities. Contact your healthcare provider for additional information.
If you need a dental or medical X-ray while pregnant, make sure your dentist or provider knows you’re pregnant.
Most women are more tired than usual during pregnancy, especially during early and late pregnancy. Get plenty of rest. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a warm shower, napping during the day, going to bed earlier and using a body pillow for comfort.
Most pregnant women can and should exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes every day.
If you were at a healthy weight (a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9) before pregnancy, you should gain 25-35 pounds. Talk to your doctor about healthy weight gain.