Pregnancy

A healthier you can mean a healthier baby

When you're pregnant, the best way to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself.

Here are some important ways to keep yourself and your baby in good health.

See your doctor
Prenatal care is the care you receive during your pregnancy. During these visits, your doctor will:

  • Talk with you about how to give your baby a healthy start in life
  • Answer any questions you may have
  • Check to make sure you and your baby are healthy

Checkups also give your doctor a chance to find and treat any problems early.

Eat right 
To eat well during pregnancy: Choose good foods. Try to eat low-fat foods and plenty of:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains.
  • Protein

Foods with calcium. Smart choices include low-fat milk and yogurt.

Cook meat, eggs and fish all the way through, and avoid soft cheeses. This can help keep you from getting sick.

Don't eat certain kinds of fish. Some fish may contain high levels of mercury. This is a type of metal that could make you or your baby sick. It's best not to eat:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel

Be active

Exercising when you're pregnant is good for you. It can:

  • Help labor and delivery go more smoothly.
  • Make it easier to get back in shape after having your baby.

Light exercises, such as walking or swimming, are usually best. Check with your doctor about other kinds of exercise.

It's best not to do activities that involve jumping or quick stops and starts.

If you aren't already active, make sure to start slowly. Try not to do too much at once.

More healthy hints 
Here are a few more tips to help you have a healthy pregnancy:

Find out how much weight to gain. For many women, 25 to 35 pounds is about right. You may need to gain more or less depending on what you weighed before pregnancy. Your doctor can tell you how much is OK for you. Just don't try to lose weight during pregnancy.

Get enough folic acid. To help prevent certain birth defects, you should get 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid a day. Ask your doctor about taking a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin.

Also be sure to:

  • Stay away from tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Ask your doctor how to quit if you need to.
  • Talk to your provider about any medicines or supplements you take.
  • Limit coffee and other drinks with caffeine to one or two cups a day.
  • Have someone else change the litter box if you have a cat. This can help prevent toxoplasmosis. This is a disease that can seriously harm unborn babies.
  • Talk to your doctor about getting shots you may need, including a flu shot.

Source: Office on Women's Health