Now that you know you’re pregnant, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Boost your chances of having a problem-free pregnancy and a healthy baby by following a few simple guidelines.
Get early prenatal care: Good prenatal care is essential for you and your baby. Call your healthcare provider right away and schedule your first prenatal visit. Finding the right person — whether you’re looking for a doctor or midwife — can take a while. In the meantime, let your current caregiver know if you’re taking medication or have any medical concerns.
Watch what you eat: Now that you’re eating for two, you may be surprised to learn that you only need about 300 additional calories per day. Make sure you get plenty of protein. You now need 70 grams a day compared to 45 grams before you got pregnant. And while your calcium requirement remains the same, it’s more important than ever that you meet it, which is a challenge for many women.
Exercise regularly: A good exercise program can give you the strength and endurance you’ll need to carry the weight you gain during pregnancy, help prevent or ease aches and pains, improve sluggish circulation in your legs, and help you handle the physical stress of labor. It will also make getting back into shape after your baby’s born much easier.
Say no to alcohol: Don’t drink while you’re pregnant: Any alcohol you drink reaches your baby rapidly through your bloodstream, crossing the placenta, and your baby can end up with higher levels of blood alcohol than you have. As little as one drink a day can increase your odds of having a low-birth weight baby and increase your child’s risk for problems with learning, speech, attention span, language, and hyperactivity.
Swear off all illicit drugs: Any drug you use gets into your baby’s bloodstream as well. Some studies suggest that marijuana and cocaine may restrict your baby’s growth and cause withdrawal symptoms (like tremors) in your newborn.
Stop smoking: Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and premature delivery. Seek help, if you can’t quit on your own.
Take care of your emotional health: If you’ve been feeling low for more than two weeks and nothing seems to lift your spirits — or if you’re feeling particularly anxious — share your feelings with your caregiver so you can get a referral for professional help.