Finding out you’re pregnant can be overwhelming as well as exciting. Not only will you need to plan for the future with your child, but you’ll need to make some major changes to your lifestyle during your pregnancy.
Everyone has an opinion on what pregnant women should or shouldn’t do. It can be difficult to sort out which advice is helpful and which you can safely ignore. Because of all this advice, many women start to feel anxious about their lifestyle and habits leading up to giving birth.
It’s important to take the advice you get with a grain of salt unless it comes from your doctor. With that said, there are some tips that can help you feel better and stay healthy before and after giving birth.
Here are some prenatal and postnatal care tips that can help you feel more comfortable and confident as you navigate your pregnancy and life with a newborn.
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Prenatal Care Tips
Caring for yourself during your pregnancy is essential for your safety and your baby’s development. The good news is that most prenatal care tips are common sense. It’s important to listen to your body and ask your doctor for advice when you’re in doubt about anything.
Stay in Close Contact with Your Doctor from the Beginning
As soon as you know you’re pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. They will confirm your pregnancy and help you make a prenatal care plan. Getting started on this right away will give you peace of mind and ensure you’re getting proper care.
After this initial appointment, stay in touch with your doctor and schedule all recommended checkups. That way, they can find any possible complications as quickly as possible and monitor both you and your baby’s progress. You can also get advice and ask questions during these appointments.
Follow Healthy Sleep, Exercise, and Diet Habits
During your pregnancy, it’s important to pay attention to your lifestyle. Getting enough rest is critical for preventing complications, so let yourself nap if you need to. Many women need extra sleep during the first trimester especially.
You should also continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy, under the guidance of your doctor. Most women should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week during their pregnancy. Not only will this help you feel better, but it will help prevent complications.
Maintain a healthy diet during your pregnancy, and take folic acid. Reducing sugar, increasing protein, and ensuring that you’re getting enough whole grains, vegetables, and fruits will help you have a healthy pregnancy. You will need more calories starting in the second trimester. Avoid soft cheese, raw or undercooked fish and shellfish, and unpasteurized products.
Postnatal Care Tips
Postnatal care can be more challenging than prenatal care since you have the needs of an infant to worry about! The good news is that again, focusing on the basics is the best way to approach the first few weeks. In addition to common-sense lifestyle tips like focusing on getting sleep when you can, getting a little physical activity in, and eating a healthy diet, there are a few other postnatal care tips that can help.
Forget About Other Responsibilities—Focus on You and the Baby
During the first few weeks, someone else should be in charge of everything but feeding and caring for yourself and the baby. Get as much rest as you can and try not to worry about anything else—there will be time for that later.
Get Help with Feeding, if Needed
Many women are surprised to learn that breastfeeding can be difficult! Be prepared to need help if you plan to breastfeed. A lactation specialist can provide customized advice so you can quickly get more confident in feeding your baby. It can take a few weeks to figure out the routine!
Continue Going to the Doctor
Once your baby is born, you’re not done with the extra doctor’s visits just yet. Monitoring you and your baby’s vital signs, ensuring that your baby is developing properly, and making sure you are healing well and not experiencing postpartum depression are just some of the reasons to keep up with your postnatal visits. Be sure to ask questions whenever they come up so you don’t end up feeling lost or confused.
Take a Breath
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about prenatal and postnatal care, stop and take a breath. Focusing on the basics will do more good for you and your baby than anything else. Your doctor will tell you which adjustments are the most important, so don’t worry that you might be missing something.
Staying calm whenever you can throughout your pregnancy will help make the entire process easier on you. Take care of your body and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need to!