When expectant mothers are healthy and happy, their babies grow well and get the best start in life. From the day you learn of your pregnancy, there are a lot of different habits that women should incorporate into their daily lives that will help take care of themselves and the tiny wonder growing inside.
In this article, we will share some of the best-kept tips for a strong and healthy pregnancy as recommended by expert gynecologists, pediatricians, and nutritionists in Dubai.
Getting started on your pregnancy journey
Pregnancy is a time of many firsts even for some seasoned moms. This is because every pregnancy is different and may have different needs to be met. With that said, there are a few things that all pregnant women should follow to ensure a blissful pregnancy period. Here is what you should do-
- See your ob-gyn at the earliest
Many women confirm their pregnancy using a home pregnancy test kit. Once you have your good news, the next logical step is to get an ob-gyn appointment. During your appointment, your doctor will ask you all the relevant questions including your Last Menstrual Period (LMP), physical symptoms, and general dietary and lifestyle before giving your due date and necessary advice on prenatal care. Your ob-gyn will also conduct an ultrasound check-up and recommend some blood tests to see how well the fetus is growing and how healthy you are at the moment.
Once your checkup is done, you must follow your doctor’s recommendations to ensure you and your little one’s well-being. Additionally, make sure not to miss out on any of the following ob-gyn appointments throughout your pregnancy.
- Eat healthily
Eating healthy is the best way to ensure that you and your little one are receiving enough nutrients right from the start. Our nutritionist in Dubai recommends the following general diet for an expectant mother during her pregnancy-
- Include fruits and vegetables daily in your diet. Choose fruits with water content. At the same time, it’s best to stay away from fruits/veggies that were preserved in sugar syrups or tinned in salt water.
- Carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, rice, yams, potatoes, wheat, quinoa, and millet should be a staple of your diet during pregnancy. These foods will provide you with enough energy to move around and don’t upset your stomach too much, especially if you have morning sickness.
- Daily servings of proteins such as fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts, and legumes.
- Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Additionally, pregnant women should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. You can sip water throughout the day to stay hydrated, especially if you suffer from morning sickness.
There is a common misconception that once you get pregnant, you should eat for two. Our nutritionist bursts this myth and reassures us that expectant mothers need average calories in the first six months. In the final trimester, you will have to intake an additional 200 calories a day to keep up your energy levels and provide nutrients for the baby.
- Take supplements as required
More often than not, pregnant women are asked to take some dietary supplements to keep up the nutrient levels in their bodies. Some of them are-
- Folic acid supplements are often recommended by doctors during the first three months of your pregnancy. Ideally, women should start taking folic acid supplements just as soon as they are trying to conceive. Folic acid is found to reduce the risk of babies developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
- Vitamin D is another recommended supplement for pregnant women as it’s essential for your baby’s bone and teeth development.
- Calcium, iron, Omega 3 fatty acids, and other multivitamins are also recommended to expectant mothers if their doctor deems it necessary.
- Exercise and stay active
Expectant mothers are generally recommended to stay active throughout their pregnancy. Gentle exercises help women cope with the strains on their joints during pregnancy, maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes or high blood pressure and boost their mood in general. Brisk walking, swimming, yoga, and pilates are some of the best forms of exercise that help pregnant women stay active throughout their pregnancy.
Additionally, your ob-gyn may also recommend pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels that strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor. This helps prepare your body for an easier childbirth experience.
- Say goodbye to bad habits
Women should stay away from unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol throughout their pregnancy period and beyond to ensure the proper development of their baby. Apart from these, you will also have to cut back on your caffeine intake once you are pregnant. Caffeine is also linked with low birth weight in babies as well as premature birth. Decaffeinated teas, coffee, and fruit teas are some of the safer alternatives during pregnancy.
- Get enough rest
Rest is just as important to pregnant women as staying active. Pregnant women are prone to fatigue, especially in the first few months due to the high levels of pregnancy hormones in their bodies.
As the pregnancy progresses, many women find it harder to sleep at night due to heartburn or frequent trips to the loo. If your sleep is disturbed at night, it is best to take quick naps in the middle of the day to get some much-needed rest. If you are finding it hard to sleep in certain positions, there are wedge-shaped pillows and pregnancy pillows that can help you lie down better by easing the strain on your back. Ideally, women must sleep on their side by the third trimester to improve their blood circulation.
- Get your home ready for the baby
In some cultures, women are told to wait before preparing their home to welcome the baby. Even so, the majority of expectant parents get their home ready by having certain basic things purchased, assembled, and tested before the baby comes home. While there are numerous things in the market, the two most important things you will need in the first few days of your little one’s life will be a safe set-up crib/bassinet and a properly installed car seat.
If you feel up to it, you can always go ahead and start setting up the nursery whenever you feel like it during your pregnancy. Most women do get a “nesting” instinct that will give them bouts of energy to prepare their home for the baby. So listen to your body and get ready to welcome your baby by getting all the necessary things in place.
- Stock up on household essentials
For a few weeks after your delivery, you and your partner may find yourselves busy with baby chores. To reduce your grocery runs and have all the necessary household items within arm’s reach during this period, it’s best to stockpile the essentials early on. These include non-perishable foods, personal care products, cleaning products, and baby products.
You can also rely on online grocery shopping to get your necessary household items delivered to your home as and when necessary. Even so, it’s best to have some of the essentials in place before you come home with your baby from the hospital.
- Get the hospital bag ready
Another important thing you must get ready for is your hospital bag. Ideally, women should keep their hospital bag ready just as they are touching their 36th week of pregnancy. Your hospital bag must include-
- Baby essentials including dresses, diapers, wipes, and blankets
- Dresses and essentials for yourself
- Supplements and other medicines that you take regularly
- Your birth plan and insurance details
- Snacks for yourself and your partner while you are waiting at the hospital
You can take any personal item that you think is necessary during your hospital stay. These include smart devices, chargers, cameras, and even your exercise ball for helping you exercise and manage pain during different stages of labor.
- Finalize your pediatrician
Lastly, you must finalize your pediatrician before you go in for your delivery. Connecting with a trusted pediatrician in Dubai who specializes in newborn care will help you take the right calls regarding your little one’s health and well-being from the time of their birth.
Pregnancy is a beautiful phase of life, filled with love and hope. To enjoy it to the fullest while ensuring your and your little one’s health and well-being, follow these simple guidelines during your pregnancy. To connect with a neonatal specialist and pediatrician, reach out to our pediatric clinic in Dubai today.