Healthy Habits Are Extra Important During Pregnancy

Having good nutrition, getting regular prenatal care, and not drinking alcohol are just a few ways to have a healthy pregnancy.

Take good care of yourself. Go to regular visits with your healthcare provider. He or she will check your baby’s development. Your healthcare provider can spot any issues you or your child has early on. This is when they’re easiest to treat.

Following your healthcare provider's orders and these guidelines from the National Women's Health Information Center can help:

  • See your healthcare provider early. Make an appointment as soon as you think you’re be pregnant. You and your healthcare provider can tale about any risk factors you have. Then you can work together to lower your risks.  

  • Eat a nutritious diet. When you're pregnant, a healthy diet is crucial. You also need enough folic acid. This is a B vitamin that helps guard against birth defects. Your healthcare provider will likely suggest you take folic acid through a prenatal vitamin. That’s because it’s difficult to get enough of this nutrient through foods.

  • Exercise regularly. Staying fit will help you deal with the demands pregnancy places on your body. It also may make labor and delivery a little easier. But don’t overdo it. Working out too hard and getting overheated can affect blood and oxygen flow to your baby. Talk about your exercise plan with your healthcare provider before you start.

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking places both you and your baby at risk. Mothers who smoke also have a higher rate of preterm labor and miscarriage. Babies born to mothers who smoke also may be born too early or have low birthweight. They also have a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking also can affect your child’s learning ability. You should also steer clear of the secondhand smoke, which can affect your baby.

  • Don’t drink alcohol. There is no safe level of alcohol that you can drink when you’re pregnant. When you drink, your baby does too. You should not drink any alcohol while pregnant. Babies born to mothers who drink are at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. This includes facial deformities and severe behavioral and learning issues. 

  • Respond to abuse.  Intimate partner violence, known as domestic violence, often starts or increases when a woman is pregnant. This is because she’s more vulnerable and dependent. At the first sign of abuse, seek get. Call the toll-free National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPHFoley, Maryann, RN, BSN

Date Last Reviewed: 4/12/2016

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