The decision to become a parent is a big one. Whether you are contemplating parenthood or are already pregnant, you know the responsibility is enormous and want to take all appropriate steps to ensure your child is happy and healthy. The most rapid growth rate period in the human life cycle occurs during gestation and the lifestyle of the mother has an enormous impact on the baby.
One way moms influence the health of their baby is through nutrition. It’s easy to get confused about what you should or shouldn’t eat, especially during pregnancy. You may decide to consult with a registered dietician or nutritionist who specializes in prenatal nutrition. One very important consideration when making dietary choices is that the caloric guidelines differ depending on how many babies you are expecting and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Quality and types of food are equally important; choose organic, home prepared foods as much as possible.
Regular exercise hugely contributes to pregnancy outcomes. Not only is exercise great for mom, it also positively impacts baby too. Sometimes there is fear around exercising while pregnant, but ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends pregnant women engage in regular exercise, even if they have never participated in an activity program before. It is safe and recommended as long as you have clearance from your doctor. Exercise helps with preventing varicose veins, swelling, morning sickness, and helps moms maintain good posture throughout pregnancy. Additionally, exercising women have larger placentas than non-exercising women; bigger placentas are more efficient at delivering oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Babies born from exercising women are also calmer and the list continues.
Stress management is a crucial skill throughout pregnancy because stress hormones can cross the placenta and effect the development of the baby. Pregnancy is a great time to begin a meditation and/or deep breathing practice. Additionally, try to avoid knowingly putting yourself in stressful situations while pregnant whenever possible.
Happy, healthy moms make a strong and lasting impression on their babies. When choosing a health professional to work with, whether it be a physician, dietician, personal trainer, coach/therapist, etc., be sure you feel comfortable, safe, and align with their philosophy to insure maximum comfort and care throughout your journey.