Pregnancy is an exciting, joyous time in life. But it can also be a time when you worry about your health. Pregnancy is full of changes that can be hard to handle, especially when you’re pregnant and new at the whole parenting experience. If you have any serious worries about your own health or the health of your baby during pregnancy, chat to your obstetrician. But, for some more general tips, keep reading. By following these three simple tips, you’ll be able to stay healthy during your pregnancy and after your baby is born.
Practicing healthy habits
The best way to stay healthy during pregnancy is to practice healthy habits. These include eating right, staying active, and taking care of yourself, which we’ll talk about later. By practicing these habits, you’ll be able to remain in excellent health for both you and your baby.
But there are other habits that are worth talking about. Sleep is essential for a healthy pregnancy. A few complications can be alleviated and lessen the likelihood of developing by sleep, such as preeclampsia. There is even research to suggest the amount of sleep you get while pregnant can affect your labor and delivery.
The University of Ottawa studied more than 250,000 children in Ontario over seven years and found a mother’s weight before pregnancy may impact their newborn’s risk of developing allergic diseases in early childhood, whereas weight gain during pregnancy did not seem to have the same effect:
- No link found between a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and childhood allergic disease.
- Children born to obese mothers in pregnancy were more likely to develop asthma, but slightly less likely to develop dermatitis and anaphylaxis. Specifically, children born to obese mothers before pregnancy had an 8 percent higher risk of developing asthma.
- Approximately half of the infants were born to overweight or obese mothers and a third to mothers who gained excess weight during pregnancy.
- Mothers are entering pregnancy overweight/obese, gaining excess weight during pregnancy, and many children are developing allergic disease in early childhood.
- In Canada, approximately 30% of the population suffers from at least one allergic disease, with an even greater prevalence among children.
- Globally, trends in allergic diseases have reached epidemic proportions, becoming the most common and earliest-onset group of chronic disease.
Royal Veterinary College, London, showed that rodents which ate a diet rich in fat, sugar and salt whilst pregnant were more likely to give birth to offspring that overate and had a preference for junk food when compared to the offspring of rats given regular feed. Further studies demonstrated how a mother’s diet has an effect lasting beyond adolescence in the rats, even when the offspring were weaned off the junk food, affecting how their bodies metabolise the food and suggesting a long term health impact.
“Humans share a number of fundamental biological systems with rats, so there is good reason to assume the effects we see in rats may be repeated in humans,” says Professor Neil Stickland “Our research certainly tallies with epidemiological studies linking children’s weight to that of their parents.”
Eating well is the most crucial tip to staying healthy during pregnancy. Doing so will help you avoid many potential complications, such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. By eating well, you’ll also feel better in general and take better care of yourself. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and legumes. Emphasizing these foods throughout your pregnancy will make it easier for your body to process nutrients. Eating vegetables will also help prevent constipation and other common pregnancy issues that happen when women don’t eat enough fiber-rich foods.
You should also pay attention to what you eat and drink. For example, you shouldn’t drink alcohol during pregnancy or have more than the recommended number of servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a day (two).
Most obstetricians recommend that women get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. That includes aerobic activities, like running, swimming, or brisk walking. It also includes things like gardening or playing games with your kids. Staying active is vital for your health and well-being.
Exercise is also proven to improve your mental health. Pregnancy is a very anxiety-inducing time, so ensuring you have a healthy outlet for your stress is essential. Exercise can be this outlet for you.
A mechanism has been identified by Joslin Diabetes Center at the Harvard Medical School and colleagues from Japan, the US, Canada and Denmark that explains how physical exercise in pregnancy confers metabolic health benefits in offspring. According to researchers, the key lies with a protein called SOD3, vitamin D and adequate exercise, with the outcomes possibly forming the first steps to designing rational diet and exercise programs to use during pregnancy and particularly when mothers may also be overweight or obese.
“The findings offer an explanation as to why physical exercise during pregnancy may have metabolic benefits for offspring as they get older,” said senior author, Laurie Goodyear. “We show how physical exercise during pregnancy, in combination with adequate vitamin D levels, enhances levels of a placenta-derived protein called SOD3 (superoxide dismutase 3), and that via a number of intermediate steps, this improves glucose tolerance in offspring.”
“Our data hints that exercise in combination with optimal vitamin D levels might be particularly beneficial during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy,” adds lead author, Joji Kusuyama. “Although we can’t be definitive about this with the current findings, we now plan to look in detail at how diet and exercise type and timing might be optimized with maternal serum SOD3 measurements to obtain maximum benefits for offspring.”