7 Healthy Habits for Early Pregnancy
For many of us, especially first time Mamas, that first positive pregnancy test awakens a strong desire to be our healthiest selves. For some, that means continuing on the path they’ve been on with healthy eating and working out, and for others of us, it means taking out some things we used to indulge in and upping our workouts per week. Whichever category you fall into, establishing healthy habits early in pregnancy will help ensure a healthier pregnancy, healthier baby, and a healthier Mama, too!
The Healthy Habit List:
We all know the importance of exercise in our daily lives, but this is especially true for pregnant Mamas, because having strong core muscles will make delivery easier. Additionally, doing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor early in pregnancy will help prepare your body for not only carrying baby for 9 months but will help prevent incontinence issues post-partum. You won’t need to modify your exercise routine too much before week 20 with the exception of keeping your intensity a bit lower (you should be able to have a conversation while working out!). Find great pregnancy and post partum videos with Dr. Nichelle Gurule of Enhanced Movements Chiropractic and stay tuned for a more in-depth look at workout modification through pregnancy, including example workouts by Dr. Nichelle!
During pregnancy (beginning as early as week 6!) you will begin to produce more blood volume to ensure baby is properly nourished, a whopping 40-50% increase in fact! With more blood volume, hydration becomes especially important to reduce risk of blood clots and dehydration. Make it a habit to drink 16oz of water with lemon every morning before you eat breakfast and have a large water bottle (I use a 40oz water bottle and refill it 3 times throughout the day) with you during to continually sip from. If you’re experiencing nausea, try drinking sparkling water with lemon, lime, and grated ginger. Aim for approximately 100oz of water per day, with a glass or two more if you’re sweating while working out or in a very hot climate.
Eating the rainbow is important for all of us and especially for our developing little ones. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will provide vitamins and minerals necessary for embryo development. Aim for the recommended 7 to 10 servings of (ideally organic) fruits and vegetables per day if you can and avoid any food allergens as well as any sprouts (which may contain harmful bacteria). Eating protein at each meal is also very important, as the amino acids help baby’s development. During pregnancy, protein requirements go from 0.8 grams per kilogram body weight to 1.1 grams per kilogram body weight. Incorporate nuts, seeds, nut butters, grass fed meat, and free range chicken into your daily diet to hit your protein goal.
Limiting EMF Exposure:
This is something that not many of us think about, but with studies showing connections between EMF exposure and DNA damage due to increased oxidative stress, it is something to start considering. We are bombarded daily with electromagnetic exposure through Wifi, cell phones, laptops, microwaves… the list is endless. Taking some extra steps to reduce this exposure during pregnancy can only protect your little one and is as simple as:
– Avoid using your laptop on your lap or your belly (best to have it up on a desk and unplugged)
– Speaking on your cell phone using a headset or on speaker
– Avoid putting your cell phone in your pockets
– At night, put your cell phones in airplane mode and unplug the Wifi
Ideally, all women of childbearing age should be taking a good prenatal vitamin and high quality fish oil before becoming pregnant, but if you haven’t been, that’s ok as long as you start now! The prenatal vitamin should have at least 800mcg of folate and should contain iron. Fish oil should also be high quality (it is important in development of baby’s brain!) and from a trusted source, as most brands on the shelf are not filtered adequately and contain mercury.
Sleep now, Mamas!! You may find through the first trimester that you’re exhausted constantly– that’s your body’s way of telling you to go take a nap! You need that energy to build the tiny human inside of you. If you can nap throughout the day, that’s fantastic, but if you’re working that may not be possible. Try to get to bed an hour earlier than your usual bedtime and definitely before 11pm to get the most out of your sleep.
Managing stress throughout pregnancy (and life in general) is beneficial not only for our minds but for our bodies as well. Practice a 5 to 10 minute morning meditation to set positive intentions for your day and focus on what you’re grateful for. Meditation has been shown to help lower blood pressure and increase overall well being, which will benefit baby, too!
A healthy, comfortable-as-possible pregnancy is what we all hope for, and putting these tips into action can help you achieve just that. Do you have any other healthy early pregnancy tips? Let us know, we’d love to add to the list!