During pregnancy, keeping yourself healthy is of utmost importance. The food you eat and the exercise you get can have an effect on morning sickness, anemia, blood pressure, and even factors into whether or not you carry the baby to term. This may seem daunting, but it’s really very easy to achieve a healthy balance.
While they may not seem to accomplish much, regular checkups throughout your pregnancy are important. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure, vitamin levels, and track your baby’s growth and development. These checkups also are a great opportunity to discuss any concern with diet or exercise, as well as how to ensure the best possible outcome for your baby. Your doctor will serve as your guide in this and many other things.
- Food Choice: Your doctor will likely tell you approximately how much weight you should gain in each trimester or overall. Some women take this as a free pass to eat everything in sight, but your doctor will be able to help you choose a healthier diet plan. Your doctor will also likely be concerned with gestational diabetes, something that a fair percentage of women get. Controlling carbohydrate and sugar intake is paramount to keeping healthy blood glucose levels for you and your baby.
- Environment: Even if you don’t personally smoke or drink, being in an environment where others do can be equally unhealthy for your baby. Second hand smoke has been shown to be worse than if you were to smoke yourself (also thought to be a cause of ear infections for newborns), and intoxicated people are known to be careless and clumsy, putting you at risk of being shoved, hit, or even fallen on.
- Home: Having a clean home environment is important, but there are many things you need to be extra careful with while pregnant. Your doctor will discuss household cleaners, tips on lifting safely, and even disposal of pet waste (especially cats).
Keeping the Cost Low
Being equipped with a list of things needed during your pregnancy, you may wonder how you can do everything your doctor suggests without exceeding the budget you have to live on. Thankfully, it is more than possible to maintain your health on any budget.
- Vitamins: The standard prenatal vitamin is great, but can be very expensive. In addition, although most doctors won’t tell you, these vitamins have a high potential to cause nausea. As an alternative, some women will take a children’s multivitamin and incorporate more folic acid and calcium by way of diet. This alleviates the added nausea and can save up to $30 each month compared to the standard prenatal vitamin.
- Food: Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean expensive eating. Contact your local health department for listings of farmers markets in the area. These are great for finding fruits and vegetables in season at extremely low prices. An added bonus is that the money you spend at a farmers market goes to help the local economy. When you call your local health department, be sure to also ask about the supplemental nutrition programs available. These programs help with milk, cheese, cereals, and in some cases certain meats and breads.