Do you have a new baby on the way? Whether it be your first or tenth pregnancy, we’ve all heard the “advice” from well intentioned friends. But, with so much advice out there, how do you know what to listen to? Lucky for you all, I have a direct line to an OBGYN any time I want. Dr. Victoria DeSantos is a practicing doctor in New Jersey, mom of three, and she also happens to be my sister.
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I chatted with her on the phone to hear her top 10 tips for a healthy pregnancy.
- Eat well: Especially fruits and veggies, and be careful not to overdo it with the carbs. It is also important to eat appropriate portions. The old adage eating for two is not true. Eat for yourself alone. Remember, a baby is very minuscule compared to you, so a baby the size of a tiny seed doesn’t need it’s own meal portion. Exercise appropriate portion control. Obviously, if you’re hungry, then eat. But you don’t have to make yourself eat or feel pressured to eat for two. If you start to not feel well, eat a little snack. Many small snacks throughout the day are very helpful if you have nausea or vomiting. But make sure the snacks are healthy.
- Exercise: If you currently exercise frequently, then keep doing what you feel comfortable doing. If you were, say a CrossFit person before pregnancy for example, then go ahead with it. You can continue to do it until you get uncomfortable. If however you never did major exercises before pregnancy, now is not the time to start something that intense. If you aren’t a frequent exerciser, doing a 30 minute walk a day is just fine.
- Take your prenatal vitamins: Any over the counter prenatal is fine. Also, hot tip, check your insurance and see if they will cover one. Many of them do!
- Minimize stress: This might be especially hard to do if you already have another child at home, and of course because we are living in unprecedented stressful times. But, do try to minimize stress as much as possible. Try to do things every day that make you less stressed.
- Get as much sleep as you can: Sometimes this is easier said than done, but do try.
- Stay hydrated: It can reduce cramps and constipation that are sometimes frequent during pregnancy.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: This seems obvious, but still needs to be said.
- Get your flu shot: Pregnant women are more susceptible to complications from the flu, so help yourself by getting that flu shot. Bonus: it can also help by passing antibodies to the baby.
- Get your T-Dap shot: Your T-Dap vaccine helps boost antibodies that can be passed to the baby through the placenta and breast milk. This in turn can help to protect them from whooping cough, which can sometimes be fatal for babies.
- Keep your recommended doctor appointments throughout your pregnancy: Regular routine checks are done to make sure your weight, and blood pressure are under control. Also every urine test at these appointments helps to check for correct levels of things like proteins and glucose. “We do more than just check the heartbeat of the baby. We check the well being of the mother,” says Dr. DeSantos. “Routine check ups are vital in helping us catch things like pre-eclampsia.”
No matter what advice you take, one thing is for sure, pregnancy goes rather quickly in the grand scheme of things. Be sure to take some time and enjoy it. Go easy on yourself mama. After all, you are growing a whole human. Good luck and best wishes!
Photo Credit :: Lindsay Herkert Photography