A healthy pregnancy means a steadfast commitment to a lifestyle that will sustain you and your baby throughout pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. For many, it means giving up habits and foods that could harm you and your unborn child.
The Mother Baby Center recommends the following for all expectant parents:
- Stay away from smoking. If you smoke, it's not too late to stop. Smoking decreases blood flow to your baby, which means that your baby will get less oxygen. Smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Don't drink alcohol. Drinking beer, wine or wine coolers during pregnancy could harm a developing baby, causing birth defects and, in some cases, lifelong learning problems. Even small amounts of alcohol can hurt brain development.
- Don't use drugs. Using street drugs – marijuana, cocaine or methamphetamines – can damage blood vessels and cause premature labor. Babies born to mothers who use these drugs are often irritable with sleeping and have feeding problems.
- Eat well. Eating a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables and grains will nourish your baby and improve your overall health. Add lean sources of protein, such as chicken, turkey or fish. Check out our top 20 foods for pregnancy on allinahealth.org/pregnancy.
- Limit caffeine. Caffeine speeds up your heart rate and stimulates your central nervous system. It is best to limit caffeine to two 6-ounce cups of coffee or three cups of tea or two cans of caffeinated soda each day.
Having a healthy pregnancy
For more on what you can do during each stage of pregnancy, check out these pages of Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond on allinahealth.org/pregnancy:
- First trimester: What's good and what's bad for you and your baby
- Second trimester: Eating well, exercises and more
- Third trimester: Cutting empty calories and continuing to exercise
Choosing healthful foods
The United State Department of Agriculture has guidelines that can help you make healthful choices.
- Check out the resources just for pregnant and breastfeeding women on choosemyplate.gov.