If you just found out you're pregnant or are already planning the best days to get pregnant so you can conceive, it's time to reevaluate your lifestyle. You need to make sure that your habits are healthy enough to not only support your unborn child, but enable you to handle carrying and giving birth to your baby. Healthy living is the name of the game, but there's a lot that goes into a healthy lifestyle, making it difficult to figure out which habits are the most important. To give you a better idea of what's absolutely critical, here's a list of the top five healthy living habits that you should take up during your pregnancy – and keep them up after delivery to be a healthy mom!
1. Quit smoking
If you haven't quit smoking yet, now's certainly the time. Smoking is one of the biggest risks to your overall health, and it definitely isn't good for your developing baby's. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can make your baby's development slow down and affect your child's learning potential. Smoking also increases your risk of preterm labor or miscarriage. Talk to your health care provider for advice on how to quit – he or she can help you figure out the best program to meet your needs.
2. Cut down on alcohol
Studies are everywhere concerning the effects of drinking on pregnancy – and on health in general. But the general consensus is that too much alcohol isn't a good thing at all. If you're not ready to give up the wine, beer or liquor altogether, at least cut down on the amount you consume. Heavy drinking can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, so limit your intake to a couple of drinks per week at most. The same goes for when you're breastfeeding.
3. Eat nutritious foods
Clean eating is a big deal these days, and for good reason. The food you put into your body has a big impact on your overall health. Now's a good time to reevaluate your diet and figure out what you need to change. You should be getting the recommended daily amounts of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and fats. Vitamins and minerals are also very important – especially during pregnancy – so take a prenatal vitamin and talk to your doctor to see how your levels are. He or she can also clue you in to how much calories you should be getting and how much weight is safe to put on.
4. Start exercising
Keeping active and fit is one of the best ways to jumpstart your health and reduce your risks of numerous diseases and complications. If you don't already have an exercise routine, now's the time to put one together – ask your doctor for guidance. If you have a routine, you may need to change it to accommodate your growing belly. Certain activities can be altered to make them safe for your unborn baby, but others should be avoided. Ask your health care provider which moves you should stay away from for now.
5. Sleep more
If you're like most people, chances are you're not getting enough sleep. The recommended amount is somewhere between seven and nine hours each night, and it's especially important to hit this range during pregnancy, since your body needs rest to recharge. Adjust your sleep schedule if necessary, and don't feel guilty if fatigue makes you want to take a nap during the day. Not only will enough rest ensure that your body is capable of performing at maximum capacity, but it'll also help you manage stress – which can be difficult when you're getting ready for baby!