When you become Pregnant, whether it’s been a long-held dream or a surprise that has popped up, you’re bound to have many questions, from what should you eat or not eat to what your 18 weeks pregnant belly is going to look like. However, with such a mountain of information out there, it can be difficult to know what you should actually be doing to look after yourself and your baby. Of course, your life must undergo a few changes, but it isn’t anything to fear and in fact, much of the time, your body tells you what to do. While it’s generally agreed globally that you shouldn’t undertake climbing Mount Everest or play professional rugby while carrying a child, there are plenty of activities that you can take part in and still enjoy a fulfilled lifestyle. This is a beautiful time in life that should be enjoyed, as growing a child inside you is probably the most amazing thing you’ll ever do.
We’ve gathered a selection of the best tips so you can have a handy reference guide for the next nine months.
Sailing, Flying or Driving?Travel is by no means outlawed when you’re pregnant – most US airlines will let you fly (occasionally at least) when you are up to 36 weeks pregnant, but it’s recommended that you bring any medical records with you after 30 weeks, be sure to stretch your legs regularly and stay hydrated throughout the flight.
During long car journeys, you shouldn’t be driving for more than 5 – 6 hours and if you are a passenger, you will still need a break to get out and walk around (and probably use the bathroom.)
So, choose somewhere nice for your babymoon and take that last trip as a couple (or alone!) to the sea or mountains, before your journey of motherhood leads you to new and wondrous places.
Eat for You and for TwoEating for two means that you are in need of more calories, but it’s important they come from nutritious foods – not just having an extra portion of chocolate cake. There’s a lot of scaremongering out there around seafood, but in fact, you should be getting at least five portions of cooked fish in your diet every week – just steer clear of the sashimi and sushi. Raw fish is a no-no, as is anything smoked, but load up on salmon, catfish, tilapia and shellfish such as shrimp and crab. These are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for a healthy heart.
You will need more vitamins and minerals than usual, so try to have lots of calcium, iron and protein in your diet, as well as folic acid. Many pregnant women don’t get enough folate, also known as vitamin B9 – this is vital for the health of mom and baby, so make sure to get as many legumes into your diet to boost your intake of B vitamins. You can take these as supplements, but it’s generally better to get as much as possible from the food you’re eating, as it will help the baby grow and develop.
Women of normal weight should gain around 25 – 30 pounds during their pregnancy, any more and you risk obesity later on. Eating 300 calories more a day than your usual diet should deliver the energy you need to carry and nourish the baby.
Here’s a handy guide of foods to eat plenty of while pregnant:
- Greek yoghurt
- Dried fruit
- Chickpeas and lentils
- Lean beef or pork
- Oats and quinoa
- Sweet potato
- Water, Water, Everywhere
Doctors recommend that pregnant women drink at least 10 cups of water daily, but you may need to drink more if you are exercising or in hot weather. Some of your water intakes can come from food, but remember that soft drinks and sweet drinks may dehydrate you further because of their high sugar content.