By Jane Thurnell-Read
It is always important to take whatever steps you can to be
healthy, but while you are pregnant it is even more important:
not only do you need to take good care of yourself, you are
also profoundly affecting the life of another person – your
baby. Here's 7 tips to help you along the way.
1.If you smoke, one of the most important things you can do is
to stop smoking: babies born to mothers who smoke have a lower
average birth weight, are more likely to be born prematurely,
and are at greater risk of death from sudden infant death
syndrome than babies of non-smokers. Sometimes mothers feel
having a low birth weight baby could be an advantage as it
make the baby easy to deliver. This is not necessarily the
as it may lead to an emergency delivery, which can result in
sorts of complications. Even if you are already pregnant,
stopping smoking will benefit the baby for the rest of your
pregnancy. It is not only the baby who benefits. You are
to suffer from less morning sickness, experience fewer
complications and have a more contented baby after the birth.
2. It is also important to pay attention to your diet. Many
women feel they should ‘eat for two’, but research has shown
that women only need an extra 200-300 calories a day while
pregnant, and you may be eating those extra calories anyway.
What is important is to ensure that you get the protein,
vitamins and minerals necessary to build another human being.
Those extra 200-300 calories should not be squandered on
chocolate or crisps, but should be eaten as fruit, vegetables,
etc. It is also important to increase your water intake, which
will help avoid constipation.
3. It is generally a good idea to take a good quality
multivitamin and mineral supplement too. There are now ones
specially formulated for pregnant women. Ideally these should
be started before you become pregnant, so that you are in the
best shape possible for the pregnancy, and then continued
throughout your pregnancy. An adequate supply of vitamins and
minerals is important right from conception. For example, a
deficiency of one of the B vitamins, folic acid, in the first
month of pregnancy may lead to the baby being born with a
lip, congenital heart disease or spina bifida. Omega-3 fatty
acids (obtained by eating oily fish, flaxseed oil, walnuts,
spinach and spirulina, or taken as a supplement) are important
for the development of the baby’s eyes and brain. Omega-3 also
reduces the risk of premature birth and post-natal depression.
4. Nobody knows how much alcohol it is safe to consume during
pregnancy, so many health experts feel it is better to avoid
alcohol entirely for the sake of the baby. This can seem hard
on the pregnant woman when everyone else is drinking, but it
important to remember that alcohol is a poison for the growing
baby, and no caring mother willingly gives her baby poison.
5. Pregnancy is not a time to sit still. Although adequate
is vitally important, most experts believe that healthy
women should be taking 30 minutes of moderate exercise every
6. It is also important to minimise exposure to toxic
while pregnant, so spending a lot of time painting the house
laying new carpets is not a good idea, especially in the early
stages of pregnancy when the baby is particularly vulnerable.
7. Many women find pregnancy stressful, and this can be a
particularly good time to turn to safe, non-invasive options
such as Bach flower remedies, homeopathy, kinesiology and
Making a new life is something miraculous. Doing the best you
can for that new life starts long before you have the baby in
your arms for the first time.
About The Author: Jane Thurnell-Read is an author and
researcher on health, allergies and stress. She has written
books for the general public: "Allergy A to Z" and "Health
Kinesiology". She also maintains a web site
www.healthandgoodness.com with tips, inspiration and
information for everyone who wants to live a happier,