More Great Pregnancy Tips

For newly pregnant moms-to-be, here's some great tips to help ensure you have a healthy, happy pregnancy.

Take Your Folic Acid
During your pregnancy, nutrition is of the utmost importance. Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is at the top of the list, right next to iron, calcium and protein. Folic acid is a B vitamin found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, orange juice, legumes, nuts, avocado, liver and fruit. Folate is found to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in your baby.

Taking 400 micrograms of folate before your pregnancy will reduce risks of neural tube defects by 70%. During pregnancy, make sure you get about 600 micrograms through eating foods rich in folate or by taking

. There are now many enriched grain, pasta and bread products that will help you reach your folate intake goal. Look for cereals that contain 100% of the recommended daily intake.

Most importantly, have fun while you're trying to get your nutritional needs met. Take a cooking class or buy a cookbook written for pregnant women. You'd be surprised how easy it is to make simple, delicious, nutrient-rich meals. Remember, it's better to eat many small nutritious meals rather than large meals throughout the day.

Add Flair to Your Style
It's important to feel good about yourself during your pregnancy. For many women, feeling good starts with looking good. When your tummy starts showing, show some style in maternity clothes that keep you comfortable. Taking care of your appearance can help make you want to stay fit, which in turn helps your pregnancy and your baby's health.

What should you look for?

  • Make sure the elasticized clothes you buy have plenty of room for expansion so that you don't find yourself in sweatpants or muumuus during your last month. There should be front and side panels to accommodate the swelling of your belly.
  • Because you'll most likely wear your maternity clothes for a while after you give birth, be sure to get tops that allow for easy breastfeeding.
  • Don't buy spandex or lycra or other tight-fitting clothes. Cotton will keep you comfortable, cool and it won't irritate your skin.

Luckily, pregnant women are finding that their styles are becoming available in maternity clothes. It might be that the host of celebrities flaunting their chic pregnancy wear are behind the movement of glorifying the pregnant woman's body. Treat yourself to a pregnancy magazine subscription for some stylish tips. Then, come out of the shadow and show off that body.

Get Good Prenatal Care
Women who are more rigorous concerning prenatal care are found to have better deliveries. As soon as you discover you are pregnant, visit your doctor and keep subsequent visits frequent. The doctor will provide information and will monitor the health of you and your baby. During the examination, the doctor will check your blood pressure, weight gained or lost, fetal heart rate, the circumference of your belly and the fetus position. In general, prenatal care appointments are a good way to become familiar and comfortable with your pregnancy.

Take Time to Relax…try Yoga Nidra
Yoga nidra, also known as 'psychic sleep,' is a form of yoga in which extreme relaxation is targeted. It is said that one hour of yoga nidra is equivalent to four hours of sleeping. This makes it perfect for pregnant women who may be experiencing difficulties in sleeping or for those postpartum sleepless nights. While it may be more relaxing than sleep, it's actually a state of heightened consciousness. Signing up for a class means keeping your body healthy and getting a good dose of r & r.

Exercise Away!
Exercise is recommended as an excellent way of boosting your energy level, keeping yourself fit and adding years to your life. During pregnancy, it's more important than ever to exercise! You may feel helpless as your body experiences changes more drastic than puberty; exercise will help give you a sense of control over this metamorphosis.

There are several challenges a pregnant woman faces when exercising. Hormones and pregnancy weight can make your joints ache. Loss of balance and increased heart rate are also setbacks. For these reasons, it is recommended that women engage in low-impact exercises such as yoga, swimming or cycling on a stationary bike.

The benefits of exercise are great. It helps you get better rest and diminishes aches, constipation, swelling, cramping and bloating. It'll give you a chance to socialize or spend precious time by yourself. Most importantly, it will prepare you for the strain of labor and help get your pre-pregnancy body back sooner following birth.

Remember, you don't want to prepare yourself for running a marathon. Exercise during pregnancy should be gentle and last no longer than 30 minutes. And don't forget to drink plenty of water!

Do Your Kegels!
During pregnancy, the growing uterus places pressure on the bladder, making it easy to leak. To help prevent these leaks, you'll want to strengthen your pelvic floor by practicing Kegels. To find those muscles, simple tighten the muscles of the vagina as if trying to interrupt the flow of pee. To stop anal leakage, tighten those muscles as you would while preventing the escape of gas. Hold those muscles for a count of five, then release. The good news is that you can practice these anyway. The even better news is that practicing Kegels will help tighten your vagina after birth.

Keep a Record of your Pregnancy!
Pregnancy and childbirth are certainly milestones within a woman's life. Unfortunately, many women forget the emotions attached to this important transformation. Keeping a pregnancy journal is an excellent way to remember those moments, good and bad, that heralded the birth of your child. It's also a good way to work out your feelings and allot some necessary "alone" time. If you want to share this special time with all your friends and family, then consider starting an online pregnancy journal.

Writing a birth plan is another way to proactively decide the way you want your birth to progress.

For Friends: Organize a Shower
Friends of pregnant women, lend me your ears! Want to organize an amazing baby shower? Make it a surprise (keep it hugger-mugger!), invite lots of friends, make food your pregnant friend craves and remember to think up lots of fun baby shower games!

Gifts can be invaluable to a first-time mother; there are so many hidden costs in having a baby, that between taking care of her newborn and trying to sleep, spending the bucks to buy all the necessities can make her eyes bug out. Help her! Remember to co-ordinate gifts so that she's not getting any duplicates.

More importantly, a baby shower is going to show her that you guys care. Feeling loved and supported through this milestone will provide immeasurable benefits to a pregnant woman. It's support that keeps a woman feeling proactive toward her pregnancy. (Speaking of support, don't forget to help with the dishes!)

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