When I learned I was pregnant the first time, the first search I did was for pregnancy tips. I wanted to learn everything I could to make sure that my unborn child could grow to be as healthy and strong as possible. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, though. There’s so much information and many times, one article contradicts another.
But there are some basic pregnancy tips that stand across the board, regardless of your age, how many other children you have, or the work you do.
Take a prenatal vitamin and eat a healthy diet
Many women struggle with morning sickness, sometimes occurring at all hours of the day or night. They also frequently find that pregnancy is a rather exhausting period in a woman’s life. Prenatal vitamins and a healthy diet help to combat morning sickness and provide energy that helps you to get through the day without napping constantly. You don’t want your work to suffer because you’re spending your days going back and forth between the toilet and the bed.
Folate is one of the particularly important minerals for pregnant women. Folate, also known as folic acid, is a B vitamin that can help prevent birth defects. You need 600mcg of folic acid during pregnancy and breastfeeding. A prenatal vitamin is a quick and convenient way to up your folic acid intake, particularly if you suffer from morning sickness and have trouble keeping foods down. You can also get folic acid from foods such as strawberries, spinach and broccoli.
Prenatal vitamins also provide other vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy. While you could try to get everything you need from your diet, it’s important to remember that you not only need the vitamins and minerals required to keep your own body healthy and strong under ordinary circumstances but you also need extra to grow that second human being inside of you. The amount of food you’d need to eat to get that many vitamins and minerals could lead to unnecessary weight gain. The prenatal vitamins allow you to get the extra vitamins and minerals without the extra calories.
Build your support system
Pregnancy can be rough even while it’s glorious. One of the best pregnancy tips I ever got was to built my support system. It’s important to start building a strong support system now, particularly if you’re going to be a working single mom. Your support system should include people who can help you during the pregnancy – such as friends who can pick up groceries if you’re too tired or struck by morning sickness or who will go with you to a doctor’s appointment or to your first ultrasound.
You should also be building your support system for after baby is born. This should include people you trust to help you take care of the baby, bring you meals so you don’t have to cook, and even people who can simply send you texts of encouragement.
Don’t just look to family for your support system, either. Consider friends and neighbors who can help you out as well by doing simple things like bringing in your mail or mowing your yard.
Remember that your support system is about more than taking care of the baby. Start delegating at work so co-workers or bosses can ask any questions they have before you’re on maternity leave – or in labor. If you work from home as a freelancer or running your own business, start networking now to find people who can cover for you while you’re taking time off after you give birth. Alternatively, if you must shut things down while you’re on maternity leave, begin prepping your customers for that well in advance. Remind them early and often, and have clear information for them about the dates you’ll be out and what to expect when you return.
Educate yourself deeply
Pregnancy is a time of constant change. Your baby is changing and growing daily and so are you. If you’ve never been pregnant before, there are changes that can surprise you and make you question if it’s normal or if there is a problem.
Make sure you take the time to deeply educate yourself on everything that’s happening to your body. Read books, talk to family and friends who have gone through pregnancy, watch videos, and look for classes you can take.
Don’t limit yourself to just listening to and reading what others have experienced. Ask questions. Dig into details to understand what you might expect.
Most importantly, don’t let yourself be scared. There are women who have had negative experiences with pregnancy and delivery and they will share these stories with you quite gladly. While this can be to your benefit because it can prepare you for the worst, it’s important not to dwell on those fears. Use the information to know what you might need to watch for but continue to enjoy your pregnancy and look forward to a healthy delivery and baby.
Ask about more than pregnancy tips
Don’t limit your education to your pregnancy, however. Talk to other moms who have worked during and after their pregnancies for tips and advice on how they’ve made it work for them. Working with a newborn can be tricky but it can be done. You’ll find it easier if you have a few tricks up your sleeve that you can try rather than hunting for help in the moment.
Join groups, both online and off, for pregnant working moms and start asking for pregnancy tips and more. Some of the biggest topics you may want to seek advice for are meeting with clients when you’ve got a baby present, how to divide your work based on what you can do while baby is awake and while baby is sleeping, and how much time you’ll want to take off after baby is born.
Gain a healthy amount of weight
The old adage is that you’re “eating for two” when you’re pregnant. But if you actually do this, you’re going to gain a lot of unnecessary weight that you’ll then have to work to lose after the baby arrives. Let’s face it, as a working mom with a newborn, you won’t have time to try to lose any extra weight.
The reality is, in the first trimester, your baby is not very big and does not require very many extra calories. As the pregnancy continues, you’ll want to gain more weight, but in the first three months, gaining 1-4 pounds total is all you really need.
Your doctor or midwife can help you determine how much weight you should gain. They can also help you if you’re gaining too much weight or if you’re struggling to gain the weight you should.
What about those pregnancy cravings you’ve heard about? Yes, lots of women do get pregnancy cravings. And there’s no reason not to indulge them from time to time. Moderation is key in pregnancy, just as it is any other time.
Pay attention not only to what you eat, but how often you’re eating. Take a few extra minutes to assess whether you’re wanting to eat out of real hunger or if it’s stress, pressure to eat from someone else, or something else that’s driving your desire to eat.
Stay (or get) active
If you have a typical fitness routine that you already follow, check with your doctor to see if you can continue it as is or how you should modify it. If you don’t already have a routine, now’s a good time to talk to your doctor and find out what you can do.
Physical activity is important throughout pregnancy. Aside from helping you to stay within a healthy weight range, it will also make your body more comfortable as you go through the many changes of pregnancy. This is particularly important if your work keeps you seated most of the time. It’s important to take a few minutes every hour or so to stand up, walk around, and stretch a bit. Consider getting a standing desk or even just moving your laptop and other necessary items to the kitchen counter now and then so you can stand and still work.
Staying physically active can also help make your labor and delivery easier – and who doesn’t want labor and delivery to be as easy as possible?
Getting or staying active in the first trimester is key because as your stomach begins to grow and your body begins to stretch and change, you’ll feel much less inclined to start a new fitness routine. By making sure it becomes a habit early in your pregnancy, you’ll start to build momentum that will keep you going through the rest of your pregnancy.
Manage your stress levels
You need to manage stress for your own sake but during pregnancy it can be particularly important. Too much stress can interfere with your sleep, give you headaches, and more. Prolonged, high levels of stress can cause much bigger problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and even cause premature labor and delivery.
Begin looking for ways to reduce your stress. This might include quitting a highly demanding job, letting go of projects or clients that are high stress, or reducing or eliminating contact with friends or family who make you feel tense and uncomfortable.
You can also meditate to reduce stress. Meditation is a relatively simple and easy way of lowering your stress levels, with no side effects for you or baby.
Prenatal yoga can also help with stress relief. Restorative yoga like this can be ideal for this purpose. It’s relaxing, soothing, and easy on the body. It can also be used just to stretch your body and ease any soreness or stiffness pregnancy has caused.
A healthy baby starts with these pregnancy tips
The months of pregnancy can go back and forth between feeling like it’s lasting forever and going by much too fast. It can feel very difficult to balance the demands of pregnancy with the demands of work.
These simple pregnancy tips will help you be better able to walk the fine line between the two. By using them, you’ll be encouraging a healthy and happy pregnancy while also keeping your business going strong.
And that is a beautiful way to step into motherhood.