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Prenatal Lifestyle Habits: 5 Healthy Aims

Healthy babies come from healthy mothers. Research shows that an unhealthy diet during pregnancy may lead to long-term health problems for the baby, including blood sugar issues, high cholesterol, and obesity.

So what can you do to avoid complications and increase your chance of delivering a healthy baby? We asked our team at Northwest Medical to break down the five most important steps every future mom should take to ensure the health of her baby.

1. Focus on nutritious foods 

During your pregnancy, you need adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, proteins, and carbohydrates to avoid developing nutritional deficiencies.

Legumes, seeds, and some leafy greens are very high in minerals and vitamins, but they also come with anti-nutrients or chemicals that bind to nutrients and prevent you from absorbing them.

A good example of this is spinach. Although it has an exceptional nutrient profile, it’s also high in oxalates, which are anti-nutrients that inhibit mineral absorption and contribute to kidney stones. 

Focus on nutrient-dense foods with low levels of anti-nutrients. Foods that are low in anti-nutrients include fish, meats, organs, dairy products, sweet potatoes, white rice, and most fruits.

2. Ditch the sugar to avoid gestational diabetes 

During your pregnancy, the placenta secretes hormones that enable your baby to grow. Unfortunately, these are the same hormones that make it harder for you to process glucose, and the biggest sources of glucose are dietary carbohydrates.

You may be at risk of developing gestational diabetes if you were overweight before your pregnancy, have insulin resistance, or suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

If you’re already gaining weight rapidly during your pregnancy, consult with one of our specialists to find out whether the weight gain is normal or a sign of gestational diabetes.

3. Invest in a folate supplement 

Folate is one of the most popular supplements for pregnant women, as insufficient folate intake can lead to severe birth defects, such as neural tube defects.

However, some women may not be able to properly convert folate to its active form, methyl folate, rendering folate supplements useless. This can happen if you have MTHFR mutations.

To prevent complications, ask your doctor to recommend a supplement with folate in its active form, methyl folate, so your body doesn’t have to do any work to make use of it. 

4. Stay physically active 

Walking after a meal, riding a bike, or participating in other low-impact cardio exercises can reduce the length of your labor. Light exercises are also shown to decrease your chance of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Being in shape will also give you the endurance you need to get through labor successfully.

5. Get enough sleep

Many women experience disturbed sleep during pregnancy. In women with a healthy BMI, sleep disturbances are rarer. However, if you’re obese and pregnant, your risk for developing sleep apnea and having poor sleep increases. 

If you can’t get at least eight hours of sleep per night, nap early in the day or go for a brisk walk before bed to increase your chances of having a good night's rest.

Prenatal care for a smooth-sailing pregnancy

Our team at Northwest Medical can help you monitor your baby and increase your comfort during pregnancy. We can help you improve your sleep and relieve back pain, joint pain, and headaches

If you need prenatal care and live near Cheyenne, Wyoming, contact us to schedule an appointment.

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