Taking care of your body is always important, but the rules change a little when you’re pregnant. Keeping an eye on your nutrition, sleep, hygiene, and other wellness factors are all necessary and may mean creating new health habits that differ from your pre-pregnancy routine. From dealing with heartburn to finding ways to stay active, there are lots of factors to consider when it comes to your health. Read on for our top suggestions on how to stay healthy while pregnant.
1. Engage in moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
Before you start a new exercise plan, make sure to talk to your doctor about creating a fitness plan that’s right for your lifestyle. Exercise is an important aspect to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and that doesn’t change when you get pregnant. The Office of Women’s Health recommends that those who are pregnant get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.1 This can include low-impact activities like dancing, swimming, water aerobics, walking, and biking.
2. Stay upright to avoid heartburn and indigestion.
Making sure to sit up straight while eating and propping up your head and shoulders while you sleep can help take pressure off your stomach and prevent stomach acid from rising.4 Heartburn is unfortunately a common symptom to experience during pregnancy, but it can sometimes be avoided by paying attention to how you’re positioned. If possible, try eating smaller meals more often and avoid eating within three hours of going to bed at night, as this can disrupt digestion and encourage heartburn.5
3. Take care of your oral health.
If you experience a changing sense of taste and swollen gums that bleed easily, there may be several reasons behind it. This is a common development called pregnancy gingivitis that can be caused by higher hormone levels and other variables.6 If you have not been having routine dental checkups, it might be a good idea to get a complete dentist exam at the beginning of your pregnancy to identify any potential dental problems and learn about proper oral hygiene during pregnancy.7
4. Avoid alcohol
Whatever you consume, your baby consumes, too. Drinking during pregnancy means risking fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) for your baby.2 Because the exact amount of alcohol needed to cause harm is not known,3 it’s important to avoid all alcohol consumption while you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Reach for ginger ale, flavored water, or a mocktail instead!
5. Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Like physical activity, eating a balanced diet is always part of maintaining overall wellness, but it’s extra important to know what you’re putting in your body. When you’re pregnant, you’ll need to consume more protein, iron, calcium, and folic acid than before, as well as more calories.8 The Office on Women’s Health recommends getting 300 more calories per day during your last six months of pregnancy.9 However, it’s important that the calories you're consuming are coming from healthy, nutrient-dense foods.10 Talk to your doctor about finding a pregnancy meal plan that’s right for you and your body.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to understanding how to stay healthy during pregnancy. For more information on wellness and heartburn, visit the TUMS® Heartburn 101 resource center