Healthy Lifestyle Habits and Exercise During Pregnancy

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  What You Should Eat
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Your lifestyle habits, as well as your partner's, can affect the health of your baby. If you're already taking good care of yourself, keep it up. If not, start thinking about making behavior changes that are good for you and your baby.

When you're pregnant, you need to:
  • See your health care provider as soon as you think you are pregnant and throughout your pregnancy.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and over-the-counter medications. Discuss all other medication with your health care provider.
  • Keep physically active.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Avoid exposure to harmful substances where you live and work such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, drugs, or radiation.
  • Avoid foods that contain high levels of chemicals such as certain types of fish, or those that put you at risk for getting an infection, such as soft cheeses. Ask your health care provider about these foods.

Physical Activity and Exercise

It's important to stay active during pregnancy. You'll feel better and have more energy. And physical activity can help maintain your muscle tone and strength for labor and birth.

There are many types of physical activity and exercise, ranging from mild stretching to aerobic exercise. If you are already involved in daily physical activities, you don't need to stop. If not, now is a good time to start doing something on a regular basis. Daily activities like walking up stairs, cleaning the house, and gardening are also good ways to keep active. Consult your health care provider about whether an activity is right for you.

Play it safe:
  • Don't get overheated. High internal body temperature (over 100ºF) can cause birth defects in the first trimester. Hot tubs and saunas can be dangerous.
  • Avoid potentially risky activities such as horseback riding, rollerblading, skiing (snow or water), scuba diving, and exercising at high altitudes.
  • Don't push yourself too hard. Physical activity shouldn't hurt.
Continue to "Your Baby: What's Happening"

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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 9/9/2010