Regular prenatal care is essential for moms-to-be. It’s the best way to ensure you and your baby stay healthy from conception to delivery, and most women have 10-15 prenatal visits over the course of pregnancy.
But there’s a lot of time between your prenatal appointments — especially at first — and it can leave you wondering what you can do to care for yourself and your baby at home.
A. Michael Coppa, MD, and our team provide comprehensive prenatal care, and that means answering all your questions. Here’s what we tell our patients to do at home to ensure their babies have their healthiest starts possible.
Take prenatal vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated for pregnant women and their growing babies. While you get most essential nutrients from your diet, you generally need more folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D when you’re pregnant.
You should take a prenatal vitamin daily, or as directed, to fill gaps in your diet and ensure a healthier pregnancy. If you’re not sure what to look for, Dr. Coppa can help you find a good prenatal vitamin for your needs.
Everyone should get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, and that includes pregnant women. Aim to get about 30 minutes of light to moderate aerobic exercise most days. Try low-impact activities like cycling, walking, or swimming, and remember to talk to the doctor before starting any exercise program while pregnant.
Regular exercise during pregnancy helps reduce aches and pains and promotes healthy weight gain. It’s also linked to a lower risk of certain pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm birth.
Eat a nutritious diet
When you’re pregnant, you need to eat about 300 more calories per day. The types of foods you eat matter, too. Along with your prenatal vitamins, your diet provides essential nutrients to your developing baby.
Dr. Coppa recommends eating a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken and fish. Avoid foods high in fats and sugars. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Get plenty of sleep
Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night. For pregnant women, that recommendation increases to 8-10 hours a night.
Sleep serves a restorative function, and it’s especially important when you’re pregnant. Prioritize getting restful sleep each night, and you could have a lower risk of complications like preeclampsia.
Build a support network
Pregnancy and postpartum can be exhausting. You may find you can’t keep the same pace you once did, and it’s important to prioritize self-care during this time. Take the opportunity to build a support network of friends, family, or in-home help to take some of the stress off you.
Remember that your prenatal care team is also here to help you. We’re available to answer your questions, make recommendations, and prepare you for your baby’s arrival in any way we can.
Do you want more pregnancy care tips? Book a prenatal appointment with Dr. Coppa and our team. Call us or use the online booking tool today. We have locations in Cranston, Providence, and Smithfield, Rhode Island.