Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy

Topic Overview

The following are ways you can maintain your own and your baby's health during pregnancy.

Eat a balanced diet

Eat a balanced, nutritious diet during pregnancy to maintain your own health and to nourish your unborn baby.

Get plenty of rest

Go to bed earlier than usual and get up later, if possible. Take naps, unless napping makes you sleepless at night. If you cannot sleep, try reading, writing a letter, or doing another quiet and restful activity.

Put your feet up and rest as often as you can during the day. Share housework and other duties with your partner whenever possible.

Later in pregnancy you will be more comfortable lying on your side rather than on your back. Placing a small pillow under your belly for support may increase your comfort. Have your partner roll another pillow in the small of your back. A third small pillow can be placed between your knees.

As your pregnancy advances, it is best to lie on your left side. The large blood vessel in front of your backbone can be partially blocked by the increasing weight of your uterus when you lie on your right side or back.

Stay safe

Always wear your seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle or plane.

Avoid climbing on ladders or standing on anything that is high, unstable, or wobbly.

Bathe or shower in water that is not too hot. You may need help getting out of a bath in the last weeks of your pregnancy.

Prepare your dog or cat for the arrival of your baby:

  • If you have discipline problems with your dog (jumping or climbing on beds or furniture), take your dog to obedience school. Jealousy of the new baby may make the animal's behavior even worse. Obedience training can correct these behaviors.
  • If your animal bites or scratches, keep it away from the baby. Cat scratches in particular can cause a bad infection.
  • You may want to have someone bring home one of your baby's blankets from the hospital before the baby arrives, so your pet can get used to the smell of the new member of the family.

Credits

Author Sandy Jocoy, RN
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Updated November 28, 2008

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