Pregnancy can be challenging, especially when it is your first time. Since your baby is growing, there are some changes in your body too. Pregnancy is a life-changing journey, so a mother must be prepared for her emotions and mental and physical health. Even the slightest thinking will get you nervous and makes you panic. Gather all the help and support you can have from your parents, friends, and partner. You can get pieces of information on them, and they can answer some of your questions about pregnancy. Having a baby is exciting; try to improve your health and lifestyle choices by learning, thus giving your baby a good start on life.
Things to Do when you are pregnant
If you have pregnancy symptoms, you must first take a pregnancy test to know if you are positive. This pregnancy test is the right product in Amazon, and it is available.
- Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown, three count
Since in today’s world, we are experiencing a pandemic. You must first call the healthcare provider to have an appointment in their clinic or hospital. Always follow the healthcare protocol by wearing your face masks properly. Do not forget to bring alcohol and maintain social distancing.
Your healthcare provider will determine how many weeks you are pregnant based on the physical examination and your period’s last date during your first appointment. They will use all this information to speculate your delivery date. If they verify that you are healthy and there are no complicating risk factors, they will schedule you again for an appointment depending on how many weeks you are pregnant up until your delivery date.
Every check-up, the healthcare provider will monitor your weight and blood pressure while also tracking the baby’s growth and development by listening for the fetal heartbeat and measuring your belly. They will also require you to do some laboratory tests, including blood, urine, and ultrasound.
In a study by Greg R. Alexander and Milton Kotelchuck, prenatal care is essential because it maintains a low rate of mothers’ mortality rates, thus giving a substantial benefit for the mother and the baby. Since they are public health professionals, they want to reverse the increasing rate of births of premature. 
Nutrition and Supplements
Another important thing is to maintain healthy eating when you’re pregnant. Since you are consuming food for two, you must maintain a well-balanced diet.
Your healthcare provider will prescribe prenatal vitamins, which are:
Calcium. The mother should increase the calcium consumption due to the high demands of the growing baby. It is essential in forming healthy teeth and bones for both of you.
Iron. The regular intake of iron is 30mg every day to produce hemoglobin. It is recommended for both the infant and the mother to meet the iron needs. According to Theresa O. Scholl’s study, a random clinical trial in Nepal and United States stated that early supplementation of iron reduced low birth weight risk or preterm low birth weight, according to Theresa O. Scholl’s study. 
Folic acid. It diminishes the risk of neural tube defects in infants. This neural tube will become the developing brain and spinal cord of the baby. The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort conducted a study that stated that folic acid could also influence the baby’s respiratory health. They investigate folate supplements’ relationship during pregnancy and risk of lower respiratory tract infections on children 18 months and above. The result is that it lowers the respiratory tract infection and relative risk for hospitalizations for lower respiratory tract infections. 
Pink Stork Total Prenatal Vitamins with DHA and Folic Acid are the right prenatal vitamins available in Amazon.
Water is vital for pregnant women, so do not forget to drink lots of it. The advisable volume of water for pregnant women is at least 200ml a day. It can help prevent urinary tract infections, dehydration, and constipation. It can clean the toxins and waste from your body, thus having a healthy pregnancy. Having a clean source of water would be better to avoid chemicals that can affect your baby. Water will transport the vitamins, minerals, and hormones through your baby.
Regular exercise has shown advantages during pregnancy. It can improve sleep, increase energy, prevent excess weight gain, boost your mood, prepare the body for labor, and lessen recovery time after birth. Exercising can also maintain or even improve cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, flexibility, body composition, agility, coordination, balance, power, reaction time, and speed. It showed a decreased risk of developing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarian delivery.
There are also risks of exercise during pregnancy. It involves hyperthermia, maternal trauma, and impaired fetal growth. Even though exercising can give benefits, one must limit and be aware of your body because it is consistently changing. The woman’s body produces relaxin, which helps prepare the pubic area and cervix for birth. It relaxes the ligaments, therefore, making the body less stable and more prone to injury.
Be precautious about what type of exercise that you will do. Do not forget to drink plenty of water. If you are having slowness of breath, it is advisable to take a break. It is better to talk to your healthcare provider about the sports and activities you will be doing.
These are Pregnancy Exercises:
Walking is a good exercise which you can do up until your delivery date. No types of equipment are needed, and only just putting in good sneakers.
Running is okay but does not overdo it. Just do it on a treadmill or a level terrain. Do not over-exercise since the joints and ligaments are loose during pregnancy, and you are more prone to injury.
Aerobic dances like Zumba is an excellent way to increase the heart rate. Water version aerobics is also recommended for pregnant women because you will weigh less on water.
Swimming can be the perfect workout during pregnancy since you will feel lighter and agile on water. It is more gentle on your body. It also relieves puffy ankles, sciatic pain, and nausea. When swimming, avoid diving since the impact is not acceptable to your body.
If you want to be known more about the exercises, there is a book on Amazon entitled Exercising through Pregnancy by James F. Clapp and Catherine Cram.
When you’re pregnant, you will feel tired often. Sleep disturbances are common in pregnant women, especially in late pregnancy. A study by Jodi A. Mindell and Barry J. Jacobson stated that problems are difficulty in falling asleep, frequent night walkings, and sleep apnea. They also indicated that women were napping more by the end of pregnancy. Sleeping can boost your immune system, which is essential during pregnancy—starting a relaxing bedtime routine, meditating, avoiding sugary desserts and caffeine to prevent being jittery. Avoiding electronic devices due to their productivity of light that can affect the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and be comfortable are the tips that you can apply to get a good night’s sleep.
The comfortable sleeping position is lying on your side. Doctors suggest that it is more okay to sleep on the left side because it helps blood flow to the placenta, therefore, goes to your baby. Try to avoid lying flat on your back because the uterus’s weight disturbs the circulation and can make you feel dizzy.
Taking care of your mental health
It is essential to relax and manage your stress levels. Insomnia, weight gain, anxiety, depression, and other chronic conditions are the leading causes of stress. To prevent these, one must be wary of their physical and mental health. If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek professional help.
During pregnancy, the healthcare provider will suggest two kinds of vaccination:
Whooping cough vaccine can boost your antibodies and then passes to your baby through your placenta. It helps in protecting your baby from week 16 up until week 32 of pregnancy. It is better to be vaccinated from 16 weeks because it can be less effective after 38 weeks.
The flu vaccine can prevent developing complications of flu throughout pregnancy.
Monitor the baby’s movements
It is advisable to monitor the movements of your baby around 24 weeks. This movement is an indication that your baby is healthy. Seek professional help when you notice lessened signs of your baby.
Take pregnancy notes and read
The notes should include all of your medical and pregnancy histories needed on the maternity unit, concise notice. The notes will help the healthcare professionals to assess your pregnancy and know what happened in your past pregnancy.
Read books about tips on being healthy while pregnant. It helps with the development of your baby. By reading, you are also bonding with your unborn baby, and it is a form of de-stressing. Here is a good book that you can read and are available on Amazon.
- The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts by William Sears, Martha Sears, Linda Hughey Molt, and B. J. Snell
Healthy Eating Tips for Pregnancy
Cravings are common during pregnancy. Having a healthy eating diet can help your baby grow and develop. A well-balanced diet can also lessen the risk of problems during pregnancy. Unsaturated fats, whole grains, adequate-protein, and fruits and vegetables are some examples of healthy food that you may take.
Foods to Eat in Pregnancy
It is essential to know what is the best food to eat since you are eating for two. Here are examples of foods that you may take while you are pregnant.
Whole grains are full of vitamins, fiber, and plant components. Oats and quinoa also have proteins.
Meat and proteins are rich in iron, chlorine, and other vitamin B essential during pregnancy. Your body will require more iron since your blood volume is increasing, critically important in the third trimester. Pairing it with bell peppers or oranges, which are rich in vitamin C may aid in increase absorption.
Eggs contain at least 147 milligrams of choline, which is essential for developing the baby’s brain and can prevent the spine and brain’s developmental abnormalities. It is rich in nutrients like high-quality protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes have a plant compound(beta carotene) that turns vitamin A in the body. It also contains fiber the reduces blood sugar spikes and enhances digestive health that can aid when pregnancy constipation happens.
Dairy products can give your body additional protein and calcium.
Salmon have omega-3 fatty acids that help develop the baby’s brain and eyes and increase gestational length. It also a source of vitamin D that is vital for immune function and bone health.
Legumes are rich in calcium, fiber, protein, iron, and folate, the most essential during the first trimester. Some also contain magnesium and potassium.
Fruit and vegetables prevent constipation and help in digestion because these provide vitamins and minerals.
Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy
Raw meat or undercooked meat, try avoiding this food during pregnancy.There is a risk that you may consume a parasite. Before you eat meat, make sure that it was frozen, killing most parasites, making it safer.
Cheese such as mold-ripened soft cheese and soft blue-veined cheeses. These contain molds that can have listeria bacteria, which causes listeriosis. Even though it is rare to obtain, it is better to avoid it to prevent infection, leading to a miscarriage or severe illness for the newborn baby.
Raw eggs or undercooked eggs, do not consume this if it is well made by cooking it thoroughly until it is solid to prevent salmonella food poisoning.
The liver contains a lot of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A could harm your baby. Do not take high-dose multivitamin supplements, fish liver oil supplements, and any vitamin A supplements.
Fish should be limited during pregnancy, mostly raw or uncooked ones, because it can cause food poisoning. Statista Research Department conducted statistics on US respondents on June 27, 2014, to determine whether pregnant women can consume sushi. According to the results, 41 percent of the respondents stated that it was okay to eat sushi because it may contain parasitic worms like anisakid worms that can cause severe abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms, etc. Raw shellfish should also be avoided during pregnancy because it contains bacteria and harmful viruses.
Raw sprouts can have bacteria like E. coli and listeria. Try to cook it thoroughly if you still want to eat it.
Beneficial Drinks during Pregnancy
Water is the healthiest drink you can consume. It helps the body digest vital nutrients coming from the food. It is smart to drink water to avoid drinking an abundant amount of calories and sugar. Water also aids in sustaining a healthy pregnancy weight.
Fruit and vegetable smoothies can also give you and your baby a fair amount of vitamins to be beneficial. Limit adding sugar and sweeteners with it.
Low-fat milk is necessary for your body to assist your baby’s developing bones and teeth. One thousand milligrams of calcium per day is essential to support also the baby’s circulatory, muscular and nervous systems.
Harmful Drinks for Pregnant Woman
Alcohol exposure is not beneficial for you and your baby. It can seriously affect the development of your baby. Fetal alcohol syndrome can be the product of too much consumption of alcohol while pregnant. Health care providers should properly educate mothers on alcohol effects to reduce maternal and pediatric morbidity and mortality.  In a statistics studied by John Elflein, July 16, 2019, roughly 3.9 percent of pregnant women aged 18 to 44 years old consume alcohol while pregnant. Overall, alcohol can cause premature birth, brain damage, congenital disabilities, and miscarriage.
Caffeine is not advisable for pregnant women because too much intake can cause miscarriage, and the baby can have a low birth weight. Caffeine should be limited by pregnant women as much as possible so it cannot affect your baby.
Diet soda may seem okay to drink, but one of its ingredients is caffeine and contains artificial sweeteners like saccharine. Saccharine can affect the growth of the baby and can cause defects. It is dangerous if it reaches the placenta of the mother.
Unpasteurized milk and juices contain bacteria and microbes, which are harmful to both of you. Always make sure that the beverages you will purchase undergo pasteurization. It is much safer since it will kill all the bacteria and microbes present in it.
Do not take these medications if not prescribed
Since your baby has the same blood supply, drugs will pass through the bloodstream then the placenta, affecting the baby’s health. Drugs are not 100% safe to intake during pregnancy, but some are necessary and safer than others. Always check with your healthcare professionals about these medications.
NSAID Pain Relievers
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen pose a significant threat to the baby in the mode of congenital disabilities and damages to internal organs during the first trimester. Doctors recommend Tylenol more since it produces fewer negative results.
Mothers should avoid isotretinoin and spironolactone are associated with congenital disabilities. Stop using it immediately. Speak to your dermatologist on how to control acne during pregnancy.
Other Things to be Evaded during Pregnancy
It is terrible for your body and the baby. Be aware also of secondhand smoke since it is deadly also. You can inhale at least 4000 chemicals in secondhand smoke and may cause cancer. Infants exposed to tobacco showed neurotoxic effects like stress or abstinence signs, particularly in the central nervous system, gastrointestinal and visual areas. The infants also present an exciting and hypertonic behavior, thus needing more handling and attention. 
Fake tan, tanning pills, tanning injections, and sunbeds
Fake tan contains an ingredient which is dihydroxyacetone, which produces melanoidin (a brown pigment), and it is a substance that reacts with cells in the outermost layer of the skin. Although it does not absorb in the body and no known harmful effects on using fake tans, it can cause allergic reactions to mothers. It is best to avoid using this because it can change hormones that can make the skin more sensitive than usual. If you still want to use fake tans, apply first a small amount of it on a small area of your skin to observe if it will affect it. It also has a low sun protection factor, which means you are more likely to burn.
Do not also use tanning pills or tanning injections. Betacarotene and the chemical canthaxanthin are an ingredient of tanning pills that give dangerous side effects: damage to the liver and eyes. On the other hand, Tanning injections have Melanotan that increases the skin’s melatonin, which is not recommended by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in tanning and can only utilize a prescription for medicine.
Sunbeds or solariums give radiation, ultraviolet (UV) rays, found in sunlight, which is harmful. The development of skin cancer risk is higher when there is prolonged exposure to UV rays. Malignant melanoma can also be obtained by pregnant women when exposing to high amounts of UV rays. In an unborn baby, there is still no evidence that states it can have a harmful effect. But some studies proposed that it may be linked between folic acid deficiency and increased UV rays because it can break down folic acid.
Exposure to x-ray radiation during pregnancy is harmful because a dosage amount can reach the baby. Your healthcare provider will not advise you to undergo an x-ray, and they will suggest another alternative imaging method instead, such as an ultrasound scan. It could be damaging to the cells of the body if often exposed to radiation. It can develop defects and can be problematic in the physical and mental development of the baby.
Always inform first your healthcare provider before undergoing these methods because they are the ones who are knowledgeable in these particular areas. They will tell you the safe procedure for pregnant women.
Sauna or jacuzzi
An increase in blood supply to the skin and changes in your hormones can make you feel warmer. Feeling faint frequently due to these changes is common in pregnant women.
It is better to avoid using these heated leisure departments during pregnancy because you can be prone to overheat, dehydration and fainting. When overheating, your body will produce sweat since more blood flows close to your skin to further aid in cooling it. Blood and oxygen are not adequately distributed to the brain since less blood flows to the internal organs, making you feel faint. A significant rise in your temperature may influence your unborn baby’s development, specifically during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Also, be mindful of taking a hot bath or quickly standing because this can make you feel faint.
If you do not want to be at risk of health problems, avoid drugs. Examples are cannabis, meta-amphetamines, and psychoactive substances. Overusing drugs has been associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), premature delivery, and a high organ damage rate.
The healthcare provider will advise you, so you must carefully listen because it will benefit both of you. They will help you on your journey through pregnancy. Take care of yourself and be precautious about what you will eat and do since it can affect your baby. Do not stress yourself and try to relax. Eat right and always take the prescribed vitamins. Stay hydrated and avoid food or activities that are not healthy for the both of you. Have proper prenatal care, especially if you are a first-time mom. Pregnancy is hard, but it is worth it when you see that your baby is healthy and well.
 Alexander, Greg R., and Milton Kotelchuck. “Assessing the role and effectiveness of prenatal care: `history, challenges, and directions for future research.” Public health reports 116.4 (2001): 306.
 Scholl, Theresa O. “Iron status during pregnancy: setting the stage for mother and infant.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81.5 (2005): 1218S-1222S.
 Håberg, Siri E., et al. “Folic acid supplements in pregnancy and early childhood respiratory health.” Archives of disease in childhood 94.3 (2009): 180-184.
 Clapp III, James F., et al. “Continuing regular exercise during pregnancy: effect of exercise volume on fetoplacental growth.” American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 186.1 (2002): 142-147.v
 Mindell, Jodi A., and Barry J. Jacobson. “Sleep disturbances during pregnancy.” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing 29.6 (2000): 590-597.
 Dupraz, Julien, et al. “Tobacco and alcohol during pregnancy: prevalence and determinants in Geneva in 2008.” Swiss medical weekly 143.2122 (2013). Dupraz, Julien, et al. “Tobacco and alcohol during pregnancy: prevalence and determinants in Geneva in 2008.” Swiss medical weekly 143.2122 (2013).
 Law, Karen L., et al. “Smoking during pregnancy and newborn neurobehavior.” Pediatrics 111.6 (2003): 1318-1323.