You just got the most exciting news: You are going to be a new mommy!
Your mind is already swirling. There is so much to do: announce the big news to friends and family, pick the perfect name, and find the perfect onesie to bring your baby home.
Take a deep breath. You have roughly 9 months to get ready.
Before you get ahead of yourself, some of the most important items on the ‘To-Do’ list will be how to take care of yourself and the growing baby inside your belly. Once you become pregnant some of your most routine habits might need to be adjusted to keep you and your baby healthy.
Everything from your sleep and exercise habits to your morning cup of coffee should be examined to make sure they are safe during pregnancy. The most important advice for pregnant women is to visit your doctor as soon as you find out you are expecting and attend all scheduled visits up until delivery and immediately afterward. Always remember to talk to your doctor about any questions and concerns.
BECOME A TEXAS WIC CLIENT WHEN PREGNANT
Expecting Texas mothers can also see if they qualify to become a WIC client.
The WIC program is 100% free. It’s aimed to help pregnant and breastfeeding mothers get a healthy start for their infants and children up to age five. WIC recipients can take home free nutritious food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, and even specialty formula to make sure you are getting your baby off to the healthiest start. Texas WIC also offers access to free nutritional classes and visits to WIC-approved clinics. To find a WIC Clinic near you, visit this site.
Your team of health professionals will provide individual guidance about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby, but here are some important tips to help get started along your healthy pregnancy journey:
DIET, VITAMINS WHILE EXPECTING
You are now eating for two. That doesn’t mean you eat twice as much as you did before you were pregnant. Discuss with your doctor your target calorie intake. Your daily calorie goal will vary based on your pre-pregnancy weight. There are, however, some guidelines that will apply to most pregnancies. It’s important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables so your baby has all the right vitamins to grow. Pregnant women should eat a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean protein while avoiding calories loaded with extra fat and sugar. It’s important to get nutrients like iron, fiber, and calcium.
One of the most important nutrients you consume might be folic acid. Getting enough folic acid – from the start of your pregnancy – has been proven to help prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. You can get folate from foods such as dark leafy greens like spinach, beans, lentils and whole-grain cereals and breads that are fortified with folic acid. It’s also often found in prenatal vitamins.
Pregnant women should NOT consume unpasteurized milk, cheese, or juice. Consuming undercooked meat, eggs or fish is also harmful. Expected mothers should cook lunch meat or hot dogs until it steams before eating.
Pregnant women can eat fish low in mercury levels (up to 12 ounces) twice a week. Fish that are safe to eat include shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, and catfish. However, Albacore tuna and tuna steak should be limited to more than 6 ounces per week. Eating fish high in mercury can be harmful to your baby.
Women should stop drinking alcoholic beverages and limit caffeine while pregnant. Drinking alcohol can cause premature birth and birth defects. Too much much caffeine can cause low birth weight.
Pregnant mothers can replace their caffeine intake with water. Staying hydrated helps you and your baby. Also, don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins daily. Your doctor can also recommend one that is right for you.
SELF CARE WHILE PREGNANT
Being pregnant can be very stressful. The right self care (a healthy diet, being active, and getting enough rest) are tools you can discuss with your doctor to help make your pregnancy easier.
If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant, discuss any modifications that are needed with your doctor. If exercise wasn’t part of your daily routine, create a plan with your physician.
The right amount of exercise might vary throughout your pregnancy, but getting the right mix of activity can help reduce stress and help you sleep better. It can also lower the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Consider going for a walk or taking a prenatal yoga class.
TIPS FROM TexasWIC.org:
- Keep all of your clinic appointments and follow the advice of your doctor.
- Take prenatal vitamins and any medications your doctor gives you.
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly.
- Relax and get help from friends and family.
For more tips on how to be prepared for pregnancy, visit a Texas WIC office near you or sign up for a class by visiting Texas WIC’s online classes.