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If you’re pregnant, chances are you’ve been doing a lot of research about your health- both for your sake and that beautiful growing baby! When I was pregnant with my daughter, I remember feeling like there was so much to know.
That’s exactly why I put together this list of tips for a healthy pregnancy!
This quote sums up the importance of mama’s health perfectly: “The best way to keep your baby healthy is to keep yourself healthy.”
Since you are literally housing and nourishing that little bean (or whatever fruit size your baby is this week)- this should totally make sense, right?!
Yet, the process of making the right choices can feel totally overwhelming. I put together this extensive yet simple list that you can quickly browse through to get an overall sense for what you personally need. They’re broken up into categories so that you can skip over or pause on any section relevant to you.
When I got pregnant with my daughter, my priorities totally changed. Suddenly- making the best and healthiest choices possible was my top goal in life. I wanted to make sure I felt my best and the miracle growing in my belly the best chance for good development 🙂
Feeling tired, nauseous and simply off is totally normal in the first trimester. It due to an upsurge in hormones as your body ramps up for growing that little baby. Unfortunately, some women will experience symptoms throughout their pregnancy as well. If your symptoms are severe, talk to your OB about your health.
Here are the best tips out there for dealing with morning sickness:
- Get more sleep- either at night or in the form of naps (or both of course!)
- Get higher quality sleep- keep your room dark and turn of those electronics before bed to do something relaxing
- Eat small meals regularly to prevent a drop in blood sugar
- Get some fresh air
- Participate in some gentle movement or exercise
- Go for a short walk
- Avoid any areas with smells that trigger nausea- aka the fish market, fridges, kitchens, bathrooms, etc.
- Peppermint aromatherapy
- Take it slow in the morning
- Stay well hydrated
- Take vitamin B6
- Take a prenatal vitamin, but think about taking it right before bed instead of in the morning
- Eat bland foods- think rice, bread, crackers, broth, bananas, etc.
- Use foods for remedies– including ginger and lemon
- Get enough nutrients in your diet with 3 servings each of fruits and veggies per day (my favorite option is to hide them in sauces and smoothies when I’m not in the mood)
- Eat healthy fats to feel full and satiated- think avocado, coconut oil, avocado oil, and fish
- Get enough daily protein
- Talk to your doctor about prescription remedies if severe
- Practice stress management
- Be mindful with meditation, visualization, gratitude and more- it’s amazing how positivity can change the way you process and perceive the way you feel!
- Tune in to what your body truly needs!
Want more info on morning sickness? See our full article here: The Ultimate Guide to Handling Morning Sickness.
Sleep and Pregnancy Fatigue
Getting enough sleep can be so helpful for boosting your energy. Especially in the first and third trimester, pregnancy fatigue can leave you feeling exhausted all day- ready to crawl back in bed the minute you get home. Yet, most of us have things to do! Other kids, jobs, friends, etc. So how can you manage all these things without feeling like your dying everyday? SLEEP.
Sadly, sleep can be hard to come by due to all the changes in hormones and discomfort you’re experiencing. As your belly grows, there are only so many positions you can get into (basically your sides). Plus, it feels like you have to pee every 10 minutes. Add that racing mind about all the things you need to do- and it’s a recipe for bad sleep.
Here are my favorite remedies for getting a good night of sleep when you’re pregnant:
- Go to bed earlier (duh, ha!)- make it a priority
- Delegate some of your evening tasks to your family so that you can unwind and get to bed on time
- Drink enough water each day- shoot for 8-10 cups per day (8 ounce cups)
- Getting moving everyday- this helps balance your sleep hormones. It can be most helpful in the morning but any time will do.
- Eat a healthy diet
- Take a prenatal vitamin
- Avoid high carb meals before bed- try high protein and healthy fat options instead
- Don’t eat less than 2 hours before bed
- Take a nap during the day to avoid getting overtired
- Relax before bed- have a set routine that you enjoy
- Self-care and stress management- see the full list in self-care below!
- Have a regular sleep routine- try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday
- Get 10-20 minutes of sunshine each day
- Get outside and put your feet in a river, grass or dirt to balance your biochemical energy
- Be mindful- bringing awareness to your thoughts through journaling or meditation to decrease a racing mind at night
- Stop watching the news- look up what you want to know and avoid unnecessary stress
- Shut off all of your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed
- If you need to look at your electronics- wear blue light lenses
- Keep your room cool (around 68 degrees F)
- Keep your room dark- you shouldn’t be able to see your hand- black out curtains work great!
- Get all of your electronics out of your room at night- if your phone is in your room, then at least put it on airplane mode to reduce EMF transmission
- Invest in a pregnancy pillow or body pillow
- Buy a new bed
- Add a memory foam topper
- Sleep on your side with pillows between your legs and behind your back
- Go pee right before bed
- Limit water intake right before bed
Related read: 11 Natural Ways to Combat and Beat Pregnancy Fatigue
What you put in your body is so essential for feeling your best and giving your baby the best possible health. The nutrients going into you body are literally the building blocks for your baby. Yet, nutrition can be tricky with nausea, cravings, and past eating habits.
Here are some quick tips for getting your started, if you want more in depth information- look at our full article here.
Avoid certain foods, these include:
- Raw or undercooked meat
- High mercury fish such as swordfish and tilefish
- Deli meat
- Canned food with BPA liner
- Unwashed produce
- Raw eggs
- Highly processed oils (i.e. vegetable and canola)
- Processed and nutrient devoid foods (chips, candy, white bread, cereals, etc.)
- Foods high in refined sugar
- Food left out on the counter or under a heat lamp
- Produce high in pesticides (see a full list here– go organic when you can for these 12!)
- Certain teas- such as
- green tea/machta
- red raspberry leaf (in early pregnancy)
- Certain fruits
- Unripe papaya
- Bitter melon
Load up on nutrient dense foods, these include:
- Green leafy vegetables, including
- Swiss chard
- Beet Greens
- Cruciferous vegetables, including
- Collard Greens
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Superfoods, including
- Spirulina (consult your doctor)
- Chlorella (consult your doctor)
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Include nutrient dense animal products (if not vegetarian)
- Pasteurized cheese
- Healthy fats are key for baby’s brain development
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut, olive, and avocado oils
- Grass-fed butter or ghee
- Don’t like these foods? Hide nutrients in your foods
- Green leafy vegetables, including
- Take a prenatal vitamin that includes folate (NOT folic acid) and choline
- On average you only need 300 extra calories per day- focus on nutrient density!
See All of Our Nutrition Guides on Mom Blog Life
- The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition
- 20 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
- 11 Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy
Getting moving during your pregnancy is so important for many reasons. Although your hormones changes and growing belly may leave you tempted to lay in bed all day- don’t do it!
While rest is important, so is exercise. You will better manage your weight gain, ease aches and pains, and get your body for labor.
Here are the exercise basics for pregnancy:
Exercises to Avoid
- Exercise that requires holding the breath
- Some abdominal exercises such as crunches and other ones lying on your back
- Anything that requires lying on your back for more than a few minutes
- Contact sports
- Activities that put you at a high risk for falling, such as skiing
- High impact moves like jumping and bouncing
- High intensity exercise
- Any type of exercise in hot weather
Pregnancy Safe Exercise
- Prenatal Yoga
- Stationary biking
- Low impact aerobics
- Jogging or running
- Light weights
- Anything you are comfortable completing safely!
- Stay tuned for a full article on favorite specific exercises for strength and pain relief!
- You can continue to exercise at the level of fitness you were at immediately prior to pregnancy- if tolerated
- Do not exercise to exhaustion
- Weight loss should not be a primary goal during pregnancy- if you are overweight consult your doctor for possible options
- An ideal exercise routine includes a warm up, light cardio, stretching, and cool down
- Weight training during pregnancy is a great way to stay fit and strong- consult your doctor
- Exercise daily for the best results- or at the very least for 30 minutes 3 times per week
Did I mention that the Perfect Pregnancy Plan also has entire section on pregnancy exercise? This mama and physical therapist gives it two thumbs up!
Related read: 4 Pregnancy Yoga Poses
Pregnancy can make you feel a lot of feels. Your hormones are changing, you’re facing a total life change, and you’re feeling tired… it’s a lot to take in mama!
Having some good stress management techniques in mind will help you feel your best. It also has health benefits of reducing your blood pressure, making it easier to regulate your blood sugar, and more.
Here are the best stress management tips:
- Set up a budget for baby (and family) that you are comfortable with
- Start saving money for projected birth and baby expenses
- Consider starting a side hustle while pregnant for a little extra income
Stress about the future (aka birth, baby and beyond)
- Read childbirth and parenting books that you like, some of my favorites include:
- Take advice from others with a grain of salt
- Talk to your mom friends and ask questions
- Follow your intuition
- Take a childbirth course (My favorite is Mama Natural’s Birth Course!)
- Feel prepared with a packed hospital bag in your third trimester
- Realize that baby doesn’t need all the things- just you!
- Exercise regularly
- Employ positive self-talk
- Eat well
- Practice self-care and relaxation
- Talk about it with loved ones
- Get enough sleep and rest
- Establish a mindfulness routine
Self-care for Moms (Pregnancy and Beyond)
Getting in the habit of regular self-care is a great thing to establish before your baby arrives. It might feel like you don’t have time for things like self-care- but it’s SO important for your mental health and well-being. Ironically, the busier you are the more vital it becomes!
Use these quick tips to get started.
- Self-care is always worth it- even if it’s just 5 minutes per day!
- You can’t pour from an empty cup- make time for yourself
- Avoid burnout by putting yourself first
- Remember, self-care is NOT selfish
- Learn to say NO- you can’t do all the things all the time
- Learn to ask for help too!
Simple ways to start practicing self-care today
- Go to bed early
- Hire help where you need it
- Get your nails done
- Get a massage
- Read a book
- Watch a favorite TV show or movie
- Take a bath
- Go on a date
- Chat with a friend
- Eat a nourishing meal
- Get outside
- Take an art class
- Take up a new hobby
- Start a morning routine
- And on and on!…
Want more ideas? See all of our articles here:
- 15 Self-Care Gifts for New Moms
- 33 Self-Care Tips that Will Make you a Better Mom
- 61 Easy Self-Care Ideas for Moms That Don’t Have a Lot of Time
- Self-care for moms: When I get to 3…
Pain, Discomfort, and Low Energy
As your belly grows and hormone levels fluctuate, you will probably be feeling quite exhausted and uncomfortable more often than not- especially in the first and third trimester.
Let’s review some quick tips for each of these areas to give you some relief!
Pregnancy pain relief
Whether you’re experiencing SI joint pain, general low back pain, neck pain, or another discomfort, here are some of my favorites tips as a physical therapist.
- Keep good posture- no slouching in chairs or leaning to the side
- Avoid high impact moves
- Avoid balancing on foot or leaning to minimize pelvis pain
- Exercise daily- some of the best areas to focus on include
- Hip and butt strengthening
- Upper back strengthening
- Stretch daily
- Invest in an SI belt or belly support (This was a life-saver for me in my busy job!)
- Take frequent breaks at work
- Meditate or practice other stress management techniques
- Use pillows for propping your legs in side-lying when resting or sleeping
- Get a prenatal massage
- See a physical therapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist
General discomfort and low energy
- Low impact exercise
- Eat a balanced diet
- Drink enough water
- Eat small satiating meals throughout the day
- Have a solid sleep routine
- Take a nap
- Avoid sugary foods
- Deep breathing
- Focus on what you can control and remember that it’s only temporary mama!
Related read: 11 Natural Ways to Combat Pregnancy Fatigue
As you read through these tips for a healthy pregnancy, you may have noticed quite a bit of overlap in recommendations. Luckily many of the basics for a healthy pregnancy- like eating well, sleep and exercise- have benefits in for pretty much every area of your pregnancy.
Ultimately, good pregnancy health is about choosing what feels right to you. And before you know it, you’ll have that baby in your arms and your journey as a mama will begin. Wishing you all the best of luck in your new adventures! In my opinion, parenthood is the best adventure you can start. 🙂
As you read through these lists, was there anything that struck you as new? What pregnancy tips do you think are most beneficial to you right now? What others would you add? I’d love to hear below!