During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a thrilling and wonderful part of a woman's life. But it can also be a little scary. Every woman has questions about what to do and what not to do, to make sure she has a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Most women do not have problems during pregnancy. But sometimes complications can still develop no matter what you do. Over the next nine months, you will be going through many different and exciting changes. You may also run into some challenges.

Find more information about BlueCare Tennessee's maternity program

. Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is the health care you get when you are pregnant. It includes care given by your doctor and the care you give yourself. The first prenatal care appointment with a doctor should be made as soon as you think you are pregnant.

Prenatal care is a priority. Seeing a doctor often can improve your chances of having a healthier baby. Regular office visits can also help keep you from having your baby too early. Plus, you can cut the chances of having other serious problems during pregnancy.

You can choose either a doctor or midwife to take care of you during your pregnancy. This person will also deliver your baby. Choosing the right health care provider is only the first step to prenatal care.

The next step is building a good relationship with your health care provider. A good relationship between you and your provider is an important part of good health care. You must be able to communicate well with each other so that your needs are met. Remember that patients who have good relationships with their providers tend to be more satisfied with their care. They are also more apt to have better results.

Eat healthy

You just need to eat smart and make sure that most of your choices are healthy ones. That's because the foods you eat can affect the growth of your baby. Eat three regular meals a day or six small meals. Avoid too much sugar and fat in your diet. Choose foods that give you folic acid, protein, vitamins, minerals, and iron. These all provide nourishment for your growing baby. Make sure you're eating dairy products, leafy vegetables and dried beans. Good sources of iron include red meat, dried beans, eggs, and leafy green vegetables. Drink plenty of fluids too (6-8 glasses a day). Keep in mind that real 100 percent fruit juice or water is better for you than coffee or soda. Your doctor can advise you on what to eat and drink during your pregnancy.

Take folic acid

Folic acid is a vitamin that is needed in pregnancy. It helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord when taken very early in pregnancy. This vitamin is available in most multivitamins and some foods. Folic acid can also be taken alone as a dietary supplement. Talk to your doctor about your folic acid needs.

Take prenatal vitamins

At your first prenatal appointment, your doctor will give you a prescription for prenatal vitamins. Taking these, plus eating a healthy diet, ensures your baby gets the vitamins and minerals needed for growth. Talk to your doctor about the best way to take your vitamins.

Keep fit

Exercise can be a great way to stay in shape during pregnancy. It boosts your energy level, helps manage stress and gets you ready for the strain of labor. Working out can even keep symptoms, like varicose veins and backache, to a minimum. Women who work out while pregnant seem to recover faster after their baby is born. One of the best exercises during pregnancy is walking. Twenty minutes of walking a day can lift your spirits and strengthen your body. Swimming, low-impact aerobics, and yoga are also good exercises. Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program while you're pregnant.

Get plenty of rest

Feeling tired is normal during pregnancy. This is especially true during the first and third trimesters. Ten to 11 hours a night is not unusual for pregnant women. To squeeze in enough hours of sleep, you may need to go to bed earlier than usual. This is mainly the case if you find yourself waking up a few times during the night. So, go to bed when you feel tired. Don't push yourself to stay awake until your usual bedtime. Also, rest when you can during the day. Good times to rest are during your lunch hour or before dinner. If you work, take many breaks to pace yourself and renew your energy.

No tobacco, alcohol or drug use

Smoking , drinking and using drinks can harm your baby's health. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible to get help quitting all of these substances.