Eating well will not only help you stay healthy and feel your best, it will provide your growing baby with the best nutrition.
A gradual increase in calories as the baby grows is the best bet. In general:
Additional calories should come from nutrient-dense foods including lean protein, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy, vegetables, and fruit.
While it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods, there are some foods that pregnant women should limit or avoid:
What about fish?
Fish has many health benefits, and pregnant women can continue to eat most types of fish. Enjoy 2-3 meals of lower mercury fish such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, and catfish.
Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish because they are high in mercury, which can be harmful to your baby.
You should gain weight gradually during your pregnancy, with more of the weight gained in the last 3 months.
Many health care providers suggest women gain weight at the following rate:
The total amount of weight to gain during pregnancy depends on how much you weighed when you became pregnant. Talk with your health care provider and WIC nutritionist to find out what amount is right for you.
Women pregnant with multiples need to gain more weight to help support the growth of multiple babies.
There can be risks for mom and baby if too much or too little weight is gained.
Staying active is safe for most pregnant women and will help you have a healthier pregnancy and delivery. A good goal is to aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Talk to your health care provider to find out what type of physical activity is safe for you. Physical activity can help with:
Exercise and moving your body is still important during and after pregnancy.
Exercise is safe for you AND for baby. When in doubt, listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, then stop. Always check with a doctor if you have concerns.
Everything changes when you have a baby. Some moms may experience the baby blues, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum depression. Learn the signs and how to get help.
Mood swings after the birth of your baby are not uncommon. It can be confusing to feel sadness after the joy of adding a new baby to your life. It is important not to ignore the changes in your body. Talking about your emotions, changes, and challenges of having a new baby is one of the best ways to cope.
How often do women experience “baby blues?”
Up to 80% of all new moms experience negative feelings or mood swings after their baby is born.
When do “baby blues” occur?
Symptoms of “baby blues” are usually noticeable 4-5 days after birth. They can be noticeable earlier depending on how the birth went.
Symptoms of “baby blues”
Causes of “baby blues”
While the exact cause is unknown, it is thought to be related to hormone changes during pregnancy and after birth. Changes in sleep, routine, and emotions after your baby is born all contribute to how a mom feels.
How long do “baby blues” last?
Symptoms of “baby blues” can last a few minutes to a few hours each day. They should lessen and disappear about 2 weeks (14 days) after your baby is born.
How can you take care of yourself?
Taking care of you is the best way to decrease symptoms of the “baby blues.”
Postpartum Anxiety – The Other Baby Blues
Postpartum anxiety is different than the baby blues or postpartum depression but can occur at the same time. Changes in hormones, sleep, routine, and responsibility can cause feelings of being overwhelmed, fearful, or panicky.
What are the signs of postpartum anxiety?
When does postpartum anxiety occur?
Postpartum anxiety can occur anytime beginning at birth up to baby’s first year.
How long does postpartum anxiety last?
Postpartum anxiety doesn’t always go away in a few weeks or on its own. It is very important to get help, especially if it is disrupting your sleep or you are having constant preoccupation with worries.
How is postpartum anxiety treated?
Most new moms experience “baby blues” (mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping) after their baby is born. Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression are more intense and can last longer, possibly affecting your ability to take care of your baby and other daily tasks.
When does postpartum depression occur?
Symptoms usually start in the first few weeks after your baby is born. Sometimes they start earlier in pregnancy or later up to 1 year after giving birth.
Symptoms of postpartum depression
What causes postpartum depression?
Changes in your hormones, sleep, routine, and emotions after your baby is born may contribute to postpartum depression.
How long does postpartum depression last?
Symptoms of postpartum depression can last weeks or longer depending on if it is treated or not.
How to take care of yourself
When to see the doctor
Other treatments for postpartum depression
If you have suicidal thoughts
If at any point you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, get help right away from loved ones and call 911 or your local emergency number.
Additional options if you’re having suicidal thoughts
Family planning provides the ability for you to decide when and if you will have children. It can also help you be in control of how many children you have and how far apart you space pregnancies. There are many types of family planning available.
Preparing ahead for pregnancy gives you time to be in the best health possible for you and your future baby. There are many things you can do such as:
Discuss with your healthcare provider which family planning method is best for you and if you do not have a healthcare provider now is the time to get one!