What’s safe during pregnancy?

It’s normal to feel a bit anxious now that you’re responsible for your baby growing inside you.  There are a few things you need to know to keep your baby safe, but stay calm and deal with one thing at a time.  If in doubt, give it a miss and check with your midwife or doctor.

1.    What foods could harm my baby?

A google search will tell you what foods to avoid including raw or undercooked meats and eggs, pate, soft cheeses like brie or gorgonzola, liver, raw shellfish like prawns, sushi, sliced meats – oh boy, that’s a big list isn’t it?  I’m sorry it might feel a bit overwhelming but have a look through the list and work out what you might need to change.  Having a baby brings lots of lifestyle changes and it often starts here, so go easy on yourself and you’ll work it out.

What can I eat?

Pregnancy’s a great motivator for improving your diet.  Eat as well as you can – a balanced diet of protein, lots of vegies, fruit, good oils and carbs.  Try to avoid eating too much junk i.e. sugar, fast food and unhealthy snacks (you know what they are!)  In the first 3 months it’s quite normal to feel off certain foods like meat or vegies.  You may not even be able to buy or handle or cook them, let alone eat them.  Do your best for now and your appetite will come back.  Some women drink ginger tea or ginger beer, eat crackers and avoid getting hungry.  Eat some toast before you get out of bed in the morning, sip a smoothie, and try natural therapies like acupuncture, herbs, some lovely essential oil like peppermint or lemon to sniff, or certain vitamins can help – ask your naturopath at the chemist.

2.     Besides food what’s safe and what’s not?

There’s no safe level of alcohol, you should decrease your caffeine intake, avoid energy drinks and cigarette smoke.  Take care not to breathe in or use products that might be toxic like smelly household cleaners, bug spray, fertilisers in the garden.  Check with your doctor or chemist about any drugs  or even Panadol, as well as vitamins and herbs that you might take.

3.     What about exercise?

You might feel completely normal in your first 3 months of pregnancy, but most women feel some nausea and tiredness.  If you’re tired, rest; don’t push through.  Even though you can’t see it your body is going through heaps of changes on the inside growing your baby and placenta, so give it time to do its work.  If you need to drop back on your gym work or exercise class then do so until you feel better.  A walk along the beach or river will probably feel good to breathe in some fresh air, or a swim, or a gentle class won’t hurt, but your joints are already looser so take care of your back.  Of course don’t exercise where there’s a chance of impact to your belly like netball or skating or a fall.  I rushed around one day when I was about 7 weeks pregnant and that night my morning sickness kicked in and I was really sorry I’d overdone things, because I then felt sick for about 10 more weeks.

Am I going to get fat?  Will my partner think I’m unattractive?

Firstly, you’re pregnant, not fat.  Yes, your body is going to change.  It will look different and feel different.  Your body is going to be the home for a growing baby. Safe exercise, stretching and breathing will make a huge difference to how you feel as your body changes and you think of more things to worry about.

You have time to improve your health.  Luckily pregnancy takes nine months so you can make small changes along the way to increase your fitness and the way you eat.

Most partners love the pregnant body and are so proud of you carrying their baby, so rather than worrying about it, talk to your partner and develop a closeness around your pregnancy.

Want to learn more?  All your questions will be answered at a Birth & Baby Village pregnancy yoga, pilates or birth classes. To book, head over to the I’m Pregnant page.  

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