A pregnant woman stands in a scenic outdoor setting and holds a heart over her stomach.

4 Tips for Staying Healthy Early in Your Pregnancy

When most women first learn they're pregnant, they're ecstatic. However, that joy can swiftly wear off as concerns about their health and nutrition, the health and nutrition of the baby, and even concerns about pregnancy complications come into play. Relationships can also be difficult during this time of change. This can cause stress which can lead to early pregnancy complications or miscarriage.

Managing Stress

Stress can cause major problems during a pregnancy for both the woman and the child. It can lead to serious problems and create early pregnancy complications. It can also cause problems after the baby's born. Stress comes from several things during this time, including hormones, weight gain, the way her body is changing, money concerns, and relationship issues.

According to research conducted between 2006 and 2010, high cortisol (the hormone released by stress) levels can lead to miscarriage. It could also send women into labor early. Even post-pregnancy stress from the mother can cause problems including infant mortality, low birth weight, learning disorders, developmental disorders, and chronic lung disease. It's possible that a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and exercise, can reduce the stress a woman experiences during her pregnancy.

Nutrition for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women are living for two people, not just themselves. This means taking better care of your health by taking control of your nutrition and eating what's good for you and the baby. However, eating for an extra person doesn't mean it's wise or healthy to eat three extra meals a day. A small amount extra, about 200-300 calories, is all you need.

Some foods are decidedly bad for pregnant women to eat. Some habits are damaging, especially during a very early pregnancy. Health problems can derive from the consumption of:

  • Alcohol

  • Unpasteurized milk

  • Soft cheeses (Brie)

  • Unwashed veggies

  • Raw eggs

  • Sushi

  • Fish (King mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish because of the mercury)

  • High amounts of Vitamin A

Most other foods are okay, but it's important to listen to your body's needs. Some things might not sit well and may make a woman ill. Morning sickness doesn't only happen in the morning. If it happens after eating certain foods, avoid it, despite the cravings.

Regular Exercise

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy during your pregnancy and reduce stress and related complications. Women that exercise during their pregnancy typically give birth easier and recover from pregnancy faster. Exercise also helps control weight gain. During very early pregnancy, it is important that you talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise regime. Don't overdo it. Walking is exercise and very beneficial, you don't need to run a marathon. Other healthy options include:

  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

If you feel fatigued, dizzy, pain or shortness of breath, stop immediately.

Maintaining Your Relationship

There is no need to worry about engaging in sexual activity during pregnancy. Sex will not harm the developing baby in any way and can be a good form of exercise. For many women, sex can be particularly enjoyable. However, other relationship difficulties can also arise, causing stress.

Pregnancy causes rapidly changing hormones that create unpredictable moods and behaviors. Stress can be caused by little things, such as finances and worries about one's parenting abilities.

To maintain a healthy relationship of any kind, communication is vital. That can't stop when a baby enters the picture. Be open and honest so any concerns can be discussed as they arise, or they will fester and cause more problems. This openness can reduce stress and create a healthier environment for the new baby.

Last Updated: June 07, 2017