Most women go into healthy living overdrive as soon as they start trying to get pregnant, which is highly recommended. As soon as conception occurs, your body begins changing, and the healthier you are, the easier it is to cope with all the changes.
Unfortunately, issues can come up during pregnancy that you may not expect or can’t control. But keeping informed and following the health tips below can help you and your baby stay as healthy as possible during all 40 weeks of the pregnancy.
One of the more unpleasant side effects of pregnancy that few women like to talk about is hemorrhoids. It occurs when varicose veins in the rectal area become swollen. The pain and discomfort can make moving around more difficult, and it can also lead to other problems like stress (see below).
Though they won’t impact your baby directly, getting hemorrhoids under control quickly is important for your own comfort and sanity. You should drink lots of water and consume a high amount of fiber to avoid constipation that can make hemorrhoids worse. There are also natural hemorrhoids products that can treat symptoms like swelling and discomfort.
Stress is unavoidable in life, especially if you’re creating a new one. You may have heard about recent research studies that highlight the many health problems that stress can create. Short-term stress isn’t so bad, but chronic stress can significantly affect your health due to high cortisol levels, higher blood sugar levels and increased inflammation.
Stress during pregnancy is even more concerning. The pregnancy itself can lead to stress if you are battling side effects or there are health concerns with the baby. It can even cause a cyclical effect because stress can lead to other complications.
Do your best to reduce stress before you become pregnant. Keep a diary to note periods when you’re feeling anxiety to help identify what triggers your stress. Once you know the catalyst for stress, you can work on correcting the situation or avoiding it all together. For many couples money is a significant cause of stress, and the cost of having a baby could create added pressure. Getting your financial house in order before getting pregnant can help circumvent this major stressor.
During pregnancy, nearly 9.2% of women develop gestational diabetes, typically around or after week 24. Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes this increase in blood glucose levels, but it’s important to take extra precautions if you develop gestational diabetes. If it’s left unchecked, gestational diabetes can cause pre-term delivery, high blood pressure and/or preeclampsia.
You can help prevent gestational diabetes and keep it under control by sticking to a healthy diet. You’ll need to minimize sugar, follow a diet suggested by your doctor and get regular, scheduled physical activity. You’ll also need to carefully monitor your blood sugar levels before and after meals.
Preeclampsia / High Blood Pressure
Your body begins producing a lot more blood during pregnancy in order to support the growing fetus. In fact, it’s normal to produce 50% more blood while pregnant. So it’s not surprising that some women experience high blood pressure. However, a more serious issue that can occur after week 20 is preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is when there is a sudden increase in blood pressure. It can affect your brain, liver and kidneys. If it goes untreated it can create long-term health affects for you and/or your baby because less blood and nutrients are being delivered to the placenta. In the most severe cases, preeclampsia can lead to the death of the fetus or the mother.
Obesity can increase your chances of getting preeclampsia, so losing weight before becoming pregnant is highly recommended. If you have a calcium deficiency, taking a calcium supplement can also help. Your doctor may advise you to take low-dose aspirin if you have an increased risk of getting preeclampsia.
Edema is swelling that’s caused by the increase of blood and fluid in a pregnant woman’s body. It affects many women during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Most women will have edema in their feet, ankles, legs, hands and around the face. While it can be uncomfortable, edema is normal and won’t affect the health of your baby. But if you experience sudden swelling, this is a sign of preeclampsia, and you need to see your doctor immediately.
Edema is often unavoidable, but there are ways you can reduce it. Try to avoid standing for long periods of time since that’s a major contributing factor. High levels of caffeine and sodium intake can also cause or worsen edema. Soaking in a bathtub or pool can help to reduce the swelling, especially during summer when you’re battling the heat.
It’s important to consult with your doctor before trying a new treatment, even if it’s all-natural. Your doctor can help you better understand all of your options and help you stay healthy throughout the entire pregnancy.