Once you’re pregnant, you’ll need to make lifestyle choices that will help keep your baby as healthy as possible. Staying active and eating well are important factors, and you may need to review a few of your daily habits.
Our 12 lifestyle tips will help you understand how small changes to your daily routine will help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
1. Eat a well-balanced diet
As a mum-to-be, you’ll benefit from following high-fibre, low-fat healthy eating advice to give you energy and help meet you and your growing baby’s nutritional needs.
Eating a well-balanced, varied diet during pregnancy will be helpful, and be aware of foods to try and avoid
2. Cut out or reduce certain foods and drinks
Some foods and drinks should be reduced or removed from your diet during pregnancy. Things to avoid completely include alcohol and certain deli-type foods. Caffeine and some types of fish should only be eaten in small quantities, just to be safe. Find out more about these foods on our pregnancy nutrition page.
3. Take a pregnancy multivitamin and mineral supplement, such as Elevit with Iodine, throughout your entire pregnancy
Whilst pregnant, the recommended dietary intake of certain nutrients increases by up to 50%3, so even with the best intentions you may not get enough from diet alone. Elevit with Iodine contains many important vitamins and minerals to help meet your increased nutritional needs. Elevit with Iodine contains the highest level of folic acid and iron of any pregnancy multivitamin in New Zealand* plus a high level of iodine. Folic acid is clinically proven7 to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Iron helps prevent dietary iron deficiency is an important nutrient for baby's brain development.
4. Handle your food carefully
Simple measures like washing your hands before handling food, keeping kitchen benches clean, washing fresh fruit and vegetables, cooking your food right through and storing it at the right temperature will help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
5. Take prenatal and breastfeeding classes
These group sessions teach expectant mums what to expect on their exciting new journey, and how to prepare for labour. They are designed to help you to deal more effectively with the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.
6. Manage morning sickness
In addition to pregnancy, morning sickness can also impact on your lifestyle. There are helpful tips available to help reduce the frequency and severity of morning sickness symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
7. Reduce constipation and heartburn
Pregnancy can cause constipation and heartburn. Some common remedies for these complaints may bring you relief.
8. Exercise regularly
It’s important to be active throughout your pregnancy to keep fit, reduce stress and prepare for birth. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise like walking or swimming, preferably every day. If you already exercise regularly, you may need to turn it down a notch so you don’t overdo it. Strenuous exercises, contact sports and activities where you might fall over are out for now. Check with your doctor if you’re unsure.
9. Start your pelvic floor exercises
As your pregnancy progresses, your pelvic floor muscles will be under strain. Incorporate some pelvic floor exercises into your routine to help strengthen your bladder during and after pregnancy.
10. Avoid alcohol, recreational drugs and quit smoking
The safest option is to avoid all alcohol and recreational drugs during pregnancy and whilst you’re breastfeeding. It’s advisable to quit smoking as soon as you think you’re pregnant, if you haven’t already.
It’s important to be active throughout your pregnancy to keep fit, reduce stress and prepare for birth
11. Take extra care of your teeth and gums
Brush and floss gently when you’re pregnant as your gums can be more easily irritated. If you’ve had morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water afterwards and avoid brushing your teeth straight away to reduce the effects of acid. When you visit the dentist, mention that you’re pregnant.
12. Keep your distance from the cat’s business!
If you have a cat, wear rubber gloves to clean out the litter tray, or ask someone else to do it as it may contain harmful bacteria. If you garden, it’s also a good idea to wear gloves.
Keep on top of your pregnancy with a checklist…
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of things to do as your pregnancy progresses. Read and print out our handy pregnancy checklist and use it as a guide.
If you have had a baby with a neural tube defect / Spina bifida, seek specific medical advice.
*As of September 2018