How to lead a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy

When you find out that you are pregnant, we recommend that…

1.- Follow the prenatal obstetric controls rigorously.

2.- Control your diet by maintaining a balanced, varied, complete diet.

3.- Say goodbye to alcohol.

4.- Stop smoking if you do.

5.- Reduce caffeine consumption to a maximum of 200 mg per day.

6.- Establish a routine of moderate physical activity. You will better carry the physical requirements of pregnancy, feel and sleep better, prepare for childbirth, and report health benefits for the future baby.

7.- Be careful with some drugs that are contraindicated during pregnancy. If you have doubts, consult your gynaecologist.

8.- Maintain an everyday sex life during pregnancy. Unless your doctor has advised you otherwise or you feel some discomfort.

The IVF Recoletos Obstetrics Unit has a medical team specialising in pregnancy and childbirth;  it also has a side on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in the centre of Valladolid to guarantee comprehensive and safe care.

prenatal checkups

During pregnancy, to monitor that everything is progressing properly and that the fetus is developing correctly, you should start with pregnancy checkups as soon as you know you are pregnant.

Generally, it is optional to carry out a monthly control until 32 weeks of pregnancy, which includes an ultrasound and all the necessary tests to prevent and diagnose possible complications.

From 32 weeks, the controls will have to be more frequent since the delivery date is approaching, and the follow-up must be more constant.

Likewise, the obstetrician will perform a battery of tests each trimester to assess the health of the pregnant woman and the fetus. This will prevent some of the most common pregnancy complications, such as urinary tract infections, anaemia or gestational diabetes.

Finally, fetal monitoring is performed in the last weeks of pregnancy and until the day of delivery. This non-invasive technique records the number, intensity and duration of contractions and the fetus’s heart rate on a screen. It allows you to monitor uterine activity and see its progress towards labour.

If the gynaecologist finds any alarm symptoms during the checkups, they will inform you. However, it is convenient that you know them so that you can consult your doctor immediately if you have any questions. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Severe crampy abdominal and pelvic pain.
  • Symptoms of high blood pressure: headache with blurred vision, seeing lights) or ringing in the ears.
  • Premature uterine contractions.
  • Edema or swelling mainly of feet or generalised.
  • Persistent vomiting.
  • Significant changes in the rate or intensity of fetal movements.
  • Fever.
  • Dysuria (pain or burning when urinating, dark or gritty urine).
  • Outflow of amniotic fluid through the vagina (water breaking).

Food during pregnancy. What should I eat?

A pregnant woman’s food is the primary source of nutrients for the fetus, so worrying about her diet will help the correct development of the baby. Generally, the diet during pregnancy will be equivalent to that of any healthy woman, but paying particular attention to the nutrients she needs at each stage of pregnancy.

The additional energy expenditure of a woman during pregnancy ranges between 75,000 and 80,000 Kcal. This means about 150 Kcal per day during the first trimester and about 350 Kcal in the second and third trimesters.

In addition to maintaining a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fruits, vegetables and dairy products, it is recommended to increase the number of vitamins and minerals that contribute to the development of the fetus.

  1. Folic Acid: prevents some severe congenital disabilities in the baby’s brain and spine.
  2. Iron: necessary for red blood cells to transport oxygen to organs and tissues. Iron needs in pregnancy are higher since the mother needs to produce more blood to supply oxygen to the fetus, and anaemia may appear, which must be treated.
  3. Calcium: Forming the baby’s bones and teeth is necessary.
  4. Vitamin D: essential for correctly absorbing calcium and phosphorus.
  5. Omega-3:visual and ocular development in the baby’s brain.

Including other vitamins in the diet, such as Vitamin A, E, Vitamin K, phosphorus, and Zinc, also improves the diet of pregnant women.

There may be specific peculiarities for each pregnancy, so for better dietary care during pregnancy; it is best to check your doctor and have him advise you on the particular needs of your pregnancy.

Find more information about nutrition during pregnancy on the FIV Recoletos blog.

physical activity during pregnancy

Physical exercise during pregnancy is very beneficial for the pregnant woman and the fetus in uncomplicated pregnancies, as long as it is done in moderation and with low-impact exercises.

In general, 30 minutes of physical activity a day is the most recommended exercise routine during pregnancy. Particular attention should be paid to reducing periods of the prolonged sedentary lifestyle of more than 2 hours a row.

Performing moderate physical activity is beneficial both for the mother and her health during pregnancy, as well as for the preparation for childbirth and the health of the baby. Some of the benefits it provides are:

  1. Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.
  2. Prevents discomfort such as back pain, cramps, constipation, varicose veins and swelling.
  3. Improve sleep quality.
  4. Improves weight control.
  5. Reduces the risk of high weight in the baby and during childhood.
  6. Improves the psychomotor development of the baby.
  7. Improves the physical recovery of the mother after childbirth.
  8. Improves mood and self-esteem and reduces stress.

■ Going for a walk every day is the ideal exercise for any pregnant woman. It is a complete activity regardless of the degree of previous physical activity of the pregnant woman. Of course, it is important to start gradually depending on the starting activity of each woman.

■ Swimming or water gymnastics are low-impact activities and very comfortable for the pregnant woman due to the buoyancy of the water. That is why they are highly recommended, especially in the last trimester.

■ Yoga or Pilates are highly recommended exercises to prepare the pregnant body as they combine gentle movements with breathing exercises, thus helping to improve elasticity, strength and relaxation.

■ If you are a pregnant runner, you must see your doctor to assess your physical condition and pregnancy. If he gives you the go-ahead, follow his instructions, and you can continue running as long as he recommends it.

Always ask your gynaecologist what physical activity suits you and how often.

Emotional health during pregnancy: how to avoid pressure and anxiety

Stress and nervousness are among the most common problems women can suffer during pregnancy, especially if they are new mothers.

Therefore, special courtesy must be paid to the mother’s emotional health to prevent stress from negatively affecting her or the baby. If the mother’s focus continues over time, it could cause complications such as high blood pressure or insomnia, low birth weight or premature delivery.

Finding methods that help minimise stress in the pregnant woman is essential for her to live the pregnancy in a serene, healthy and happy way. Getting adequate rest for at least 8 hours, eating a good diet and resorting to relaxation techniques are healthy lifestyle habits that help combat stress.

Learn more about exercise and relaxation during pregnancy on the FIV Recoletos blog.

Enjoy sexuality.

Having sexual relations with your partner during pregnancy is good for the baby as long as there are no complications and the gynaecologist indicates otherwise.

In addition to favouring the couple’s relationship by increasing their intimacy, the pelvic area and the placenta receive more blood during sexual intercourse, which produces well-being in the fetus. Likewise, the release of endorphins that occurs with the mother’s pleasure also reaches the baby.

If your gynaecologist detects any risk with the pregnancy, it is necessary to follow their instructions. Some of these risks are:

– When there is a threat of abortion.

– When unexpected vaginal bleeding occurs.

– Also When amniotic fluid is lost.

– When the cervix opens prematurely.

– When the placenta totally or partially covers the cervical opening (placenta previa).

– Also When there is a premature rupture of the membranes.

– When the patient has a history of premature births.

– In the third trimester of multiple pregnancies.

After childbirth and during the puerperium period (the two months following birth), the genital tract gradually recovers, so there may be minor bleeding and pain if there has been a tear or due to the episiotomy itself. So, during this period, it is not recommended to have sexual intercourse. After this time and after the postpartum checkup, if everything is fine, relations can be resumed typically.

If everything is fine and your pregnancy is going well, you can have sex without fear of harming the baby. However, if you have questions about it, do not hesitate to ask your gynaecologist during pregnancy checkups.