10 Steps to a Successful Pregnancy

Published: 30th March 2010
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From pregnancy to breastfeeding, this will prove to be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. However, it can also be challenging and even a bit scary. So, here is a list of some of the top things to make you and baby more comfortable and stress free:

1. Just relax. Easier said than done, but worth the effort. Keeping your stress level low will make for a more enjoyable, healthy pregnancy. This is a time to pamper yourself and to tune into your body. You might consider taking a prenatal yoga class to help you maintain a sense of calm to benefit yourself and baby.

2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This maximizes your likelihood of having a healthy pregnancy. Eating sensibly can also help stave off such discomforts as morning sickness, constipation and fatigue. In a nutshell, on a daily basis try to eat: three servings of protein, three servings of foods with vitamin C, four servings of calcium rich foods, three to five servings of fruits and vegetables and six to 11 servings of whole grains and legumes. Avoid alcohol and tobacco.

3. Get regular prenatal care. Whether your choice is a midwife, an obstetrician, or a practice that offers both in tandem - begin getting regular check-ups with a health care professional early in the pregnancy. This will allow you to start taking prenatal vitamins right away and make sure that you are on the right course.

4. Talk openly with your health care provider about your concerns. The practitioner you have selected to help you throughout your pregnancy is there not only to monitor the health of you and your baby, but to help answer your questions. Concerned about nursing soon after the birth? Wondering if a medication is safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding? Ask your practitioner.

5. Engage in light to moderate exercise if approved by your health care provider. It is best to get the go-ahead from a professional in terms of guidelines. If advised, activity can allow you to maintain your health and lessen the aches and pains of pregnancy.

6. Be prepared - to a point. There is no way to be completely prepared for the birth of your baby, especially if it is your first. But you may enjoy perusing the organic baby products, nursing products such as nursing cover-ups and pillows, and other items that are available for new moms to make the transition to motherhood a little easier.

7. Spend time with your partner. Dr. Robert Rodriguez, parenting expert and founder of the BuddyBoutique.com (www.BuddyBoutique.com) stresses the importance of working to nurture the closeness between the two partners during pregnancy. Research shows that couples tend to spend less one-on-one time together as a pregnancy progresses. Taking time for intimate talking and touching helps stimulate the hormone of oxytocin, which promotes bonding.

8. Bond with your unborn baby. Take time to notice your baby's little kicks and stretches. A quiet moment of meditation or even just relaxation can help you feel connected.

9. Stock up on essentials. While you by no means need to buy out the entire store in preparation for your baby's birth, it is a good idea to do some research and have a list of items you may want. For instance, Buddy Boutique sells an organic nursing cover up that can help you nurse comfortably in public.

10. Tour the hospital. Much of what you have to look forward to is unpredictable: When will you go into labor? How long will your labor last? It is a good idea to become familiar with the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital or birthing center where you will have your baby. It will help you feel more secure when it is time to go to the hospital to have the baby.

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Bryan Sullivan is the Executive Vice President of Write Away, Inc. - a public relations and marketing firm based in Weaverville, NC. He also often writes for regional& national publications about local history, farming, culture and food. He graduated with a degree in communications from Alfred University in New York State and then went on to attend culinary school in NYC where he graduated in the top percent of his class. He proceeded to work in high-end restaurants in New York City, Martha's Vineyard, MA and Naples, FL. Bryan currently lives in Asheville, NC with Liisa and their Black Lab, Annie.

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