When you become pregnant, whether it’s been a long-held dream or a surprise that has popped up, you’re bound to have many questions, from what you should eat or not eat to what your 18 weeks pregnant belly will look like. However, with such a mountain of information, it can be challenging to know what you should be doing to look after yourself and your baby. Of course, your life must undergo a few changes, but it isn’t anything to fear; in fact, your body often tells you what to do. While it’s generally agreed globally that you shouldn’t undertake climbing Mount Everest or play professional rugby while carrying a child, you can take part in plenty of activities and still enjoy a fulfilled lifestyle. This beautiful time in life should be enjoyed, as growing a child inside you is probably the most amazing thing you’ll ever do.

We’ve gathered a selection of the best tips so you can have a handy reference guide for the next nine months.

Sailing, Flying, or Driving?

Travel is not outlawed when you’re pregnant – most US airlines will let you fly (occasionally at least) when you are up to 36 weeks pregnant. Still, it’s recommended that you bring any medical records after 30 weeks, stretch your legs regularly, and stay hydrated throughout the flight.

During long car journeys, you shouldn’t be driving for more than 5 – 6 hours, and if you are a passenger, you will still need a break to get out and walk around (and probably use the bathroom.)

So, choose somewhere lovely for your babymoon and take that last trip as a couple (or alone!) to the sea or mountains before your journey of motherhood leads you to new and wondrous places.

Eat for You and for Two

Eating two means you need more calories, but they must come from nutritious foods – not just having an extra portion of chocolate cake. There’s a lot of scaremongering around seafood, but you should be getting at least five portions of cooked fish in your diet every week – just steer clear of the sashimi and sushi. Raw fish is a no-no, as is anything smoked, but load up on salmon, catfish, tilapia, and shellfish such as shrimp and crab. These are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for a healthy heart. You would also probably be wondering if can you eat crawfish while pregnant? Yes, you definitely can. Crawfish have a low mercury content, making them one of the best seafood to consume during pregnancy.

You will need more vitamins and minerals than usual, so try to have lots of calcium, iron, and protein in your diet, as well as folic acid. Many pregnant women don’t get enough folate, also known as vitamin B9 – this is vital for the health of mom and baby, so make sure to get as many legumes into your diet to boost your intake of B vitamins. You can take these as supplements, but getting as much as possible from your food is generally better to help the baby grow and develop.

Women of average weight should gain around 25 – 30 pounds during their pregnancy; any more and you risk obesity later on. Eating 300 calories more a day than your usual diet should deliver the energy you need to carry and nourish the baby.

Here’s a handy guide to foods to eat plenty of while pregnant:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Dried fruit
  • Berries
  • Chickpeas and lentils
  • Lean beef or pork
  • Oats and quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Sweet potato
  • Water, Water, Everywhere
We’re constantly told to drink more water, but this advice should be heeded even more carefully during pregnancy. Water helps your body’s systems operate, and not hydrating regularly can lead to premature labor.

Doctors recommend that pregnant women drink at least 10 cups of water daily, but you may need to drink more if you exercise or in hot weather. Some of your water intake can come from food, but remember that soft and sweet drinks may dehydrate you further because of their high sugar content.

Work it out

Staying fit during your pregnancy is likely to help you in various ways – from encouraging better sleep patterns to easing the aches and pains that seem to have arisen out of nowhere. Another great thing about exercise is that it will help you when it is time to push! Both the US Department of Health and the World Health Organization have issued guidelines that suggest pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week and that any risks are far outweighed by the benefits to mother and child. However, if you suffer from any pre-existing condition or develop one during pregnancy, consult your doctor before exercising. If you are healthy and used to staying in shape, you can refer to the list below for some activities to undertake during the 9 months of pregnancy.

Month 1: Running

If you’re used to running, stick to your trainers and just go! You may not even realize you are pregnant by now, so just know that your regular running schedule won’t cause any harm.

Months 2 and 3: Weight Training

Some lightweight training doesn’t cause any ill effects, and building up your strength while you still have your balance is vital, so pump some iron (gently.)

Months 3 and 4: Spinning/Cycling

If you’re used to your spin class, keep up with it, and it will strengthen your leg muscles, which you’ll need as you grow heavier. Just stop if you feel dizzy or nauseous, and bring plenty of water.

Months 5 and 6: Pilates/Yoga

Stretching and flexibility exercises are efficient, particularly as you get heavier. Don’t push it or feel like you have to hold poses for too long, but enjoy some low-level aerobic exercise that’s good for your heart and body.

Months 7 and 8: Swimming

Swimming is the best exercise to do as you get a little heavier and may find it more challenging to get around. It will make you feel weightless, and the breaststroke is a beautiful workout for expectant moms.

Month 9: Walking

Get out in the fresh air. Stretching your legs each day, even if it’s only for ten minutes, will keep the oxygen pumping around your body that you and your baby need.

Happy Pregnancy!

So, there you have it! Hopefully, these tips will help you with a happy, healthy pregnancy.