Healthy Pregnancy Tips

Fact checked Medically reviewed

Medically reviewed by Brenda G., MD | Written by SheCares Editorial Team | Updated: Dec 26, 2021

It often seems that as soon as a woman shares the news that she is expecting a baby, everyone readily bombards her with their best pregnancy tips.

With so much information out there and everyone's two cents on how to have a healthy pregnancy, it might be challenging for expectant mothers to know where the truth lies. As such, taking a moment to educate oneself in order to keep a practical and investigative attitude during pregnancy is of the essence.

Continue reading to discover our list of essential do's and don'ts of pregnancy, including the best pregnancy tips and precautions to get through this life stage in optimal health and with maximum enjoyment.  

Healthy pregnancy tips

Healthy Pregnancy Do's

Pregnancy do's

For many women, how to have a healthy pregnancy intuitively starts by implementing more wholesome habits. Although occasional unforeseen events can happen during nine months, the following pregnancy tips can substantially lower the risk of pregnancy complications, giving women a fair chance for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Do Eat Well

While there is no such thing as a specific pregnancy diet, expectant mothers are encouraged to compose their meals of foods from the five groups in order to fuel fetal development and gain pregnancy weight in a healthy way. A good pregnancy tip is to avoid raw meats, unpasteurized dairy, cold cuts, and fish that is rich in mercury, like king mackerel.

Do Exercise

Staying active is one of the best advices on how to stay healthy during pregnancy as it can ease pregnancy symptoms, boost energy, and protect the heart. Exercise during pregnancy should consist of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity workouts, like brisk walking. Strenuous and injury-prone sports, like basketball or skiing, should be avoided.1

Do Reduce Stress

During pregnancy, it is easy for the mind to gallop and get overwhelmed with anxious thoughts, doubts, and concerns. While occasional stresses are harmless, experiencing severe stress while pregnant can have detrimental effects on a woman and her baby's health. Practicing meditation, deep breathing, or yoga is an effective pregnancy tip for stress-relief.

Do Have Sex

Although pregnant couples often think that having sex during pregnancy can harm the baby or trigger preterm birth, studies have shown that in healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies, sex is absolutely safe.2 So, as long as a mutual desire is there, couples are encouraged to nurture their passion and discover new forms of intimacy during this life experience.

Healthy Pregnancy Don'ts

Pregnancy don'ts

A woman carrying a child in her womb is more vulnerable to the effects of environmental hazards, such as contaminants and food poisoning, among others. Keeping an informed and cautious attitude without over-stressing about these potential dangers can help an expectant mother protect her baby and stay healthy.  

Don't Change the Litter Box

To have a healthy pregnancy, women should take a break from changing their cats' litter boxes. It is because bacteria that are otherwise harmless for non-pregnant people can lead to toxoplasmosis, a serious infection that can harm the baby.3 Women preparing to get pregnant can start avoiding the litter box up to three months before conceiving.

Don't Overheat the Body

Avoiding overheating is one of the most important precautions for pregnant women because body temperature that stays elevated above 102°F (38.9°C) for more than 10 minutes can cause complications, like birth defects or miscarriage.4 Wearing breathable clothing and staying well hydrated are also important.

Don't Smoke & Drink Alcohol

If a woman has not been able to quit her addition to smoking or drinking alcohol before conceiving, now that she is pregnant is the time to do it. Both substances can harm the baby in a number of ways, including stillbirth, intellectual disabilities, or sudden infant death syndrome. Help is within reach through one's doctor or local support groups.

Don't Use Harsh Household Chemicals

While it is impossible for pregnant women to keep clear of all household chemicals, there are some that should be avoided by all means as they can be toxic to the developing baby, including pesticides, insect repellents, or lead-based paint. Luckily, women can opt for pregnancy-safe brands or homemade cleaners, like baking soda or vinegar.

Key Takeaways

Virtually every expectant mother's concern, how to stay healthy in pregnancy, can be effectively settled with a handful of practical steps. For starters, some of the most important pregnancy tips provide holistic nourishment for the body and the soul so that a woman is strong to withstand the demands of childbearing and can offer her baby the best possible care while still in the womb. They include eating a wholesome, balanced diet while avoiding foods that can cause harm; opting for regular, moderate-intensity exercise; reducing accumulated stress with meditation, yoga, or deep breathing; and igniting intimacy with her partner. As important as implementing these healthy pregnancy habits is steering clear of certain hazards that might compromise a woman and her baby's health, including not changing the litter box; avoiding overheating the body; quitting addictions to cigarettes and alcohol; or eliminating harsh chemicals, like insect repellents, from one's immediate environment.