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Guest Blog: Exploring Best Practices for a Healthy Pregnancy by Katie Moore

June 14, 2012

Today, I'm excited to share this guest post from Katie Moore. She is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things "Mommy". She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.

(When Katie Moore came to me with the idea to write a guest post on my blog, I was thrilled. This post is timely because of my recent decision to start a family. The preparation and planning that have gone into this decision mean that it will be some time before we're joined by a little one, but all signs seem to be reassuring me that the best time to start is coming soon. Without further ado, here's a wonderful post on improving your chances for a healthy pregnancy.- Dr. Katie)

 

Exploring Best Practices for a Healthy Pregnancy

 

Pregnancy is an exciting time full of planning and joy for many women, but others will feel the burdens of stress and worry. Hormone changes and the symptoms common to each trimester can add to the stress. Researchers have found that stress during pregnancy is a major contributing factor to complications, and this means that every mom will benefit from learning ways to reduce worry and conquer stress. 

For the best chance at a healthy pregnancy and delivery, it is worthwhile to learn a variety of coping techniques. Several resources are available for gaining an introduction to the techniques of stress management, including books and videos, pregnancy and birthing classes, and other expecting mothers. All these resources will be useful in exploring the following relaxation techniques

 

Before starting any new exercise or diet routine, it is important for a woman to sit down with her doctor and discuss her desired changes. A doctor’s knowledge will be invaluable during pregnancy, from planning what prenatal classes to take all the way to planning whether or not to utilize umbilical cord blood banking, a doctor is the best person for all of these questions.

Guided Meditation
One of the most useful skills for any new mom, meditation is a component of most alternative pain management courses, including Lamaze and the Bradley Method. Clinical research has proven numerous physiological benefits accrue through the practice. Some of these benefits will help in maintaining overall health, and others provide particular benefits during pregnancy and birth. 

Meditation is a skill, however, much like exercise. Practice will make it more effective, and a guide will be extremely beneficial at the beginning. The guide or teacher will help by taking the student along an internal journey that increases awareness of the body and aids in relaxation of the nervous system. Like other skills, it becomes easy to meditate alone after practicing with a teacher.

Exercise
It was once thought that exercise increased the risk of miscarriage and pregnancy complications, but research has proven this assumption to be false. In fact, responsible use of exercise can significantly reduce the risk of many complications and help in overcoming symptoms. A teacher can help by introducing exercises that can reduce the duration of labor and allow faster recovery from delivery.

Most low-impact, moderate-intensity forms of exercise will be appropriate throughout pregnancy, including walking, swimming and cycling. Weight training can be beneficial as well. 
One analysis of the literature showed that strength training reduces severity of maternal hypertension and post-partum depression while also reducing the risk of gestational diabetes. As great as exercise is, all expectant mothers should consult with a doctor and either a trainer or other fitness expert with experience in pregnancy exercise.

Diet
Though it is often overlooked, the modern diet is full of artificial ingredients, unhealthy fats and simple sugars that contribute to the body's stress load. Healthy food choices at the grocery store are generally more expensive, but eating healthy at home is actually cheaper than most people realize. A diet with a lot of 
variation is best, but there are some foods that should always be avoided. 

Enrolling in classes early is a great way to get a head start on a healthy pregnancy, and more learning is always better. If local resources are lacking, multimedia sources can help any mom get the knowledge she needs to get baby off to a good start.