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Top Ten Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Top Ten Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Optimize your health prior to pregnancy

A preconception checkup can be beneficial in planning a pregnancy with the goal of identifying risks, providing education and intervening when appropriate to improve maternal and fetal outcomes. Reviewing your vital signs, body mass index, menstrual cycle patterns, family history, previous pregnancy/reproductive history, family planning desires, medications you are taking, current medical problems or diagnoses, dietary and exercise habits can all be helpful in identifying opportunities to optimize your health prior to conceiving! Preconception checkups are provided by primary care practitioners, naturopaths/functional medicine practitioners, midwives and obstetricians.

Getting ready for pregnancy: Preconception health | March of Dimes

Choose your maternity care provider wisely

Most pregnant women are healthy and have the option to choose a midwife or obstetrician as well as to have their baby at home, a birth center or hospital. Knowing options for provider types and place of birth can impact your pregnancy in regards to the care you receive, information you will get, options you will have around labor and birth and your ability to have and make choices during your journey.

Maternity Care - National Partnership for Women & Families; Resources for Choosing a Place of Birth -National Partnership for Women & Families

Optimize your nutrition

How we nourish our bodies nutritionally during pregnancy is a widely debated topic but likely one of the most important ways we can impact pregnancy outcomes and lifelong health of our offspring. Eating “real food” that is minimally processed and as close to its natural source as possible is a great basic principle to start with. Superfoods such as eggs, liver, meat on the bone, bone broth, leafy green vegetables, full fat and fermented dairy are all well supported by research to build a healthy baby!

Book | Real Food for Pregnancy

Take a prenatal vitamin

Even with optimal nutrition, taking a prenatal vitamin containing 400-800 mcg of methylated folate (folic acid) is recommended for all childbearing women. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits for both moms and babies when prenatal vitamins are consumed including reduction in miscarriage, neural tube and other defects, perinatal mood disorders, hypertension, preeclampsia, preterm birth and stillbirth. Not all prenatal vitamins are created equally. Consider a prenatal vitamin that also contains choline, vitamin B6, zinc, iron and iodine. Additional nutrient needs that most women have and are unable toobtain strictly from food sources are omega 3, Vitamin D3 and probiotics.

Prenatal Vitamins: Do You Need One and How to Choose - Aviva Romm, MD

Move your body

Pregnancy is taxing on the physical body and birth is perhaps the most challenging athletic event of a woman’s life. Research confirms that exercise during pregnancy is safe and results in improved outcomes for mom’s and babies with rare exceptions. For most pregnant women exercising for 30 minutes 5 daysper week is encouraged. Brisk walking is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise in pregnancy.

Empowering Mothers | Prenatal & Postpartum Online Programs (birthfit.com); Exercise During Pregnancy ACOG


Sleep in pregnancy is critically important to the health of the mother and her unborn baby. Research has shown that poor sleep can lead to increased risks for preterm birth, depression, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, low birth weight, more painful labor and increased risk for cesarean delivery. Physiologic changes of pregnancy often make sleep more challenging but they are often able to be managed!

Pregnancy & Sleep: Tips, Sleep Positions, & Issues | Sleep Foundation


Anxiety, stress and fear around pregnancy and birth are real and can have a negative impact on mothers and babies. Taking time for self care and stress reduction are critically important but often forgotten components in our busy lives. If there is something you particularly enjoy in life that helps you with stressreduction and it’s considered safe in pregnancy- make it part of your regular routine! Some examples might be getting outside in nature, yoga, meditation, getting a massage, spending time with a friend, taking a warm bath and talking with a therapist.

Emotional Stress During Pregnancy: Causes and Coping Strategies (verywellmind.com); Calm Birth Meditation Empowering Meditation for Pregnancy, Birth-Calm Birth

Take Prenatal education courses

Pregnancy is often viewed as a time of joy but it can also bring up anxiety, fears and insecurities along the way. Research shows that women who take childbirth education courses and are knowledgeable about pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum have decreased anxiety,fear, improved obstetric outcomes and a better experience overall.

pathway-to-a-healthy-birth-booklet.pdf (nationalpartnership.org); Childbirth Education Classes American Pregnancy Association

Make informed decisions & Know your rights

Making informed decisions about maternity care goes beyond taking prenatal education courses and means finding the best available information on your options and using that information to decide what’s right for you and your baby- this is referred to as evidence based maternity care. Your opinions aboutyour care during pregnancy and birth matter. You have the right to accept or decline care, procedures and interventions during pregnancy, labor and birth. Knowing your options and the benefits and risks, having informed consent (or refusal) and a maternity care team that respects your rights are essential.

Making Informed Decisions - National Partnership for Women & Families; Home - Evidence Based Birth®; NormalBirthAndYou-092514.pdf (midwife.org); Birth Monopoly - Birth Monopoly

Hire a doula

A doula is a companion who provides continuous therapeutic support during the labor and birth process to include emotional support, physical support and advocacy. Research confirms that having a doula decreases the risk for vacuum, forceps and cesarean birth, promotes shorter labors, decreases the use of pain medications, epidurals and the likelihood of low apgar scores in newborns and improves patient perceptions of the birth experience overall.

Evidence on: Doulas (evidencebasedbirth.com)


Amy Burgess, CNM Amy Burgess is a graduate of University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and has earned a post masters in nurse midwifery from the University of Illinois Chicago. She also earned a B.S.N. from the University of Iowa. She is board certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Amy is passionate about providing midwifery philosophy of care to her well women and obstetric clients.

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