25 ways to a healthy bump

Breeze through your nine months with these easy daily tweaks to keep you and your belly blooming

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1. Brush well

Pregnancy can soften your gums, leaving them prone to bleeding, inflammation and infection. The good news? Dental care is free during your nine months. So have a check-up and be sure to brush twice a day, using mouthwash afterwards

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2. Stay safe at work

“Ask your employer for a workplace risk assessment: looking at your chair, how many breaks you get and how near to a loo you are,” advises Maylyn Bonds, midwife for Tommy’s.

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3. Ban the booze

The jury’s out on whether a small amount of alcohol can harm your baby, but official guidelines say steer clear. Instead of getting the booze blues, check out our pick of the best non-alcoholic drinks to try

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4. Cut out coffee

Limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day – that’s equivalent to two mugs of instant coffee or four cups of tea or five cans of cola per day – as too much caffeine in your system can hinder blood flow to the placenta.

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5. Catch up on your kip

“Weekend lie-ins are a must if I’m knackered,” says Heather Ford, 36, from London, and 16 weeks pregnant. “I also get an early night as many times a week as I can.”

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6. Stretch out

“Try rotating your ankles at intervals during the day if you’re suffering from leg cramps,” suggests Maylyn. “This can be done while you’re sat at your desk or in front of the TV. It also helps to keep them elevated, so pop a footrest under your desk.”

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7. Keep hydrated

“Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day will help your skin stretch more easily and stop you feeling tired,” says Wendy Powell, founder of No More Excuses pregnancy and postnatal personal training.

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8. Pop some pills

You need a daily intake of 400mcg of folic acid during the first 12 weeks of your 
pregnancy to help ensure your baby’s spinal cord develops well.

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9. Embrace your widening waist

When your bump starts to become bigger, wear trousers and skirts with elasticated waists so your expanding tum doesn’t feel hemmed in. Also invest in maternity tops that are longer at the front.

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10. Eat cranberries

Urinary tract infections can be common in pregnancy. Cranberries – eaten either as a snack or in sugar-free juice – help to reduce the bacteria levels that can lead to these infections.

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11. Blend away

Smoothies are an easy way to boost your fruit intake and they also satisfy those sugar cravings. Add berries, peaches or a banana to some fresh juice. Throw ice into the blender to chill and add oats or wheatgerm to thicken.

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12. Eat breakfast

“You need slow-burning carbs as well as protein to give you sustained energy,” says Wendy. “Porridge or muesli with fruit and natural yogurt are perfect, or a poached or boiled egg with wholegrain toast and tomatoes.”

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13. Mind your back

Make sure you have good back support if you sit at a desk all day, and if you ever have to lift, always bend from your knees. Get a massage from dad-to-be to ease tension in your shoulders left by a long day.

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14. Get shorter

The pregnancy hormone relaxin makes your ligaments soften as they get ready for the birth, so your ankles aren’t strong enough to stand up on skyscraper heels. Save them for very special occasions and embrace the flats.

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15. Dress cool

The extra weight from your baby and the resulting increased blood supply means your temperature will rise. Keep cool and sweat-free by wearing natural fibres – such as cotton – to let your skin breathe.

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16. Munch fibre

You’re prone to constipation in pregnancy as hormones preparing the pelvic muscles for labour slow down the digestive process. Counter this by eating lots of greens and wholegrain pasta, rice and bread.

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Keeping your fluids up is important to help you avoid pregnancy heartburn, but don’t drink too much with your meals.

17. Say no to spice

In your third trimester, when the valve at the top of the stomach relaxes, acid reflux can be a problem – try to avoid spicy, rich, fatty and fried foods as these are a trigger for heartburn.

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18. Go alfresco

Vitamin D and calcium are important for you and your baby’s bones,” says Maylyn, so include oily fish, milk and yogurts in your diet. “Also, get outside as much as you can as the sun is a natural source of vitamin D,” she adds.

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19. Give up fizz

Fizzy drinks are full of sugar and often caffeine, so they are best avoided. If you do need your fix, try tonic water. It’s still got the bubbles and can help beat nausea and heartburn by cutting through fats from your food.

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20. Stay active

Keeping fit will maintain your energy and get you in great shape for the birth. “Pregnancy is not the time to take up a new sport,” advises Maylyn, “but gentle daily exercise like walking, yoga or swimming is fine. Use your lunch break for a walk around the block.”

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Your return to work could see you putting on make-up for the first time in months – just getting out the door with the same shoes on is perfectly adequate, too!

21. Switch your skincare

Hormone changes affect the oil balance in your skin, so you may need to switch your moisturiser to one suitable for sensitive skin. Skin changes might also mean you need to try different make-up shades.

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22. Get measured

Your breasts grow in size during pregnancy and they can become heavy and uncomfy. As you go into your second trimester, get fitted for a maternity bra so your old one doesn’t pinch on your new shape.

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23. Avoid a pile-up

Pressure from the weight of your baby, as well as constipation, can lead to piles. “Keep your fluids up and your fibre intake high,” advises Maylyn. “If you’re really suffering, ask your GP for cream.”

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24. Snack through sickness

“To get through morning sickness I eat little and often, so I don’t go through waves of being full and then hungry,” says Rachel Jones, 33, from Chester, mum to Tomos, 3, and Joseff, 2, and 13 weeks pregnant.

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You can do pelvic floor exercises any time during pregnancy – and after giving birth

25. Work it

Pelvic floor exercises are essential if you want to avoid accidental leaks after childbirth. Happily, you can do them without anyone knowing. “Squeeze as if trying not to urinate, and hold for five to 10 seconds at a time. Repeat this 10 times,” suggests Wendy. Do it daily for the best results. At your desk, on the bus or in the shower… there’s no excuse!

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