Be a healthy mom-to-be

6 secrets of a healthy and happy pregnancy

6 secrets of a healthy and happy pregnancy

Pregnancy, whether it is your first or fourth one, is a period of change.  There is a dizzying amount of information out there and weeding through it all can be frustrating and time-consuming. Julie Denney, a Certified Nurse Midwife at Nuvance Health Medical Practices in Rhinebeck, Highland and Kingston, distills it all down for you with a few simple ideas so you’ll be free to enjoy your pregnancy!

Find a care provider who listens to you. 

Establishing care early on in your pregnancy is your first step to staying healthy. “Find a practice you feel a connection with and that is well established,” says Denney.  “When selecting a practice, remember that prenatal care is truly a dialogue—it’s important to have your questions answered respectfully.”

A midwife is trained to help women experience as natural a childbirth as possible. They monitor the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mom-to-be throughout her pregnancy. A midwife assists moms in developing a birthing plan  and provides continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, as well as postpartum support.

Denney notes that as midwife, she takes a wholistic approach to caring for women.  “When I meet with a mom I ask about her support system;  we discuss how she is managing the stressors of pregnancy as well as issues relative to eating, sleeping and exercising; and how she is feeling about becoming a mother.”

Eat well

Remember all your food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.  When selecting fruits, meats and vegetables, Denney says that you should look for local, organic, whole foods. Steer clear of the inside aisles of the grocery store, which tend to house processed food. Eat 3-4 healthy items before you turn to what you’re craving. 

Know your weaknesses and keep bad stuff out of the house. Have veggies prepped and ready in the fridge. If you decide to take a prenatal vitamin or supplement, look for a whole-food version, which means it’s made from natural, minimally-processed ingredients.

READ MORE: 4 ways to promote positive maternal mental health

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Denney suggests carrying a bottle of water with you no matter where you go because hydration is important.  Avoid other types of drinks, like soda or juice, because what your body really needs is water.

Exercise regularly

Denney cautions that if you weren’t very active before your pregnancy, now is not the time to take up a vigorous program, so keep exercise simple.  Regardless of your pre-pregnancy fitness level, she believes that you should always listen to your body during your workout. If you feel any pain, dizziness or excessive fatigue, you should stop the workout and get in touch with your care provider.

Get your ZZZ’s!

Denney says, “Listen to your body.” Your body is doing a lot of work growing a new life, so be sure you get plenty of rest.  She suggests you get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep, and if you feel tired, take naps during the day.

Important prenatal milestones

During early pregnancy, blood work is done that reviews your nutrient levels, blood type and signs of infections that could be dangerous to you and your fetus.  About seven months into your pregnancy, more blood work is done to check for gestational diabetes, which is a high blood sugar condition that can develop during pregnancy. Denney also recommends that you have at least one ultrasound to check the growth and anatomy development of the fetus.

A lifetime of health

Denney approaches her care for women during pregnancy with the understanding that it affects your life for more than just nine months.  She believes choices made in pregnancy are lifetime choices.  How you handle stress and stay healthy during your pregnancy can carry over to your life after your baby is born.

Julie Denney, Certified Nurse Midwife, sees patients in Nuvance Health Medical Practices OB/GYN Rhinebeck, Highland and Kingston offices. She delivers at Northern Dutchess Hospital.