Exercise is good for mommy & baby! It decreases the risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension, as well as improving overall pregnancy outcomes.  Moderate activity for 30 minutes 5 days a week is a good goal if you have been active prior to pregnancy.

  • Great Choices: Walking, Swimming & Prenatal Yoga 
  • Kegels: Working the muscles of your pelvic floor is important before and after pregnancy. They help prevent and improve incontinence and prolapse. Follow the link to learn how to do a proper kegel.  Be sure to rest between reps & sets and consult your doctor if you have pain during intercourse to ensure you are doing them properly.
  • Posture: Trying to watch your posture may help prevent some aches and pains of pregnancy.  Proper sitting, standing and lifting postures are important to protect your back and decrease your risk of sciatica. Keeping your abdominal muscles active does not mean doing sit ups, but it does mean tightening up and in to help keep your back supported. 
Starting or changing your exercise routine without consulting your healthcare provider.  
Exercising too hard: training at 90% of your peak heart rate may compromise oxygen levels to your baby

We all want to give our babies the best beginning possible.  A healthy prenatal lifestyle is the beginning of your child's well being.  Healthy habits, moderation, and proper medical attention will ensure your baby gets the best start possible.  Good luck and enjoy your journey!

The Health of Your Baby Starts With Your Pregnancy

Always consult your doctor, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse-midwife before starting or changing your diet & exercise routines.


Eating healthy has never been more important! Healthy eating is part of avoiding gestational diabetes, which has been linked to delayed language development and neurological disorders. 
Talk to your doctor before changing supplements!

  • Eat the Rainbow:  Striving for >5 fruits & vegetable a day has never been more important.  If your pregnant taste buds allow it, eat a variety of colors. Eating fresh local produce or frozen have been found to be more nutrient rich then their imported, canned, and processed counterparts.
  • Choose Whole Grains: Many pregnant women crave carbs, but whole grain choices are more nutrient rich, have added protein, and are fiber filled.  Start reading labels, try to get a variety of grains.
  • More Protein: 1/2 gram per pound body weight/day iis important for muscle, tissue, organ, and blood
  • Vitamins & Supplements: Most doctors recommend a prenatal vitamin even before you get pregnant.  Take vitamin's at meal time helps decrease an upset stomach. Although it is best to get your daily needs from food, when pregnant supplements are important to fill in the gaps.
Folic Acid: 800mcg/day helps prevent neural tube defects (spina bifida) and cardiovascular abnormalities
Vitamin D: 1000IU/day (including what you get from the sun & food sources): adequate vit D may                                               help decrease premature birth due to bacterial infection of the placenta, and may affect an infants                                 future immunity & asthma risk                        
Fatty Acids (Omega-3- DHA)>600mg/day when from purified sources, fish oil may improve infant memory                                and decrease childhood obesity risk when received prenatally, DHA is important for baby's brain and                               eye health, and may decrease mom's risk of postpartum depression
               Iron: 30-60mg/day, supplementation may be needed to prevent anemia in some women
Calcium: 1,600-2000mg/day: needed for infant bone development, as well as preventing maternal bone loss
  • Water:  1/2 once per pound body weight/ day. Proper hydration is important, for fetal circulation & amniotic fluid levels, dehydration may cause cramping or pre-term labor. Staying hydrated also helps prevent constipation.

1- Alcohol: most dangerous the first 3 months, but the amount that results in fetal alcohol syndrome is unknown
2- Seafood with high levels of methylmercury: found in larger fish such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, tuna steak        and shark, methylmercury may damage your baby's developing nervous system
3- Unpasteurized cheese & juice, Raw or undercooked meat, poultry & seafood & cold cuts: may contain harmful                bacterium listeria or toxoplasmosis (also found in kitty litter) that could impact your baby's health and well being
4- Artificial sweetener: diet drinks may be tempting, but may also increase the risk of pre-term delivery
5- Too much processed food: full of salt/sodium and artificial ingredients

Some clinical opinions support that exposure to chemicals, such as thalidomide, valproic acid, and the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may been linked to increased risk of autism. 
The AAP is also cautioning the dangers of prenatal exposure to environmental pollutants.

  • Bisphenol-A (BPA): recycle #7 and found in the lining of many canned foods, present in placenta samples, prenatal exposure may be associated with developmental toxicity, neurobehavioral and endocrine changes 
  • Phthalates: used to soften PVC recycle #3, prenatal exposure, as measured through pregnant women's urine samples and cord blood, have linked phthalates levels to impairments in children's social skills and neurological development, as well as reduced masculine scores in male children 
  • Pesticides: found environmentally and on food, the affects of pesticides may include decreased birth weight and lower IQ, new research also shows a potential autism link in some children
  • Cleaning Products: that contain things like glycol ethers, may put your baby and pregnancy at risk, opt for more natural options when pregnant, breastfeeding, and while your children are young (this includes dry cleaning)

Microwave meals in plastic: high heat may leach potentially harmful chemicals into your food
Dirty dozen fruits & veggies: soft skin produce often have the highest levels of pesticide, instead try to buy these organic

Don't skip your regular dental check up. Dental health is important during pregnancy. 

  • Periodontal disease: may be linked to preeclampsia & prematurity or low birth weight babies
  • Hormone changes; may increase gum irritation resulting in periodontal disease
  • Mouthwash: along with brushing & flossing may decrease preterm birth rates in mothers with periodontal disease 


Excess stress may be harmful during pregnancy.  You can not avoid all of it, but here are some simple tips.

  • Learn a Lullaby: Learning to sing lullabies relaxes pregnant mothers & may encourage infant attachment.
  • Read to Your Baby: Babies hear voices and start to understand basic rhythm & sounds in their native language. They begin to recognize familiar voices while still in utero.  Rhyming stories, like Dr. Suess, may help lay the groundwork for early reading skills.
  • Prenatal Yoga: Breathing & stretching activities may take your mind off the stress of everyday life and help calm the moody hormone changes that often accompany pregnancy. Some have even reported easier labor and delivery due to the preparation and techniques used in prenatal yoga. Be sure to find a trained prenatal instructor. 
  • Mindful Visualization; Relaxation is more effective if you think of your baby and focus on belly breathing
  • Prenatal MassageMake sure your massage therapist is trained in prenatal modifications
  • Aromatherapy; Lavender, chamomile & vanilla all have calming affects, but stick to essential oils and beeswax or soy candles instead of air fresheners and candles with artificial fragrances that often contain VOC's

Relaxing tub soaks: prolonged soaking in a heated tub >/ 102* or hot tub may cause harm to a fetus


Listen to your body.  Getting enough rest is important for you and your baby.  Sometimes sleeping can be uncomfortable, especially in later trimesters.

  • Belly Supports & SI Belts: May be helpful to keep your growing baby belly from putting too much stress on your back, giving it a little time to rest.  Physical therapists can assess your need for an appropriate SI belt 
  • Reflux (GERD): Common during pregnancy and bothersome at night, avoid eating a large meal or taking vitamins at night, try a wedge pillow (30* angle) to help elevate you while you sleep, probiotics may also help but always discuss dietary supplements with your doctor
  • Good Sleeping Posture: 
Back Sleepers: May be more comfortable having a pillow under your knees to decrease low-back pressure 
Side Sleepers: May be more comfortable having a body pillow between your knees and even under your belly                                         for added support, also consider adding a small hand towel roll in the base of your pillow to                                            support your neck and decrease pressure on the nerves that run down your arm
The Last Month of Pregnancy: Sleeping on your LEFT side may reduce your risk of late still birth

Miodovnik A, Engel SM, Zhu C, Ye X, Soorya LV, Silva MJ, Calafat AM, Wolff MS. (2010). Endocrine disruptors and childhood social impairment. Neurotoxicology., Dec 21.
Decrease Stress, Nutrition, Exercise, Dental Health, Chemical Cautions, Sleep & Rest

Prenatal smoking increases your risk of a low birth weight baby, a premature birth, & the risk of your baby dying from SIDS (sudden infant death) after birth 
Some medications may affect your developing baby. Make sure your OBGYN, NP, CNM know what you are taking before you get pregnant. Avoid taking any new medication without consulting your doctor.

  • Antidepressants: may increase risk of birth defects and autism risk
  • NSAIDS: (ex- naproxen) may increase risk of congenital malformations
  • Pregnancy Category D: FDA reports there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on human data but the potential benefits from use of the drug in pregnant women with serious or life-threatening conditions may be acceptable despite its risks
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updated 2016