We asked Dr. Natalie Shum, a full time emergency physician and the Associate Director of the Emergency Department at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in California, her top tips for “how to have a healthy pregnancy.” Here is her advice below.
1. What are the top three tips for how to have a healthy pregnancy?
Top three tips for how to have a healthy pregnancy? It’s hard to choose– being responsible for another life is such a great opportunity to make healthy changes for the sake of another no matter what stage you are in– whether it’s taking prenatal vitamins, quitting smoking and alcohol, or trying to eat organic healthy foods. I’d say the most important goal is to maintain a balanced mind, body, and spirit. Pregnancy is tough in many ways– nourish yourself with foods that keep your energy and moods level, maintain your fitness routine to prepare for labor and post-partum recovery, and keep your experienced girlfriends close to share in the roller coaster of emotions.
2. Are there warning signs that you are not having a healthy pregnancy?
Any symptoms of bleeding or cramping should be brought to your doctor’s attention. Discomfort in pregnancy is common, including lower back pain, sciatic pain and round ligament pain. Keep in mind that pregnant women can get the same bladder infections, appendicitis, kidney stones, or gall stones just like any other woman, so if you experience severe persistent abdominal pain get it checked out by your doctor immediately.
3. What are most common myths or misperceptions about how to have a healthy pregnancy?
I think a common misconception is that all pregnant women are the same. We’re not. Every woman’s body is totally different. Just because Heidi Klum could walk a runway one week after giving birth doesn’t mean every lady can squeeze into pre-pregnancy jeans right away. The hardest part is not comparing yourself to other pregnant women– as long as your doctor says you’re on the right track, don’t worry about any wayward comments others make. In the beginning of my second trimester in my third pregnancy a co-worker told me I looked like I was having twins. Ouch! It’s tough, but stay gracious and keep positive. I don’t advise going crazy and giving in to too many late night cravings, but it’s healthier to cut yourself some slack instead of perserverating on the way your body softens and fills out. Stay as fit as your pregnancy allows and you’ll be back to your pre-pregnancy body soon enough… with the sweet bonus of the little miracle your body created.
Dr. Natalie Shum is a full time emergency physician and the Associate Director of the Emergency Department at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in California. She lives in Westlake Village with her husband Greg and their two little girls, Helena (6) and Olivia (4). Natalie is 24 weeks pregnant with her first little boy. This pregnancy she is staying fit by kickboxing, barre class, swimming and prenatal yoga.
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