You are pregnant. You are now a mother.

It’s understandable if you feel uncertain, and are concerned about the future.
There are many unknowns, but know this:

  • You Have What it Takes!

    Check out one woman’s journey, and the ten stages she went through, coming to terms with her unplanned pregnancy.

You Can Do This!

Two single moms tell their stories.

Laura’s Story

Laura's Story

Kembry’s Story

Kembry's Story

Whether you have support or not,
We can help

This is What is Happening in Your Body

fetal growth from 8 to 40 weeks

Surprising Science on
Mother/Baby Bonding

Mother & Baby Connection

Your body needs some TLC

You are now eating for two!

Best Practices for a Healthy Pregnancy

Eating a healthy balanced diet benefits both you and the baby.

Benefits to the mother:  it can reduce the incidence of anemia, fatigue and morning sickness.  It is thought to help balance mood swings and may improve labor and delivery.

Benefits to the baby: it insures good fetal brain development, a healthy birthweight and can reduce the risk of birth defects.

A well-balanced prenatal diet includes:

  • Protein – red meat, turkey meat, chicken, eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, cheese, oats, quinoa, black beans
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Berries
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy – Milk, eggs, cheese, greek yogurt
  • Healthy fats – avocados, cheese, eggs, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, full fat yogurt w/low sugar content

Most of your nutrients should come from food.

Folic acid is very important during pregnancy, especially the first trimester, in guarding against neural tube birth defects.

Foods rich in folic acid are enriched spaghetti, spinach, asparagus, avocado, Brussel sprouts, garbanzo beans, lentils and beets.

Vitamin C is necessary in making collagen, a component of cartilage, tendons, bones and skin.  It also helps your body fight infections and protects cells against damage.

Foods rich in Vitamin C are strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, papayas, kiwis, black currants, red bell peppers, chili peppers, Brussel sprouts, spinach and kale.

If you are concerned about getting enough vitamins in your diet, talk to your doctor about taking a multi-vitamin.

Calcium helps your baby grow a healthy heart, nerves and muscles. It also helps the baby develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities.  In addition it can reduce your risk of hypertension, preeclampsia and osteoporosis.

Calcium rich foods include milk, greek yogurt or yogurt w/low sugar content, cheese, eggs, sardines, trout, broccoli, spinach, kale, okra and white beans.

Iron is used by your body to make extra blood, so it is a key ingredient in the second trimester when blood volume increases 40 – 50%.  It is used to transport oxygen to all parts of you and your baby’s bodies.  Getting enough iron will prevent anemia, which causes tiredness.

Foods rich in iron are red meat, dark turkey meat, lentils, beans, peas, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, spinach, quinoa and tofu.  Meats are higher in iron.  From a vegetable or grain source, more needs to be eaten.

If you are concerned about getting enough minerals in your diet, talk to your doctor about taking a multi-vitamin.

Stay hydrated!  A pregnant woman’s body needs more water than normal.  Aim for eight or more cups each day.

Daily exercise is great for most pregnant women. It helps you sleep better and may improve your ability to cope with labor. It promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance. However, during pregnancy, your body emits a hormone that relaxes your muscles and connective tissue. You have looser ligaments. Your center of gravity also changes. It is best to avoid deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises and straight-leg toe touches. These exercises can injure the tissue connecting your joints and muscles. Check with your doctor to find out how much physical activity is right for you.

An adequate amount of sleep, 7 to 8 hours per night, is important for you and your baby. In the first trimester, there is an increased secretion of progesterone during sleep, which is needed in a healthy pregnancy. A lack of sleep can lead to complications in your pregnancy, including preclampsia. Try to sleep on your left side to improve blood flow to you and your child. It may be helpful to place a pillow between your knees, under your abdomen and behind your back.

Women should get regular prenatal care from a healthcare professional. Routine tests are performed to rule out complications and ensure the health of mom and baby. Mothers who don’t get regular prenatal care are much more likely to have a child with low birth weight. Our Angels can help you find a doctor if you don’t have one.

What to Avoid
for a Healthy Pregnancy

There are certain foods that women should avoid eating while pregnant. Do not eat: raw or undercooked meats, liver, sushi, raw eggs (also in mayonnaise), soft cheeses (feta, brie), and unpasteurized milk. Raw and unpasteurized animal products can increase your risk of infection from bacteria or parasites including toxoplasma, E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. These can cause birth defects. Fish that is high in mercury should be avoided as it has harmful effects on the nervous system, brain, heart, kidneys and lungs. These are:  albacore tuna, swordfish, shark, king mackerel and marlin.  A google search will tell you which fish is low in mercury and how often is should be eaten.

Women should not drink alcohol during their pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of having a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD can cause abnormal features of the face, head, joints and limbs, heart defects, severe learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. Babies who have this syndrome do not catch up later in life, even after receiving special care.  FASD is the most common preventable cause of birth defect in the US. Alcohol can impact a baby’s health in the earliest stages of pregnancy so if you suspect you’re pregnant, it’s best to stop drinking alcohol.

Smoking is unhealthy for you and your unborn child. It restricts blood flow which in turn restricts the flow of nutrients and oxygen that flow to the baby through the placenta. Smoking also increases the risk of SIDS, (sudden infant death syndrome), low birth weight, premature births and miscarriages.

Caffeine is a stimulant, therefore it increases your blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy. Caffeine also increases the frequency of urination, causing a reduction in your body fluid levels which can lead to dehydration, which is not good for you or the baby.

Caffeine can be found in coffee, soft drinks, iced tea and chocolate.

It is recommended that pregnant women should not consume more than 200mg of caffeine daily.  A high intake of caffeine, above 200mg daily, doubles the risk of miscarriage.

There is debate on whether artificial sweeteners, aspartame and saccharin, found in diet drinks and some foods are okay to consume during pregnancy.  They are chemicals that can negatively affect your health so if you have a choice, sugar is the better option.  However, sugar provides empty calories, so if you want to give the best nutrition to your growing baby, milk is a great option.

Cat feces carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii. You can contract this by contact with cat litter. If you have a cat, have someone else clean the litter box. If a pregnant woman contracts toxoplasmosis, it can result in severe brain or liver damage to the baby. It can also damage the retina of the baby’s eye, leading to visual impairment or blindness. Avoid any contact with cat feces.

Though the effects of hair dye on the unborn baby is unknown, it is made of chemicals that are absorbed through the scalp and enters the bloodstream. To be safe, it’s best to color or perm your hair after only after the second trimester, and make sure you have good ventilation.

Hot water in hot tubs causes perspiration, which causes your blood to go to the surface of your skin rather than to your uterus. This puts the baby of at risk by depriving him/her of needed oxygen. It is best to take a warm bath.

Chemicals found in common household cleaners can be harmful to your unborn baby. Only use when you have good ventilation. If possible, use non-toxic cleaning products like white vinegar, baking soda and borax.

Avoid aerosol containers. Don’t use paint removers or solvents. Stay away from chemicals that kill weeds and bugs.

Lead is very dangerous to your unborn baby. It can get in the mothers blood stream and cross the placenta, affecting almost every system in the growing baby’s body. Lead poisioning can cause miscarriage and stillbirth, low-birthweight/poor growth, premature delivery, preeclampsia and later problems with behavior and learning. If you live in an old home, there’s a chance that the water pipes and paint on the walls have lead in them. If you cannot drink bottled water, let your water run for five minutes before filling your glass. Avoid paint that is peeling. Colored glossy newspaper inserts, magazines and metallic gift-wrap inks may also have a high lead content. Try not to handle these items frequently. Don’t use foreign made pottery for food or drinks and don’t drink from lead crystal glasses.

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What you don’t know can hurt you.

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