Eat this, but don’t even touch that. Exercise, but not too much. Do make sure you’re taking prenatal vitamins, but don’t take cough medicine.
There are enough do’s and don’ts of pregnancy floating around to make your head spin – and as a surrogate mother, you’re likely even more conscious of every move you make. It’s understandable, of course; you want to take the best possible care of the baby and yourself during this crucial time.
Here are 6 of the top tips for a healthy surrogate pregnancy with more joy and less stress.
You were likely taking a prenatal vitamin in preparation for pregnancy, but if not, you’ll want to start right away. The first trimester is an especially crucial time of rapid development - it’s important to be sure the baby is getting the required nutrients that can be obtained through food but may be more reliably sourced via prenatal vitamin (Liver and leafy greens might not be appetizing during this time!).
Talk to your care provider about any other supplements that you may need throughout the pregnancy – anything from vitamin D to baby aspirin might be recommended depending on your individual needs and medical history. Confirm guidelines about any other over-the-counter medication that is safe to take as well.
Yes, it’s important to prioritize nutrition and optimize healthy food as much as possible, but it’s equally important to minimize stress. While there are a few foods that should be avoided during pregnancy – namely raw or unpasteurized items due to increased risk of Listeria, E. Coli and other harmful bacteria infecting you or the baby – it’s okay to enjoy what you eat while pregnant. Talk to your doctor about any individualized needs, but overall just strive for balance.
Have an honest conversation with your medical provider about your regular activities, from exercise to chasing after your kids to how often you’re sitting or standing on the job. You may need to make adjustments throughout to keep both you and the baby safe and to prevent injuries. Something as simple as how to sit during pregnancy can change as your center of gravity shifts, so be sure to sit and stand with your shoulders and back as relaxed as possible, with weight evenly distributed. Use back support, such as a lumbar pillow, to help with lower back pain whenever possible.
How you bend during pregnancy is also something to consider – you’ll need to avoid heavy lifting, and when you do have to pick something up, bend at your knees and hips, not forward at the waist.
It goes through a lot of changes during this 40-week period, and what feels good one week may not work as well the next. However, it is likely safe and even encouraged to continue your pre-pregnancy movement. Staying active often results in a smoother overall pregnancy, delivery and recovery.
Confirm with your doctor and then respond to your body’s needs. Anything from exercise to sex during pregnancy can easily be fair game.
Sometimes what your body needs is sleep, and that should be honored, too. Give yourself opportunities to slow down – don’t be afraid to ask for support! And when you are resting, be sure you know how to sleep during pregnancy, too – on your left side is best so that blood and nutrients can more easily reach the baby. You may find that you sleep more comfortably with a pillow between your knees, too.
Ultimately, all of the precaution you’re taking during these months is for one major reason – a healthy baby for a family that might not otherwise have this chance. Remember what an incredible gift it is, and that you have support every step of the way.