Pregnancy Tips from the Midwife

Midwife Healthy Pregnancy Tips

Maintain your good health


  1. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and foods low in saturated fat. Also, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid caffeine in soda and coffee. A decaffeinated soda once a week or so is fine.

  2. Get all the nutrients you need each day, including iron. Getting enough iron prevents you from getting you get the nutrients your baby needs. Some good iron food sources are beans, chicken, raisins, apricots, iron-rich breakfast cereal, and leafy green vegetables.

  3. Take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day. Folic acid is most important in the early stages of pregnancy, but you should continue taking folic acid throughout pregnancy.

  4. Ask your nurse-midwife before stopping any medicines or starting any new medicines. Some medicines are not safe during pregnancy. Keep in mind that even over-the-counter medicines and herbal products may cause side effects or other problems. But not using medicines you need could also be harmful.

  5. Avoid x-rays. If you must have dental work or diagnostic tests, tell your dentist or doctor that you are pregnant so that extra care can be taken.

  6. Protect yourself and your baby from food-borne illnesses, including toxoplasmosis (TOK-soh-plaz-MOH-suhss) and listeria (lih-STEER-ee-uh). Wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Don't eat uncooked or undercooked meats or fish. Always handle, clean, cook, eat, and store foods properly.

  7. Don't eat fish with lots of mercury, including swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish. 12 ounces of canned or chunk light tuna may be eaten every week as this is a lower mercury level fish.

  8. Gain a healthy amount of weight. Your nurse-midwife can tell you how much weight gain you should aim for during pregnancy.

  9. Don't smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs. These can cause long-term harm or death to your baby. Ask your nurse-midwife for help quitting and area resources.

  10. Get about 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity most days of the week. If you worked out regularly before pregnancy, you can keep up your activity level as long as your health doesn't change and you talk to your nurse-midwife about your activity level throughout your pregnancy. Learn more about how to have a fit pregnancy. 

  11. Don't take very hot baths or use hot tubs or saunas.

  12. Get plenty of sleep and find ways to control stress.

  13. Get informed. Read books, watch videos, go to a childbirth class, and talk with moms you know.

  14. Ask your nurse-midwife about childbirth education classes for you and your partner. Classes can help you prepare for the birth of your baby.

  15. Stay away from chemicals like insecticides, solvents (like some cleaners or paint thinners), lead, mercury, and paint (including paint fumes). Not all products have pregnancy warnings on their labels. If you're unsure if a product is safe, ask your doctor before using it. Talk to your nurse-midwife if you are worried that chemicals used in your workplace might be harmful.

  16. If you have a cat, ask your nurse-midwife about toxoplasmosis. This infection is caused by a parasite sometimes found in cat feces. If not treated toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects. You can lower your risk of by avoiding cat litter and wearing gloves when gardening.

  17. Avoid contact with rodents, including pet rodents, and with their urine, droppings, or nesting material. Rodents can carry a virus that can be harmful or even deadly to your unborn baby.

  18. Take steps to avoid illness, such as washing hands frequently.

  19. Stay away from secondhand smoke.