Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Zen, Baby
Taking time to relax during pregnancy is key to keeping you and your baby healthy.
Taking time to relax during pregnancy is key to keeping you and your baby healthy.
David Young-Wolff/Getty Images

Nine months may seem to stretch on forever when you're anxious to meet your baby, but the delay also allows time to ease into your new role as a parent. If you are stressed -- about pregnancy, birth, your work life and the inevitable adjustments that take place within your extended family -- it can affect your baby. Constant or sudden stress can cause premature labor because it releases a contraction-triggering hormone. Chronic stress can result in a weakened immune system for you and a low birth weight for your baby [source: Prior].

How much stress is too much? It's a hard call. Navigating the demands of career and family can be difficult, but for some women, leaving a deadline-oriented job for months of pre-baby resting can be just as stressful. It's all in how you cope with it.

If you're often anxious, confused or tearful, then it's time to ask for help. In the long run, learning to manage stress during pregnancy is good practice for parenthood. Learn how to prioritize, cultivate a support network and make a conscious effort to relax, whether through prenatal massage or simply some quiet "me" time. You'll be well on your way to a balanced life as a new mom.

Learn more about pregnancy by visiting the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • American Academy of Periodontology. "Gum Disease and Pregnancy Problems." Feb. 8, 2010.
  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "Exercise During Pregnancy." Feb. 17, 2010.
  • American Pregnancy Association. "Pregnancy and Pica: Non-Food Cravings." Feb. 17, 2010.
  • Brundage, Stephanie. ‘"Preconception Health Care." American Family Physician. 65, 12. 2507-14.
  • Butler, Joan Marie. "Fit and Pregnant: The Pregnant Woman's Guide to Exercise." Vitesse Press. 2006.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Folic Acid." February 14, 2010.
  • Cram, Catherine. "Fit Pregnancy for Dummies." For Dummies. 2004.Elton, Sarah. "Protecting Baby: Can Allergies Be Prevented?" Feb. 17, 2010.
  • Greenfield, Marjorie. "Heartburn and Indigestion in Pregnancy." April 7, 2003.,1510,4405,00.html
  • Greenfield, Marjorie. "Medications in Pregnancy: General Principles." Aug. 18, 2004.,1510,5472,00.html
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  • Hitti, Miranda. "Pregnancy Weight Gain: New Guidelines." Feb. 17, 2010.
  • Institute of Medicine. "Nutrition During Pregnancy." Feb. 14, 2010.
  • Institute of Medicine. "Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines." May 28, 2009.
  • Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. "Caffeine is Linked to Miscarriage Risk, New Study Shows." Jan. 22, 2008.
  • "A Nutrition Primer for Expectant Mothers." Feb. 15, 2010.
  • Larsen, Joanne. "Pregnancy and Morning Sickness." Feb. 17, 2010.
  • Livermore, Beth. "Help for Common Pregnancy Complaints." Parents Magazine. Feb. 8, 2010.
  • March of Dimes. "Changes During Pregnancy." September 2009.
  • March of Dimes. "Choosing a Multivitamin Before Pregnancy." Feb. 18, 2010.
  • March of Dimes. "Things to Avoid: Mercury and Fish." February 2007.
  • Mayo Clinic. "Pregnancy Bed Rest: When It's Needed, What It Means." May 2009.
  • Mayo Clinic. "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy." Harper Paperbacks. April 13, 2004.
  • "Here's to Pickles and Ice Cream." Feb. 17, 2010.
  • Organization of Teratology Information Specialists. "Caffeine and Pregnancy." May 2008.
  • Prior, Katerie. "Relaxing During Pregnancy: Beating Stress is Good for Expectant Moms." Feb. 18, 2010.
  • Stokes, Brenda. "4 Ways to Boost Your Energy During Pregnancy." Feb. 18, 2010.
  • Silva, Alicia. "How to Get a Good Night Sleep During Pregnancy." Feb. 18, 2010.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Protect Your Baby and Yourself From Listeriosis." Feb. 21, 2010.
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. "Preconception Health." Feb. 8, 2010.
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  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Pregnant Women to Benefit from Better Information." Feb. 21, 2010.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Questions and Answers on the Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Rule."
  • Willers, S.M, et al. "Maternal Food Consumption during Pregnancy and Asthma, Respiratory and Atopic Symptoms in 5-year-old Children." Thorax. 62, 9. 773-779. March 2007.


What Is the Linea Nigra of Pregnancy?

What Is the Linea Nigra of Pregnancy?

What is the linea nigra? HowStuffWorks looks at the dark line of pregnancy.

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