The To-Do list for a happy and healthy pregnancy

By Fitri Handa Yani, 13 February 2018 8541

Pregnancy is a gift of life that comes with not only joy but also discomforts. During this incredible journey, it is important for you to stay happy and remain worry-free to give your baby the best start in life. It’s inevitable that you feel a little anxious and fearful in preparation of motherhood – Here are some tips for a happier and healthier pregnancy, that hopefully gets you excited and fear less about the 9 months ahead. 

Dress (comfortably) to impress 

You would want to flaunt your bump in your prettiest dress!"Audrey Gwee, 27, one child
Along with hormonal changes and tiredness, you will face wardrobe dilemmas once that bump comes along. It is a challenging period for women to look fabulous and not dowdy for the sake of comfort. To accentuate your newly earned curves and flaunt your baby bump with glory and pride, stop thinking conventional maternity wear!

Material is key when it comes to choosing clothing. As your body temperature is naturally higher during pregnancy, linen, airy cotton and cool stretch denim help to beat the heat, feel cool and comfortable all-day long.
Second to composition is shape. It can be tricky to dress a growing tummy but it can be done with ease and practicality. Trapeze dresses are many women favourites as unlike empire dresses, the swing starts from above the bust instead of below it. This cutting showcases the bump and gives expectant women more breathing space. Match it with a pair of statement shoes, and clutch bag for a Victoria Beckham look. 

Oversized shirt dresses are something that will flatter your bump throughout your pregnancy. You can either button all the way up for a cute style or tie it above your bump with a soft belt to look elegant. It can also be worn as a loose blouse that will look chic when match with stretchy jean. Throw on a pair of shades and trusty sneakers before heading out. You will turn heads! 

If you love baring your shoulders, off-shoulder dresses fit perfectly with a growing bump. Keep the look simple with minimal accessories as you do not want to draw attention away from your bump.

Remember, fear less in exploring clothing options as a heightened sense of style will help you feel good during pregnancy!

Strengthen your body for birth

"My job requires me to walk a lot. I consider that as a form of exercise." – Wina, 28, Mum-to-be
Being pregnant does not mean leading a sedentary lifestyle and deprive your body of the needed endorphins. Interestingly, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a bit of fitness fix has been shown to benefit most women. It can lessen aches, lift your mood and even reduce complications during pregnancy!

As a start, walking is a wonderful way to stay active as it does not put stress to your back and hip. A 30-minute brisk walk a week is recommended by National Health Services to work your heart and lungs without hurting your knees and ankles. Try to walk regularly instead of occasionally to obtain the benefits of regular exercise. Additionally, you can try pelvic floor exercises while walking.

Swimming is another good form of exercise as it works many muscles while the natural buoyancy of water supports the body's added weight, reducing strain on the joints. This exercise improves overall blood circulation and cardiovascular endurance of expectant women.
Regular aerobic exercise during pregnancy has also shown to improve or maintain physical fitness. Low-impact water aerobics is also good for pregnant women as It keeps the heart and lungs strong. If you want to take it slower, pre-natal yoga is great in preparing your body and mind for labour and motherhood.

Remember, exercise has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most pregnant women. Fear less about exercising during pregnancy as a healthy body ensures a healthy birth.

Eating right for two

"Cannot eat duck because the baby will have dark skin. Cannot eat crab if not the baby will be very active." – Colleen Siah, 30, one child
Eating healthy during pregnancy is one of the best things that you can give yourself and your baby. It is important for expectant mothers to take in necessary nutrients to optimise baby development and growth. Mindset should steer towards eating a balanced diet everyday instead of relying on supplements. Nutrients such as iron, folic acid, Vitamin C and calcium can all be found in our natural food source.

Health Hub's Healthy Diet Pyramid for Pregnancy recommend two servings of fruits and vegetables each day, which meet the pregnancy meal planning requirements. It is a useful guide to help pregnant women plan out their daily diet and acquire the nutrients they need to support a healthy pregnancy.
At the same time, some types of food such as raw seafood, undercooked meat, alcohol and unwashed vegetables are to be avoided as they contain bacterial toxins which are harmful to the development of babies. 
Now, you can fear less about meal planning as it is not that daunting after all!

Good planning goes a long way

"I immediately deposited 3k into the CDA account the moment I got it…to receive another 3k from the government." – Pamela Lau, 26, one child
Before diving into planning for your delivery expenses and your newborn future, first find out what incentives the government has for mothers. In Singapore, Medisave Maternity Package helps lessen the burden of many parents. A fraction amount from Medisave can be used for both pre-delivery and delivery expenses. Your newborn will also receive SGD$4000 into his/her Medisave account upon birth registration. Additionally, the government will also contribute SGD$6000 into your Child Development Account to help pay for school fees and doctor's visits.

After finding out what you are entitled to, it is time to plan for the lacks. To ensure a stress-free motherhood, it is crucial to think long term. To avoid breaking the bank to cover your maternity expenses, it will be wise to get a maternity insurance that provide comprehensive coverage to protect you and your child. It serves as an add on to your Medisave Maternity Package to address extra medical costs related to giving birth. Maternity360 covers hospital care benefits for both mother and child, as well as pregnancy complications and congenital illnesses benefits. You would never wish for something to happen to yourself, or your child – But making sure you’re well covered will provide you the peace of mind that you’ll be able to manage the expenses if such a circumstance arises.

These situations are scary to think of, but having good planning can help you fear less about the indefinite future.

Pregnancy pampering essentials 

“Having a baby is tough job. You should pamper yourself while you can!” – Eileen Goh, 34, 2 children
Your feet are taking a lot of weight during pregnancy and there is a good chance that they may be swollen due to increase of fluids. A good soak in a warm tub of water and a massage after will reduce the strain on your feet. Either you seek professional help or husband help to do this.

Pre-natal massage is also popular among mums-to-be as it soothes and rejuvenate tired bodies. The procedure helps to stimulate blood circulation, relieve back pain, improve posture and reduce constipation. At the end of the day, your body and mental well-being will improve tremendously.

Get a grip on grooming by going for medi-pedis whenever you can to lift your mood. Even though there are no scientific facts on the harmful effects of nail polishes, look for nail polishes that are free from chemicals such as formaldehyde and camphor just to be safe.

Remember, when you fear less and worry less, your pregnancy will be a happy and healthy one.
There are no hard rules on how to lead a happy and healthy pregnancy – Pregnancy is a unique journey for each woman. These tips will help you, but feel free to tweak them according to your needs. Armed with these tips, you can now fear less and look forward to your remaining term and enjoy this special period with your child and partner. 

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