Most of us know the importance of keeping our bodies healthy by eating nutrient-dense foods, getting adequate exercise, and sleeping well. But when you become a surrogate mom, you also have to think about the health of another living being — your surrogate baby. In order to grow a healthy, happy baby, there are several things you are going to want to take into consideration before making the commitment. Fit these six healthy habits into your daily routine to help decrease the risks of pregnancy complications and increase the overall health and wellness of both you and the baby.
1. Take prenatal vitamins.
Even before you officially find out you are pregnant, it is a smart choice to begin taking prenatal vitamins. These vitamins consist of different vitamins and minerals that help your baby get the nutrients it needs for healthy development. These vitamins should include folic acid, calcium, and iron, to name a few.
Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects, which negatively affects the brain and spinal cord. These defects can happen within the first month of conception, so adding folic acid into your daily vitamins is crucial.
Calcium is also important, as it can help a surrogate mom from losing her bone density. As the baby grows, it uses calcium from the mother to use for its own bone growth.
Iron is another important supplement. As a pregnant mother, you are going to need about twice the amount of iron as you did before because of the fact that your body is using extra blood for the baby. Iron also helps to move oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your (and your surrogate baby’s) body.
2. Stay active
As you move further through the stages of your surrogate pregnancy, exercise will become increasingly difficult. But it is still so important for you to remain active while pregnant. There are many different exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine, from swimming to walking and yoga to pilates. Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, and listen to your body so that you don’t overdo it. Many gyms also offer prenatal exercise classes, such as prenatal yoga, spinning, and water aerobics. There are many different benefits of exercising during pregnancy. Not only does it lower your risk of gestational diabetes and depression, but it can actually increase your chances of having a shorter labor. It also helps tremendously with managing your mood, helps you sleep better, and assists you in getting your body back to normal postpartum.
3. Eliminate toxins
Toxic substances such as tobacco and alcohol are heavily linked to birth defects, miscarriage, and a plethora of other issues. During your time as a surrogate mom, you should avoid these substances altogether. If you are struggling to quit using these substances, definitely talk with your doctor, as they can help offer advice and support, and even refer you to a program specific to helping pregnant women stop smoking or drinking. Another toxic substance to avoid that often goes overlooked is the use of paint thinners or nail polish remover. Exposure to chemicals such as acetone found in nail polish remover can put you at risk for birth defects and even miscarriage.
4. Keep up with hygiene
Proper hygiene is important during surrogate pregnancy, not only for the growing baby, but for your own health as well. While pregnant, hormone changes can cause vaginal discharge, dry skin, increased perspiration, and can leave you and the baby more susceptible to infection. Dental health is also important, as dental disease increases your risk of pregnancy complications. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your mouth, leaving you susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis, tooth decay, and gum tumors. It is smart to talk with your dentist when you become pregnant so they can give you regular check-ups and special advice to keep you and your baby happy. Here are a few hygiene tips to keep up with while pregnant:
- Use natural bath products as much as possible
- Shower/bathe daily, avoiding water temperatures that are too hot (this can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy)
- Wash your hands frequently
- Use unperfumed soaps specific to your vaginal region, as this helps to maintain proper pH levels
- Brush your teeth thoroughly with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste twice daily
- If you experience morning sickness and vomit, try rinsing your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda to prevent stomach acid from eroding your teeth
5. Eat a well-balanced diet and drink more water
This should be a given, but our diet is such an important factor in growing a healthy baby. It is suggested to make your plate nice and colorful by eating lots of fruits and vegetables every day. Fish is also important, as this helps with the baby’s brain growth and development. Try getting in three servings per week of fish, but no more than that in order to prevent mercury poisoning. It is also extremely important to drink lots of water while pregnant in order to keep both you and the baby well hydrated. Some foods/beverages you are going to want to avoid altogether while pregnant are:
- Undercooked/raw fish, eggs, and processed meat
- Organ meat
- Unwashed produce
- Unpasteurized milk and cheese
- Processed junk foods
6. Attend regular prenatal care checkups
Seeing your doctor for regular prenatal care check ups is extremely important. Your doctor will give you even more individualized health tips, monitor your weight, blood pressure, modify any medications if needed, and take into consideration any existing health issues you may have so they can help you move forward with your pregnancy in the healthiest way possible. They are also there to listen to any and all of your concerns during pregnancy, and will provide you with resources to help you moving forward. It is recommended that you see the doctor once a month during weeks 4–28, every two weeks during weeks 28–36, and then once a week from weeks 36 and on, although the doctor will decide how often they want to see you based on your current health picture.
These are just six of the many healthy habits you should incorporate into your day-to-day life in order to have the healthiest, happiest surrogate pregnancy possible. If you are reading this and want to become a surrogate mother, are interested in learning more about how to be a surrogate, or are dreaming of having a child of your own but need assistance achieving that dream, apply to be a surrogate or fill out our parent questionnaire today with Choice Surrogacy. We are a full surrogacy service agency that has provided help to thousands of new parents and surrogates. We do this by facilitating the journey for both the surrogate mom and parent(s) by coordinating services with each of our professional partners specific to their specialties. We look forward to working with you through this exciting journey!