Self-care tips for new and expecting moms

Self-care is important for a healthy home. And it starts with knowing what resources are available to support you during and after your pregnancy.

Take these steps to keep tabs on your health during and after pregnancy

Take prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins can help prevent birth defects. They also help your baby grow healthy and strong and may help you with morning sickness. You’ll want to make sure your prenatal vitamin has folic acid, iron and calcium in it. If you need help getting prenatal vitamins, ask your care provider about programs for expecting moms.

Manage substance use

Avoid using alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. If you need help quitting, contact your care provider or call the Substance Use Disorder Helpline toll-free at 1-855-780-5955, available 24/7. UnitedHealthcare members can also contact the Healthy First Steps program toll-free at 1-800-599-5985.

Manage morning sickness

Morning sickness can be hard on you and should be taken seriously. Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat small meals often. Foods like rice, bananas and cereal may be easier on your stomach. Stay away from spicy or fatty foods.

Keep moving

Exercise is always important, but especially during pregnancy. Regular, daily walks are an easy way to keep moving. It’s likely you will feel tired as you get later in your pregnancy. Always listen to your body and talk to your care provider before trying a new exercise routine.

Manage stress

A new baby can make you feel worried, especially during COVID-19. Your prenatal and postpartum appointments are a form of self-care. Talk to your care provider if you are feeling sad, overwhelmed or anxious.

Check in with your care provider

Your care provider can help you during pregnancy and after delivery. This includes answering your questions about getting healthy foods, drinking enough water and recovering from birth. You can also talk to them about any concerns you have as you adjust to your new baby.

Stay connected to others

Having a support network outside of your household is important. Set up regular times to check in by phone or video chat. This may include your friends, family, midwife or members of a local religious or community organization.

Shower and dress each day

It can be easy to lose track of time each day when you’re taking care of a newborn. But creating a routine can help you feel more normal and lets you take time for yourself.

Drink enough water

All moms, especially those who are breastfeeding, should make sure they are drinking enough water. This is especially important when you are nursing at night. Keep a water bottle beside your bed and with you during the night.

Relax when baby naps

It can be tempting to wash the dishes or do laundry when baby takes a nap. But caring for yourself is important. Take a moment to relax when baby is sleeping. This might include taking a nap, watching TV or calling a friend.