The Complete Guide To A Happy & Healthy Pregnancy

There aren’t many things in life that are more important, or indeed more challenging, than going through pregnancy.

Whether you have just discovered you’re having your first child or you’ve already had several pregnancies under your belt, you probably don’t need us to tell you that pregnancy comes with big changes.

Being pregnant is a wonderful and miraculous time, and it’s important that you have trusted information and expert advice that can help you wherever you are on your journey, and across different areas of your life.

Whether you like to go with the flow or prefer to have things more structured and pre-planned, it’s important to understand the dos, don’ts and recommended advice around food, exercise, maternity clothing, pre-natal care and appointments, your overall health including pregnancy symptoms and morning sickness, and how best to celebrate your impending arrival with an awesome baby shower with your nearest and dearest.

Here are some essential areas to think about during your pregnancy:

Food & Drink

You’re eating for two now and to help support your baby’s growth, you will typically need to eat at least 300 extra calories per day during your second and third trimesters, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

But sadly not all calories nor all food is created equal, so moms-to-be need to understand the basics of nutrition, and which foods are best avoided while expecting.

Importance of Good Nutrition

During pregnancy, the same principles of healthy that apply to all of us remain in place, so you should eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.

Protein is worth a special mention because it’s vitally important for your baby’s growth throughout pregnancy.

Getting enough protein (approx. 70 grams per day) can help promote the growth of new body tissue, produce antibodies that support your immune system, develop enzymes and hormones, provide you with vital energy and help contribute to a healthy birth weight.

Protein bars and protein shakes are typically safe to consume, but it’s important to look out for hidden sugars, caffeine and the addition of unwanted additives.

These processed foods can play a part in a healthy diet and offer a lot of convenience, but it’s better to eat other more natural high-protein snacks like trail mix, cottage cheese, lean meat and tofu.


Pregnancy cravings can occur at any stage of pregnancy, and can range from refreshing foods like ice cream and citrus fruits, to more weird and desires such as onions, vinegar or even the smell of gasoline.

Some experts believe you can pinpoint the exact reason for most cravings thanks to your changing nutritional needs, while others believe cravings are not so easily explained.

But what is undeniable is that cravings are a completely normal part of expecting.

Sweet foods like chocolatehot chocolate, candy and ice cream often appear as the number one craving in research, and on the whole it should be fine to occasionally give in to these sweet cravings, provided you don’t over do it and ensure your overall diet is balanced and healthy.

Food Checker

Depending on the foods you regularly like to eat, you might have to make some dietary changes during the time you’re expecting.

Here are some popular foods and commentary around their safety:

  • Pizza: Whether homemade, from a mom and pop restaurant or ordered from a chain like Domino’s, pizza is typically safe to eat during pregnancy, provided everything is cooked properly and the pizza is served hot.
  • Cheese: The advice with cheese is that pregnant women can safely eat hard cheeses, irrespective of whether the cheese is pasteurized or not. But when it comes to soft cheeses like burrata, you should ensure either (1) the cheese is made using pasteurized ingredients, and (2) if the cheese is not pasteurized, it should be cooked until it is steaming or piping hot.
  • Steak: If you’re a fan of a good steak then the happily you can still keep these on the menu while expecting, but you should ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked so that the internal temperature is at least 160° F.  In practice this means cooking your steak until it’s well done.
  • Octopus: Octopus is safe for pregnant women to eat provided it has been fully cooked, which typically means it has been grilled, baked or boiled. Raw, undercooked or marinated octopus should not be eaten by pregnant women since it may contain harmful bacteria.
  • Escargot: Technically escargot is classified as seafood, so it’s important to follow the same advice here and to only consider eating escargot or snails if they have been cooked thoroughly, and if you don’t have a seafood or shellfish allergy.
  • Yogurt: Both plain yogurt and Greek yogurt are safe for pregnant women to consume, because commercially-made yogurt is subject to strict quality controls and must be made with pasteurized ingredients.
  • Ice Cream: Ice cream is generally safe to eat during pregnancy, and this typically includes both the pre-packaged variety, as well as gelato. But take extra care with soft serve, because soft serve machines have the potential to be breading grounds for listeria.
  • Deli Meat: Ham, salami, Parma ham, prosciutto, chorizo, pepperoni and other deli meats are not cooked, but are cured and fermented instead. As a result they may contain listeria or salmonella bacteria, or toxoplasma parasites, so pregnant women are advised to avoid deli or processed meats, and any meat that has been cured or smoked. This also means a snack like beef jerky is best avoided while expecting.
  • Alcohol: If you like the occasional alcoholic drink, you may be a little worried that you’re going to be in for a long and potentially boring nine months because pregnant women are advised not to drink any alcohol while expecting. But fear not, because there are some delicious mocktails out there, and both big brands and craft producers alike have recently launched alcohol-free versions of beer, wine and spirits including gin, tequila and bourbon.


Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your baby in several ways, including to help reduce back pain, ease constipation, decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, promote healthy weight gain, improve your overall fitness, strengthen your heart and blood vessels and help you lose the baby weight after your baby is born

Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery, and ideally moms-to-be should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week during the first, second and third trimesters.

Activities To Avoid

While pregnant, you should avoid activities that put you at increased risk of injury. Examples of exercises or activities to skip include:

  • Contact sports and sports that put you at risk of getting hit in the abdomen, such as ice hockey and basketball.
  • Activities that may result in a fall, such as skiing, ziplining, surfing and horseback riding.
  • “Hot yoga” or “hot Pilates,” which may cause you to become overheated.
  • Scuba diving.
  • Activities performed above 6,000 feet altitude, unless you already live at a high altitude.

Pregnancy Safe Activities

There are plenty of things you can still do safely during pregnancy, and some popular activities and exercises that pregnant women can enjoy with our without your partner include:

Staying Safe & Healthy

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times by now – when you’re pregnant your body undergoes massive changes, so it’s good to understand what you can and should do to help you remain safe and healthy.

Some important things to understand during all stages of pregnancy include:

  • Hormonal changes: Your changing hormones during pregnancy can take you on one heck of a ride, and one of the most common side-effects is feeling nauseous, lightheaded and throwing up white foam. Heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux are also common pregnancy side-effects. Things like eating smaller, more frequent meals, limiting your caffeine intake, avoiding spicy and fatty foods, spending time outdoors and drinking plenty of fluids can all help tame morning sickness and help reduce those embarrassing gurgling sounds!
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: When it comes water temperature – think baths and showers – it’s important to avoid extremes, so freezing cold baths or swims, and hot showers or a dip in a tub that’s too hot should all be avoided while expecting. If you are looking for some temporary pain relief for sore muscles, it’s good to know that heating pads are safe to use during pregnancy, but there are some precautions you should take, such as not applying it directly to your skin, and ensuring you don’t use one for longer than 10-20 minutes per session.
  • Stay out of the sun: Sunshine can undoubtedly be beneficial for pregnant women and can actually reduce the likelihood of pre-term birth. But given you now have more sensitive skin than usual, and dehydration comes with sever risks (especially for your baby), it’s a good idea to avoid excessive exposure, wear sun protection, avoid getting burnt and above all always use common sense. You can also burn more easily when pregnant, which is another reason to be extra careful when you’re out in the sun and a great tip can be to stay out of the sun between 10am to 2pm, which is when the sun it at its strongest.
  • Understand the importance of hydration: Typically moms-to-be should drink around 8 to 12 cups of fluids (64 to 96 ounces) on a normal day, and much more on a hot or humid day or when exercising. Becoming dehydrated can be dangerous for your baby, so look out for these signs of dehydration: urinating infrequently, dark yellow urine color, dry mouth or tongue and feeling tired, light-headed, or dizzy. If you experience any of below you should be taking in a lot more liquid. Staying hydrated is also a great way to help contain or reduce other common symptoms like oily or greasy hair.
  • Beware certain activities: If you’re a fan of the odd massage then you should know that while these are generally safe for moms-to-be, but it’s a good idea to seek you someone who has received prenatal training, especially if you’re getting a foot massage. Body piercings are also worth a special mention, because according to both medical and piercing professionals, you should avoid getting a piercing of any kind during pregnancy due to your weakened immune system.
  • Lean on your partner for support: You might be the one carrying your baby, but for most people this is a two person show! It’s a good idea to take your husband to key appointments so they can better understand what you’re going through and have the chance to ask any questions they may have. Your partner’s support during labor will also be invaluable, so make sure you man is well prepared and their hospital bag is packed well ahead of time. If you’re feeling particularly generous you may also want to consider buying them a push present, which really is a thing for men as well!
  • Seek out experts: If you are feeling nervous or anxious about an upcoming pregnancy appointment then rest assured this is completely natural, especially if this is your first child. A good midwife is worth their weight in gold, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000 depending on where you live and your preferred birth location. Most women find this support to be invaluable, and if you are using a midwife, make sure you make the most of it by preparing a good list of questions to ask during your appointment. When it comes to what to wear to your ultrasound appointment, a loose fitting, two piece outfit typically works best.
  • Day to day changes are normal: You might be surprised to lean that your bump can change in appearance from day to day, and can even be soft on some days and hard on others. These changes in appearance are typically nothing to worry about, and there are several reasons why your bump might look different from day to day including bloating and gas, your baby’s position and whether you have an empty stomach. Some women love to flaunt their bump proudly, while others may want to hide it, especially if you are concerned about workplace discrimination or are getting married soon.

Baby Showers

Congratulations, you’re having a baby – now it’s time to celebrate!

Throwing a baby shower is a lovely way to celebrate your precious new arrival with your friends and family.

Knowing how much to spend, who to invite and what the overall theme and vibe should be can be a minefield, so it’s well worth reading up on the key topics including:

  • Hosting: If you are following traditional etiquette, then the baby shower host is someone who is a close friend of the mom-to-be, or a distant relative (for example an auntcousin or sister-in-law), but not a close relative. The reason behind this “rule” is not entirely clear, but many believe it is to avoid the immediate family or mom-to-be appearing like they are throwing a party to simply collect gifts for their baby registry!
  • Planning: Some of the key hostess duties include choosing the venue, organizing food and drink, decorating, organizing games, organizing the diaper raffle and of course choosing the guestlist (see below).
  • Guestlist: Given the importance of this day, you’ll want to have a really good think about not only who to invite, but also who to not invite to your baby shower. Drama queens, long-lost relatives and casual co-workers are typically best left off the guestlist, while close family, close friends and anyone close to your partner should be considered for an invitation.
  • Budget: Baby showers can vary from $150 to $1,200 depending on the venue, number of guests, entertainment and food and drink options. The venue and food are normally the most expensive parts, so if you’re on a tight budget hosting it at someone’s house or in their yard can really help keep the costs down. And talking about budget, the cost of a gift can vary from $25 to $200 or more depending on the relationship between the guest and the parents.
  • Diaper Raffle: One of the most fun parts of any baby shower is the diaper raffle, a game where guests get one ticket for every one pack of diapers that they bring to the party, and each ticket is an entry into a prize-draw. If you are throwing one make it’s nicely worded on the invitation – for example a great way can be to include a cute or funny poem on your invitation.
  • Diaper parties: “Man Showers”, “Dadchelor Parties” and “Diaper Parties” all mean the same thing – the men’s equivalent of a baby shower. These are usually hosted by someone close to the dad-to-be: perhaps a close friend, brother or some other family member, and are more casual affairs than the typical baby shower.