If you’re in the early stages of carrying your first baby, here are our top tips for a happy and healthy pregnancy.

Give baby the best environment

Your baby’s first room is your body, which is amazing at nurturing this new life. You can help support your body by eating plenty of fresh, vitamin rich foods, eliminating caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and increasing your intake of folic acid and omega 3.

Read More: Guide to Eating Well During Pregnancy and After Giving Birth

Reduce stress

Being stressed disrupts the chemistry of your body, causing negative hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge. Conversely, being relaxed and happy releases happy hormones like serotonin and love hormone oxytocin, important for beginning the bond with your baby.

Take gentle exercise

Early on in pregnancy you may feel too queasy to do much at all but as the morning sickness eases, it’s a good idea to start some moderate forms of exercise. Half an hour a day of walking or swimming will help strengthen your body as your baby grows. Exercise releases those happy endorphins that are so beneficial to your baby’s health.

Read More: Simple Exercises during Pregnancy

Get plenty of sleep and relaxation

If you’re tired, sleep. Growing and nurturing a healthy baby takes resources away from you and will make you more tired than usual. Napping will also prepare you for broken sleep patterns when your baby is born. Practice mindfulness too, as this helps increase levels of oxytocin.

Read More: How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep during Pregnancy

Connect with your partner

Changes will be happening to your body that you don’t understand or are necessarily prepared for. Involve your partner in every change and feeling, and allow both of you to start bonding with your growing bump. This will make you feel supported and cherished and will help set you up for the shared life-changing experiences that are to come.

Plan your support

Keeping a healthy mind has an important role in having a healthy pregnancy. Worrying about support once you’ve given birth will contribute to those unhealthy hormones, so planning early on is essential. Plan to live in a bubble of the three of you in the first few weeks after giving birth, while you get to know and soothe your baby and recover from the birth. Crucially plan for your partner to support, feed and look after you and the house while you look after baby.

Stay informed but prepare for different experiences

Reading parenting blogs, books and consulting friends who have recently become first time parents will help prepare you for all that is coming your way. However, keep in mind that every woman’s experience is different and nothing can fully prepare you for birth or parenthood better than your own experiences. Be prepared but also don’t be disappointed if your eventual birth plan doesn’t go exactly how you want it to.

Attend antenatal classes

Antenatal classes are designed to keep you as informed as possible and meet like-minded people going through the same experiences as you. Go to as many as you can and act like a sponge, soaking up as much information as you can.

Read More: The Expectant Parents Guide to Antenatal Classes

Speak to your midwife or doctor

As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll find yourself at an ever-increasing number of appointments, but if something is worrying you or doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to make further appointments. You don’t have to wait until your next scheduled appointment and don’t worry about wasting anyone’s time. Peace of mind is perhaps the most beneficial factor to a healthy pregnancy and one you should strive for.