In general, pregnant women need only increase their food consumption by 300 calories per day. Picture: Flickr.com

Being pregnant can be a daunting experience, especially if you are about to become a mother for the first time. 

“One of my ‘mothering mantras’ is that it’s ultra-important to let go of mental and emotional clutter, so that you can be fully relaxed as you go through pregnancy, experience birth and raise your babies. After all is said and done, there is nothing more important than happy families, and they begin in pregnancy. Trust in your body’s blueprint to get you through pregnancy and beyond, so that you can start your happy family now already!” says Parenting and Pampers Institute Expert, Sister Lilian.

Pampers shares a Go-To Pregnancy Guide for the most important things you need to know to navigate your pregnancy, as well as some interesting facts about pregnancy:

At work

Most mom’s-to-be have few health issues and are able to work well into the last trimester of pregnancy with only minimal issues around fatigue. Try not to over-do it, if possible take regular breaks, resting when possible throughout the day.

It is important to keep stress to a minimum. Find ways to be calm and avoid stressful situations if possible the calmer you can be the better. Take time to sit quietly outdoors and enjoy nature, or try anti-stress techniques like meditation or breathing exercises.

Eat more… but not or two

The old saying “eating for two” shouldn’t mean doubling your food intake. In general, pregnant women need only increase their food consumption by 300 calories per day.

Your body will naturally direct you to certain foods and flavours – hence cravings during pregnancy.  During your first trimester It’s normal to not want to eat due to nausea, but this will subside and you will need to ensure you keep baby nourished and growing, by maintaining a balanced diet which includes the five main food groups, like fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy.

Professionals advise avoiding eating raw foods like sushi and if you can’t make it through the day without any form of caffeine, Sister Lilian advises that during pregnancy, you should limit your intake to one or two beverages that contain caffeine.

Linea Nigra

Approximately three quarters into your pregnancy, some women will start to notice a dark line running vertically over their abdomen. Not to worry, this is perfectly normal.

This is known as Linea Nigra and is caused by the higher than normal melanocyte-stimulating hormones in your body. It will disappear within a few months after you have delivered your bundle of joy.

Low levels of calcium

On average, pregnant women are more likely to break their bones than non-pregnant women. During pregnancy, your calcium levels will drop and this will make it significantly easier to break a bone from the smallest of bumps.

Remember, your baby is being fed from the nutrients in your body. Make sure you have a calcium rich diet or take calcium supplements to ensure you keep your calcium levels up and your baby receives enough.

Stay fit

If you’re planning to get or stay fit during your pregnancy, it is essential that you check in with your doctor or other medical professional, get advice before starting on an exercise regime. 

Key elements to be aware of is that you don’t strain your body and that you keep your core temperature down while you exercise. Your baby could potentially suffer defects if your core temperature stays elevated for long periods of time, keep cool, stay hydrated and take regular breaks when you do exercise.

Heightened sense of smell

During your pregnancy, you will start noticing that your sense of smell has significantly amplified. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. While studies are still inconclusive as to exactly why your sense of smell dramatically increases during pregnancy, it is a perfectly normal, yet fascinating part of your pregnancy. Research shows that while pregnant, your blood plasma volume almost doubles, which heightens some of your senses.

“Pregnancy often turns out to be quite an emotional rollercoaster ride and, in fact, it’s very normal to feel more emotional during pregnancy, precisely because it is a more feminine phase of your life. Your role as a woman is expanding by the day, and you may feel irritable, anxious, tearful, and as though you simply need your personal space back.  

"Go with the flow, ask for help when you feel overwhelmed, but know that if you don’t fight the emotions of pregnancy, they usually fall into their rightful place. Pregnancy is a 40-week duration precisely to give you time to adjust,” concludes Lilian.