Healthy Things Every Mother Should Do
We encourage moms to make their health a priority and take simple steps to live a safer and healthier life. While being a mother means caring for others, here are a few things moms can do to take care of themselves. Moms of every age can take steps to live a safer and healthier life.
You may have told your family, "Eat your fruits and vegetables". It’s good advice for moms too!
- Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
- Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
- Most fruits and vegetables are filling and naturally low in fat and calories.
Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
Add physical activity to your life; it’s one of the most important things you can do for your health.
There are many benefits to physical activity. It can help:
- Control your weight
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduce your risk of some cancers
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you're an older adult
- Increase your chances of living longer
There are a lot of ways to get the physical activity you need. Walk, run, dance, bike, swim, garden, or do anything else that will help you get the recommended minimum 2½ hours of moderate physical activity each week.
Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. How you feel and perform during the day is related to how much sleep you got the night before. How much is enough? Consider these sleep guidelines for different age groups.
Stress can be beneficial by helping you develop skills to cope with and adapt to new and potentially threatening situations throughout life. However, the beneficial aspects diminish when the stress is severe enough to overwhelm your ability to take care of yourself and your family.
The best ways to manage stress are through self-care:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Find support
- Connect socially
- Stay active
Know and pass on your family health history, which is a written or graphic record of the diseases and health conditions present in your family. Family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments that together may influence their health and their risk of chronic disease. Your family's health history could be important for determining your and your child's health risks too.
Pregnancy problems may cause health problems later in life. For example, women who have gestational diabetes or hypertension during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases as they get older. Reduce your risk for chronic disease with lifestyle changes such as these:
Before getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about preconception health care. Be sure to tell him or her about any medical conditions you might have, such as arthritis, diabetes, eating disorders, high blood pressure, and sexually transmitted diseases. For more information, visit CDC’s Preconception Care website.
Stop smoking. If you are attempting to quit smoking, contact 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit CDC’s How to Quit website.
Get recommended check-ups for your age group, whether you are 25 or 65.
Sign up for text4baby. It’s a free service that provides pregnant women and new moms with free cell phone text messages each week sharing tips on having a healthy pregnancy and raising a healthy baby the first year. These messages are timed to a woman's due date or the baby's date of birth. Text BABY to 511411 (or BEBE in Spanish) to start receiving messages right away.
Many women experience depression, including pregnant women, postpartum women, and women who are not pregnant. Depression is common. If you are worried about the way you have been feeling, it is important to tell a doctor or nurse about your concerns. If you are thinking about harming yourself or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately.
Show others you care about their health. Send them a health e-card and add a special message.
Show your love by planning your next pregnancy and engaging in healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant.