For many surrogates, pregnancy is the most exciting part of their surrogacy experience. After all, many of these women truly enjoy the experience of being pregnant and look forward to all of the joys and challenges that come with it.
As a surrogate, you will already have an idea of how to have a healthy pregnancy; you’ve already done it at least once before. However, this time will be different. You’ll be carrying a baby for someone else, whose entire family dreams rest in your uterus. Therefore, it’s more important than ever that you give yourself and the baby that you’re carrying the healthiest pregnancy experience possible.
Your personal OBGYN and your surrogacy specialist will always be there to provide any practical and emotional support you need during your pregnancy, but here are 10 easy tips to make sure you stay as healthy as possible during these nine months.
1. Eat healthy.
It’s always important to have healthy, well-balanced meals. When you’re pregnant, however, you’re eating for two — and everything that you eat the baby does, too. To encourage the baby’s growth and your well-being, make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and other natural foods. Avoid things like undercooked eggs and meat, caffeine, alcohol and other no-no foods during pregnancy.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Similarly, staying hydrated is even more important while you are pregnant. Dehydration can cause premature contractions, and water is an important part of transferring vitamins and minerals to the baby. Consider downloading an app that reminds you to drink water or buy a water bottle with hourly marks to reach your appropriate fluid intake for the day.
3. Stay active.
You can still exercise while pregnant, and doctors actually recommend that you get at least 30 minutes of low-impact physical activity every day during your pregnancy. Consider things like yoga, swimming, walking or a prenatal exercise class. Exercise can reduce your pregnancy symptoms, boost your mood and even make labor and delivery smoother. Always speak with your doctor to find out what kind of exercise is best for you.
4. Take prenatal vitamins.
In addition to the natural vitamins and minerals you get through food, you’ll need to take prenatal medication to make sure the baby is receiving all the nutrients he or she needs to grow. During surrogacy, you’ll actually start taking these vitamins before you are pregnant and continue taking them after a pregnancy is confirmed.
5. Get enough sleep.
As you know, growing a baby is hard work. Therefore, it’s crucial that you get at least eight hours of sleep a night to give your body time to restore itself. The more sleep you get, the less likely you are to get sick, and the better you can protect yourself and the baby. You will need to sleep on your side after your first trimester to prevent cutting off the blood supply to the baby.
6. Eliminate harmful substances.
In addition to certain foods and drinks, you’ll also need to eliminate other harmful substances from your life, like:
- Chemicals, like household cleaners
Your doctor will explain which substances you need to avoid, including certain over-the-counter medications that may be harmful to the baby or interfere with the infertility medications you are taking.
7. Receive increased prenatal care.
Every pregnant woman needs to attend certain OBGYN appointments during her pregnancy but, if you’re a surrogate, you will likely need more appointments to ensure the baby is developing correctly. Your intended parents may be a part of these appointments, which can include frequent checkups by your fertility specialists and obstetrician.
8. Track your pregnancy.
To help you recognize any unusual patterns, you may wish to track your pregnancy by journaling your symptoms (like weight gain and mood swings) and the medications you are taking. During this time, you may also wish to take photos of your changing body, so the intended parents can include these in their baby book. While each pregnancy is unique, if something feels different and wrong about your surrogate pregnancy in comparison to your last natural pregnancy, you can bring your journal to your doctor for more accurate information.
9. Minimize stress.
Stress isn’t just something that will impact your mental health but also your physical health. You will likely experience mood swings and emotional challenges while pregnant, but it’s important to address these with a positive attitude and find ways to relax and release your stress. Make sure to lean on your surrogacy support system, and speak with your surrogacy professionals if you are feeling overwhelmed. They can always refer you to a therapist or social worker to help you work through any difficult feelings.
10. Enjoy the experience.
Finally, make sure you relax and appreciate all of the things that you love about being pregnant in the first place. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the responsibility of carrying a baby for someone else, but your mental health is important to maintain for your sake and the sake of the baby. Surrogacy may be a new experience for you, so take this time to learn more about your own body and the surrogacy medical process. You will have already passed screening to ensure that you are medically and emotionally prepared to be a surrogate, so know that you can handle the challenges of surrogacy, even if things seem difficult at times.
As always, make sure to speak to your surrogacy professional and your doctor if you have any questions about what recommendations they have for maintaining a healthy surrogate pregnancy. With a little extra consideration and by changing a few parts of your lifestyle, you can help put a healthy, happy baby into the excited arms of their intended parents.