Expectant mothers are often tasked with making many important lifestyle changes during pregnancy such as diet, exercise and that laundry list of “not to-do’s.” We sat down with local homebirth midwife Althea Hrdlichka to break down her most important tips on experiencing a happy and healthy pregnancy and postpartum journey.

Althea is a Certified Professional Midwife serving Northern Colorado, a mother of four, a wife and the founder of Mother’s Life Tea. Althea has attended more than 300 births, working closely with midwives and doctors and helping care for women and their families during their special time. She’s worked with women through both natural and medicated births and has assisted with both hospital and home births. Here are her tips for ensuring a happy pregnancy, delivery and postpartum experience.

1. Choose a Birth Team that Helps You Feel Empowered and Supported.

Physical and emotional comfort during pregnancy is perhaps the most important aspect of having a healthy and safe birthing experience. If you surround yourself with those who respect you and your birthing choices, your pregnancy and labor will not only progress better, but also fewer complications are likely to arise. This also significantly decreases your chances for emotional instability, unnecessary medical interventions, a Cesarean birth (C-section) or postpartum depression. 

2. Low-Impact Exercise throughout Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a physically challenging time. Women who have prepared their bodies throughout their pregnancy with light exercise, yoga and other low-impact aerobics have an easier time not only giving birth but also heal more rapidly than those with a sedentary lifestyle. Althea suggests having a good routine of light cardio, strengthening pelvic muscles (such as squats) and modified yoga. Althea suggests using caution or avoiding all abdominal exercises due to the risk of diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal muscles.

3. Pair It with Protein
This big P word can help prevent or decrease your chances of having morning sickness—or let’s be honest, all-day sickness!) Protein in pregnancy helps to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you fueled all day so that your tank never goes empty. Carbs and veggies are necessary, but to help you feel better overall, pair everything you put into your mouth with protein.

4. Water: Just Drink It!

We know, everyone knows water is important, but it’s a little different in pregnancy as to why. Being dehydrated can cause more nausea, exhaustion and premature contractions. In addition, water helps to rid the toxins from your kidneys and liver so you have a healthier, uncomplicated pregnancy overall.

5. Prenatal Vitamins that Are Purely Made and Free of Chemical Additives

Vitamins are supposed to be in support of your body’s natural ability to grow and nourish your baby. Using a prenatal vitamin free of dyes, color or chemical additives is just as important as other dietary changes you make during your pregnancy. Althea recommends Standard Process prenatal vitamins.