I'm pregnant. What do I do now?
woman at desk looking at camera

Relax! Consider for a moment that there have been countless millions of healthy babies born and their mothers didn't read a "How To" book or watch experts on TV telling them how to run their lives!

But surely I need to make some changes and do things differently?

Maybe, maybe not. I've never had a baby - I'm the wrong gender - but I've delivered many, many bubs as part of my medical past.

So before putting together this article I went to the real expert - my wife. Sue has had five babies and delivered them all naturally. She's a lucky girl, or maybe a positive healthy girl.

Four babies in five years (we couldn't work out what was causing them), then a 14 year gap before number five came along. Surprise, surprise!

I asked Sue what she did differently when she first found out she was pregnant.

"Hmmm... nothing really. I kept working, I continued to exercise, I ate good food and I didn't stop going out and having fun".

"I went for my regular check-ups and I attended pre-natal classes and learned how to breathe. That was the most important thing - knowing how to breathe properly during labour."

Sue was a physical education and mathematics teacher, a peculiar combination although both involve working out, I suppose.

She knew her stuff. Early in the pregnancy she gave up jogging and replaced it with walking, stretching and swimming. Swimming is fantastic for women in ‘the baby way'. Even walking through water is great.

In fact, swimming is brilliant for everyone because it moves every muscle in your body and is gentle on the joints.

Make sure though, that you stay away from bouncy things, like horse riding, running, trampolining and bungee jumping!

Good nutrition is most important to give your offspring a fair chance of having a strong immune system, being healthy on the inside for nine months, and on the outside for years to come.

You may wonder why the little bundles of joy ever want to come out of there - a constant supply of food, no taxes and your own pool. And there are no fast food joints or donut stalls in there to ruin your life.

So what's good nutrition for my baby?

The same as for you.

Lots of plant foods, like vegies, fruit, grains, nuts and seeds, foods low in Human Interference, the more natural and unprocessed the better, and plenty of fluids.

You can eat fish (brain food for the little guy), lean meats now and then, a little dairy, plenty of beans and vegetable soup often - it's the "answer to life".

If you're concerned about the mercury in fish thing, go easy on the big predator fish like shark, swordfish and marlin, and don't eat uncooked, chilled or smoked seafoods.

Don't eat crap, and if you do, make it a little, and not a lot.

Cravings? OK, do it. But don't be silly and overdo it.

It always amuses me that most smokers give up the poison sticks when they find out about the pregnancy, saying they don't want to harm the baby, but obviously couldn't have cared less about their own lungs, heart, brain, body...

Alcohol? Take it very easy, and I strongly suggest zero alcohol intake in the first three months.

Should I take pills, like folic acid?

Ask your doctor for advice on this one. There's plenty of folic acid in real plant foods like green leafy vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts and wholegrains, but sadly we eat muffins, hamburgers and fried chicken rather than food that pumps up our resistance levels.

Anything else?

Yes. Relax, smile and have fun!

Dr John Tickell is an international expert on health and longevity. The good doctor's nutrition best-seller "The Great Australian Diet" is rated #1 diet book for healthy, long-term weight loss.