healthy pregnancy

Health Changes to Expect During Pregnancy

By Megan Hoel, DO* Mariner Medical Clinic
About the Author:
I love caring for mom and baby after delivery, and being able to watch baby grow up. I often remind mothers how important it is to take care of themselves after having a baby.

Finding out you are pregnant can be exciting and nerve wracking—especially for first-time moms. There’s a lot of information available to you, both from online sources as well as family and friends, so knowing exactly what to focus on can be overwhelming. To help simplify things, below is a list of health changes you can expect, as well as things you can do to stay healthy.

Some health changes are normal during this time. These include:

  • Stuffy nose: Blood flow is increased, resulting in feeling stuffed up from swollen vessels.
  • Increased heart rate: Some expectant mothers notice an increase in their heart rate during physical activity. Although this can be normal, you should still mention it to your medical provider.
  • Fatigue: You are growing another human inside of you! Feeling tired is normal.
  • Food intolerance: Some expectant mothers develop food intolerances. Talk to your provider if these intolerances affect your ability to get necessary nutrients.
  • Balance: As you get further along, your center of gravity changes. This may make it awkward or difficult to do things such as tying your shoes.


Even though your body is changing, there is still a lot you can do as an expectant mother. Here are some tips for staying healthy:

Prenatal Checkups:

Make a confirmation appointment one to two weeks after your first missed period. This will give you a chance to ask questions, talk about medications and discuss your individual needs with your doctor.

  • 10 to 28 weeks: see your doctor once every four weeks.
  • 28 to 36 weeks: see your doctor once every two weeks.
  • Last month through delivery: see your doctor once weekly



As an expectant mom, you should consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and lean protein. Avoid eating processed deli meat such as bologna, ham loaf or turkey as they may contain listeria. Remember, don’t overeat! You only need an extra 300 calories of nutrition per day.


Expectant moms need around 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. You may find yourself feeling more tired than usual. Naps are just fine if you’re feeling fatigued during the day.
Some expectant mothers have a difficult time falling and staying asleep. If this happens to you, try sleeping with a body pillow or on your side with a pillow between your legs to increase blood flow.


Staying active is one of the best ways you can stay healthy during your pregnancy. Exercising not only helps reduce fatigue, but it also makes the delivery experience easier. During the first trimester, avoid extremely strenuous activities. If you experience any cramping, stop immediately.
Finally, make sure you stay hydrated.
Pregnancy can be an extremely exciting experience. Following these tips will increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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