Pregnancy Goals

The idea behind setting goals is to accomplish something. You may have a goal to lose weight, go on a European vacation, or save money for holiday shopping to avoid using your credit card. However, it isn’t enough to write down your goal. You should devise plans to accomplish your goals and when it comes to pregnancy, it is no different.

In fact, you can benefit greatly from setting forth pregnancy goals either before your term begins, or right at the onset. Let’s look at what types of goals you may want to consider, so you’ll have the best experience possible for both you and baby both throughout pregnancy, and postpartum.

Identifying Goals for Your Pregnancy

The ultimate goal for every pregnant woman is to have a healthy baby. Achieving it may involve setting smaller goals like giving up smoking or drinking, eating a healthier diet, or exercising during your pregnancy. When you set goals, devise a plan for achieving them. Otherwise, you may write down your objectives, put the list in a drawer, and never look at it again.

A good first step for setting goals is identifying what you should do to achieve the primary purpose of having a healthy baby. A healthy baby depends on you being healthy, so here are some of the goals you might set:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Learn to manage your stress
  • Stop bad habits like smoking, drinking or taking illicit drugs
  • Ensure that you’re in good mental and emotional health too

You should also create a birth plan and take prenatal vitamins to make sure your developing baby gets the nutrients he or she needs to be healthy.

Setting SMART Goals

After you write down a list of the goals or objectives that you wish to accomplish, create a plan to achieve them. One way to plan is becoming more popular, which is the SMART plan. defines the acronym SMART as:

  • Specific – Be specific when setting the goals that you want to achieve
  • Measurable – How will you measure achieving the goal?
  • Actionable – What actions will you take to achieve the goal?
  • Responsible – Who will support your goals and you during your plan?
  • Time-bound – How long do you have to achieve the goals?

Many of the goals will be on-going throughout the pregnancy, so if confirmation were at eight weeks, then you would have seven months to attain them. Go back over your list of goals, and then write down an action plan using the SMART acronym. Let’s start with the first goal, eating a healthy diet.

Eat a Healthy Pregnancy Diet

Using SMART, you might write down:

  • S – eat less fast and processed foods, eat more organic, fresh foods, reduce sodium and sugar in your diet.
  • M– Measuring this goal could be challenging, but you could weigh yourself every week to make sure you’re not gaining too much weight, take your blood pressure if you have problems with it, or track your blood sugar if you are pre-diabetic.
  • A – Take actions like shopping only the perimeter of the grocery store where the produce, dairy, and meat sections are located. Take lunch to work instead of going out, buy low sodium foods, and replace desserts with fruit, add Stevia to your coffee instead of sugar, etc.
  • R – In most cases, your partner will be responsible for supporting you through the pregnancy, but for this goal, also include others you eat around frequently, like family and co-workers.
  • T – You should carry-out this goal throughout your pregnancy because it will help nourish the baby until you give birth and keep you healthy.

So, how do you plan to eat healthy, besides shopping the perimeter of the grocery store? You can start with the foods and servings that most obstetricians recommend during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association states on their website that women should add approximately 300 calories to their daily diet when pregnant.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

A healthy diet is going to include fresh fruits and vegetables, ideally organic because farmers cannot use pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides to grow them. Also, they supply the necessary nutrients like Vitamin C and folate to the developing baby. Eat more fruits like grapefruit, kiwi, cantaloupe or oranges, and vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, or kale to get plenty of Vitamin C.

A pregnant woman needs to consume 70 milligrams of Vitamin C every day and 0.4mg of folic acid, which is essential for developing the brain and the neural tubes. Folic acid, or Vitamin B9, is available through eating legumes like black or lima beans and dark green leafy vegetables.

Whole Grain Foods

A healthy pregnancy diet includes eating whole grains like:

  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat

Some vitamin enriched food products, like cereals, also count, and they often contain other nutrients like iron. Most women can consume from six to 11 servings of whole grains a day, but they should carefully watch their weight and not overindulge with bread and sweets containing whole grains.


Protein is the building blocks of the body, so it is essential that pregnant women eat enough of it every day. It is particularity important for a baby’s development in the second and third trimesters. Some of the best sources of protein are:

  • Eggs, but make sure to cook them thoroughly
  • Lean meats like beef, chicken, turkey, and liver
  • Fish, but avoid fish that could be high in mercury like tuna and King mackerel
  • Dairy products like Greek yogurt

Eat at least three servings of high protein foods per day.

Dairy Foods

It’s essential that pregnant women consume at least 1,000mg of calcium per day. Calcium is necessary for teeth, bone, muscle and nerve development and function, and for blood to clot normally. If women don’t consume enough of it, then the baby will leech calcium from their bones.

Although some plant foods contain calcium, the most accessible source to get it from is dairy foods. Women should consume at least four servings per day, which can include:

  • Yogurt
  • Cheeses
  • Milk
  • Beans
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Sardines and canned salmon
  • Whey protein

Ice cream lovers can indulge occasionally, but they shouldn’t go overboard eating their favorite treat due to the sugar and fat it contains. Also, when consuming calcium, take Vitamin D or go outside for some sun to help your body absorb it better.

Avoid these Foods

There are foods that women should not consume when they’re pregnant. The list includes:

  • Raw or undercooked fish because they can cause viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections
  • Raw, processed, or undercooked meat as they can cause infections as well
  • Raw eggs and the foods that have raw eggs in them. These foods include mayonnaise, salad dressings, homemade ice cream, cake icings, and lightly scrambled or poached eggs
  • Organ meats are good sources of iron and Vitamins A, B12, and copper but too much Vitamin A and copper when a woman is pregnant can lead to birth defects and liver toxicity
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk, cheese, and juices can carry bacteria and lead to infections
  • Unwashed produce can carry several bacteria or parasites on them, so always thoroughly wash any produce before eating it
  • Caffeine should be limited to about 220mg per day, which is about two to three cups of coffee as developing babies and placentas lack the enzymes to process caffeine, and it builds up in their systems

Avoiding these foods is a good idea for everyone in the family due to strains of Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli they could contain.

Prenatal Vitamins

Part of making sure your body is getting the nutrients your baby needs is taking prenatal vitamins. These vitamins contain essential nutrients like:

  • Folic Acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D

Although not as important as those listed above, check for prenatal vitamins that also contain Vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, copper, and iodine.

Exercise Five Days a Week

If you have an exercise routine, ask your OBGYN if you can maintain it while you’re pregnant. Even though regular exercise is vital to, some exercise regimens may be too extreme for pregnant women. So, you may need to change the exercises you do, especially in the late in the second trimester and the third.

Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, blood pressure, and keeping blood sugars in check. If you don’t exercise regularly now, you should start easy by walking around the block and set objectives to walk further each week. Initially, the goal should be to move non-stop for 15 minutes three times a week.

Then, increase how many minutes you’re exercising until you get to 30 minutes of non-stop action five days a week. Write down how much you’re exercising each day, and how many days a week to ensure you’re getting the exercise you need. Then, gradually increase the distance or time until you reach 30 minutes a day.

Exercise Benefits

Exercising while pregnant leads have significant benefits, like:

  • Lowering the risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reducing the risk of postpartum depression
  • Lowering the chances of having a Caesarian section
  • Children are usually leaner for up to five years after being born
  • Strengthening your body for delivery and carrying your baby and essentials

While walking is a great exercise to do, you should find something you like doing or recruit your partner, a parent, or a close friend to go with you to make your workouts fun. Most exercises should be okay to do, but some experts recommend:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Strength Exercises
  • Running

Exercise Tips

If you had an exercise routine to maintain or lose weight, then you need to change its emphasis. Instead of focusing on losing body fat, pregnant women should focus on maintaining a healthy weight. Gaining weight is a given when you’re pregnant, you don’t want to gain too much weight. However, if you eat healthy foods and exercise, you can keep the weight gain under control.

These tips, which recommends, can ensure that you keep moving safely during your pregnancy.

  • Always check with your OBGYN or midwife if you’re starting an exercise routine
  • If you don’t exercise regularly, start slowly and build up your endurance and stamina
  • If something hurts, stop exercising even if you’re familiar with the exercises you’re doing
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercising
  • If you were exercising before your pregnancy, you could maintain it if you feel comfortable doing it
  • Avoid overheating

One way to test that you’re not exercising too strenuously is trying the “talk test.” During your exercise, you should do enough to take deep breaths without gasping for air. While you’re exercising, you should be able to speak a full sentence without gasping for breath. If you can’t, then slow down until you can.

Stop Smoking Habits

Whether you’re smoking cigarettes, marijuana, or vape pens, you should stop immediately when you find out that you’re pregnant. Although many people consider vaping harmless, they aren’t regulated, so the e-liquid that they use could contain chemicals harmful to developing fetuses.

Avoid vaping products and cigarettes containing nicotine, because it can be detrimental to a baby’s development. It can interfere with the development of their brain and lungs, as well as lead to SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Other tobacco products like chewing tobacco, snuff, and dissolvable tobacco can lead to stillbirths, early deliveries, and sleep apnea in infants. If you haven’t given up smoking, some nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are safe for women to use during their pregnancies. These products include:

  • Nicotine gum
  • Patches
  • Inhalers
  • Lozenges
  • Nasal sprays

Do not take NRTs like the prescription drugs Chantix or Zyban because doctors do not recommend them during pregnancies. Always consult with your primary doctor or your OBGYN if you need help to stop smoking.

Risk of Smoking Marijuana During Pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, claims that one in 20 women still smokes marijuana during their pregnancy. As more states are legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, it’s essential to know the dangers of smoking it during pregnancy. A study found that about 69 percent of pot dispensaries in Colorado recommend smoking marijuana to curtail morning sickness.

Unfortunately, this is bad advice because when a woman smokes it, it passes onto the fetus. The component in marijuana that makes people high, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, moves into the placenta and can lead to psychosis later in the child’s life. There is also concern about early deliveries, low birth weights, and other health affects children may have throughout their lives. However, more research is needed.

The best time to quit smoking nicotine-laden products and marijuana is when you’re trying to get pregnant, but if you don’t, plan on stopping when you find out you’re having a baby. While some women can quit cold turkey, others may need to taper off their smoking to quit.

Along with trying NRTs, cut back you’re smoking or change the habits that you do while smoking to disrupt the need for the tobacco, vape pen, or joint. So, if you have a cigarette during lunch, start taking your lunch to work or go for a short walk. Instead of smoking while watching television, read a book, or listen to music. Disrupting the cycle can help you quit the habit.

Stop Drinking Alcohol

Another bad habit to ditch when you’re trying to have children or after finding out that you’re pregnant is drinking alcoholic beverages. The CDC recommends completely abstaining from alcohol because no amount is safe to consume when you’re pregnant. It doesn’t matter what type of beverage it is, if it contains alcohol, you shouldn’t drink it.

Babies get exposure to alcohol because it passes through the mother’s blood into the umbilical cord. Some of the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy are stillbirth, low birth weight, miscarriage, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders or FASD. Children with these disorders suffer physically, intellectually, and have behavioral issues.

Some of the complications associated with FASD include:

  • Abnormal facial features
  • Smaller head sizes
  • Shorter heights as they grow
  • Low birth weight
  • Poor coordination skills
  • Language and speech delays
  • Sucking and sleep issues as babies
  • Problems with vision or hearing
  • Heart, kidney, and bone conditions
  • Poor memory
  • Short attention spans
  • Low IQs
  • Difficulty in classes, especially math
  • Difficulty with reasoning
  • Learning disabilities

Children with FASD may also be hyperactive and have poor judgment skills.

For women who like a drink after work or with dinner, try ordering them without alcohol or virgin versions of your favorite cocktails. The drink’s taste would usually be the same, and you wouldn’t experience the buzz of alcohol so that you may like the drinks better.

If you have trouble giving up drinking, you should seek help from your doctor. Try going to a treatment center, either for outpatient or inpatient treatment, see a psychologist or psychiatrist, but be careful about using any medications they may recommend. Find out if they can have harmful side effects for your child before taking them. Go to AA meetings to get help, not drinking.

Learn Relaxation Techniques

Being pregnant can be a stressful time in women’s lives. Along with being worried about their baby’s health, they may be under financial stress, they often worry about giving birth, and about their children’s future. An influx of hormones, fear, physical discomfort or pain, and preexisting mental health issues can trigger stress.

It’s crucial to your and the baby’s health to learn to de-stress. Some of the signs of stress are:

  • Headaches
  • Higher than normal blood pressure
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Racing pulse
  • Restless thoughts

Some of the symptoms like high blood pressure can lead to complications further along in a pregnancy. High blood pressure can cause preeclampsia, which can put the mother’s and baby’s lives at risk. It can also result in premature birth.

If you find yourself stressing about your baby, the future, or getting the nursery done in time, take a deep breath and blow it out slowly to take a moment to get your thoughts under control. However, if stress is a chronic problem, which it is with many women, learn one or two of these techniques.

Take Time Away from Responsibilities

A good way to relax is to lay down on a couch or bed, turn on some soft music, and breath in and out slowly. If the noise level at home bothers you, put on some noise-canceling headphones to block out sound.

Take a Bath

Instead of hurrying through a bath, take time to let the warm water relax your muscles, use aromatherapy to help unwind by breathing in the smell of the pregnancy-safe essential oils, and soak away any discomfort that you may be experiencing.


Learning to meditate will not only help you destress, but it also can lower blood pressure, it can improve focus, and control anxiety, which is also helpful during pregnancy. Meditation isn’t hard to do because you can find a quiet location to sit, light an aromatic candle, dim the lights, relax, and take breathes to unwind. It only takes five or 10 minutes to recharge, or you could do it before bedtime to sleep well.

Take a Walk

Take your dog for a walk if you have one, especially if you need to step away from your family for a few minutes. You can stroll and let yourself enjoy the flowers, wave to your neighbors, and relax both your body and mind.

Develop Good Sleep Habits

A lack of sleep or sleep disruptions can cause stress, not to mention leave you feeling fatigued. The cause of sleep disturbances is usually stress, and too little sleep also causes stress. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day

Create Your Birth Plan

Toward the end of the second trimester, women should start creating a birth plan. The plan outlines your wishes for your labor and delivery. Some of the decisions you’ll make for the birth plan are:

  • Where you’re giving birth
  • Who should be there?
  • What is feasible to do at the hospital or birthing center that you choose
  • How do you want to give birth?
  • Do you plan to use an epidural for pain?
  • Do you want a midwife or doula present during birth?

When you’re making the plan, get your partner’s input, and speak to the OBGYN to see if there is anything they don’t feel comfortable doing. They will tell you, and you can adjust the plans accordingly if you wish.

Write a Birth Plan Checklist

To make sure you have all your birth desires in order, create a checklist to go over with your partner, doctor, or midwife. The four main areas are:

  • Pre-birth decisions
  • During birth decisions
  • Birth preferences, vaginal or Caesarian birth
  • Newborn care decisions

Pre-birth Decisions

In this section, you’ll create the atmosphere that you want the baby to be born. You should make decisions like:

  • Who will be in the birthing room with you?
  • Whether to be in a bath for labor, and delivery
  • The things that you want to bring from home, such as pillows, music, or something to focus on
  • Decide if you want to walk around or sit in bed during labor
  • Birth positions you want the doctor to do

During Birth Decisions

Write down the decisions that you make for active labor, such as:

  • The type of birth that you want
  • Whether and when to use an epidural or which pain medications to use
  • Pain medication alternatives
  • If you want the membranes ruptured
  • Which type of fetal monitoring to have, internal or external
  • The use of IVs and a catheter
  • Whether to induce or help labor contractions with oxytocin
  • What the practitioner thinks about natural tearing and episiotomies
  • Whether to use forceps or vacuum extraction during the birth of your baby

Birth Preferences

Write down your desires for either a natural birth or a C-section. However, be aware that plans can change if an emergency occurs. The birth plan isn’t a contract; it’s a list of your desires. The OBGYN doesn’t need to follow them if something happens during the birth, and emergency procedures need to take place to save your or your baby’s life.

Newborn Care Decisions

This section is the instructions for you and your baby’s care after birth and during recovery. Some of the decisions involve:

  • Who is going to cut the cord, and will you do cord blood banking?
  • Do you want your partner with you or catching the baby when it comes out?
  • What to do with the placenta
  • Whether you want to greet and hold the baby before a nurse weighs treats it after birth
  • Will the partner suction the baby, or should the physician do it?

These decisions important to share with your partner and OBGYN, so everyone is on the same page in the delivery room, but they can also help you know what to expect. Take your time filling your plan out, but don’t delay too long into the third trimester.

Making pregnancy goals and acting to accomplish them can help achieve your main goal of having a healthy baby. However, they can also keep you healthy and get ready for going through the mood swings, hormone fluctuations, and the birth of your child.

You’ll need to make hundreds of decisions during your pregnancy and making these goals can help you remember everything you’ll need to do. These are a few of the goals you can create, and there are many more to consider. Don’t forget the fun ones like planning the baby shower and getting the nursery ready for your baby.

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