As a surrogate, you want to provide the baby you carry with the best possible start. By taking care of your health, you can not only ensure that the baby will grow and develop healthily — you will also feel better throughout your pregnancy.
In this article, find 10 tips for keeping yourself and the baby healthy during your surrogate pregnancy.
1. Eat well. It is always important to eat well-balanced meals, but it is especially important to eat a variety of healthy foods during pregnancy. Eat plenty of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid undercooked eggs and meat, unpasteurized dairy products, and certain fish that may contain high levels of mercury.
2. Stay hydrated. Dehydration is the leading cause of premature labor, so it is extra important during pregnancy to drink plenty of water. Water also helps transfer important vitamins and minerals to the baby.
3. Take a prenatal vitamin. Before the embryo transfer and throughout your surrogate pregnancy, you will be taking prenatal vitamins to ensure that you and the baby are receiving essential nutrients that promote healthy growth and development. Remember that these vitamins should supplement a well-balanced diet, not replace it.
4. Get plenty of rest. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep a night. Once you get past your first trimester, you will likely need to start sleeping on your side — sleeping on your back can cut off the blood supply to the baby and make you feel lightheaded.
5. Minimize stress. You will likely experience all of the regular mood swings and emotional challenges of pregnancy, so find ways to relax and reduce your stress. Give yourself a break if some of your responsibilities slide a little, and lean on your surrogacy support system. If you are struggling with difficult feelings, avoid complaining to the intended parents — instead, reach out to your surrogacy specialist or another qualified counselor for emotional help when you need it.
6. Stay active. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of low-impact physical activity into your daily routine, whether it’s yoga, swimming, walking, or a prenatal exercise class. Exercise can help reduce your pregnancy symptoms, boost your mood, and even make labor and delivery smoother.
7. Receive increased prenatal care. Throughout your surrogate pregnancy, you will be monitored closely by fertility specialists and your own OBGYN to ensure you and the baby are healthy. You will likely have more frequent checkups and appointments than you would with a personal pregnancy. It is important to keep all of your prenatal appointments, to keep your doctor informed throughout your pregnancy, and to voice any questions or concerns you have as they arise.
8. Eliminate harmful substances. Obviously, you should not drink, take drugs or smoke while pregnant, and this will also be outlined in your surrogacy contract. However, there are some other harmful substances you should be aware of as well — for example, you should avoid exposure to chemicals, including common household cleaning supplies, as well as caffeine. Also check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications. Some may be harmful to the baby, or they may interfere with other fertility medications you are taking.
9. Track your pregnancy. It may be helpful to keep a journal throughout your pregnancy. Track your changing symptoms, including weight gain and mood swings, as well as the fertility medications you are taking. This will help you keep track of any unusual symptoms that you may want to mention to your doctor. As a surrogate, you have experienced pregnancy before, so listen to your body and be aware of any ways in which this pregnancy differs from your personal pregnancies. You may want to document your pregnancy with pictures as well — the intended parents and child will love to have these in their baby book.
10. Enjoy the experience. Take this as an opportunity to learn about your own body, the ways in which the baby is growing, and the surrogacy medical process. Not many others will have a pregnancy quite like this, so soak up the experience!
With a few simple, healthy lifestyle changes, you can help ensure your surrogacy experience is as positive as possible, both for you and the baby you are carrying. If you have any questions or concerns about your health and well-being throughout the surrogacy process, talk with your doctor.
Are you interested in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process? Complete our form to request free surrogacy information now.