Pregnancy involves much more than physical changes in your appearance. The immune system also changes in order to create a healthy prenatal environment while protecting the mom-to-be and the baby from illnesses. Immunity is important as a surrogate mother.
Here are our 5 top tips on how to boost and protect your immune system during pregnancy:
Nutrition is the core of preventive medicine. Therefore, if you are pregnant — or trying to be — it is necessary that you commit to a healthy diet that helps with the proper development of the baby, as well as to help you cope with all the physiological changes of pregnancy.
For prenatal care, it is recommended to have supplements or foods high in iron, iodine, calcium, vitamins D, B, A, C, and E. You can find most of these nutrients in foods like:
- Dairy products
- Legumes (lentils, beans)
- Some seafood in moderation (tuna, salmon, seaweed, and shrimp)
- Whole grains (brown rice, barley)
- Meat (beef and chicken)
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower)
- Seeds and nuts (almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds)
Inadequate intake of nutrients can lead to a high-risk pregnancy. However, nutrition recommendations vary with age, pregnancy stage, and ethnicity. Therefore, it is important to consult with your OB-GYN about a nutrition plan that suits your needs.
Pregnant women are at the highest risk of dehydration. Furthermore, keeping your body hydrated is essential to maintain a good balance of the amniotic fluid levels and ensure the baby’s development and health.
Other than drinking water, you can get fluids from eating fruits and vegetables. For example, watermelon, oranges, melons, cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes are a highly nutritious water source.
If you don’t like the plain taste of water, you can naturally flavor it by adding fresh fruits, mint leaves, homemade fruit ice cubes, or with a squeeze of fresh juice.
2. Keep Your Vaccination Card Up-to-Date as a Surrogate Mother
The CDC strongly recommends women keep their immunization records updated for pregnancy. The main recommended vaccines for pregnant women are the flu and Tdap (whooping cough) shots.
When pregnant women get vaccinated, they pass protective antibodies — generated by the vaccines — to babies. This allows the babies to be born with antibodies and get immune protection until they are old enough to be vaccinated.
3. Allow Yourself to Rest
Not getting enough sleep can affect your immune system. While sleeping, our bodies produce antibodies like cytokines, the proteins which protect us from infectious illnesses. Lack of sleep can also slow down your recovery from illnesses.
To keep yourself healthy, aim for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night.
4. Exercise is Important for a Surrogate Mother
Exercise boosts your immune system by reducing stress hormones and fatigue, regulating your body temperature, reducing inflammation, improving your blood flow, and strengthening your muscles.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, future moms should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day — unless you have a medical condition or are at high-pregnancy risk.
Seek advice from your doctor before engaging with new workout routines.
5. Mental Health
As a surrogate mother, taking care of your mental health is vital for your surrogacy journey.
Stress is known to affect the immune system, particularly with antibody responses, inflammation, and wound healing.
Meditation, breathing exercises, therapy, disconnecting from social media (avoid the news!) are a few practices that may help you cope with stress. Love & Kindness Surrogacy aims for surrogates to have a safe and healthy experience throughout their journey. We offer free therapy and doula support for all surrogates. Reach out today for further guidance from our agents — which all have been surrogates themselves. We are here for you!