What can you do to keep up with your unborn baby’s health and your own?
There are things you can and shouldn’t do.
Let’s start with what you should do moving forward with your pregnancy.
Before we begin, make sure to keep yourself hydrated because a pregnant woman’s body needs more water than it did before the pregnancy.
At least eight glasses should be consumed each day.
Select a healthcare professional
You have options when it comes to prenatal care.
These medical professionals are skilled at caring for expectant mothers and their unborn children.
Still, each sort of specialist has a unique set of skills.
Registered nurses with extensive training in women’s health and maternity care are certified nurse-midwives or CNMs.
CNMs provide prenatal, labor, and postpartum care and female reproductive services like annual checkups and Pap testing.
CNMs treat normal pregnancies but can also handle high-risk pregnancies if they check with an OB-GYN first.
you might be able to give birth to your child at home or in a birth center if you select a CNM as your prenatal care provider.
Family practitioners focus on medical care for patients of all ages and preventative health.
Many family doctors don’t deliver babies, but some do.
Ask your family doctor if they perform deliveries if you have one.
They are not surgeons; thus, the family doctor will consult a surgeon to deliver the baby if the mother needs a cesarean section.
After your child’s birth, you can switch to a family doctor if you choose an OB-GYN or certified nurse-midwife for your prenatal care.
The primary care you and your family, including your new baby, will ever require can be given by the family doctor.
Obstetrics and gynecology is the meaning of the abbreviation OB-GYN.
A doctor who delivers babies is called an obstetrician.
An expert in treating conditions affecting the female reproductive system is known as a gynecologist.
OB-GYNs oversee pregnancy, labor, and delivery, as well as the postpartum period for moms.
You must choose a pediatrician, family doctor, or nurse practitioner to be your baby’s primary care provider after birth if an OB-GYN delivers them.
A doula is a woman who has received special training in supporting pregnant mothers physically and emotionally before, during, and after childbirth.
Doulas can offer knowledge and support throughout labor and act as the mother’s champion even if they are not medical professionals.
Some mothers hire doulas months in advance of giving birth.
You can expect the doula to spend time getting to know you if you do this, answering your questions about pregnancy and labor, and assisting you in making a birth plan.
She will accompany you when you give birth if you have a doula.
She will assist you in shifting positions and employing relaxation methods to lessen labor discomfort.
During the postpartum period, doulas can help the new family at home.
Many doulas complete training programs and certification processes to assist patients throughout labor and delivery.
Having a doula present during labor can positively affect health, including quicker deliveries, fewer c-sections, less drug use, greater breastfeeding, and happier birthing experiences for moms.
However, the advantages differ depending on the doula’s education and experience, the cultural context, and the mother’s access to family support, among other variables.
Attend your pregnancy antenatal appointments
It would help if you kept all of your antenatal checkups.
Your health and the health of your unborn child are protected by the tests, scans, and inspections you’ll undergo.
Babies born to mothers who don’t receive regular antenatal care are far more likely to have low birth weights or other issues.
You have appointments at certain weeks because certain tests and measurements that identify potential issues need to be performed at particular points in your pregnancy.
You can also take steps to maintain your health and that of your unborn child throughout your pregnancy.
Consume wholesome food
Women who are pregnant should take special care to eat nutritious meals.
Your baby needs nutrition to grow strong and well in the womb.
Consume various colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and saturated fat-free foods.
What types of meals and drinks should you have during pregnancy?
Nutrient-dense meals and drinks are part of a pregnancy diet that is healthy.
The following foods and beverages should be consumed daily:
- Fruits and vegetables (provide vitamins and fiber)
- Brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and other whole grains (provide fiber, B vitamins, and other needed nutrients)
- Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, as well as non-dairy soy, almond, rice, or other beverages with added calcium and vitamin D
- Healthy protein sources include beans and peas, eggs, lean meats, low-mercury seafood (up to 12 ounces per week), and unsalted nuts and seeds if you can tolerate them and aren’t allergic to them.
A healthy diet also restricts salt and solid fats, and sugar-sweetened drinks.
What if you are a vegetarian?
Healthy pregnant eating can include a vegetarian diet.
To ensure you’re getting enough calcium, iron, protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients, think about the quality of your diet and see a healthcare provider.
Additionally, your doctor could advise you to take vitamins and minerals to help you meet your needs.
What foods and drinks should you avoid during pregnancy?
Your baby could suffer if you consume certain foods and beverages while pregnant.
These are some things you should stay away from:
- Alcohol: Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy is highly recommended to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and the developing baby.
- Caffeine: Enjoy decaffeinated coffee, tea, non-sugar-sweetened beverages, or water with a squeeze of fresh juice. Avoid diet beverages, and keep your daily caffeine intake to under 200 mg, or roughly 12 ounces of coffee.
- Fish that might have a lot of mercury: 6 ounces of white (albacore) tuna maximum each week. King mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, or tilefish should not be consumed. You can consume up to 12 ounces of seafood per week to acquire the beneficial elements found in fish and shellfish. You can choose from various healthy seafood options, including cod, salmon, and shrimp.
- Avoid deli salads, raw cookie dough, undercooked meats, eggs, seafood, and soft cheeses made from unpasteurized or raw milk. Picking and cooking lunch meats, egg dishes, and meat spreads should be done carefully.
Some pregnant women could want substances other than food, such as paint chips, clay, ashes, or laundry starch.
This craving can indicate that you’re not consuming enough of a certain nutrient.
If you crave something other than food, consult a healthcare expert.
You can receive the appropriate amount of nutrients with their assistance.
Take proper vitamins
The best method to provide your body with the nutritious nourishment needed to support a growing baby is to eat a balanced diet high in vitamins and minerals.
However, a nutritious diet might not be sufficient during pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins have increased concentrations of several minerals, such as folic acid, calcium, and iron, which pregnant mothers need in higher doses.
These vitamins support healthy fetal development and lower the risk of birth abnormalities.
You can get the greatest multivitamin or set of vitamins for you by consulting your doctor.
Typically, a multivitamin will contain either DHA, EPA, or both.
These omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for the healthy development of your baby’s brain.
However, don’t take more than one dose of a multivitamin.
Some vitamins might harm a newborn if used in excess.
Get plenty of sleep
Fluctuating hormone levels, anticipation, and anxiety may cause the inability to fall asleep during your nine months of pregnancy.
You’ll need sleep because pregnancy is taxing, especially in the last trimester.
If you’re feeling fatigued, take a quick nap, and plan naps whenever you can.
Set and adhere to bedtimes.
Try to get about 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Give yourself as much sleep as possible because being tired indicates that your body needs more rest.
Get physically active- exercise!
Most women need the same amount of physical activity they did before pregnancy.
Aim for 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
Exercises that employ major muscle groups, such as those in the back, chest, and legs, are called aerobic or cardio exercises.
Regular exercise during pregnancy can have numerous benefits for both the mother and the developing baby. It can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, and improve overall cardiovascular health
Exercise that involves aerobics is brisk walking.
How can you tell if you are engaging in an aerobic activity of moderate intensity?
To find out, take the talk test.
It is considered a moderate intensity if you are breathing heavily but can still easily carry on a conversation but not sing.
Vigorous-intensity exercise is defined as the ability to speak only a few words before halting to take a breath.
It is probably safe for you to continue engaging in a vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or being physically active during your pregnancy if you had a habit of doing so before becoming pregnant.
You can discuss whether or how to modify your physical activity while pregnant with a healthcare expert.
Ask your healthcare provider what degree of activity is safe for you and your unborn child if you suffer from health conditions, including anemia, obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Get your flu shot
Pregnant women can and should receive the flu vaccine if the manufacturer lists no contraindications.
There is no live virus in the injection.
The flu vaccine does not cause the virus to spread.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of experiencing serious side effects from influenza than non-pregnant women of the same age group.
The vaccination will safeguard both you and your unborn child.
Make sure you are up to date on your varicella (chicken pox) and rubella (German measles) vaccinations if you intend to become pregnant.
These conditions have the potential to seriously complicate your baby’s development.
It is advised to have two immunizations when pregnant:
Influenza: You have a substantially increased risk of developing flu complications if pregnant.
A newborn child can also experience severe influenza symptoms.
Whooping cough: Whooping cough has the potential to be fatal for newborns.
You can safeguard them before they are old enough to receive vaccination by receiving one yourself.
The whooping cough vaccine should be administered between 20 and 32 weeks into each pregnancy.
Take care of your mental wellbeing
During pregnancy, maintaining your mental health is equally as crucial as maintaining your physical health.
While feeling worried while pregnant is completely natural, getting treatment as soon as possible is crucial if you believe you may be showing signs of prenatal anxiety or depression.
Depression during pregnancy is a common condition that can affect the mental and physical health of the mother and the developing baby. Symptoms may include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, and anxiety, as well as changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels.
Take care to obtain enough sleep and accept assistance from others, especially if you are watching other kids.
Additionally, you can employ relaxation methods to reduce stress and manage your pregnancy.
Guided muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, or visualizing serene, peaceful images are all beneficial to many women.
Visit the dentist
For many years, people put off visiting the dentist out of concern that getting their teeth cleaned might spread bacteria and trigger an infection.
Now, we are aware that is not the case.
OB-GYNs advise pregnant women to get routine dental cleanings in addition to an oral health assessment.
Make sure your dentist is aware of your pregnancy.
Be careful with pre-existing medicines
Pregnancy medicine, also known as obstetric medicine, is a specialized field of medicine that focuses on the health and well-being of pregnant women and their developing babies. This field encompasses a range of medical specialties, including obstetrics, gynecology, internal medicine, and pediatrics.
Some medications are not safe to take while pregnant.
Both prescribed medications and over-the-counter medications are covered under this.
Before taking any medications while pregnant, consult a physician, pharmacist, or midwife.
Do not discontinue prescription medication if you are currently doing so without consulting your doctor.
Give up drinking alcohol
Your baby’s growth could be significantly impacted by alcohol.
Pregnant women who use alcohol run the risk of giving birth to a child with Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Symptoms of FAS include:
- Low birth weight
- Abnormal facial characteristics
- Learning impairments
- Behavioral issues
- Trailing trends in terms of developmental and growth benchmarks
Alcohol can be an issue in even tiny amounts.
There doesn’t seem to be a safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Consult your doctor as soon as possible if you need assistance quitting drinking while pregnant.
Your child is more likely to be healthy the earlier you seek assistance.
Smoking during pregnancy can have serious health consequences for both the mother and the developing baby. Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that can cross the placenta and affect the baby’s growth and development, increasing the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and birth defects.
They raise the chance of difficulties during pregnancy, preterm birth, and miscarriage.
They can also cause your child to have a low birth weight, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and long-term health issues.
When women learn they are pregnant, many give up, only to relapse.
Be kind to yourself; it’s normal.
Just attempt to stop again.
You have a better chance of success if your spouse can also give up.
Your doctor will ask you if you smoke, so be honest with them.
They can get counseling or nicotine replacement therapy to help them stop using tobacco.
Do not change your litter box while pregnant
The best excuse for skipping litter box cleaning is during pregnancy.
This escape from litter box cleaning is because of toxoplasmosis, which can cause serious issues like:
- Poor growth
- Severe eye and brain damage
All of which can be transferred through dirty cat litter boxes.
Even though a pregnant woman who contracts the infection regularly shows no symptoms, she still risks infecting her unborn child.
X-rays during pregnancy
There is extremely little chance that having an X-ray while pregnant can harm your unborn child.
Typically, the advantages of an X-diagnostic ray’s information outweigh any possible risks to a baby.
However, your unborn child can suffer if you undergo a lot of abdominal X-rays quickly before discovering that you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant, you must inform the hospital before any X-rays.
Your reproductive organs won’t be exposed to the direct X-ray beam during most X-ray tests, including those of the legs, head, teeth, or chest. A lead apron can be worn to protect against radiation scatter.
Abdominal X-rays are the exception, which expose your tummy and your unborn child to the direct X-ray beam.
The likelihood that your baby will suffer injury depends on the gestational age of the child and the radiation dose received.
In the initial two weeks following conception, exposure to exceptionally high doses of radiation could cause a miscarriage.
However, diagnostic imaging does not employ these radiation levels.
High-dose radiation exposure could raise the risk of fetal growth limitation or birth abnormalities two to eight weeks after conception.
Exposure throughout weeks 8 through 16 could raise the chance of developing an intellectual or learning disability.
However, compared to the high dose associated with these consequences, the usual dose of a single radiation exposure associated with a diagnostic X-ray is significantly lower.
Unless there is an emergency, X-rays are often not advised during pregnancy.
Cervical screening during pregnancy
Suppose you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
In that case, you typically won’t require a cervical screening until at least 12 weeks after giving birth because it could be more difficult to obtain conclusive results during pregnancy.
Inform the GP or clinic if you are already pregnant and scheduled for a cervical screening test.
Typically, you will be instructed to reschedule the test for approximately 12 weeks after your child’s birth.
You might need to be tested when you’re pregnant if you’ve previously had an abnormal cervical screening test result.
At your initial antenatal checkup, your doctor or midwife might suggest that you get a cervical screening test.
Your pregnancy won’t be affected by this test.
To keep your baby and yourself healthy, you should:
- Select a healthcare professional
- Attend your antenatal appointments
- Consume wholesome food
- Take proper vitamins
- Get plenty of sleep
- Get physically active
- Get your flu shot
- Take care of your mental wellbeing
- Visit the dentist
- Be careful with pre-existing medicines
What you should avoid includes:
- Caffeine, fish with mercury, deli meat
- Drinking alcohol
- Changing your litter box
- Performing X-ray
Make sure to consult your doctor if you have a health condition like diabetes or asthma, as it can affect your pregnancy.