Getting pregnant or planning a pregnancy often inspires expectant mothers to adopt a healthy lifestyle to ensure their and their unborn baby’s health. Most women are aware of consuming a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity during pregnancy. These changes are important and bring exceptional health benefits, but they are insufficient. You must change or adopt much more to get pregnant or ensure a safe pregnancy. Read on to know what other changes you should make during pregnancy to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
1. Attend prenatal check-ups
Attending regular prenatal check-ups must be part of your life during pregnancy. Regular prenatal check-ups contribute to a healthy pregnancy in the following ways:
- Regular visits to your healthcare provider help identify potential problems in their earlier stages and find a solution.
- During prenatal check-ups, healthcare providers ensure the baby’s appropriate growth and development. They check the mother’s blood pressure, weight, and urine and perform various tests to screen for conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- Prenatal sessions also allow you to receive regular help on nutrition, workout, and other aspects of pregnancy.
- Regular prenatal appointments help healthcare providers detect and manage potential risk factors contributing to birth injuries, such as a baby who is too large or in a breech position. They can also identify and manage probable complications, such as preterm labor or complications with the placenta.
In some situations, healthcare providers show neglect and fail to identify risk factors, resulting in a birth injury. This allows parents to hire a birth injury attorney and pursue legal action to seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by the birth injury.
However, no matter the amount of compensation received, no one wants to witness their newborn baby’s pain. Therefore, when attending your prenatal appointments, actively participate in these sessions. Ask questions related to complicated deliveries and birth injuries and their prevention. It will send a message to your healthcare providers that you are informed and aware of what is happening.
2. Stay hydrated during pregnancy
Since an unborn baby gets all the nutrients through its mother, drinking ample water helps transport nutrients to the baby. This ensures your baby is receiving essential nutrients for adequate growth and development. Pregnant women should drink at least eight to ten glasses of water daily. They can also consult with their healthcare provider if they have concerns about their fluid intake.
Some highlighting benefits of staying hydrated during pregnancy are:
- It helps prevent constipation
- Prevents urinary tract infections
- Increases energy
- Helps with the development of the baby’s organs, including the brain, heart, and lungs
- Maintain optimal temperature and prevent overheating
- Decrease chances of preterm birth by thwarting the risk of uterine contractions
- Decrease the risk of preterm labor
- Reduces the threat of pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
3. Manage stress
Pregnancy can be very stressful. Thoughts about your unborn child’s health, pregnancy loss, and fear of the labor and delivery stay throughout the pregnancy. Additionally, physical discomforts such as bodily fatigue and changes happening in your body cause stress too.
Acute stress that stays for long periods is harmful to your baby’s growth. It can increase the chances of preterm birth and a baby with low birth weight.
Managing stress to keep your child and yourself safe during pregnancy is important. Interventions such as meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, can be effective.
Additionally, engaging in low-impact activities such as walking, yoga, or swimming can help promote relaxation and reduce stress. However, ask your doctor before picking any physical activity.
4. Be careful when doing household chores
Tasks like lifting objects, mopping and scrubbing floors, and doing laundry must be done carefully. Straining yourself unnecessarily puts you and your unborn baby at risk of harm.
Activities like cleaning pet litter expose you to harmful bacteria. Similarly, using chemicals for cleaning purposes can also harm your baby.
Here are some tips for safely performing household chores during pregnancy:
- Avoid heavy lifting as it can strain the back and abdominal muscles, increasing the risk of complications.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals that produce strong odors.
- Frequently take breaks and change position so your body is not overly drained.
- Maintain proper posture during household chores to reduce pressure on the back and abdominal muscles.
- Avoid standing for long periods, as it can cause swelling and uneasiness during pregnancy.
- Avoid activities that require balance, such as climbing on ladders or standing on chairs. They can be dangerous during pregnancy.
- Frequently ask for help.
5. Consult your doctor before taking medications
During pregnancy, you must be careful when taking medications, especially “over-the-counter” and “herbal” medications. Some medicines, including those with natural ingredients, can harm your baby’s development and growth. Always seek a professional’s advice before taking medication. Here is why:
- Medications can interact with each other resulting in drug antagonism. Your doctor can advise you on which medicines can be taken safely together.
- During pregnancy, the body undergoes changes that can affect how medications are metabolized. Ask your doctor to adjust the dosage to prevent any harm to your baby.
- Your medical history, including any old conditions or medicines you’re taking, can impact which medications are safe to take during pregnancy. Your doctor can take your medical history into account when prescribing medications.
- Some treatments are not feasible or safe for the unborn child during pregnancy. Consulting a doctor helps you get advice on alternative treatments instead of medications.
6. Eat foods rich in folate
Folic acid is very important for neural tube development in the baby in the early stages of pregnancy. This is the tube that ultimately develops into the brain and spinal cord. An insufficient folate intake can lead to neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida. Some foods you can consume as part of your diet to ensure folate intake are the following.
- Leafy greens
- Citrus fruits
While you can obtain folic acid through dietary intake, many healthcare providers prescribe folic acid supplements during pregnancy to meet the dosage (600-800 micrograms per day) requirement.
Taking care of yourself by making essential lifestyle changes is crucial to ensuring your baby’s safe and healthy development during pregnancy. Keeping yourself hydrated, being careful when doing household chores, and managing stress are ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Additionally, you must stay in touch with your obstetrician through regular prenatal appointments as it helps with the early identification and management of pregnancy-related problems.