How to maintain a healthy pregnancy
Pregnancies can be tricky, as each comes with a different challenge. It’s important to be as thorough as possible when dealing with any pregnancy, as the smallest detail can make a whole difference.
Here are some measures for making sure mother and child are as safe as possible are outlined below.
Prenatal care is the most important type of healthcare for pregnant women. It is also called antenatal care and is a sure way to find out all there is to know about the kind of pregnancy a mother will have and how to manage it. It also helps educate the mother on what to expect, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It involves physical examinations for both mother and child, which make sure to note the mother’s weight and every other important statistic that help determine what the mother will be required to do, during the pregnancy. Prenatal care includes various other tests and exams, urine, blood, blood pressure of the mother and general information. It’s imperative to start prenatal care in the second month of the pregnancy and the mother must not skip any appointments, so as not to miss anything. Prenatal care reduces the risks associated with pregnancy, such as premature babies and stillbirths.
The baby thrives better when the mother eats foods rich in vitamins and calcium. The mother should try to cut out sugar and foods rich in fat altogether. Whole grains are great for the mother and so are yoghurt, spinach, kidney beans, milk and any other foods rich in calcium. The mother is advised to take plenty of folic acids (this will be included while getting prenatal vitamins) and always stay hydrated. The mother must drink at least 2-3 litres of water daily. Healthcare providers will give instructions on the required daily multivitamins, during prenatal care.
WHAT NOT TO EAT
There is a list of things to avoid during pregnancy, that can interfere with the health of both mother and child. These include;
- Undercooked meat
- Anything with vitamin A, like liver
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- Undercooked eggs
- Oily fish
- Foods with a high quantity of mercury
- Raw shellfish
CUTTING BAD HABITS
An expectant mother will need to be mindful of certain things she usually indulges in when she’s not pregnant. These things can endanger the baby’s health and the physical health of the mother. These include;
- Smoking and secondhand smoke
- Lying on your back
- Vigorous exercise or activity
- Recreational drugs
- Other drugs that may affect the pregnancy (check with your healthcare provider for the safety of using certain medications)
- Being on your feet for too long
- Absence of exercise or physical activity
The expectant mother’s weight during pregnancy is also of great importance to the health of both mother and child. The mother must take time to find out the ideal weight limit for a healthy pregnancy and ways to maintain that limit. The number of babies a mother is carrying also determines the weight that is safe for the pregnancy.
Studies have found that only a third of women gained the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy and that most were outside the recommendations.
If the mother is below the recommended weight, the baby tends to come out looking too small and has difficulty breastfeeding. It also exposes the baby to illnesses. If the mother is too big, the baby comes out too big, which can lead to complications during delivery and obesity during childhood. The mother is also at risk of being obese too.
Since exercising is one important aspect of staying healthy and maintaining a healthy BMI for your pregnancy, here’s a list of exercises and physical activities that are safe for pregnancy;
- Mild yoga
- Riding a stationary bike
- Regular physical activities
- Aerobic activities for at least 2 hours daily (you can break it into bits)
- No sit-ups, vigorous sports, no exercising in hot places or doing anything that raises your blood pressure.
NB: Always consult a healthcare provider for directions and to find out what is safe for you.
GETTING SICK DURING PREGNANCY:
Apart from nausea, vomiting and dizziness that are common with pregnancies, the normal immune-system suppression that comes with pregnancy exposes expectant mothers to other illnesses, such as allergies, flu, infection or germs. Prevention is usually the best option, as some meds have to be avoided due to their compositions and how they interact with the pregnancy. However, no matter how careful a mother is, some illnesses may still occur, so there are safe remedies that will not affect the mother or child.
Luckily, the womb’s environment keeps your baby completely sheltered from colds, so the mother only has herself to worry about. Here are some ways to get relief from colds during pregnancy;
- Staying active
- Vitamin C
- Food rich in zinc or supplements
- Warm beverages
- Prenatal vitamin supplements
- Moisturizing the air with warm air humidifiers
- Saline nose drops or sprays
- Saltwater gargle
- Honey, Lemon and Ginger in hot water
- Medication that is safe (Steroid nasal sprays, expectorant cough meds, acetaminophen, some antihistamines)
NB: See a doctor if any of the following occurs;
- A high temperature
- A very severe cold
- Coughing out green or yellow mucus
- Chest pain
- Any symptom that lasts more than two weeks.
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