Childcare during Pregnancy

Key to protecting the health of the child is to get regular prenatal care. You should schedule your first appointment as soon as you think that you might be pregnant. If you are healthy and there are no complications then your health provider want to see you-

  • Every four weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy
  • Then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks
  • Then once a week until delivery

Throughout your pregnancy your healthcare provider will check your weight and blood pressure while also checking the growth and the development of your baby (by doing things like feeling your abdomen, listening for the fetal heartbeat starting during the second trimester, and measuring your belly). During the span of your pregnancy, you’ll also have prenatal tests, including blood, urine, and cervical tests, and probably at least one ultra sound.

Nutrition and supplements

Now you are eating for two (or more), then you must not cut your diet or go on dieting, at this point of time you need extra 300 calories per day, especially later in your pregnancy when your baby grows quickly. If you are very thin, very active or carrying multiples, you’ll need even more.

Try to maintain a well balanced diet that incorporates the dietary guidelines including-

  • Lean meats
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains bread
  • Low-fat dairy product

By eating a healthy, balanced diet you are more likely to get the nutrients you need. But you will need more of the essential nutrients (especially calcium, iron and folic acid) then you did before you get pregnant.

Calcium

Most women of 19 years or older don’t get appropriate amount of calcium .i.e., 1000 mg that is recommended. Because your growing baby’s calcium demands are high, you should increase your calcium consumption to prevent a loss of calcium from your own bones. Good sources of calcium includes-

  • Low fat dairy products, including milk, pasteurized cheese and yoghurt.
  • Calcium fortified products, including orange juice, soy milk and cereals.
  • Dark green vegetables, including spinach, kale and broccoli.
  • Tofu
  • Dried beans
  • Almonds

Iron

Pregnant women need about 30mg of iron every day, because iron is needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells. Although the nutrients can be found in various kinds of foods, iron from meet sources is more easily absorbed by the body than iron found in plant foods. Iron rich foods include-

  • Red meat
  • Dark poultry
  • Salmon Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Enriched grains
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Dried fruits
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Iron fortified breakfast cereals

Folate (Folic Acid)

CDC recommends that all women of child bearing age- and especially those who are planning a pregnancy get about 400 micrograms of folic acid supplements every day. That can be from a multi- vitamin or folic acid supplement in addition to the folic acid found in food.

If you are buying an over the counter supplement, remember that most of the multi- vitamins contain folic acid, but not all of them have enough to meet the nutritional needs of the pregnant women. So, be sure to check labels carefully before choosing one and check with your health care provider.

Fluids

It is very important to have plenty of fluids, especially water, during pregnancy.  Women’s blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy, and drinking enough water each day can help prevent common problems such as dehydration and constipation.

Exercise

The US department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week if you’re not already highly active or doing vigorous intensity activity.

Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to be extremely beneficial. Regular exercises can help-

  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Reduce pregnancy related problems, like back pain, swelling and constipation
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase energy
  • Improve outlook
  • Prepare for labor
  • Lessen recovery time

Low-impact, moderate intensity exercise activities (such as walking and swimming) are great choices. You can also opt for yoga or Pilates classes, DVDs and videos that are tailored for pregnancy. These are low impact and they work on strength, flexibility and relaxation.

Whatever type of exercise you choose, make sure to take frequent breaks and remember to drink plenty of fluids and slow down or stop if you feel loss of breath or feel uncomfortable.

Sleep

It’s important to get enough sleep during your pregnancy as your body is working very hard to accommodate a new life, so you will probably feel more tired than usual. And as your baby gets bigger it’s harder to fing a comfortable position when you’re trying to sleep.

Some doctors specifically recommend that pregnant women should sleep on the left side, because one of those big blood vessels is on the right side of your abdomen, lying on your left side keeps the uterus off of it.

Things that should be avoided

  1. Alcohol- One of the most common known causes of mental and physical birth defects is alcohol as it can cause several abnormalities to the growing and developing fetus in the mother’s womb.
  2. Recreational Drugs- Pregnant women who use drugs may be placing their unborn babies at risk for premature birth, poor growth, birth defects, and behavior and learning problems. And their babies could also be born addicted to those drugs themselves.
  3. Nicotine- Pregnant women who continue to smoke in their pregnancy are allowing their fetus to smoke too. The smoking mother passes nicotine and carbon-monoxide to her baby. The risks of smoking to the fetus includes-

Still birth

Pre maturity

Low birth weight

Sudden Infant Death Syndromes (SIDs)

Asthma and other respiratory problems

  1. Caffeine- High caffeine consumption increase the risk of miscarriage, so it’s probably wise to limit or avoid caffeine altogether if you can. Remember, one more thing that caffeine is related not only to coffee, but many teas, colas and other soft drinks too. If you’re wondering whether chocolate, which also contain caffeine, is a concern, the good news is that you can have it in moderation.

Food smarts and other precautions

Although you need to have plenty of healthy foods during pregnancy, you also need to avoid food- borne illnesses, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can be life threatening to an unborn baby and may cause birth defects or miscarriage too.

Foods that a pregnant woman must avoid

  • Unpasteurized milk, juices and apple cider
  • Raw eggs or food containing raw eggs, mousse, tiramisu, raw cookie dough, home made ice cream and Caesar dressing
  • Raw or undercooked meats, fish or shellfish.

Over the counter and prescription medications

Even common over the counter medications that are generally safe may be considered off-limits during pregnancy because of their potential effects on the baby, and certain prescription medication can also cause harm to the developing fetus.

To make sure that you don’t take anything that can be harmful to you baby-

  • Ask the medications which are prescribed to you are safe to take during pregnancy to your health care provider.
  • Talk to your health care provider about any medications you are taking
  • Don’t hide from you health care provider, that you are pregnant, so that he can prescribe the medications accordingly.
  • Also, remember to discuss natural remedies, supplements and vitamins.

Healthy pregnancy habits from start to finish

During pregnancy, from first week to fortieth week, it is important to take care of yourself in order to take care of your baby. Even though you have to take some precautions and be ever aware of the things that can and cannot affect your baby in some way or the other, many women sat that they have never felt healthier than when they carried their children.

About The Author

DBT

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