According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost ten percent of the 4 million births in 2013 were underweight. The most common pregnancy complications cited were preterm labor, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, almost a half a million babies were preterm in 2013. However, the good news is that regular, healthy habits can result in a healthy pregnancy and birth.
The first step to a healthy pregnancy is proper prenatal care. This means regular checkups with a health care provider. If you are identified by your obstetrician as having a high risk pregnancy, regular visits with a maternal fetal specialist like Dr. Gilbert Webb will help identify any potential problems and treat them early.
Taking daily prenatal vitamins with folic acid is a must. In addition to this, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables while reducing salty, fatty and processed foods. Eggs, fish, yogurt and cranberry juice are highly recommended. Reduce caffeine intake and avoid consuming raw seafood and unpasteurized milk and cheeses.
Be sure to get any current medical conditions under control, such as diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure. This can be done through proper nutrition, exercise and following your doctor’s advice.
A stronger body will decrease common pregnancy discomforts, prevent pregnancy complications and will provide stamina for the actual birth. Walking, swimming and stationary bicycling are the safest exercises. Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day.
There are countless books available on every aspect of pregnancy and child raising. Educating yourself will allow you to make better informed decisions by yourself and with your doctor. Talking with other mom’s about their experiences during pregnancy is an excellent way to pick up useful tips and ideas.
One of the most difficult aspects of being pregnant is the medication restrictions. That is, if you are pregnant and sick, you will be unable to consume most medications because of the associated high risks for the fetus. Always wash your hands, avoid sick people and immediately take care of any symptoms of illness.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Being pregnant is exhausting and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, a majority of pregnant women will experience different forms of sleep disturbances. This is usually due to anxiety, stress, strained relationships, changing hormones and frequent nighttime bathroom trips. Drink lots of fluids during the day and avoiding eating too much at night to avoid heartburn. Try sleeping on your left side with pillows between the knees, under the belly and behind the back.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) cites that high levels of stress during pregnancy can result in headaches, insomnia and high blood pressure. Talk to your partner, family and health care provider about any concerns. Recognize that pregnancy is naturally stressful and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Major causes of stress and anxiety during pregnancy are the lack of control and fear of the unknown. Having structure and a plan in place will reduce stress and anxiety. Consider planning out the details of the birth, such as who will be present, and the after care. Even mapping out the way to the nearest hospital can help set your mind at ease.
Being pregnant can strain personal and family relationships. Most importantly, it can be a difficult time for your partner also. Focus on maintaining normalcy in your relationships and be open and honest with your partner. Don’t be afraid to openly explain the difficulties and ask for help.
In conclusion, there are many proactive and positive ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy birth.