Pregnancy is one of the milestones not just for a mother, but for the whole family. With pregnancy comes a great responsibility for the family. Good care during and after pregnancy is vital for both the mother and the child. The best way to ensure that the child has a head start on a healthy life is to take good care of the mother.
Here we are going to discuss some do’s and don’ts during pregnancy to help the unborn baby grow in a caring and healthy environment.
- Eat healthy food.
A healthy diet is very important for pregnant women. The baby in the womb needs nutrients to become strong and healthy.
Some healthy eating habits during pregnancy are:
A. Don’t eat in pairs
The mother may be more hungry than usual, but that doesn’t mean she has to eat for two. You should avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar.
B. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Fruit and vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals. They’re also high in fiber, which aids digestion. The mother should eat at least five servings of different types of fruit and vegetables a day.
C. Diet high in carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a source of energy. They help you feel full without consuming too many calories. The high-carbohydrate diet should make up one third of a pregnant woman’s diet. Instead of refined (white) carbohydrates, prefer whole grain or higher fiber options.
Some rich sources of carbohydrates are:
- Breakfast cereal
D. High protein diet
The mother should eat high-protein foods every day, such as:
- Meat (but avoid liver)
e. Milk formula during pregnancy
Dairy products contain calcium and other essential nutrients that the mother and baby need in the womb.
Always try to have low-fat varieties like semi-skimmed and low-fat and low-sugar yogurts. You can also use unsweetened, calcium-fortified milk alternatives such as soy drinks and yogurt.
F. Cut down on foods that are high in fat and sugar.
Foods high in fat and sugar are high in calories, which can lead to weight gain. Try to stop consuming foods such as
- Potato Chips
- Carbonated drinks
- ice cream
G. Avoid certain foods
Eating some foods can harm the baby in the womb.
- Raw meat
- Raw eggs
- Soft cheese
- Unpasteurized milk
- Some fish that may be high in mercury
- Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins provide pregnant women with sufficient amounts of the essential nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. They close any nutritional gaps in the diet of pregnant women.
Prenatal vitamins have:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin e
- Drink enough
During pregnancy, the body needs more water than usual. A pregnant woman should drink more than 8 cups of water a day. Some of the key benefits of water during pregnancy are:
- Helps with digestion
- Aids in the development of amniotic fluid around the baby in the womb
- Helps in the circulation of nutrients
- Helps remove waste from the body
- Regular checkups for prenatal care
Regular checkups are important for a healthy pregnancy.
During check-ups, the doctor monitors the health of the baby and mother and gives recommendations on nutrition and activity accordingly.
Mothers without regular prenatal care are more likely to have a baby with low birth weight or other complications.
- Avoid alcohol
Alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). FASD can cause physical, behavioral, and learning problems.
A baby with FASD may have the following signs and symptoms:
- Poor thinking and judgment
- Low body weight
- Speech and speech delay
- Intellectual disability or low IQ
- Vision or hearing problem
- Bad memory
- Difficulty paying attention
- Hyperactive behavior
- Bad coordination
- Learning disabilities
- Heart, kidney, or bone problems
- Abnormal facial features
- Avoid smoking
Smoking harms everyone. A pregnant woman is no exception. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Premature birth
- Prenatal or postnatal complications in the baby
- Stay active
Exercise is critical to a healthy pregnancy.
Daily exercise makes it easier for a pregnant woman to adapt to changing body shapes and weight gain. It also helps in managing labor pain.
- Get enough sleep
During pregnancy, the body has to produce more blood and the heart has to work harder to circulate this blood to the baby in the womb. For all these extra efforts, the body needs rest.
7 to 9 hours of sleep is important for both the mother and the baby in the womb.
Reducing stress improves birth outcomes. Anxiety and depression during pregnancy can lead to complications such as premature delivery and low birth weight.
Pregnancy welcomes a new routine in the life of not just the mothers but all family members. A few simple steps can make this trip memorable for everyone.
Dr. Sapna Raina, Senior Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynecology, Narayana Multispeciality Clinic, Electronic City – Niladri Road, Bangalore
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