Audra Meadows, an obstetrician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, helps patients improve their health before, during and after pregnancy.
Here are 12 tips from Dr. Meadows to help you increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
How does a pregnant woman take care of her health
There are many tips that a pregnant woman should follow to maintain her health and the health of the fetus.
Here are some of those tips:
1. Eat healthy foods
Eating healthy foods is especially important for pregnant women.
Your baby needs nutrients to grow healthy and strong in the womb. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods and foods low in saturated fat.
2. Stay hydrated
A pregnant woman’s body needs more water than it did before pregnancy. Aim for eight or more cups each day.
3. Take a daily prenatal vitamin
Taking a daily prenatal multivitamin can help ensure you get the right amount of the key nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy. These include folic acid, iron and calcium.
4. Go to your prenatal care checkups
Women should get regular prenatal care from a health care provider. Moms who don’t get regular prenatal care are much more likely to have a baby with low birth weight or other complications. If available, consider group prenatal care.
5. Avoid certain foods
There are certain foods that women should avoid eating while pregnant. Don’t eat:
- Raw or rare meats
- Liver, sushi, raw eggs (also in mayonnaise)
- Soft cheeses (feta, brie)
- Unpasteurized milk
Raw and unpasteurized animal products can cause food poisoning. Some fish, even when cooked, can be harmful to a growing baby because they’re high in mercury.
6. Don’t drink alcohol
Don’t drink alcohol before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of having a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD can cause abnormal facial features, severe learning disabilities and behavioral issues.
Alcohol can impact a baby’s health in the earliest stages of pregnancy, before a woman may know she is pregnant. Therefore, women who may become pregnant also should not drink alcohol.
7. Don’t smoke
Smoking is unhealthy for you and your unborn child. It increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), premature birth, miscarriage and other poor outcomes.
8. Get moving
Daily exercise or staying active in other ways can help you stay healthy during pregnancy. Check with your doctor to find out how much physical activity is right for you.
9. Get a flu shot
The flu can make a pregnant woman very sick and increase risks of complications for your baby. The flu shot can protect you from serious illness and help protect your baby after birth, too. Ask your doctor about getting a flu shot.
10. Get plenty of sleep
Ample sleep (7 to 9 hours) is important for you and your baby. Try to sleep on your left side to improve blood flow.
11. Reduce stress
Reducing stress is crucial for improving birth outcomes. Pregnant women should avoid, as much as they can, stressful situations. Recruit your loved ones to help you manage stress in your life.
12. Plan the right time to get pregnant
If you are choosing to become pregnant at a time when you know that you’re at your healthiest, that increases your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth,” says Dr. Meadows.
This not only means that women should make sure that they are healthy before they become pregnant, but they also should consider their age before getting pregnant. Mothers who have children early in life (earlier than 16-years-old), or late in life (older than 40) are at greater risk for having a premature birth. Also, women who become pregnant again too soon (less than 18 months in between births) are even more likely to have a premature baby.
Other tips for pregnant women
In addition to the aforementioned tips related to the nature of food and drink to maintain a healthy pregnancy,
We will mention some other tips for a pregnant woman to take care of herself and her fetus during pregnancy as follows:
Maintaining an ideal weight
By consulting a doctor about the normal percentage of weight gain during pregnancy, as the amount of weight gain varies among women, but the pregnant woman is expected to gain between 11.3-13.6 kilograms,
Some women may need to gain more weight compared to other pregnant women if their weight was lower than the normal limits before pregnancy.
Consult a doctor before taking medication
You should consult your doctor before taking any kind of medication
Because some medications may increase the risk of birth defects in the fetus.
Avoid exposure to dangerous substances
such as exposure to chemicals, heavy metals such as lead or mercury, or some biological agents, or radiation,
Or certain cleaning products, pesticides, solvents, and lead.
Attention to oral and dental health
Therefore, it is recommended to use a human toothbrush regularly, and to visit the dentist periodically during pregnancy.
Moderation in fat and salt intake
As the abundance of salt in food may cause a rise in the pressure of the pregnant woman,
One of the worst things that can happen to a pregnant woman is high blood pressure, and a lot of fat does not help, but rather harms.
Pay attention to the dangers of sugars to the body
A pregnant woman should not eat a lot of sugar.
But it does not mean that you should never eat sugar, and it will not only be in moderation so as not to harm the mother and the fetus,
It should also not dispense with any of the meals.