Pregnant? Here are Tips to Stay Healthy
During pregnancy, a woman must not only take care of herself for her own sake, but for her unborn child as well.
The following are tips for pregnant women to maintain good health during pregnancy, a physiological state with increased biological demands requiring a definitive need to maintain a proper state of wellbeing.
- Eat healthy: Have a good intake of vegetables, fruits, lean meat, whole grain foods and extra fluids
- Iron and Vitamin Supplements, as prescribed by your consulting physician in order to prevent anemia and other physiological disorders. Vitamin B12, C and D are essential. Along with these, there should be an increase of calcium intake
- To reduce birth defects, folic acid is key (400-800 micrograms)
- Make sure blood glucose levels and blood pressure are regularly checked and maintained
- Proper vaccinations, especially the tetanus toxoid shots. These are done to avoid complications in fetal growth
- Minimize stress, in order to improve the general well-being of both mother and baby
- Regular physical activity, in order to maintain proper health during the physiologically demanding state of pregnancy
Diet Tips for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women require more dietary input than usual, and so a food pyramid is established for them as per their dietary needs. The following are the recommended dietary intake for pregnant women:
- Bread, cereal, rice, pasta: 6 to 11 portions daily
- Fruits: 3 to 4 portions daily
- Vegetables: 3 to 4 portions daily
- Protein (in form of meat etc.): 3 to 4 portions daily
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt): 4 portions daily
- Fats, Sugars and oils: occasionally only
Things to Avoid While Pregnant
Pregnant women are also advised to avoid particular food during pregnancy. These practices can not only be harmful to the mother and the fetus, but can exacerbate any presenting disease or condition. Avoiding these practices will help in maintaining a healthy pregnancy, free of any complication. Therefore, the following things are advised to be avoided when pregnant:
- Avoid foods like mayonnaise, coleslaw, sushi and liver.
- Do NOT smoke. Smoking is very harmful during pregnancy. It can have a teratogenic effect on the fetus, as well as exacerbate conditions like hypertension in the mother. Smoking definitely impedes fetal growth and can lead to a significantly increased risk of miscarriage.
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. These can also lead to a miscarriage and in some extreme cases, even maternal death can occur.
- Avoid exposure to toxic substances to avoid complications.
- Protect yourself from food borne diseases as they can result in nutritional deficiency amongst other complications which must be avoided during pregnancy in order to have good fetal growth.
- Avoid exposure to x-rays to prevent developmental abnormalities.
- Avoid contact with cats as it can cause Toxoplasmosis Gondii, a disease which can also be transferred to the fetus via the placenta and can cause neurological symptoms in the fetus at birth. Even death.
Other than these measures, some exercises can also be performed during pregnancy. These help strengthen the abdominal muscles during pregnancy and help prepare muscles for labor, a process which requires a lot of muscle recruitment. Therefore, the following exercises are advised:
- Arm/Upper Back Stretch
- Pelvic tilt, which helps strengthen abdominal and back muscles, reducing back strain and fatigue
- Sit Ups (There are two variations, forward and diagonal)
- Calf stretch
- Kegels: These prevent hemorrhoid formation, supports the baby and assists during and after labor
- Arm slide on the wall
- Shoulder abduction with light dumb bell weights
- Rowing Exercise
- Thoracic extension, in order to relieve abdominal muscle stress as well as to improve lung function
- A modified push-up, designed to strengthen the abdominal wall musculature, in the hope of reducing stress when pregnant and to provide more force when labor occurs
It is hoped that by following all these practices, women who are pregnant will be able to maintain a healthy pregnancy and have a full term normal healthy baby upon delivery.