Taking Care of Your Unborn Baby While Pregnant: Bringing a new life into the world is nothing short of a miracle and is probably the most exciting experience of a woman’s life. Just thinking about the new life growing inside of you and the day you finally get to meet your baby. Then some nervousness kicks in.
What will your baby look like, will he/she be healthy? Does your job really only start once baby is born? No, it most certainly does not.
Your job starts the day you decide to have a baby, which is why prenatal care is so very important, not only for you but also for your baby.
Doctors and nurses can give you great advice, but when they are not nearby you have to rely on other sources. You will get some good advice but will also be subjected to some old wives tales, which is not always helpful or reassuring for that matter.
Remaining healthy throughout your pregnancy depends mostly on you. You should gather as much information on how to keep you and your unborn baby safe, healthy and glowing.
In this article a few tips will be provided to make sure that both you and your unborn child stays healthy and are ready when the big day finally arrives.
- 1 Taking Care of Your Unborn Baby While Pregnant
Taking Care of Your Unborn Baby While Pregnant
Early Prenatal Care
As you already know, prenatal care is essential for a healthy mom and baby. It is important to start visiting your doctor shortly after hearing that you are expecting, which generally is at around 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy.
At your first visit the doctor will check you for certain medical conditions that may be damaging to the foetus, discuss your medical concerns, and ask you about your general well being. He will check and record your blood pressure and your weight and continue to monitor this every month.
Your doctor should also do a pelvic exam in which he will establish the shape and size of your uterus, and may also do a smear test know as the Pap smear to check the overall health of your cervix.
A series of blood and urine tests will also be conducted which is necessary for the detection of conditions like syphilis and hepatitis A and B.
Don’t be alarmed when your doctor requests these types of test. He is not in anyway implying anything related to your sexual activities or partner, it is merely a screening test to ensure medical attention can be administered in a timely fashion should these conditions exist.
In the case of a disease like syphilis it can have dire consequences to the health of your unborn child, leading to neurological conditions and even death.
In the case of Hepatitis, the virus can be passed to your child during delivery. By knowing your status the doctor can know to administer the correct medication beforehand in order for this not to happen. They will also likely also administer a vaccine as soon as the test results are known.
This will ensure that your baby is protected from the start from being infected by your own body. Fortunately the CDC does still recommend breastfeeding, even if you are in fact positively tested for Hepatitis B. There are however different strains of this virus, so seeking medical advice is always recommended.
Your meals matter
Eating well during pregnancy is another very important aspect. You should concentrate on eating healthy foods containing enough calcium and protein, high quality fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat meat and ensure that your food is well cooked.
Care should be taken as to what meat you choose to eat. Any processed cold meats, undercooked meats, eggs, seafood, chicken and unpasteurized dairy products and soft cheeses should be avoided.
These foods may contain bacteria or contaminants which could be extremely harmful to the baby and could cause birth defects or even death.
Seafood in particular can be problematic. As food moves up the ocean food chain, ocean pollutants becomes more concentrated in the specific lifeform. One such pollutant which is of considerable concern is mercury, a compound which can affect the nervous system of your unborn child.
Take your Prenatal Vitamins
Upon your first doctor’s visit, he will probably prescribe certain prenatal vitamins that are high in folic acid and iron. Folic acid could be started as early as before conception due to its importance in early pregnancy. Folic acid assists in the development of the baby’s neural system and reduces the risk of spina bifida in infants.
When you reach your second and third trimester, you should concentrate on taking in more iron than before. When visiting your doctor, ask him about an additional iron supplement. Don’t try any home remedies without consulting your doctor first.
Green leafy vegetables often contains lots of iron, so if you are already eating a lot of those, make sure about taking additional iron first as too much iron is also not healthy.
Keep your body fit
Heavy exercise should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy, but a certain level of fitness and exercise is required. Exercise increases blood circulation to the womb and legs, helps oxygen travel to the placenta, helps you endure labour pain, reduces stress levels, uplifts your mood and makes it so much easier for you to get back into shape once baby is there.
During exercise it is important to stay hydrated. Always avoid hot tubs and don’t get into a sauna as this drains your body of much needed moisture. If you experience any discomfort or paid during exercise, consult your doctor immediately.
The best exercise during pregnancy would likely be water aerobics as it works all your muscle groups without having a severe impact on your body or that of your unborn child’s.
Never consume alcohol or caffeine
Consuming alcohol during your pregnancy may lead to an increased risk of baby being born prematurely or with foetal alcohol syndrome, problems with speech, learning, language and hyperactivity. In severe cases, consuming alcohol during pregnancy could even lead to a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Caffeine contains no nutritional value for mom or baby, and makes it difficult for your body to absorb iron. It may also make the mother restless and cause sleepless nights and lead to high blood pressure and headaches. Also avoid energy drinks high in sugar and caffeine, and avoid carbonated cold drinks or water.
Never use drugs or smoke during pregnancy
Taking drugs or smoking cigarettes are extremely harmful to mom and baby during pregnancy and should be avoided at all costs.
The dangers of using drugs or smoking include growth defects, premature birth, low birth weight, increases the chance of miscarriage, placental abruption, and could just make your pregnancy a very difficult one. If you have been using drugs or you have been smoking, immediately notify your doctor.
Avoid daily dangers
If your job exposes you to harsh chemicals, heavy metals, radiation etc, you will have to see your human resources department and make some changes as these things could all be harmful to your unborn baby. Certain general household cleaners could also be dangerous.
Many employers will likely allocate you duties that will not harm your foetus so be open with them about your pregnancy. By law you are allowed a workplace free from harm and companies have to put in measures to protect its employees
Take care of your oral health
Common complaints during pregnancy include tender bleeding gums commonly known as gingivitis due to an increase in hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone.
Brush and floss regularly and also make an appointment at your dentist for a check up. Be sure to tell him you are pregnant as not all dental procedures are suited for pregnant women.
Get sufficient rest
Your body and energy levels change tremendously during each trimester of your pregnancy, so make sure you pay attention and listen to it. You will find yourself very sleepy and tired all the time during your first and second trimester.
This is when you should listen and slow down. Sleep if you need to and rest if you feel you need to. Your body is going through a lot of changes right now, allow it to adjust and cope with it.
If you have trouble winding down, try your hand at relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, stretching, massages and yoga.
This will help you de-stress and sleep better at night. You might not be in a position to quit working already but by informing your employer, it will afford you the ability to take time off work when you are really feeling unwell.
Be a Happy mommy
Your emotional and mental state of mind is important during your pregnancy. It is totally normal to experience mixed emotions and mood swings during this part of your life, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If your mood swings are excessive and last more than a few weeks, you might want to inform your doctor.
Ultimately, your baby’s well being depends in the prenatal care you take before baby arrives. Healthy mommy equals healthy baby.