There is a lot of advice for pregnant women out here. While some of it is useful, other not so much. You may know some things about what you need to do for a healthy pregnancy such as don’t smoke, get lots of rest, and avoid heavy lifting.
Your doctor will advise on how to have a healthy and successful pregnancy.
Ideally, you should start taking prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant but some pregnancies aren’t planned. Start taking the vitamins as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. These include folic acid, iron and calcium and they ensure that you get the right amount of important nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy.
Even if you eat healthy foods, you still need prenatal vitamins since it takes a lot of minerals to grow a healthy baby. If you do not take these vitamins, your baby is at a higher risk of getting birth defects. You may also put yourself at risk of developing problems such as weaker bones since your body will ‘donate’ a lot of calcium needed for baby development.
You need to eat right during pregnancy. In addition to the prenatal vitamins, you and your baby need nutrients from food. Eat a balanced diet with carbohydrates (e.g. bread, rice, pasta, whole grain), proteins (e.g. fish, eggs, beans), and lots of vegetables and fruit. Avoid eating too much sugar, saturated fats and salt during pregnancy. Also, ensure that you drink lots of water. Your doctor or nutritionist can advise further about what you should eat or avoid. Manage your pregnancy cravings but do not be afraid to give in sometimes.
Stay active. Daily physical activities can help you stay strong and healthy during pregnancy. Consider taking walks, swimming and running throughout the pregnancy. You are advised to avoid intense activities such as lifting heavy objects. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are right for you.
Drugs are dangerous as they can cause permanent damage to your baby. Drug use can lead to miscarriages, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), premature birth, and birth defects.
Enough sleep is healthy for you and the baby. While some women sleep more during pregnancy, others have trouble sleeping and that’s quite common. To improve sleep, get into a comfortable position. To make up for lost sleep, take naps during the day. You can talk to your doctor if the sleep disturbances are serious and affecting your day-to-day activities.
If you are not up-to-date with your immunizations, you put you and your baby at risk of certain diseases. Get all the vaccines that are recommended during pregnancy. The specific vaccines you will need to get are determined by various factors such as age, lifestyle, seasons, and medical conditions.
Vaccines can protect you and the baby from preventable diseases. Talk with your doctor about this and they should determine what you need based on whether you’re up to date with all adult vaccines.
Invest in time to learn about things such as how the baby develops, delivery options, what’s normal and what’s not, preparations for delivery and postpartum depression(PPD). Ask your doctor or midwife questions you may have and do not hesitate to request whether you can contact them via a phone call or message anytime you have questions.
Ensure that you make your prenatal visits. This is important because it helps you keep track of your health and that of your baby. Also, you should talk to your doctor before taking any medication especially over-the-counter medication and supplements.
Avoid stressful situations since they can lead to sleep deprivation, loss of appetite, headaches, high blood pressure, etc. You can talk to family, friends or therapist to help you avoid or get through stressful situations.
Well, let’s be honest this isn’t always possible. Where possible, get pregnant when you know that you’re at your healthiest. This increases your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth.
For your antenatal and postnatal services, call Marie Stopes Kenya today for free on 0800 720005 or WhatsApp them on 0709819001. You can also visit a government facility near you.