Being pregnant can be a stressful time for a new mother. There is a lot to worry about, and at the top of most mother’s lists of worries is the health and well-being of their baby. To protect your child during those pivotal nine months, you are going to need to make the best health decisions possible and take proper precautions. Below are five things you should consider in order to protect you and your unborn child’s health.
1. Prenatal Checkups
One thing you should certainly do during your pregnancy is receive prenatal checkups. A prenatal checkup occurs when a pregnant woman visits the doctor so that certain tests can be performed to confirm the health status of both mother and baby.
Tests that may be conducted for the mother include checking blood pressure and performing a pap smear to test for cervical cancer. Once the pregnancy has reached the second trimester, the doctor will check the baby’s heartbeat as well as its position inside the mother. As the pregnancy proceeds, blood tests and ultrasounds may be performed. If you are considered to be having a high-risk pregnancy, then a specialist like Dr. Gilbert Webb will be needed to care for you throughout the stages of pregnancy and birth. All of this is necessary to ensure that the baby is healthy and the mother will have the ability to safely give birth.
2. Risk Factors
Certain mothers are at more risk of having birth complications than others. Part of being a responsible mother is knowing whether or not you are at risk. Things that could result in a high risk pregnancy include the age of the mother, sexually transmitted diseases, and other medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Other risks can develop during the pregnancy, such as multiple fetuses or premature labor.
Getting enough rest is very important for the health of both the mother and child. During the beginning of pregnancy, the mother will feel a lot of fatigue due to the influx of hormones into her body. However, this fatigue has a purpose. It’s the body’s natural way of telling the mother to take it slow. For your baby to be healthy, you need to be getting a few extra hours of sleep. Take as many naps as you need. If backaches keep you awake at night, consider sleeping on your side instead.
Being a responsible pregnant mother means making the right food choices so that the baby receives proper nutrition. It also means avoiding foods and drinks that could harm the child. A healthy diet for a pregnant mother should include things like fiber-rich whole grain bread, iron-rich foods such as spinach, foods that contain iodine like cottage cheese, and Vitamin C-rich juices.
Overall, pregnancy is not the time to diet. You need to be getting the right mix of vitamins and nutrients. Foods and drinks that should be avoided because they could be harmful to the baby include alcohol, caffeinated drinks, sushi, deli meats, green tea, and anything containing raw meat or eggs.
5. Pelvic Exercises
During pregnancy, extra pressure is placed on the muscles at the base of the mother’s pelvis. These muscles are important because they help support the vagina, bladder, and other important organs. This extra pressure can lead to problems like incontinence, which can result in accidental, sudden urination. However, you can help strengthen these muscles and prevent this condition by performing pelvic floor exercises. These same exercises can also help ensure that you are more easily able to use these muscles while giving birth.
Being a parent can be scary, but if you receive the proper medical assistance, eat right, perform the right kind of exercise, and get enough rest, you can certainly increase your chances of having a safe and healthy pregnancy.
This guest post was contributed by Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger who lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. Brooke loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. Follow Brooke on Twitter @BrookeChaplan.
Top photo: alphaone/Flickr