With over 4 million births in the United States and between 128 and 138 million births in the world every year, the need arises for proper care during pregnancy. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself during your pregnancy.
Get Prenatal Care
The number one most important thing you can do to insure you have a healthy baby is to get prenatal care from a reputable doctor. Regular prenatal checkups can detect potential problems early, determine whether a c-section may be needed, determine the sex and just insure things are going smoothly. A prenatal checkup will generally include blood and urine tests to check for bacteria, blood sugar problems, high blood protein levels, iron levels and other typical complications of pregnancy. Your blood pressure and weight will also be checked. Ultrasounds may also be done to check the growth of the baby and its position in the womb.
In addition to prenatal care, it's essential that you eat right. Balanced meals are crucial, as you are now feeding your baby, as well as yourself. A diet with plenty of whole grains, high quality proteins, fruits and vegetables and dairy is usually recommended for most expectant mothers. It is also recommended that you avoid some items like too much caffeine, artificial sweeteners and any raw or not fully cooked foods like eggs, fish or meat. Also not recommended are soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy products as these can contain bacteria that could cause an infection. Some types of fish contain higher levels of mercury, which should be avoided, these fish include tuna, shark, swordfish and mackerel. Only two or three servings of fish are recommended for most pregnant women. Above all, drink plenty of fluids, especially water, during your pregnancy.
Vitamins & Supplements
In recent years, studies have found that the B vitamin, folic acid, helps to prevent birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Doctors recommend you take 400 mcg every day. Your doctor may also recommend a multivitamin formulated for pregnant women as well. Many women also take other vitamins and supplements during pregnancy, but be sure to let your doctor know what other supplements you're taking. Consulting a nutritionist or naturopath can be beneficial and they can customize a supplement plan for your specific health needs.
In general, most pregnant women can do the same types of exercises that they did while they weren't pregnant. Though some types of weight lifting, very strenuous exercise, as well as certain yoga poses and pilates movements aren't recommended for pregnant women. You should do your research to make sure you are doing safe exercises for your baby. Generally, swimming and walking are excellent, lower impact exercises for pregnant women and are therefore most recommended.
Dealing With Morning Sickness
Vomiting and nausea are the two most prevalent symptoms of morning sickness in pregnant women. Some ways to alleviate morning sickness include eating more small meals throughout the day instead of 3 larger ones and also eating less greasy or fatty foods.
Prevention Of Complications
Taking care of yourself from the moment you are pregnant can not only protect the health of yourself and your unborn baby, but it can also prevent post birth health complications, including postpartum depression. Postpartum can be prevented by getting proper physical and mental health care during pregnancy, but if after birth, you still come down with a level of postpartum depression, it can be dealt with by using medication or counseling, including an innovative online counseling method, called eCounseling. eCounseling provides effective counseling services by certified counselors, for treating postpartum depression right in your own home.
Remember to take care of yourself during pregnancy, since you're not just taking care of yourself anymore, but also another living being.