There probably isn’t an expectant mother on earth who doesn’t begin worrying about the health of her baby from the moment she’s informed she’s with child. However, for a first pregnancy, everything is new. You don’t know what to expect as the months go by and every little change in your body gives rise to a new concern. Of course, you will get the best information from your OB/GYN team, but much of what worries you are just those normal changes you go through at various stages of pregnancy. If you are looking for ways to promote a healthy pregnancy, here are some things you can do for yourself and that little life growing inside you.
Know Your List of No-Nos
Did you know that using tobacco, alcohol or drugs during pregnancy can lead to issues other than impaired fetal development? For example, babies born to mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy can be born with a condition called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, FASDs. Alongside that, mothers who smoke or take drugs or consume alcohol can give birth to a child susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS.
Yes, these substances can impair the development of the fetus giving rise to any number of birth defects, but worry doesn’t stop at birth. Medical science now associates many illnesses and conditions with substance abuse during pregnancy. There are other substances on that ‘no-no’ list as well. Such things as high-mercury and/or undercooked fish top the list. Undercooked or processed meats are other things which should be avoided, as are caffeine and organ meat. You may be surprised at the list of foods to avoid found here.
Be Kind to Your Body
There is an old saying which sometimes is totally misconstrued. You will be told that it’s okay to overindulge in food because you are feeding two now. That’s true and yet again, it isn’t exactly accurate. You don’t need to add calories but you do need to get better nourishment! Prenatal nutrients are different from those you need at other stages of life and that’s why it is so important to supplement with the 5 Essential Prenatal Nutrients for the healthy development of that baby growing within you.
Folic acid (folate) is one of the nutrients you need in greater amounts at this time in your life, as are iron, vitamin D, calcium, and those amazing Omega-3 fatty acids. Yes, you need them at any time in your life, but they are especially important during pregnancy for the development of a healthy baby. They help to keep you healthy as well!
Stress and Loud Noises
These two are often linked together as things to avoid during pregnancy because loud noise can be stressful to the mother. In reaction to stress, your body will produce hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can be harmful to a developing fetus if produced in copious amounts. However, what you may not know about loud noise is that it is only muffled inside your body.
It is not known for sure exactly how much noise a fetus can sustain before developing hearing problems, but the two are definitely linked to some degree. Not only will the stress of loud noises affect the production of stress hormones but the loud noise itself may cause hearing problems in your developing baby. Avoid stress and loud noises as often as humanly possible.
Dental Care and Infections
It has long been known that dental infections can cause serious issues with heart health, but did you know that any kind of infection can interfere with the healthy development of a fetus? It is recommended that you visit your dentist regularly before and during pregnancy to ensure you aren’t harboring any gum infections. Just remember to inform your dentist that you are pregnant, so that proper precautions can be taken if they need to take dental x-rays.
Some women try to avoid the dentist for this very reason, but that isn’t a good idea either! If you have an infection, that can be more of an immediate danger to your developing child than taking precautions inside the dentist’s office.
As a final pointer, it is advisable to stay informed during pregnancy. Not only should you read up on the 40 weeks of pregnancy in order to be aware of what changes in your body to expect, but it is important to know if there are any infectious diseases reaching epidemic proportions which could affect the development of a healthy baby.
You are carrying precious cargo and it is your job to protect that baby to the best of your ability. Learn what to expect and what not to expect, so that if anything raises a red flag, you can consult with your OB/GYN sooner rather than later. Staying healthy during pregnancy is different to maintaining good health at other times of your life, so stay informed and you should be able to expect a safe and healthy delivery.