Congrats! You are about to become a mother. Indeed, parenthood is one of life’s most thrilling journeys. But once you know you are pregnant, taking care of your mental and physical health becomes more important than ever. There is no getting away from the fact that many aspects of pregnancy are out of your control. However, by sticking to the following tips, you can keep several pregnancy-related complications at a safe distance:
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Cut Back On Alcohol
While it may seem fine to occasionally enjoy a glass of wine while having dinner with friends, consuming alcohol during pregnancy can cause severe abnormalities in a developing fetus. Alcohol is transferred to the baby through the mother’s bloodstream. And the baby is physiologically less capable of metabolizing it than the mother. Hence, an unborn baby has a greater propensity to acquire a high concentration of alcohol, which remains in the infant’s system for longer than it would in the mother’s system.
Excessive consumption of alcohol damages the health of the mother and the fetus. Miscarriage, Pre-mature birth, and low-birth weight are three risks associated with alcohol consumption. It can lead to facial deformities, heart defects, and cerebral palsy. Your baby can develop fetal alcohol spectrum disorder that hampers the baby’s growth after birth. It leads to problems in behavior and attention span. It reduces learning capabilities, thinking, speech, movement, balance, and muscle tone.
Your best strategy is to abstain from alcohol for the duration of your pregnancy. That said, do not stress too much if you had a drink or two before you realized you were pregnant. If you are planning to become pregnant, and notice some tell-tale signs of alcohol addiction, join a well-reputed rehab center to overcome this addiction rather than exposing your unborn fetus to the damaging effects of alcohol.
Stay Away From Caffeine
Caffeine consumption during pregnancy is associated with severe health problems. Caffeine goes into the fetus’s bloodstream via the placenta. As a result, you and your baby could experience high blood pressure, a fast heartbeat, and a hyperactive nervous system. This could lead to miscarriage in some cases.
According to credible studies, caffeine increases an infant’s risk of low birth weight by as much as 13% even at low doses. You might want to try switching to a naturally decaffeinated herbal tea. But you should still see your midwife or doctor before making the final decision because certain herbs can cause labor to start too early.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are beneficial. So it is best to start taking them soon after learning about your pregnancy, or even before that when you are just trying to get pregnant. From the first month of pregnancy, your child’s neural tube begins to grow, which is the precursor to the brain and the spinal cord. Therefore, receiving the proper nutrients, including calcium, folic acid, and iron, is crucial right from the start.
You can purchase prenatal vitamins without a prescription from your doctor or buy them at any drug store. If you feel sick after taking these, consider taking them at night or with a light meal. It can also help to chew gum or eat hard candy afterward.
Do Some Exercise
Exercise encourages a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and eases discomfort. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Swimming and walking are two excellent options. You may also opt for Kegel exercises, which can build up your pelvic floor muscles to keep the bladder, bowels, and uterus in check. On top of that, Kegel exercises can also ease labor and help you avoid incontinence issues after delivery.
You should not rush things if you were not physically active before becoming pregnant. Pay attention to what your body tells you, and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Water intake is essential in the second trimester to prevent overheating and dehydration.
Stay away from any physical activities that could result in a tumble. Rock climbing and skiing are two examples. If you have any health concerns that could prevent you from working out, it is important to discuss them with your doctor.
Get Enough Sleep
During pregnancy, you will likely feel more exhausted than usual. It is because hormonal shifts in your body will affect your stamina. Besides, your sleep schedule will be severly disrupted after giving birth to the baby. So make it a priority to get extra sleep and give your body a chance to unwind.
Finding a comfortable sleeping position will become more challenging as your baby grows. In the later stages of pregnancy, you may find that lying on your side with your knees bent is the most comfortable position. It also relieves your heart’s workload by reducing pressure on the major arteries that provide blood to your legs and heart.
Many medical professionals strongly recommend pregnant women sleep on their left side. When you lie on your left side, the uterus is less likely to press upon a major blood vessel that runs along the right side of your abdomen. Place pillows behind your back, under your tummy, and between your legs for a more comfortable sleeping position.
Put On Sunscreen
Pregnancy increases your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, making you more vulnerable to chloasma and sunburn. Put on sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF rating. There are numerous brands available now that use chemical-free formulations. Also, don a cap and sunglasses. Even though no studies suggest that time spent in tanning beds might harm your unborn child, the American Pregnancy Association advises staying away from them while you are pregnant.
Attend Childbirth Classes
If you have had a healthy pregnancy, you might assume you know what to expect this time. But it bears worth mentioning that every pregnancy comes with its own risks. Thus, you should consider enrolling yourself in childbirth classes.
You must inform your doctor if you or a family member has ever experienced a complication. In addition, you should discuss your pregnancy history with your gynecologist. The information can help anticipate whether your kid may have any genetic or health conditions.
Pregnancy is a mix of pleasure and severe discomfort, but the pregnancy months will pass, and your baby will be here. Pregnancy is the first step toward parenthood and learning to consider the unborn child’s well-being above all other matters. Though the list might seem overwhelming, the hard work is well worth it. You will be glad you followed these recommendations at the end of the nine months. When cuddling and holding your new baby, do not forget to pat yourself on the back.