Maintaining good pregnancy health has several benefits – it means a healthier baby, fewer discomforts, and lower likelihood of pregnancy complications, less arduous labor and delivery and also a quicker recovery post delivery.
Here are some tips to help you achieve the best pregnancy health possible:
1. Get healthy before pregnancy – And this includes the father as well. Getting to a healthy weight (neither underweight nor overweight) getting checked for infections and diseases, giving up bad habits such as smoking or substance abuse can all help men and women conceive.
2. Exercise regularly – This is to make sure that you don’t gain excessive weight during pregnancy. It is also to make sure that you are limber and fit enough to facilitate a relatively easier delivery.
Remember to include Kegel’s exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Regular exercise can help control blood sugar and prevent gestational diabetes. Exercise can also help to maintain good pregnancy health; both physical as well as mental, helping to control mood swings etc.
3. Eat healthy – If exercise is important during pregnancy, good nutrition is the other side of the same coin. A healthy intake consisting of fresh fruit and vegetable as well as whole grains can ensure that the mother and her unborn baby get all the requisite nutrients, keep weight gain in control and can also help keep pregnancy discomforts such constipation at bay.
4. Get your immunizations – The recommended vaccines to be taken before pregnancy, are Tdap (tetanus diphtheria pertussis), varicella, MMR (measles, mumps rubella) and Hepatitis B if required at appropriate times before getting pregnant.
During pregnancy the Flu Vaccine, the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine and in some cases pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is recommended. Immunizations are particularly important for pregnancy health because pregnant women have lowered immunity and a greater likelihood of catching infections.
5. Learn relaxation techniques – Good mental health is as important and good physical health during pregnancy. This can be a time when a woman is not only prone to hopes, doubts and anxieties; what we call the baby blues, but also more serious mental problems such as depression. So learning relaxation techniques such as meditation or other visualization techniques, yoga and so on can help a woman lower stress and maintain good mental health.
6. Don’t ignore any troublesome symptoms – While minor aches and pains and discomforts are a part and parcel of pregnancy, severe pain should never be ignored. No vaginal bleeding should be considered normal in pregnancy, and ought to be reported promptly. Fever, rashes, and other signs of infection should also be promptly reported.
7. Get regular prenatal checkups – Track your pregnancy’s progress and make sure that mother and child are doing fine. Take recommended supplements regularly (folic acid in the first trimester, multivitamin, calcium and iron as required). Take ultrasounds and other antenatal tests that may be recommended.
8. Control caffeine and lay off bad habits – If you must have coffee, limit it to a cup a day. As for alcohol there is no amount that is considered safe during pregnancy, so in the interests of good pregnancy health lay off alcohol. It goes without saying that smoking and recreational drugs are off limits in pregnancy.