When you are pregnant, you want to do all you can to make sure your baby is as healthy as possible. Although you cannot prevent all birth defects, you can take measures to increase your chances of having a healthy baby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Once you learn some safe baby pregnancy tips, you can rest easier knowing that you are giving your baby the best possible start in life.
Get Prenatal Care
As soon as you know you are pregnant, you should get prenatal care. Your doctor or midwife will evaluate your health to know how to treat you. After this initial appointment, you will go in every four to six weeks until you are close to delivery. You may also choose to get genetic testing to know if there have been birth defects in your family, according to the CDC.
Smoking increases your risks of having a premature birth and is one of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Women who smoke have a higher rate of miscarriage and are more likely than women who do not smoke to have a baby born with a cleft palate.
Stop Drinking Alcohol
No amount of alcohol is safe, and the risks increase of your having a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) the more you drink. You also may be subjecting your child to suffer anxiety and depression if you engage in heavy drinking, according to Science Daily. Heavy drinking is the equivalent of a bottle of wine per week.
Avoid Over-The-Counter Drugs
The over-the-counter (OTC) medicines you may have taken before your pregnancy may not be OK to take once you become pregnant. You should discuss any prescriptions, OTC drugs or medicinal herbs with your doctor before taking any, according to the Medicine Net website.
Eat Healthy Food
Eat a healthy diet that contains the five food groups to get the nutrients to you and your baby. Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, too. Find out from your doctor what your healthy weight should be throughout your pregnancy and try to keep at that weight. You don’t want to be overweight or underweight. Also, be careful of what you eat. Your immune system is not as strong when you are pregnant, which subjects you to food borne illness, according to the Whatcom County Cooperative Extension at Washington State University. Avoid rare ground beef, cold cuts, soft cheese, raw milk, alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts.
Try to rest on your left side as much as you can, recommends the CDC. This provides good circulation to your baby and helps reduce swelling.
Exercise is good for you and can help you have an easier delivery, according to Web MD. If you exercised before becoming pregnant, you should be able to keep doing whatever exercise you were doing, except exercises that will jar the baby or subject you to falling, such as skiing or horseback riding. Otherwise, if you were a jogger, for instance, keep jogging. But, listen to your body and stop exercising if you start to feel bad in any way. Be especially careful when exercising in the summer, because you don’t want your body temperature to get too high. This could cause fetal damage, reports Dr. Amy L. Tremper of the University of Michigan Medical School.
Avoid Toxic Substances
Avoid exposing yourself to toxic chemicals while you are pregnant, such as cleaning solvents, paint and insecticides.
Stay Out of the Hot Tub
Hot tubs raise your body temperature too much, so you should stay out of them while you are pregnant.
- pregnant woman image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com