The excitement of finding out that one is pregnant is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. The nine-month long journey is marked by changes in the body that already start taking place even before a woman realises she is pregnant. By understanding the physical and emotional transformations and knowing how to stay healthy during this period, a woman can prepare herself for a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few pointers on how to get started with pregnancy preparations.
Once a woman realises she is pregnant, a prenatal visit to the doctor is a must. The first prenatal visit involves taking a medical history, general physical stats, a pelvic exam to check the uterus and look for any cervical abnormalities, along with blood and urine tests and an ultrasound.
Taking prenatal vitamin
Every pregnant woman and also women trying to conceive must get adequate daily folic acid to prevent birth defects like spinal bifida in a foetus.
Focusing on fitness
Though it is best not to try a new, rigorous fitness routine once pregnant, most forms of moderate-intensity exercises like swimming, walking, and cycling are actually safe for a pregnant woman, done for 30 minutes on most days of the week. However, now is not a time to prepare for that marathon or intensive workout sessions for losing weight. Care must be taken to avoid getting the body temperature very high; keeping fluid intake high can help with that.
Saying no to alcohol
Alcohol is responsible for causing miscarriage, low birth weight, birth defects, still birth and foetal alcohol syndrome. It must be completely avoided for the health for the growing baby.
Staying away from smoke
The baby receives everything the mother eats, drinks or inhales. Smoking increases the risk of a host of pregnancy-related problems like miscarriage, preterm birth, placental issues, stillbirth, or birth defects like a cleft palate.
Reviewing any current medication
For women being treated for a chronic condition, finding out that they are pregnant means they must consult with their doctor if the current medications are safe for pregnancy. Also, any kind of supplements or alternate medicine must also be mentioned.
Some viruses and bacteria can affect the baby’s health; it is best to stay away from people and young children with highly contagious infections like chicken pox, flu and other viral and bacterial illnesses. This is especially important if the pregnant woman works with small children who are more prone to certain infections.
Staying clear of toxic foods
Undercooked and smoked meats, raw eggs, soft cheeses, large fish that could be high in mercury must be avoided at all costs. All vegetables and fruits must be washed thoroughly before use to remove any traces of pesticides.
Avoiding saunas and hot tubs
While a hot bath or sauna might seem relaxing during pregnancy, it also raises body temperature to levels that could be harmful for the baby.
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“First trimester pregnancy: What to expect,” MayoClinic.com, Mayo Clinic Staff, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20047208
“How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy,” Group Health Cooperative, http://www.ghc.org/healthAndWellness/?item=/common/healthAndWellness/pregnancy/pregnancy/overview.html
“Quick tips to healthy pregnancy,” TheWomens.org.au, https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/pregnancy-and-birth/a-healthy-pregnancy/quick-tips/
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