Familial advice, self-help books, and now, the internet, serve as a guide for women to safely maneuver the obstacle course that is pregnancy. However, this wealth of information is highly conflicting and often adds to their confusion rather than reducing it. So, here is a comprehensive list of globally approved things you should and shouldn’t do in your baby-carrying days:
1- Share Your Prescriptions:
Everything that you consume, your baby does too, so inform your gynecologist of all medications that you currently take, from over the counter painkillers to prescription drugs as you might require alternatives. Also, ask your doctor for a multivitamin prescription containing folic acid, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, while avoiding those with high vitamin A contents to make up for nutrient deficiencies resulting from excessive bouts of nausea and vomiting that interfere with eating habits
2- Exercise Smart:
Exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes a day can aid in weight reduction and labor. It can also help combat insomnia, muscular pain, and mood swings. However, avoid lying on your back and high impact exercises in the later months of pregnancy. To learn more about the exercises, read the following articles:
3- Be Calorie-Wise:
Pregnant women only require an extra 100, 300 and 400 calories in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters respectively, as opposed to ‘eating for two’, which can cause gestational diabetes, labor difficulties, and high birth-weight, along with amplifying weight problems for you and your child later in life. The recommended weight gain amount depending upon weight status before pregnancy is:
- Underweight: 28 to 40 pounds.
- Normal: 25 to 35 pounds.
- Overweight: 15 to 25 pounds.
- Obese: No more than 20 pounds.
4- Remember Your Mental Health:
Pregnant women are often subject to depression and mood swings; so take care of yourself, and make sure to report to a doctor if you experience depressive symptoms that last longer than a few days.
5- Get Vaccinated:
Due to decreased immunity, side-effects pertaining to common illnesses are magnified in pregnant women; so ask your doctor for flu and whooping cough vaccines between 16-32 weeks, respectively. Also, whether it is your spouse or an older child, avoid people with infectious diseases as much as possible, no matter how common.
6- Visit Your Dentist:
While x-rays might not be recommended in the 1st trimester, do not skip out on oral cleanings and regular examinations to maintain oral health and avoid gum disease, which affects many pregnant women due to hormonal imbalance and bad oral hygiene.
7- Get Your Screenings:
Get an analysis of blood hormone levels and an ultrasound to detect possible birth defects (particularly in the event of a family history, such as Down’s syndrome), since some of them can be treated if detected early.
8- Avoid Radiations:
Stay away from radios, high voltage power lines, Video Display Terminals (VDTs) and household appliances such as microwaves as they emit electromagnetic radiations that may lead to miscarriages, genetic damages and birth defects.
9- Be Aware:
Inform your doctor immediately if you observe any of these symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding and excessive or smelly vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Persistent, sudden or severe headaches and abdominal cramps or pain
- Swollen or itchy hands, face, feet or legs
- Blurred or spotty vision
- Change or reduction in baby’s movements
Smoking can expose your baby a lower birth-weight, learning disabilities, and smoking at a young age, even becoming regular smokers later in life due to physiological nicotine exposure. Also, do not breathe secondhand smoke, as it can induce a premature delivery, low birth-weight miscarriage, and cause certain cancers.
2- Forget Your Seatbelt:
Instead of applying undue pressure on the baby, wearing seatbelts, with the lap belt positioned under the belly and across the hips and the shoulder belt fitted between the breasts, actually reduces pregnancy-related complications by one-third in the event of a minor car crash.
3- Choose An Early Delivery:
Brain development occurs during the 3rd trimester, so unless you’re having twins, your health is at risk, or the baby is too large (which can also be due to high prenatal blood sugar levels, in which case the risk of prematurity-related conditions is amplified), refrain from delivering early-even if it is convenient.
4- Wear Stilettos:
While flats are the best option due to swollen ankles, opt for heels that are 3 inches and under to accommodate your shifting center of gravity due to increased baby-weight. Also, start shopping for maternity clothes in the 2nd trimester.
5- Drink Tap Water:
Since it contains contaminants that can negatively affect fetal development an even result in miscarriages, avoid tap water in the 1st trimester and choose treated water instead. Boil water thoroughly if treated water is not an option.
6- Clean The Cat Litter:
Feline waste is filled with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that, if contracted by pregnant women, can result in miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as seizures and mental disabilities in babies exposed to it. So, if you are a cat owner, leave the cleaning to someone else, and remember to wash your hands thoroughly after petting them, keep your cat indoors and refrain from feeding it raw meat.
When it comes to pregnancy, following your intuition and common sense are the right course of action. If you feel or observe anything that concerns you, contact your doctor.
At oladoc, we can help you find and book confirmed appointment with the top Gynecologist in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad. Moreover, you can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 and seek the best appointment with the doctor near you.