What should I keep in mind during pregnancy?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

During pregnancy the key focus should be on having a healthy mom. Healthy moms grow healthy babies. Part of a healthy lifestyle is getting good nutrition with appropriate portion control, adequate sleep and rest, the right amount of exercise geared to the pregnancy, decreased stress with good support from family and friends, adequate knowledge of the pregnancy and the birth to come and a nurturing health care provider that spends the time you need to answer your questions and guide you through the pregnancy and upcoming birth. Many women are turning to Pregnancy Centering / and or Midwifery care which focuses on the holistic approaches to pregnancy and birth and has demonstrated better outcomes to the current western model of care.

The following are some of the pregnancy dos:

See your doctor regularly. Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy and spot problems if they occur. Continue taking folic acid throughout your pregnancy. All women capable of pregnancy should get 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day. Getting enough folic acid lowers the risk of some birth defects. Taking a vitamin with folic acid will help you to be sure you are getting enough. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and lean meats. Get all essential nutrients, including iron, every day. Getting enough iron prevents anemia, which is linked to preterm birth and low-birth weight babies. Ask your doctor about taking a daily prenatal vitamin or iron supplement. Drink extra fluids, especially water. Get moving! Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, physical activity is good for you and your baby. Gain a healthy amount of weight. Gaining more than the recommended amount during pregnancy increases a woman's risk for pregnancy complications. Wash hands, especially after handling raw meat or using the bathroom. Get enough sleep. Aim for 7 to 9 hours every night. Resting on your left side helps blood flow to you and your baby and prevents swelling. Using pillows between your legs and under your belly will help you get comfortable. Set limits. If you can, control the stress in your life and set limits. Don't be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy. Ask for help from others. Make sure health problems are treated and kept under control. If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor it closely. Ask your doctor before stopping any medicines you take or taking any new medicines. Prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medicine all can harm your baby. Get a flu shot if your baby's due date is between March and July. Pregnant women can get very sick from the flu and may need hospital care. Ask your doctor about the flu vaccine. Always wear a seatbelt. The lap strap should go under your belly, across your hips. The shoulder strap should go between your breasts and to the side of your belly. Join childbirth or parenting class. This information is based on source information from US Department of Health and Human Services.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.