How to have a healthy pregnancy
Updated On: May 07 2013 03:10:15 PM CDT
By Barbara Floria, Pure Matters
When you’re pregnant, it's vitally important to take good care of yourself. You'll need to schedule regular visits with your health care provider, who can monitor your baby’s development. He or she can discover early on any health issues you or your child may have, when they’re easiest to treat.
Following your doctor’s orders and these guidelines from the National Women's Health Information Center can help.
Follow a nutritious diet
When you're pregnant, a healthy diet is important. You also need adequate amounts of folic acid, a B vitamin that helps guard against birth defects. It's difficult to get all the folic acid you need from food alone. Your health care provider will likely recommend a prenatal vitamin supplement that contains the nutrient.
Staying fit while you’re pregnant will help you deal with the demands pregnancy places on your body. It also may make labor and delivery a little easier. But don’t overdo it. Working out too hard and getting overheated can affect blood and oxygen flow to your baby. Discuss your exercise plan with your doctor before you begin.
Smoking makes your developing baby grow more slowly. It also can affect your child’s learning potential. Mothers who smoke also have an increased rate of preterm labor and miscarriage. If you live with someone who smokes, steer clear of the secondhand smoke, which also can affect your baby.
Abstain from alcohol
You should not drink any alcohol while pregnant. Heavy drinking can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. This includes facial deformities and severe behavioral and learning difficulties. Drinking any alcohol may result in a milder condition called fetal alcohol effect.
Respond to abuse
Domestic violence often begins or increases when a woman is pregnant because she’s more vulnerable and dependent and is an easier target. At the first sign of abuse, call the toll-free National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 and get help.
Visit your doctor early
Make an appointment with your health care provider as soon as you think you might be pregnant. You and your provider can discuss any special pregnancy risk factors you may have, so you can make changes that will benefit your health and your baby’s.
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