Pregnancy is a special moment in a woman’s life. During this time, care must be taken in order to keep the baby safe and to ensure that the baby grows inside the womb without any risk or complication. Here are the top four ways to keep an unborn baby safe while expecting:
Regular Check-ups and Routine Tests
Upon learning about your pregnancy, visit an obstetrician or midwife for routine check-ups. Usually, prenatal check-ups are conducted once a month until the twenty-eighth week. From the twenty-ninth week until the thirty-sixth week, visits are increased to twice a month. Prenatal check-ups are conducted weekly from the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy until birth. Visiting an obstetrician early in your pregnancy can help detect risks and possible complications. Routine tests will be initially carried out to identify anemia, gestational diabetes, or any infections. The doctor or health care provider can better monitor vital signs of mother and baby, check growth progress, and monitor weight gain.
Another important diagnostic test is sonography. The procedure is commonly done to determine the number of babies, growth of internal organs, position of the placenta, size of the baby, and any problems associated with the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. More than a single ultrasound can be requested by your doctor between the eighteenth and twenty-second weeks to check the baby’s changes in position, monitor the baby’s growth, check the amniotic fluid, and detect any signs of genetic problems. Sonography is primarily a diagnostic tool to determine that your baby is healthy and safe. It should not be used solely to determine the baby’s gender or to have a picture of the baby.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
It is a common notion that pregnant women should eat for two but this is not actually the case. In fact, additional calories are not needed in the first six months of pregnancy. However, during the last three months, you need to add 200 calories to your daily diet. Avoid foods that are considered risky for the baby. A bacteria known as listeria can cause birth complications or miscarriage. It can be acquired from undercooked ready meals, unpasteurized milk, mold-ripened cheeses, blue-veined cheeses and pâté. Salmonella from raw eggs and undercooked poultry can cause food poisoning. Certain types of fish can also contain high levels of mercury that can be harmful to the baby.
If you were not active before pregnancy, now is the time to get up and get moving. Regular exercise can be beneficial for the body to prepare it for the baby’s growth and for the physical stress during labor. Getting into shape during pregnancy helps you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. It also helps lifts your mood and prevent depression from setting in. Brisk walking and swimming are good exercises when pregnant. Yoga and Pilates are also best for pregnant women to help improve flexibility and prepare the body for the baby’s delivery. In general, any exercise will do as long as it does not put stress on joints and does not create a risk for falls. Give emphasis on pelvic floor muscle strengthening. Pregnancy tends to make it weak and slack that it can lead to stress incontinence.
Avoid Alcohol Consumption and Smoking
Heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages may result to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome (FASD). The condition may cause birth defects and learning deficiencies. Avoid alcohol altogether especially during the first trimester. Pregnant women should also stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking can also heighten morning sickness.
Pregnant women should always remember that their body is a vessel for the baby to grow in. Anything ingested, inhaled or taken in inside the body can pass through the placenta and can affect the baby’s growth and developments.
Sarah Daren is a writer who produces informative articles in the field of health. This article was written to explain techniques used to keep an unborn child healthy and to promote further study in this are with a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Degree.