by Patricia Hughes
Your diet and lifestyle habits are more important during pregnancy than at any other time. When you are pregnant, the baby is dependent on you to nourish him and avoid anything that could cause harm. It’s common for pregnant mothers to worry and wonder about any number of factors and the impact they could have on the growing baby. Fortunately there are some healthy habits you can adopt now to give your baby the best possible start in life.
Quit Smoking: This one is pretty obvious. Smoking is terrible for you and your baby. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are at risk from a variety of complications, such as miscarriage, preterm labor and low birth weight. After birth, they are more likely to have allergies or develop asthma. Even when the parents smoke outside, the smoke remains on the clothes and in the hair. This can have a negative impact on the baby.
If you are pregnant and smoke, now is the best time to quit. A smoke free pregnancy and home is one of the greatest gifts you can give your growing baby. Talk to your doctor for help. There are a variety of options that are safe for the baby and can help you kick the habit for good. You have the perfect incentive now.
Avoid Alcohol: There is some controversy surrounding this one. Is the occasional glass of wine safe? Some say yes and others say no. Large amounts of alcohol are certainly not safe and can result in the baby being born with fetal alcohol syndrome. To be safe, it’s better to avoid alcohol altogether during pregnancy. If you have trouble stopping, seek help as soon as possible for the health of your baby.
Avoid Drugs, Legal and Otherwise: If you find you are pregnant and are taking any drugs, this needs to be evaluated. Prescription drugs may or may not be safe for the baby. Call your doctor as soon as possible for advice, but don’t stop taking medications without telling your doctor if you have a chronic or serious health condition that requires the medicine. Your doctor can tell you if the drug is safe or prescribe an alternative if necessary.
Prescription drugs aren’t the only concern. Over the counter drugs can be just as lethal to a developing fetus as prescription medications. Often we think that because they are sold over the counter, the drug is mild. This is not always the case. If you use any type of illegal drug, it is important to stop immediately. Many drugs cause irreparable harm to the growing baby. Since most organ and tissue development occurs early in pregnancy, it’s important to stop now. If you can’t stop, get help as soon as possible.
Eat a Healthy Diet: Your baby eats everything you eat. For this reason, your diet is very important during pregnancy. Your baby needs certain nutrients such as vitamins, protein, iron and calcium for development. Eat a varied diet rich in fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, proteins and complex carbohydrates. If you have a reduced appetite, you can make up the nutrition by eating healthy snacks throughout the day.
Get Regular Exercise: Exercise is important during pregnancy for a variety of reasons. Women who are fit during pregnancy experience fewer complications, such as gestational diabetes and pre eclampsia. In addition, regular exercise is great for keeping your weight gain under control and helping you prepare for birth. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity three or four times each week. Before beginning any new exercise regimen, speak to your health care provider.
Make Rest a Priority: Fatigue is one of the most common complaints among pregnant women. There is good reason for this, growing a healthy baby is a lot of work. You can expect to feel more tired during the day. The best solution to fatigue is rest. Get to bed a little earlier and rest during the day.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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