Staying Healthy During Pregnancy
When you’ve confirmed that you’re pregnant, this gives you even more reason to take more care for your body than ever before. By doing so, you work towards keeping you and your baby as healthy as possible.
Prenatal Health Care
By getting regular prenatal care, this can be a key to protecting the health of your child. If you suspect that you’re pregnant, get in touch with your health care provider and schedule a prenatal appointment. A number of health care providers, might not schedule the first visit before 8 weeks of pregnancy have elapsed, unless there is a problem.
Watch Your Baby Grow
At your first visit, your health care provider will run a pregnancy test to figure out how many weeks into your pregnancy you are. This will be based on a physical examination and the date of your last period. This is useful information as it will also be used to predict your delivery date. Ultrasound scans done later in your pregnancy will help verify that date.
If you’re healthy and there are no risk factors, most health care providers will want to see you:
- Every 4 weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy
- After that, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks
- Then once a week until delivery
Throughout the pregnancy, your weight, blood pressure as well as the growth and development of your baby will be monitored by your health care provider.
Nutrition and Supplements
When you’re eating for two or more, this might not be the time to go on a diet. In actuality, it’s the opposite — you need about 300 extra calories a day, especially later in your pregnancy when your baby grows quickly. If you’re very thin, very active, or carrying multiples, you’ll need even more. If you’re overweight however, your health care provider may advise you to consume fewer extra calories.
Healthy eating is always important, and there must be special emphasis when you’re pregnant. Ensure that your calories come from nutritious foods that will contribute to your baby’s growth and development as well as your health.
Your health care provider may also prescribe prenatal vitamins to be sure both you and your growing baby are getting enough. However, taking prenatal vitamins doesn’t mean you can substitute a nutrient rich diet with one that’s lacking. It’s important to remember that you still need to eat well while pregnant. Prenatal vitamins are meant to supplement your diet.
During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume increases dramatically, and drinking enough water each day can help prevent dehydration and constipation. Avoid any alcoholic beverages.
At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week is recommended if you’re not already highly active. If you were very active before becoming pregnant, you may be able to keep up your workouts, with the guidance from your doctor.
Regular exercise during pregnancy can help:
- Prevent excess weight gain
- Reduce pregnancy-related problems, like back pain, swelling, and constipation
- Improve sleep
- Increase energy
- Boost your mood
- Prepare your body for labour
- Lessen recovery time after the birth
But there should be a limit. Avoid high-impact aerobics, sports and activities that pose a risk of falling or abdominal injury.
The wellbeing of your baby is priority number one. If you need any more information about baby care, visit your nearest Marie Stopes centre or contact us today, and a medical professional will be able to help you.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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