Basic Things to Know to Have a Safe Pregnancy
Is there a right or wrong way of carrying a pregnancy? Miscarriages are a chief cause of concern for pregnant women. How can you do your best to ensure a safe pregnancy?
In this article I've gathered basic points from extensive research on what to do to have a safe pregnancy. The information here, of course, should not replace a doctor's diagnosis.
Losing an unborn child is as painful as losing any loved one in death. Weeks after my miscarriage I was lost and heartbroken. So I threw myself deep into research to help pregnant women make the most of their pregnancy.
Pregnancy is like an exciting journey . A woman who's trying to get pregnant must prepare herself before embarking on this journey.
Think of it like you're expecting a special guest. Do you wait until the guest arrives before making arrangements to ensure he has a wonderful stay? I would like to think you would take care of every arrangement, including food and suitable lodging quarters before he arrives. How can you prepare for your "special guest"?
A woman trying to get pregnant must prepare.
We will consider what to do:
- Before Pregnancy
- During Pregnancy
Plan. Plan with your husband on the number of kids you both want. Careful planning and consideration will ensure adequate spacing between kids to allow enough time for you to recuperate. It's like allowing a farm land regain it's nutrients before re-cultivating it.
Nutrition. Nutrition goes beyond just eating. Experts on Pregnancy suggests that a woman planning to become pregnant needs some time to recover from exposure to dangerous substances and to build the nutrients she needs to nourish a baby. Folic acid is taken by some women who are planning to get pregnant because it reduces the risk of spina bifida, caused by a defective closing of the neural tube. The embryo’s neural tube closes between the 24th and 28th day after conception. Many women don't even realize they are pregnant by this time therefore it always helps if they're already taking folic acid.
Another essential nutrient is iron. Pregnancy doubles a woman’s iron requirement. If she doesn't have sufficient iron—which could happen if she's not eating right– she can come to have iron-deficiency anemia.
Some natural sources of folic acid and iron are red meat, clams, asparagus, broccoli, liver, legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fortified cereals.
Treat Infections . Certain infections such as urinary, cervicovaginal, and gastrointestinal infections can get worse during pregnancy and can increase the risk of premature birth and preeclampsia. It might help to run tests and treat any infection before pregnancy.
Rest and Exercise. For obvious reasons, rest is highly recommended to women who are planning to have a child. Rest builds up the immune system.
Avoid X-rays. X-rays have been known to affect the feotus negatively. It might be more beneficial to you if you wait a couple of months before becoming pregnant after having an X-ray that could affect your ovaries, or if you have received a radioactive drug.
Prepping for pregnancy includes planning, taking essential nutrients and treating infections beforehand.
Visit The Doctor. Making regular visits to a doctor throughout pregnancy goes a long way in reducing the risk of a complication which could be fatal during pregnancy. Even in a place with limited hospitals and doctors, properly trained midwives can give you.
During such visits to the hospital, you may be shown how to carry out safe exercises that benefit you and your baby.
Always be prepared to provide medical personnel with all the information you can, including your medical history. Freely ask questions.
Certain symptoms you need to watch out for include:
- vaginal bleeding
- Sudden inflammation of the face
- Strong or continuous headaches or pain in the fingers
- Sudden impaired or blurred vision
- Strong abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Chills or fever
- Changes in frequency or intensity of fetal movements
- Loss of liquid through the vagina
- Pain while urinating
- Abnormal lack of urine. Any or all of these symptoms require a trip to the hospital.
Avoid Alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs have been shown to cause a high risk of mental retardation, physical abnormalities and behavioral disorders in the feotus even to the extent of causing them to have signs of withdrawal. Total abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy is usually recommended. Second-hand smoke should also be avoided .
Medication. Over the counter medication is a No No. The doctor reserves the exclusive right to prescribe any medication he might feel you need after carefully weighing the risks. Medical experts advice against certain supplements as they could contribute to feotal abnormalities.
Weight gain. A known fact of pregnancy is the food cravings. There's always a tendency to binge. However, it is important to avoid extremes. Eat enough to ensure your baby is healthy and has a normal weight but avoid eating so much that you become obese.
Hygiene and others. Avoid vaginal douching during baths and showers. Avoid contact with anyone who has a viral infection. Also ensure to cook your meat properly to prevent toxoplasmosis. More than ever basic hygiene procedures like washing of hands and raw foods like fruits and vegetables, are necessary.
Having observed all protocols, you're on your way to a successful delivery.
Weight of women at the beginning of pregnancy
Normal weight women
20 and 25
9 and 12
Adolescents or undernourished women
25 and 30
12 and 15
15 and 20
7 and 9
Care during pregnancy includes:
Visit the doctor, avoid alcohol and drugs, avoid medicines except when they are prescribed by your physician, regulate your weight and observe physical hygiene.
Have you thought about whether you would want to deliver at home or in a hospital? It is important to have an extensive discussion with the midwife or doctor on what to expect during delivery. It is always important to know about blood substitutes if you do not accept a blood transfusion. Have a plan B for everything. If you want to deliver at home, have a plan for what hospital or clinic you'd want to use in case a complication comes up. Extra money should also be available in case a cesarean section is required.
Pregnancy is a journey. But the outcome depends largely on how well you take care of yourself before and during pregnancy.
Adequate planning and research on the various aspects of delivery also helps ensure a safer pregnancy, which is why I'll be writing about it in my next article. Please keep a date with me.
Always remember :children are a blessing from God.