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Dos and don'ts for a safer pregnancy

Congratulations on your pregnancy! You might be excited about shopping for maternity and baby clothes online. But hold your horses. We understand that you can’t wait to hold your bundle of joy but for the next couple of months, taking care of your body is vital.

Here is a list of do’s and don’ts for a safer pregnancy.

The dos

Do take prenatal vitamins

Eating a balanced diet that contains minerals and vitamins is usually the best way to provide your body with all the essential nutrients required to support a growing baby. However, a healthy diet on its own may not cut it when you’re pregnant. Prenatal vitamins contain nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, and iron, which expectant mothers require at higher doses. 

Additionally, they supply the appropriate amounts of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), omega-3 fats that play an important role in your baby’s brain development. 

Do eat healthily

A healthy diet is especially vital if you’re pregnant. Here’s what you can eat to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your little one need:

  • Fruits and vegetables - these provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Starchy foods - instead of refined starch, choose wholegrain and high-fiber options.
  • Protein - great sources of protein include beans, fish, lean meat, eggs, poultry, nuts, and pulses.

Where possible, choose organic foods and eat from local food sources.

Do exercise

A sedentary lifestyle is not healthy for you and your little one. This is because it puts you at risk of excessive weight gain, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, varicose veins, lower back pain, and shortness of breath.

If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant, you can maintain your workout routine, but listen to your body and slow down when you get tired or uncomfortable. Also, it is important that you invest in the right set of maternity clothing. There are various baby clothing stores online that offer high-quality clothes for babies as well as mom-to-be. Keep in mind, if you didn’t exercise prior to becoming pregnant, ask your doctor about incorporating an exercise regimen into your routine.

Do get plenty of rest

Fluctuating hormone levels, anxiety, and symptoms in general can make sleep elusive during your pregnancy. Pregnancy is quite demanding, and you need all the sleep you can get. Don’t hesitate to take a quick nap if you feel out of it and set bedtimes and stick to them. If you feel fatigued, it means your body needs more rest, so allow yourself to sleep as much as possible.

Plus, being excited to welcome your little one home is expected. But don’t tire yourself out with regular trips to the mall. You can also shop for baby clothes online.

Do visit your dentist

Fluctuating hormone levels can cause pregnant women to develop dental issues such as gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums). If left untreated, this condition can lead to periodontal disease, which significantly increases your risk for premature delivery and low birth weight. This adverse effect may be due to the fact that oral bacteria harbor prostaglandin, which is a labor-inducing hormone.

Make sure you have your teeth cleaned at least once during pregnancy to keep dental issues at bay. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), teeth cleaning and dental X-rays are safe for pregnant women. Many OB/GYNs today do oral health assessments during prenatal visits and encourage patients to visit the dentist during pregnancy. 

Do get your screenings

ACOG recommends that pregnant women of all ages be offered screenings to rule out various birth defects. First- and second-trimester screenings can assess hormone levels in your blood, and an ultrasound can detect markers that may suggest a fetus has a chromosomal abnormality. 

Do budget for baby gear

One of the first things you may have when you find out you’re pregnant is to buy all sorts of cute clothes and gear for your little one. However, this approach can cause you to spend much more than you anticipated on items that you may not get much use out of. While it may not be a top priority for you, budgeting for a new baby can help prepare your family for the countless changes ahead. 

Budgeting for a new baby often starts long before their arrival. You may need to account for medical bills, maternity clothes, and prenatal vitamins, for example. There’s also the costs that most parents anticipate, such as diapers, baby food, strollers, and cute clothes for newborn. Don’t forget to account for unexpected expenses as well. For instance, it might be a good idea to plan for supplies if your little one gets sick.

Do get a flu shot

Pregnant can and should get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is more likely to cause severe symptoms in pregnant women than in healthy individuals who are not pregnant. 

Because of the changes in your body during pregnancy, you’re more prone to severe illness from the flu. Research also shows that contracting the flu during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications. Furthermore, a flu shot can also protect your little one from contracting the flu after birth. 

Do take care of your mental health

Around 1 in 10 women suffer deteriorating mental health when they’re pregnant. If you have unusual or frequent negative feelings, don’t write them off as part of pregnancy, especially if they tend to last longer than expected. Talk to your doctor to find out how you can deal with mood swings, anxiety, or depression during pregnancy. 

The don’ts

Don’t “eat for two”

A common misconception is that you have to “eat for two” when pregnant. Studies have shown that more than half of women gain too much weight during pregnancy, which puts their babies at greater risk of obesity later in life. In general, you do need additional calories in your second and third trimesters, but doctors’ opinions vary on whether you need any extra calories in the first trimester. 

Don’t drink alcohol

Avoid drinking even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. Women who drink alcohol while pregnant are at greater risk of delivering a child with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)> symptoms of this condition include low birth weight, behavior problems, learning disabilities, and delayed growth and development milestones.

Don’t smoke

If you’re a smoker, you’ll need to quit when you become pregnant. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more susceptible to miscarriage, and babies born to smoking mothers are at increased risk for birth defects.

Don’t drink too much caffeine

Caffeine can cross the placenta and increase your baby’s heart rate, so avoid drinking too much of it. Research suggests that up to 200 milligrams a day is okay in the first trimester.

Don’t clean the cat’s litter box

Leave cleaning duties to your partner or friend. Cat litter is filled with millions of parasites and one in particular  - toxoplasma gondii - is especially dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause complications with your pregnancy.

Final thoughts

This list of do’s and don’ts can seem intimidating at first, but don’t let it scare you! Simply take care of yourself by eating healthy, hydrating, exercising, and getting plenty of rest. Also, you can do online shopping for baby clothes & accessories to maintain your excitement level of being a mother and feel happy about it. Once your baby will be in your arms, it will all be worth it!

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