1. Do be honest and communicative with your Ob-Gyn and find one you can talk to
Especially if you are a first-time mother, you will have a lot of questions about your pregnancy (some of them perhaps embarrassing). Do not be afraid to ask. Overshare rather than undershare with your obstetrician or ob-gyn. Painting an accurate picture of your lifestyle and providing accurate data about your medical history will all aid in your provider being able to extend the best care to you during your pregnancy.
2. Do eat seafood but not raw seafood
Good, mercury-free cooked seafood is a great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids for the pregnant mother. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been found to be crucial for the fetus’s brain development. You might be wondering, if you don’t shop at Whole Foods where the little labels tell you where the seafood comes from and whether it is farm-raised or wild, how would you get the necessary info? Apps! Safe Seafood and FishPhone can be easily downloaded and make it easy to track your seafood.
3. Do eat small meals through the day and eat slow energy release foods
Eating small meals through the day can be beneficial as it helps with common symptoms of pregnancy like indigestion and heartburn, nausea and it also helps you to avoid giving in to sudden cravings. Moreover, do try to eat slow energy release foods that will not cause a sugar spike. We recommend multigrain bread, brown rice, sweet potato, lentils and quinoa.
4. Do take your prenatal vitamins
No two way about it, prenatal vitamins one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting the necessary nutrients to ensure a safe pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins contain higher levels of the essential nutrients for a healthy fetus, such as folic acid, calcium, and iron.
5. Do religiously go for the screenings and tests
For years, only expectant mothers over the age of 35 were told to get an amniocentesis to screen for birth defects. However, in the last decade, doctors have begun to recommend that all mothers regardless of age be screened for Down syndrome in the baby. There are options between less and more invasive procedures to test for DS. Tests can also analyze hormone levels and look for markers that suggest chromosomal abnormalities. Point is that technology has now made it possible to have an informed pregnancy. Besides tests for DS, there are also tests to screen for gestational diabetes in the mother, and those regular ultrasounds. Genetic screenings are also available if you are concerned about your baby inheriting a genetic defect. Do not leave it up to fate, find out what screenings you need to go for and make the appointments.
6. Don’t drink or smoke.
Doctors have said that a drink a week is probably safe for your pregnancy but if you can, stay off the alcohol together. And obviously, it is best if you would have quit smoking at least 6 months before you got pregnant. Although a drink a week is supposedly fine, one cigarette increases the fetus’s heart rate as much as if you were to have five cigarettes.
7. No horseback riding or skiing but DO exercise!
Taking a daily walk or joining a prenatal yoga class are a couple of ways that you can incorporate gentle regular exercise into your routine. Exercise will also produce endorphins and provide a good counter-effect to the stress hormones. If hardcore exercise was always a part of your routine, you should check with your physician about what you can safely continue to do. Shoot for about 30 minutes of low-impact exercise 5 days a week.
8. Don’t choose to deliver early!
It has become popular to take matters into our own hands and decide on our own delivery date even if we might be a week off or so from the recommended 39 weeks. Do not do it, that one week that your fetus needs to come to full-term has benefits in terms of the baby’s brain development and respiratory system. Unless your own health is at risk, do not deliver before 39 weeks.
9. Do visit the dentist.
Did you know that aside from gestational diabetes, there is such a thing as pregnancy gingivitis? Again, blame those hormones–a labor-inducing hormone called prostaglandin contributes to oral bacteria.
1o. Don’t forget the seatbelt.
Some women are afraid of the pressure seatbelt causes on the fetus. But seatbelts will keep both the mother and the fetus safe in the car. Do not make up your own paranoid health rules and keep that seatbelt on. Seatbelts supposedly reduce pregnancy complications by a third in the case of a car accident. The lap belt should be positioned across your hips, under your belly. And those air bags should also should be in good working conditions.