When you’re pregnant, a lot of things that you do can have an effect on your baby – an effect that continues long after your baby is born. That’s why it’s crucial to make good decisions about diet, exercise, healthcare and lifestyle habits during this important time. The best way to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself.
Prenatal care is the care you receive during your pregnancy. Pregnant women who see a healthcare provider regularly decrease their risk of pregnancy complications.
During your prenatal visits, your doctor or midwife will talk with you about the best ways to give your baby a healthy start in life, answer any questions you might have and check to make sure you and your baby are healthy.
Regular prenatal care also gives your provider a better chance to detect and treat potential problems early.
Another way you can take care of yourself and your baby is by following a healthy diet. Aim to eat a low-fat diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and calcium-rich foods.
In addition, you should avoid certain types of fish that may contain high levels of mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Cook meat, eggs and fish thoroughly. Avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.
Following a regular exercise program during pregnancy may help labor and delivery go more smoothly, and being in good physical condition may make it easier to get back in shape
If you were exercising before you became pregnant, it’s usually OK to continue, but ask your provider about which exercises are safe for you. Your changing body can affect your balance and increase your risk of a fall. Avoid exercises that involve jumping, quick stops and starts and change-of-direction movement.
If you don’t already exercise, start slowly and don’t overdo it. Consider light exercises, such as walking or swimming, unless your provider says otherwise.
To learn more about prenatal care and find pregnancy resources and classes, visit www.peacehealth.org/baby.
Article courtesy PeaceHealth