There are a few things to do and a few things to avoid that hold true for all pregnant women in general.
Pregnancy is that period of a woman’s life when limitless instructions pour in from friends, family, and neighbors; sometimes, even your unmarried niece might give you an advice or two! Do this, don’t do that, eat this, don’t eat that, sit straight, don’t sit for too long and all the other dictates can be both welcoming and irritating, not to mention confusing.
Sure, pregnancy is a delicate time when every care and precaution you exercise has a direct relation to your baby’s health. An expectant mother must definitely put in all her focus on her and her baby’s health. Your gynecologist or obstetrician will give you a handbook that you must read to ensure medically speaking you are exercising all the care for the baby in your womb.
The Way Forward : Do’s and Don’ts During Pregnancy
However, all said, special care is to be taken in a lot of issues. Most of us know basic things like avoiding lifting heavy weights, bending too much, avoiding self-medication, etc., but there are several other guidelines that help ensure your pregnancy is safe and healthy.
The list of dos and don’ts in pregnancy starts from the thought of conceiving and goes all the way up to delivering your baby. Below are our pick of top 20 do’s and Don’ts in pregnancy that every pregnant woman can use as a general checklist:
What to Do During Pregnancy?
1. Take Prenatal Vitamins:
As soon as you and partner have decided that you are going to start trying for a baby, speak to your gynecologist regarding the prenatal vitamins that you would need to have. It is extremely critical to have Folic acid when you are trying to conceive. Folic acid reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defects to a large extent.
2. Choose Your Doctor Well:
You will spend the next nine months with your doctor, so make sure you choose a doctor who’s approachable and available whenever you would need her. If you are not getting proper attention or clarity on your doubts from your doctor, then you may just feel stuck and then it may be too late to change. Don’t go by the fame or your neighbor’s recommendation, make trial appointments and judge for yourself.
3. Notify Your Gynecologist:
Now that you have selected your ideal doctor for this miraculous journey to parenthood, it is time to be honest with her!If you are on any sort of medication, make sure you inform your doctor right in the beginning. Some medicines even over the counter ones are not safe during pregnancy. Your gynecologist will suggest you alternative medication.
4. Quit Smoking:
Smoking is the most criticized ill habits of all, and is considered poisonous during pregnancy. With smoking not only does the active smoker suffer, but the effects are passed on to passive smokers as well. Smoking puts expectant mom at huge risks of miscarriage, placental problems, preterm birth. It can also lead to infant death and stillbirth. So this is one habit as a mother you have to give up for good.
5. Eat Well:
The key to a healthy pregnancy is eating right, in quantity and quality. Ensure the food that you intake has a balance of all nutrients that help your baby grow and give you the strength to carry a healthy baby. Include a lot of greens, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts like soaked almonds and walnuts that are a great source of folic acid and good fats. Citrus and fiber rich fruits are great during pregnancy; citrus fruits can help you overcome nausea and fiber rich fruits can help you relieve constipation during pregnancy.
[ Read: Fast Food During Pregnancy ]
6. Time Your Announcement:
We know you must be dying to spill the beans to friends and flash it all on Facebook! But it is best to wait until you are in your second trimester when your pregnancy has established and the risk of miscarriage has declined. Meanwhile, think of innovative and creative ways to announce the great news to your near and dear ones. However, in case you are experiencing severe nausea or fatigue, it is best to inform your folks at once so that they can be by your side and take care of your needs.
7. Get Enough Sleep:
Some women complain of sleep disturbances during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. Lack of sleep often leaves you fatigued and irritated, so this is certainly a concern but nothing to worry about. These sleep pattern changes happen due to changing hormonal levels. Also, frequent bathroom visits can give you sleepless nights. But, it is important to not be bound by time; try and catch up on some sleep and adequate rest during the day. This will certainly help you relax more.
8. Get Relief From Morning Sickness:
Morning sickness is a side effect of pregnancy and is very normal. However, it could also leave you feeling tired and dehydrated. If that’s so, consult your doctor if you need any medications. Always keep a bottle of water handy, especially at this time so that you don’t get dehydrated. Avoid too much traveling and food items that can cause nausea to help you prevent vomiting sensations.
9. Do Exercises:
To stay fit and healthy you have to exercise even when you are pregnant. In fact, a fit pregnancy begets an easier delivery time. Pranayama and physical activity, improve blood circulation and also help in carrying more oxygen to your baby. Also try and eat small and frequent meals. Walking is a great option, but do talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine when you are pregnant.
10. Get Enough Fluids:
Get enough nourishing fluids like water to prevent constipation. Water expands blood volume carrying enough oxygen and nutrients to both mother and the baby. Drink at least 2 litres of fluids every day. Coconut water is a great source of energy during pregnancy and also helps in keeping your body and mind cool. You can also sip on some lemon juice (room temperature and sprinkled with a little pepper to avoid sinus infections) as it helps you stay hydrated and also boosts energy.
What Not To Do During Pregnancy:
1. Understand The Termeat‘ For Two’:
It is a common saying that a pregnant woman must eat a meal for two. But that is not really true. Your baby gets nutrients from what you eat; hence, your focus should be on eating healthy and nutritious food, NOT eat twice the amount you’d normally eat pre-pregnancy! In most cases, all you need is to each an extra 300 calories every day, which translates to an extra helping of that rice or salad. Consult your doctor for more information on the ideal pregnancy diet for your body.
[ Read: Pregnancy Diet Chart ]
2. Give Up On Seafood:
This is the major concern for pregnant women. Pregnant women are advised to restrict their seafood consumption is that studies show that more consumption of seafood leads to higher levels of mercury. However, fish is also a great source of DHA, which is important for the brain development of your baby. So, in case you decide to do away with seafood from your diet completely for the next nine months, make sure you consume DHA from other sources like a DHA supplement.
3. Ban Alcohol, Colas, And Caffeine:
Alcohol is a complete no-no during pregnancy as it can put your baby at a risk of irreversible birth defects. Though no safe limit has been prescribed, it’s best to avoid alcohol during pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding your baby. As far as consumption of caffeine and tea goes, there is no clear guideline. However, there are links found between caffeine consumption and miscarriage, low birth weight and growth retardation. So do try to minimize caffeine from your diet.
4. Do Not Gain Too Much Weight:
Some will tell you that the more weight you gain, the healthier your baby would be. That is certainly not true. Sure, weight gain in the mother lets the doctors know that the baby is growing, but that doesn’t give you a green signal to put on weight unreasonably! Most women find it difficult to lose that excess weight after delivery. If you eat more and your baby gets too big, then a normal delivery would become impossible. Excess weight during pregnancy can also cause complications like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, stillbirth, preterm birth and asthma for the mother.
5. Do Not Follow Fad Diets & Low-Carb Diets:
It’s natural to put on some weight during pregnancy, so there is absolutely no need for slimming or fad diet at this time. Instead, opt for healthy workouts that your body allows, walk being the best form of exercise during pregnancy. Stick to healthy eating; think high quality and small quantities. Remember, your baby depends on you to get his nutrients in proper proportion for his healthy growth and that means that you as a mother cannot experiment with unbalanced diets now!
6. No Strain At Work:
Working women find pregnancy posing great challenges for them. True to a certain extent considering the present work culture; however, some care and ease can help you overcome this feeling. Since it was you who decided to get pregnant, nurturing this pregnancy should be your top priority. Don’t exert yourself at work. Take breaks; walk around your seat at regular intervals to ensure you don’t strain your back and eyes. As the pregnancy grows, you may experience your body slowing down. Listen to your body and go for your maternity leave the moment you feel that you are pushing yourself beyond what your body is actually permitting.
7. No Sauna, Jacuzzi Or Steam Bath:
Pregnant women must avoid the extreme high temperatures, as subjected to in saunas, Jacuzzis, steam and hot baths. This is because extreme high temperatures are known to cause stress to your growing baby and can also cause birth defects. No hot baths either at your home!
8. No Unsupervised Workout Routine:
It may sound casual to have a workout routine, but remember exercising without proper guidance from an instructor can pose high risks such as a fall, muscular catch and throwing you off balance. Hence always choose an exercise program after consulting your gynecologist and ensure that you exercise under a proper instructor.
9. Do Not Miss Pregnancy Screenings:
It is the most exciting part of pregnancy, watching your baby and listening to his heartbeat. These screenings and routine blood tests are timed at regular intervals to monitor the health of the mother and growth of the baby; they help deduct any anomaly and prevent any risk to the baby. Hence, ensure you do it as per schedule so that you can be at peace that your baby is safe and sound.
10. Do Notate Processed Foods:
Processed foods are loaded with salts and preservatives which are not good when consumed during pregnancy. High intake of salt can lead to high blood pressure, which leads to various pregnancy complications such as: decreased blood flow to the placenta, premature delivery, placental abruption etc. Processed foods can also lead to constipation during pregnancy as it is full of starch and unhealthy fats. They contain no nutritional value and hence are best avoided during pregnancy.
We always say, pregnancy is a very natural process and must be treated that way. For certain doubts like: whether it is safe to have sex during pregnancy, the best workout options, how much weight should you target to gain and so on. Feel free to discuss with your gynecologist as she is the best judge of that considering your physical condition.
Also, avoid incessant discussions about your pregnancy with family or friends, as too much analysis will only stress you out more. Don’t fuss over it too and everything will be smooth and fine. So take it easy and enjoy a relaxed and happy pregnancy!
Tell us what special advice on dos and don ts during pregnancy you heard from your near & dear ones.
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