Tips for a safe pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time but can also be a confusing one. If knowing what is safe during pregnancy and what can harm you or your baby is top of mind, here are some tips you can consider to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. 


Get prenatal care

Establish a relationship with a prenatal caregiver to ensure that you receive the prenatal care you and your baby need during your pregnancy. The caregiver, whether you choose a physician or midwife, can monitor your pregnancy to try to make sure that no complications arise and that you get help if they do. The caregiver will also make sure you are gaining the right amount of weight, prescribe prenatal vitamins, and monitor your blood pressure. Your caregiver will also help in monitoring the baby’s health during your pregnancy by checking the baby’s growth and heart rate and by facilitating prenatal tests, such as the test for Down syndrome.

Choose healthy eating

Contrary to popular belief, when you are pregnant, you are not eating for two—pregnant women only need an extra 300 calories a day to support the baby’s needs.¹ A woman at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight should only gain from 25 to 30 pounds.¹ Too much weight gain can lead to complications such as Gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Along with eating a healthy amount of food, nutrient-rich foods are also essential for the proper development of your baby. If you’re wondering what foods to avoid during your pregnancy, check out this checklist from Foodsafety.gov. You should also consult with your prenatal caregiver so he or she can help recommend a healthy eating plan for you and your baby.

Exercise

Being active during your pregnancy can help relieve any aches and pains you might be experiencing as your body prepares for childbirth. Exercise can help keep you relaxed and can also reduce your risk of developing Gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Keeping up with physical activity during pregnancy can also make it easier to return to a healthy weight postpartum.

Evaluate your medications

Medications are similar to foods eaten during pregnancy in that they get passed along to your baby. Make sure to consult your prenatal caregiver before taking any medications to make sure they are safe for your baby.

Avoid drugs and alcohol

Stay away from taking recreational drugs or drinking alcohol when you are pregnant, as drugs and alcohol consumption can lead to many complications during pregnancy or even postpartum.

Making safe and smart decisions during your pregnancy can help ensure the health of both you and your baby.

1. Office of Women’s Health, "Pregnancy," accessed January 21, 2016, http://womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/staying-healthy-safe.html#c.

 

Sources

American Pregnancy Association, "Foods to avoid during pregnancy," accessed January 21, 2016, http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/foodstoavoid.html.

Office of Women’s Health, "Pregnancy," accessed January 21, 2016, http://womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/staying-healthy-safe.html#c.

Foodsafety.gov "Checklist of foods to avoid during pregnancy," accessed January 21, 2016, http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/risk/pregnant/chklist_pregnancy.html.

WebMD, "Foods to avoid when you’re pregnant," accessed January 21, 2016, http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/foods-to-avoid-when-youre-pregnant.

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