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Pregnancy Safety: What’s Safe and What to Avoid?
A healthy lifestyle is an important part of healthy pregnancy. During pregnancy, you must be more careful about everything you do from eating habits to physical activities. This is the time when you need to take care of yourself for the well-being of your unborn baby. Here are some tips on what a pregnant woman should do and avoid during pregnancy:
Diet and Nutrition.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as these provide vitamins and minerals. They are an important source of fiber. Wash your fruits and vegetables properly before eating. Avoid fruits and vegetables like bitter melon, noni juice, and unripe papaya.
- Meat, fish and dairy products are the major source of protein for a pregnant woman. About 70 grams of protein should be consumed by her on a daily basis. Do not eat uncooked fish, seafood or meat. Not all fish are considered safe during pregnancy. Fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish are high in mercury so should be avoided during pregnancy. It may harm the growing brain of your fetus. Have fish like Shrimp, Crab, Clams, Oysters, Scallops, Canned light tuna, Salmon etc.
- Avoid eating raw eggs. Soft-boiled or raw eggs may carry salmonella bacteria which may not be harmful for the baby, but may cause you severe vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache and high temperature etc. So, cook your eggs till hard and white before eating.
- Avoid raw sprouts of any kind, for example mung bean, radish, clover etc.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk, juices or soft cheese. Stick to pasteurized milk and hard cheeses like Cheddar and Parmesan.
- Cook your food properly to prevent foodborne diseases.
- Take prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement everyday as per doctor’s advice.
- Avoid having junk foods.
- Avoid readymade or store made food items.
- Do not take any medication without your doctor’s guidance.
Keeping track of weight gain during pregnancy is very important. The weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight.
- Expectants who were underweight before pregnancy may gain between 12.5 and 18 kgs.
- Expectants who were at a normal weight before pregnancy may gain between 11 and 13.5 kgs.
- Expectants who were overweight before pregnancy may gain between 6.5 and 11.5 kgs.
- Expectants who were obese before pregnancy may gain between 5 and 10 kgs.
Alcohol & Smoking
If you are an alcohol addict or chain smoker, you need to give up these habits to enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Both alcohol and smoking have bad effects on the baby. Consuming alcohol and smoking during the pregnancy increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, causes birth defects, slow down the baby’s growth, affect the baby’s brain, etc.
Quitting alcohol and smoking may be difficult, but you can always do it with the help of your doctor and counseling.
The effects of caffeine on pregnancy and the baby are unclear. But, it is assumed that too much consumption of caffeine during pregnancy may cause preterm birth or miscarriage. So, it is recommended to take guidance from your doctor regarding the consumption of caffeine.
Gone are the days when pregnant ladies were asked to limit their physical activities during pregnancy. Now everyone is aware of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. It helps in controlling the mood swings, improves sleep, reduces pregnancy aches and prevents & treats gestational diabetes. Low impact activities like walking, swimming, low-impact aerobics, dancing, yoga and stretching are considered ideal for a pregnant woman.
It is usually safe to have sex during pregnancy. But, consult the doctor if sex causes pain, vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage. You may find certain positions a bit uncomfortable, speak to your partner and avoid them.
Wondering whether you can travel during pregnancy? Your doctor’s consent and some small preparations from your side are enough for you to hit the road. Preparations you need to do before going to the trip are:
- Taking immunization shots, if any needed.
- Carry your medical record with you.
- Make sure the place you are going has good medical care facilities.
- Opt for a comfortable journey, sitting for long hours in a car or air travel may affect the blood flow in your legs. Make sure you take frequent breaks to stretch your legs, stand up, and move here and there.
As a would-be-parent, it’s your responsibility to secure your baby’s future. Saving your baby’s umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, or placental tissue must be a priority for you. It will not only help to secure your baby’s life, but also may help his/her siblings or other family members in the future.