Staying healthy is very important overall; however, it requires even greater attention when you are pregnant. Prenatal care should not be overlooked because the growth and development of a healthy baby requires a lot of care, attention, and adequate nutrition. To prevent risks and unwanted health concerns for both the mother and the baby, early detection of malnutrition and other deficiencies is very important. Taking prenatal vitamins are definitely necessary, but it’s advised to consult your doctor on prescription medicines that may or may not be suitable. Some vital nutrients for prenatal health include vitamins A, C, D, K, B-complex, iron, iodine, zinc, selenium, copper, chromium, molybdenum, and manganese. Folic Acid, also known as vitamin B9, is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for normal growth and development. Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (NTDs). The neural tube is the part of a developing baby that becomes the brain and spinal cord. This is why it’s important to have enough folic acid in your body even before you get pregnant. Another important precaution in prenatal health is to avoid unnecessary X-rays during dental or diagnostic tests. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommend that all women who are pregnant during flu season get a flu shot, regardless of their trimester. Getting the flu shot is advised because the flu can cause pregnant women to get extremely sick, which can cause very undesirable effects.
In addition to prenatal supplementation, a well-balanced diet and adequate hydration is a must. Obviously, smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking non-prescription drugs should be avoided in its entirety. During pregnancy, a healthy amount of weight gain is expected. Choose from a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat options. Remember to wash fruits and vegetables and refrain from raw or undercooked meats or fish. It is also recommended to incorporate physical activity as per your doctor’s recommendations. Getting adequate sleep and controlling stress is another consideration of a healthy pregnancy that is quite often overlooked. The body’s internal regulatory systems need proper rest and minimal stress to perform and heal at its maximum capabilities; so, while stress may not be totally avoidable, it is best to stay as calm as possible. Taking proper care of yourself during pregnancy is not easy, so it’s strongly advised to consult with your doctor to ensure a healthy and happy pregnancy.
- (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2017, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html
- How Much Folic Acid Do I Need?” How Much Folic Acid Do I Need? | March of Dimes, marchofdimes.org/it-starts-with-mom/how-much-folic-acid-do-i-need.aspx
- Is a Flu Shot during Pregnancy Safe?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Aug. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/influenza/faq-20058522.