Pregnancy is a transitory period, and one which is critical to the well-being of the baby. Many studies have been conducted on the impact of pregnancy diet, the physical and emotional health of the pregnant mother and how lifestyle decisions (such as smoking, stress and exercise) during pregnancy can affect the baby. There are some mistakes that are commonly made during pregnancy and they go beyond the impact on baby but also on the mother and the marriage.
#1 Unhealthy Diet Indulgence
If you start your pregnancy thinking “Yes, this is the time to indulge that craving”, you would be disappointed because your diet during pregnancy is important to your well-being as well as your baby’s. High sugar level during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of large baby, gestational diabetes, caesarean delivery and preeclampsia. On the other hand, a healthy pregnancy diet that includes folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, protein and iron helps the growth and development of your baby. While occasional indulgences are fine, be sure to limit them.
If you feel hungry during pregnancy, it is sensible to consume more calories during your second and third trimester (about 300 calories more per day). However, you do not need to eat for two and excessive weight gain during pregnancy is associated with high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, birth defects and obesity. Be sure to stay hydrated and do not mistake thirst for hunger!
#3 Sedentary Lifestyle
Do not be afraid to exercise – walking, swimming, yoga or even more strenuous exercise if you have been exercising regularly and your doctor approves of it. Studies have been conducted and more than half of the women surveyed felt that exercising would present a safety risk to the baby. This is not true for a normal healthy pregnancy; on the contrary, exercising helps to reduce risks of depression, excessive weight gain, reduces stress and can help build up the muscles for carrying the baby weight and for delivery.
#4 Avoiding all medications and vaccinations
While it is true that not all prescription medications have been tested for pregnancy safety, there are a number of medication that are safe for common ailments. When in doubt, check with your doctor but do not hold on to the idea that absolutely no medication can be taken. Some of the medications listed as generally safe for pregnancy on WebMD.com include chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine for allergy and acetaminophen for cold. Vaccines from dead virus such as flu shot are considered safe during pregnancy.
#5 Ignoring Zika Virus
While there is not much concern for Zika if you are not pregnant, the virus presents real danger to the baby such as microcephaly and birth defects if it remains in your blood stream. It is advisable to consult your doctor and obtain the latest recommendation on whether you ought to undergo further tests and find out the areas to avoid travel.
Stress during pregnancy is normal but constant high stress and worry is linked to lower birth weight and premature delivery. There are many potential causes of increased stress during pregnancy, for instance concerns on finances, child care arrangements or impact on career. Some women also fear the delivery process. Concerns and worries should be shared with your spouse, and if possible, take actions to reduce the stress either by directly addressing the concerns or using stress-relaxation techniques.
#7 Putting Your Life on Hold
You may feel that pregnancy is a waiting period in your life, but 37 weeks can be very emotionally draining if you put your life on hold to wait. Instead, enjoy your life and pregnancy and take the chance to be pampered by your spouse. You can continue to pursue your interests during this time, or even take the chance to read up about healthy eating and make positive diet changes for you and your family.
#8 Ignoring Your Spouse and Family
Although you are the one carrying your baby, your spouse and your family can play a role to take care and love you and your child. Do not ignore your spouse and start taking control of everything – from the cleanliness of your home to every grain of sugar or salt that is consumed! You will find that a lot of support is needed when your baby is born and pregnancy is a time to strengthen your marriage and family bond to undertake the challenges that will come with caring for a newborn!
#9 Not Putting on Car Seat Belt
Pregnant or not, car seat belt is a must. For pregnant women, the recommended seat belt is the lap and shoulder belt combination where the lap belt is placed below the belly and fitted snugly on the hip bones. The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the center of your shoulder and chest.
#10 Not Researching Your Healthcare Providers
You will be seeing your doctor throughout the pregnancy and possibly deliver in the hospital where your doctor is based. You should research about your doctor and the hospital in areas that are important to you, for instance, whether the hospital has antenatal classes, whether there are adequate lactation consultants on hand to help you, whether your doctor’s clinic has up-to-date equipment and when he/she will induce labor or use assisted delivery methods.
There is so much that you can do to prepare for your baby’s arrival during pregnancy and there is also a lot that you can choose not to do. Do not worry too much and most of all, do not blame yourself if you make a mistake!