Discovering one’s pregnancy paves the way to a magnitude of emotions. What we mostly tend to do, is to start thinking about the future, and planning for the arrival of the baby. Yes, that is probably the most natural reaction to cope with such a long period of anticipation, but pregnancy as well as child bearing and rearing, is as much about the mother as it is about the baby. Everything that a mother does affects her baby directly, which is why it is imperative that the mother is healthy and happy. Here are 10 steps that will help ensure a healthy pregnancy, both, physically and emotionally.
Do Your Research
We Pakistanis are accustomed to being thrust with advice from “experienced” ladies. These ladies seem to have mastered the art of motherhood better than anyone else. However, it is equally important to gather your facts from other authentic sources, especially your doctor or mid wife. Each woman’s pregnancy is unique and the steps she needs to take depend on her body’s and baby’s needs. Every advice or remedy does not necessarily suit every pregnant woman, which is why being specific about your requirements is crucial.
Choose the Right Practitioner
Some women may want to deliver their babies in the comfort of their homes, while others may want to take advantage of the facilities provided by the hospital. Apart from these two factors, there are many reasons why one should opt for a doctor over a mid-wife and vice-a-versa. Medical facilities are not up to the standards that suit child birth in some third world countries. Those that have excellent services may be not be affordable by everyone. That’s why midwives should be appointed. In other more complicated matters, certain health issues may suggest the need for hospitals. Special cases such as cesareans or birth of twins are also those that need to be treated by doctors so that special care may be given.
Take Care of Your Diet
One of the most direct ways to determine the health of your baby is to make a note of what you consume. This is probably one of the best times to make sure that your body is getting a sufficient amount of nutrients such as calcium, proteins, fiber, good fats and carbohydrates as well as essential minerals and vitamins. Foods such as fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole wheat bread and milk are great for you. However, avoid certain foods that may be harmful for the fetus such as undercooked eggs and meat, unpasteurized dairy products and juices, raw seafood, and processed foods.
Take Your Daily Supplements
Besides food, you also need to take in oral supplements in order to maintain a healthy balance of vitamins in your body. Doctors often prescribe prenatal vitamins which can even be purchased off the counter. Some of the most vital ingredients these vitamins contain include DHA, folic acid and vitamins A, C, D, which help the healthy development of the fetus.
Giving birth is possibly the most physically and mentally challenging activity that a woman can ever indulge in. Therefore, it is important to first train for that challenge. Because the lower part of the body undergoes the maximum amount of exertion, walking is the key to developing strong legs, hips and thighs. Working out or doing pregnancy yoga helps maintain posture and to avoid swelling, cramping or other aches and pains in various parts of the body.
Drink Lots of Water
Water helps not only in the flushing away of toxins which is crucial for the fetus, but also helps avoid constipation by improving digestion. In the earlier months of pregnancy when most women undergo a period of nausea and vomiting, water helps prevent dehydration and fatigue by keeping the body fresh and active even after it rejects certain foods.
Watch Your Weight
Even though “eating for two” is a common phrase that women hear during pregnancy, it is highly discouraged. A woman of average weight need not gain more than 25 to 35 pounds. Pregnant woman need to include all the essential nutrients in their body. This should be done without forcefully filling themselves up with fattening foods. Too much weight gain might contribute to complications such as gestational diabetes, overweight or premature babies, high blood pressure or cesareans.
Be Prepared for Delivery
Planning ahead enables you to be mentally ready for delivery. This helps relieve heaps of stress if you go into labor unexpectedly. It is also good to settle the logistics of how you want your delivery to take place. Avoid making last minute decisions. You need to know whether you want a natural birth or cesarean. In case anything goes wrong, you should still be prepared for both. A baby bag as well as your own bag must be made for the hospital. Decide whether you want an epidural or ask your practitioner what would be best for you. Settle every detail beforehand.
Do Not Neglect Your Support System
Always remember that pregnancy does not only affect you physically. Your emotional and mental state takes a huge turn as well. With such major changes going on in your life, it is essential to be surrounded by your loved ones. Not only do they provide emotional comfort but also create healthy distractions in rough situations.
Stay Well-Rested and Safe
Staying active is important, but equally important is not to over stretch yourself. Rest as soon as you feel tired. Safety is crucial physical accidents may increase risks of miscarriages. Avoid taking the stairs too much since it causes strain on the hips and pelvis. Overcrowded areas can be harmful as well since pushing and pulling may cause you to fall and hurt the baby.
In conclusion, pregnancy seems to be a time that might never come to an end. However, even with all the tough stages, it is important to be reminded of the final reward. The bundle of joy that is to come is worth all the trouble. Therefore, it is best to stay safe, happy and healthy during pregnancy. It will reflect in the delivery and post-delivery experience.