Congratulations on becoming pregnant! This marks the beginning of the most beautiful part of your life. We understand that you may have a few questions about what to and what not to do during this time. After all, you are growing a tiny human inside you from scratch.
With input from experienced medical practitioners, we have put together a list of essential pregnancy “dos” to keep in mind to help you have a healthier pregnancy.
- Keep regular doctor’s appointments
Regular visits with obstetricians are important to monitor the growth and development of your baby during pregnancy. You should be comfortable enough with your doctor to be completely honest with them throughout the pregnancy. Your obstetrician would be one of the most significant support systems during your pregnancy. Hence, carefully choose the best maternity hospital in Gurgaon for your pregnancy journey.
- Prenatal vitamins are a must
Prenatal vitamins are designed to fill any nutritional gaps in your diet such as iron supplements for anaemia. Folic acid helps minimise the baby’s risk of developing neural tube conditions such as spina bifida. It is ideally taken until the end of the first trimester. If you are planning to conceive, it is advised to start taking the prescribed amount of folic acid around 3 months before conception.
Your doctor would also ask you to take vitamin D supplements. This is to boost foetal bone growth. It will also help regulate calcium and phosphate levels in your body.
Many first-time mothers find the idea of physical exercise daunting during pregnancy. In reality, regular exercise is paramount in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Lack of physical activity can result in extreme weight gain which in turn puts you at risk of a wide range of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. If you have concerns about what is safe for you and what is not, discuss appropriate exercise plans with your doctor.
- Follow a balanced diet
While you grow a mini human inside you, remember your baby eats what you eat. Eat folic rich foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods such as unpasteurized dairy products, certain cheeses, raw meat and fish, and cured or fermented meat as they increase the risk of you contracting several infections. Also, avoid consuming foods with high levels of vitamin A such as liver and liver products as this can affect fetal development.
- Monitor your baby’s movements
Tiny baby kicks are one of the most beautiful moments of pregnancy. You should start monitoring the baby’s movements around week 24. Inform your doctor immediately in case you observe any decrease in your baby’s movement.
- Sleep on your side during your third trimester
Studies show that sleeping on your back in the third trimester can increase the risk of stillbirth. Get used to sleeping on your side early on in your pregnancy. It is advised that sleeping on your side is the safest sleeping position, especially in your third trimester.
- Be vigilant
It is important to be aware of what is normal and what is not during pregnancy. If you have any doubts regarding what should concern you, discuss it at length with your doctor. Remember it is always better to be more cautious. If you experience any symptoms like vaginal bleeding, painful urination, sudden abdominal cramps/pain, persistent or severe headaches, sudden weight gain, blurry vision, etc, get immediate medical counsel. If you notice anything unusual in your pregnancy, bring it to the attention of the doctor.
While knowing what to do for a healthy pregnancy is important, it is just as essential if not more to know what strictly not to do during your pregnancy. Here is a list of pregnancy absolute “don’ts” to keep in mind
- Don’t smoke
When it comes to smoking during pregnancy, there is no grey area. Smoking has been linked to several pregnancy complications such as preterm labour, hypertension to name a few. Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked to congenital conditions in the baby. If you are trying to conceive, it is strongly advised to quit early on to improve your chances of conception.
- Don’t drink alcohol
As there is no way of understanding how much alcohol is actually safe for the pregnancy, it is advised to stay away from it completely. This is especially important in the first trimester which is characterised by intense brain development of the baby.
- Don’t consume any illicit substances
Substances such as cocaine, meta-amphetamines and psychoactive substances are extremely likely to cause pregnancy complications. If you need help in weaning off these substances, talk to your healthcare provider for assistance.
- Don’t consume too much caffeine
Excessive consumption of caffeine has been linked to conditions such as low birth weight and miscarriage. Switch to decaf and avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soft drinks and green tea.
Most importantly remember to stay positive and happy during this time. Get plenty of rest and prepare for the birth of your little bundle of joy. You can also join online support groups to discuss your concerns and feelings with other expectant mothers. Make sure you can talk with full candour with your doctor during the pregnancy. Cherish this phase and enjoy all the experiences that come with it.
- Can I have fish during pregnancy?
During pregnancy you should avoid consuming raw fish (sushi) and seafood with high levels of mercury (shark, marlin etc). Almost all other seafood, properly cooked can in fact be beneficial to you and your baby’s health.
- Is it true that I should avoid certain fruits during my pregnancy?
Eating plenty of fruit is recommended for a healthy pregnancy as they are loaded with vitamins and fibre. If you have any pregnancy conditions such as gestational diabetes, develop a dietary plan with the help of your doctor.
- How much weight will I gain during my pregnancy?
There is no set standard weight gain defined for pregnancy as it differs from woman to woman. The normal weight gain depends on several factors such as pre-pregnancy weight as well the number of pregnancies (single baby or twins etc). The general guidelines for recommended weight gain based on Body mass index (BMI) are as follows
|BMI||Recommended weight gain|
|Greater than 30||11-19kgs|
- Can I travel during my pregnancy?
For most women without any pregnancy complications, travelling is safe until the 36th week of pregnancy. The best time to travel would be between week 14 and week 28 (mid pregnancy). Travelling is not recommended for women with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, preterm labour and prelabour rupture of membranes. If you are concerned about travelling during your pregnancy, you should consult your doctor for accurate guidance.