10 Things Every Pregnant Woman Must Know
You’ve just taken a pregnancy test and it came back positive. Congratulations! This is one of the most heartwarming occasions for many couples, especially in a traditional African (and Nigerian) family, when pregnancy protects one from unpleasant experiences such as anxiety, pressure, and ridicule from family members.
When a lady becomes pregnant in many households, her husband showers her with attention. A pregnant woman enjoys everything at this time, from dates to her spouse taking care of some household duties and even cooking the meals.
Being pregnant, on the other hand, is one thing; successfully giving birth to the baby or infants is another. Medical specialists say it’s sad that some women are unaware of what it takes to have a safe delivery. According to the experts, what a pregnant woman does or does not do during her pregnancy can have an impact on both her and her baby’s health.
In a September 2019 article, Baby Centre, a London-based medical organisation that studies the causes of miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature deliveries as well as providing pregnancy health information, argues that pregnant women must know the following for a safe delivery.
Leading midwives and gynaecologists were consulted, according to the organisation.
The following guidelines are recommended for every pregnant woman, ranging from activities to meals to drugs that may benefit or damage the baby and mother.
Exercise on a regular basis
It’s not good for you or your infant to be sedentary (sitting a lot). It increases your chances of gaining too much weight, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and varicose veins, as well as shortness of breath and lower back pain.
If you exercised before becoming pregnant, you can keep doing so, but pay attention to your body and slow down if you feel uncomfortable.
You don’t have to join organised fitness courses if you didn’t exercise before becoming pregnant; the key thing is to be active. For pregnant women, 30 minutes of physical activity four times a week is recommended.
Walking, climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, gardening, and dancing are all good ways to get some exercise.
Meanwhile, certain workouts should be avoided when pregnant, such as football, rugby, hockey, and martial arts. There is a chance that your bump will get hit because to the manner they are played.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Some foods, such as toxoplasmosis and listeriosis, carry a slight risk of illness. Salmonella, for example, can cause food poisoning. Others contain excessive amounts of vitamin A or mercury, which can harm your unborn child.
Listeria infection is uncommon, but if you have it, it can harm your unborn child severely. Moldy soft cheese, pâté (including vegetarian pâté), and unpasteurized milk are among the foods that are more likely to have listeria.
Salmonella food infection will not damage your infant, but it will cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting in you. Salmonella is more likely to be found in unpasteurized milk and partially cooked eggs.
Toxoplasmosis infection is uncommon, but if you have it, it can harm your unborn child severely. Uncooked or undercooked meals, raw or partially cooked meat, especially chicken items, and unwashed vegetables and salad are more likely to have the toxoplasma parasite.
Too much vitamin A can harm your unborn child. Liver and liver products, as well as high-dose multivitamin supplements like fish liver oil supplements, are high in vitamin A.
Shark, swordfish, marlin, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring are all mercury-rich foods that are dangerous to an infant.
Although fish is a good source of nourishment for a baby, experts warn that eating too much of it might be detrimental.
Fish is high in protein, vitamin D, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are essential for your baby’s nervous system development.
If you don’t like fish, omega-3 fatty acids can be found in a variety of foods, including nuts, seeds, soy products, and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Brussels sprouts.
Meanwhile, some expectant mothers feel that dieting throughout pregnancy will help them deliver healthy infants.
According to specialists, this is not the case. It’s possible that this will deny your baby of the nutrition he or she requires to grow. Rather than dieting, it is preferable to eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
Also, when you’re pregnant, you don’t need to eat for two. In reality, for the first six months of pregnancy, you don’t require any additional calories. You’ll just need 200 calories every day for the next three months.
Keep yourself moisturised as well. To create extra blood and amniotic fluid, you’ll need more water now that you’re pregnant. Drinking enough of water also helps to reduce constipation and fatigue.
Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Water is the healthiest method to stay hydrated, but fruit teas and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk are alternative possibilities for increasing your regular fluid consumption. Fresh fruit juice is high in vitamin C, but it also contains a lot of sugar, so drink it in moderation.
Take folic acid, vitamin D, and other supplements.
Folic acid virtually completely eliminates the risk of neural tube abnormalities in your kid. It is recommended that you begin taking it three months before to conception. Until the conclusion of the first trimester, take the recommended daily dose (12th week of pregnancy).
Vitamin D aids in the development of healthy bones, teeth, and muscles in the baby, as well as the regulation of calcium and phosphate levels in the mother’s body.
Experts warn that if a pregnant woman has vitamin D insufficiency, darker skin, or experiences less sunlight, taking a daily vitamin D supplement is even more crucial.
Unless your doctor or midwife detects a deficiency, such as iron deficiency, these two supplements (folic acid and vitamin D) are all you need during pregnancy.
Keep an eye on your baby’s movements.
Your baby’s movements indicate that they are healthy. Around week 24, they settle into a regular pattern. Begin monitoring the pattern at this stage, and get aid as soon as possible if you see a decrease in movement.
During the third trimester, sleep on your side.
In the third trimester (weeks 29-40), sleeping on your back doubles your chances of having a stillbirth. For the safety of the baby, it is recommended that you sleep on your side.
Take care of your mental health.
It is estimated that one out of every ten pregnant women suffers from mental illness. This is due to the fact that a woman’s body system changes during pregnancy, resulting in some unusual or unexpected feelings and behaviours.
It is critical for a guy to be the primary motivator for his pregnant wife. When your wife says something provocative to you at this point, be patient and understanding.
Make sure you get your vaccines.
Your doctor or midwife will offer you the whooping cough vaccine to build your antibodies while you’re pregnant. Through the placenta, these antibodies will be passed on to your kid. Getting vaccinated to safeguard your kid is best done between weeks 16 and 32 of pregnancy.
The vaccine can be given at any time after 16 weeks, however it may be less effective if given beyond 38 weeks. You’ll also be offered the flu vaccine, as there’s evidence that getting the flu while pregnant puts you at higher risk of complications.
Keep antenatal notes with you at all times.
Carry your antenatal notes with you wherever you go because they contain your medical and pregnancy history.
This is especially vital if you need to go to the maternity unit on short notice, as this is the only way health experts will be able to access your medical history and know what has been going on with your pregnancy.
Traveling after 37 weeks is not advised.
Some ladies claim that the optimum time for vacations while pregnancy is in the third trimester. In the first 12 weeks, nausea and exhaustion are common, and the risk of miscarriage is increased in the first three months.
Traveling in the later months of pregnancy, though, can be exhausting and difficult. After 37 weeks, your chances of going into labour are higher, and some airlines will refuse to let you fly (if you’re flying).
Long-distance travel (five hours or more) by road, air, or other means carries a small risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT or blood clots), so stay hydrated and move around as much as possible.
Take no drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.
Cocaine, meta-amphetamines, cannabis, and other psychoactive substances are all known to increase the risk of developing health problems in both the mother and the baby. Also, avoid consuming alcohol during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, when the baby’s brain is undergoing rapid development. Staying away from cigarettes comes with a slew of health risks.
Finally, excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy can result in low birth weight babies, raising the risk of health problems later in life. Caffeine intoxication has also been linked to miscarriage.
In response to the above, Dr Kemi Oladapo, a Lagos-based health expert, advised pregnant women to always ask questions as their bodies react during each trimester of the pregnancy.
She also advised women to have regular intercourse with their husbands, claiming that it would help to open the cervix more quickly during labour, allowing the baby to be delivered more easily.
“However, depending on the trimester, there are sex positions to avoid during pregnancy.”
Oladapo also recommended pregnant women to be mindful of the following signs in order to determine the health of their unborn child.
“Pregnant women should be aware of the following symptoms and seek advice from a midwife or doctor if they see them,” she advised. Vaginal bleeding, painful urination, sudden, sharp, or continuing abdominal pain or cramps, and a persistent or severe headache are all symptoms.
“Others are swelling in the face, hands or legs; blurred vision or spots in front of eyes; itching, especially on the hands or feet; baby’s movements slowing down or changing; and excessive or smelly vaginal discharge.”