Healthy Pregnancy Tips: How to Have a Healthy Baby
At Women’s Care, our board-certified obstetricians answer hundreds of questions a week about pregnancy health and safety. For first-time moms who are taking in a lot of new information, it’s sometimes a challenge to remember all the dos and don’ts of a safe pregnancy. That’s why we asked our maternity experts to outline and break down healthy pregnancy tips.
Here’s how to help keep you and your little one safe during this exciting time in your life:
You might experience some pretty bizarre cravings throughout your pregnancy (pickles and ice cream anyone?). Fortunately, most foods are safe for you to eat while you’re expecting, minus a few exceptions. First and foremost, make sure to clean, cook, and refrigerate foods properly to help avoid a food-borne illness such as listeria and toxoplasmosis.
Second, stay away from fish that contain a high level of mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, etc. Also, avoid soft or unpasteurized cheeses, such as Queso Blanco Fresco.
Unheated deli meats are off-limits too, and yes, that includes hot dogs (sorry BBQ fans). Some herbs and plants are potentially unsafe for pregnant women, such as bitter melon and unripe papaya. Of course, reach out to an obstetrician if you have any questions or concerns about your eating habits. If you’re not sure, don’t eat it.
There are several common-sense rules to follow when it comes to taking medicine during pregnancy. Most of our healthy pregnancy tips end with “ask your doctor if you’re not sure,” which is true for most things when you’re pregnant.
First, pay close attention to the medications you are taking, especially during your first trimester. Read every label and give your doctor a call if the description doesn’t specify if it’s right for you. If you were taking any prescription medications beforehand, ask your doctor if it’s okay to continue taking it during your pregnancy. For a complete list of medications for safe pregnancy, read this article or visit our website.
In general, having sex while you’re pregnant is safe. Having sex will not harm the baby. He or she is protected by your uterus. As long as you and your partner feel comfortable, you can proceed normally with your sexual activities.
There are a few exceptions, however. Prior to sexual activity, you should contact your provider if you have a history of preterm labor or premature birth, have had a miscarriage, are carrying multiple babies, have placenta previa, unexplained vaginal bleeding or cervical incompetence.
After you give birth, wait until your body is fully healed to have sex — often four to six weeks after childbirth. Or wait until your provider tells you it’s okay to start having sex again.
As long as there are no complications associated with your pregnancy, traveling is generally safe for expecting moms. For optimum travel, we suggest leaving town during your second trimester. During the first trimester, women sometimes face morning sickness and during their third trimester, women can tire quicker.
Keep in mind, food poisoning is the most common illness people experience abroad. Food poisoning is especially unpleasant and dangerous while pregnant. Be mindful of what you are eating and try to plan meals ahead of time. Remember that certain meats, fish, dairy, and plants are harmful (see “food”).
Due to the dangers of Zika Virus and its relevance in Florida, we highly recommend pregnant women or women looking to become pregnant avoid traveling to Central and South America and the Caribbean. Always use insecticide (all are generally considered safe).
The CDC has an app to help you plan for a safe and healthy journey abroad, including the TravWell app and the Can I Eat This? app.
We recently wrote about a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging expecting moms to exercise daily throughout the course of their pregnancy. Of course, it’s important to talk to your doctor first before upping your fitness game. Certain exercises are not suitable for soon-to-be-mommies. Look for classes designed for pregnant bodies — yoga classes, spin, modified Zumba, etc.
However, leading a sedentary lifestyle during your pregnancy can cause medical issues down the road for your little one, such as childhood obesity. According to the report, pregnant women should shoot for 20 to 30 mins of cardiovascular activity every day. Furthermore, research states that exercise is an essential factor in any guide to a healthy pregnancy.
If you want to learn more pregnancy safety tips and how to have a healthy baby, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified obstetricians.