Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is an extremely exciting time for you and your partner. Amidst all the excitement, however, there are a few new things you need to consider to be sure your pregnancy is as healthy as possible. From what you’re eating to your birthing plan, here’s are nine tips to ensure your baby is healthy from conception to delivery!
Research Doctors & Birthing Options
Once you know you are pregnant the excitement of a new baby may cause you to make quick decisions. However, when it comes to the health of you and your baby – you need to be sure you are making the right choices about your medical providers and birthing options. Get recommendations from friends who have already had children, and do your research to make sure your doctor is knowledgeable, understanding and helpful – as well as in line with your birthing plan.
There are multiple options available when it comes to giving birth and while many doctors in India are not extremely open to the idea of birth plans, it is still a good idea to make one. After you have decided how you want to give birth, discuss your plan with your doctor and give a copy of it to everyone who will be involved in the delivery.
If this is your first pregnancy, you will ease worries and feel more prepared by educating yourself on what your body will be experiencing over the next nine months and after you deliver. Not only will you help decrease any anxieties about your pregnancy, but you will feel empowered by knowing everything you can about you and your baby. Even for moms who’ve already had children earlier it’s a good idea to brush up on their baby knowledge – things may have changed since you last delivered.
It is recommended to read all the baby books you can, and you and your partner could even take a few childbirth education classes. For those who don’t like to read, or don’t have the time, podcasts and YouTube videos can also be a great source for information. Lastly, you should keep you and your partner’s medical history records, as well as your families.
If there is any cause for concern, you can get a non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) to determine what your risks are. An NIPT can be performed with just a simple blood test and carries no risk for the mother or baby. It can detect chromosome abnormalities that could lead to the development of a condition like Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Edward’s syndrome (trisomy 18) or Patau syndrome (trisomy 13).
Increase Iron Intake
Being diagnosed with an iron deficiency is a real worry for some pregnant moms-to-be and their doctors. This is especially true in India where women are already not getting enough iron in their diets. Known as the top cause of maternal deaths in India, the increase of anemic women and children could be due to the high rate of poverty throughout the country, the caste system still in place in some cultures and poor sanitation.
Iron is critical to a healthy pregnancy. If your find out your iron levels are low during pregnancy, your doctor will encourage you to eat more foods rich in iron. If you’re levels are still low, your doctor may recommend a supplement to bridge the gap and keep you and your baby healthy!
Decrease Consumption of Foods that Raise Body Temperature
Because of fluctuating hormones, a woman’s body temperature often rises during pregnancy. A sudden increase in body temperature can be harmful to a developing fetus. To avoid this, you should increase your intake of foods known to decrease your body’s temperature. This is especially good during the summer months, when the heat in India can cause multiple problems for a woman carrying a child.
Coconut water is known to cool the body, as well as watermelon, amla and fenugreek seeds. Additionally, women should be drinking substantial amounts of water throughout their pregnancy to stay hydrated and cool.
Avoid Pollutants and Toxins
India’s pollution levels can be a cause for concern for pregnant moms. Exposure to too much air pollution can restrict your baby’s growth or cause birth defects. It is important to be proactive and take steps to protect yourself and your baby.
You should avoid areas with heavy amounts of pollutants – or heavy traffic. It is also a good idea to wear a mask to filter our harmful toxins when you must go outdoors, and to invest in an air purifier to make sure your home is as pollutant-free as possible!
While you should always consult your doctor first, there is no reason that you cannot continue to work if your pregnancy is healthy and considered low risk. Working can be beneficial for a pregnant woman – it keeps them active and focused on a normal routine. However, be sure you are working safely if you are pregnant – do not expose yourself to hazardous substances or excessive physical activity.
Another tip to consider is to work comfortably – wear supportive shoes and invest in a new chair or add a cushion to keep back aches at bay. You also should be sure to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks to avoid overexerting yourself.
Though research has been conducted, there is still no clear answer on whether or not women should fast during their pregnancy. However, if you do decide to fast after consulting with your doctor, make sure you make it as safe for you and your developing baby as possible. Be sure to take extra precautions if your fast falls during the summer months when the weather is much hotter and you’re at a greater risk for dehydration.
Another tip to consider when fasting during your pregnancy is to make sure you consume enough food between dusk and dawn to sustain you throughout the day. Losing weight is not recommended for pregnant women. You can also consider alternative options to fasting every day, including participating in the fast on the first and last day of the fasting period or taking a break for a day in between fasts.
Don’t be Afraid to Seek Medical Advice
In most cases a woman’s pregnancy is regarded as a normal physiological experience. Traditionally, she will not seek medical advice unless there is an obvious issue, which is especially true in the country’s more rural areas. While it is important to respect your religion’s traditions, do not hesitate to seek medical advice should you have any concern or questions.
It is important to be sure that both you and your baby remain healthy from conception to delivery, and sometimes that means going against the norm and seeing a medical professional regularly, and when you have a concern.
Enjoy this Time and Be Selfish
Most importantly, your pregnancy is supposed to be an exciting and happy experience – whether you’re a first-time mom or you’ve been through multiple pregnancies. Enjoy every minute of it – even the not so great parts like swollen feet and morning sickness. Take pride in the fact that you are growing a human being inside you and what your body is capable of during this time.
This is also a time in your life when you can be a little selfish – I mean you are sharing your body with another person, you may need a little extra help or some more time for yourself. Sleep in if you need to, don’t be afraid to ask your partner and family for help and remember to enjoy your pregnancy!