Many women will start worrying about their unborn baby the moment the + sign appears on a pregnancy test. A pregnant woman wonders what to eat, drink, and even what activities are still okay to do. While there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of books out there telling pregnant women all the shoulds and should nots, sometimes the simplest advice is the best.
Here are five easy steps moms-to-be can take to help make the pregnancy as healthy and happy as it can be.
1. Say no to drugs and alcohol.
Yes, everyone's grandmother seems to have a story about how much they drank and smoked during their pregnancies without issue. And quiet as it may have been kept, mothers in the 1960s especially may have dabbled in illicit drugs and not seen any major ramifications.
But as Maya Angelou says, "When you know better, you do better". Doctors know that smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and taking illegal drugs bring with them a higher risk for harming both the baby and the mother. Just don't take the chance.
2. Eat well.
Pregnant women swing from being so conscious of their widening figure that they don't eat enough, to those who throw caution to the wind because they are "eating for two." The reality is pregnant women should strive to be somewhere in between.
Moms-to-be need an extra 300 calories a day for the benefit of the baby. That is the equivalent of a bowl of cereal and milk, not a bowl of ice cream with fudge.
Make sure to take a daily prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid to reduce the risk of your baby developing neural tube defects.
3. Get prenatal care.
It can seem like pregnant women spend more time in the waiting room than with the doctor during all those prenatal visits. One could think, "Why bother?" but that would be detrimental to the health of both mom and baby.
Doctors know best and can keep moms on track in a myriad of different ways. It is especially important to get early prenatal care so doctors can screen for a variety of conditions that could lead to complications in the pregnancy.